I’ve long understood, but was reminded tonight, that there are products designed with respect for the user, and those with mistrust and maybe even contempt. Until tonight, I hadn’t experienced any problems with my, admittedly aging, 250 GB Western Digital My Book Premium USB hard drive.
After over four years of adequate service, the My Book finally stopped working. It would click instead of audibly spinning up, and that it wouldn’t show in dmesg at all when plugged in suggested that the problem was likely the enclosure, not the disk inside.
I was right, but couldn’t be sure about this until tearing the case open and extracting the disk, a simple 3.5″ SATA. Tearing isn’t exactly the right word; I was careful and didn’t break anything while half-following these instructions, but I had to put considerable amounts of force into a few of the steps. Case in point: screws tightened by production line robots, so much so that only robots can easily unscrew them, suck.
I removed the disk and placed it in another enclosure—the kind sold without a disk — I had handy. The process (or lack thereof) was literally a joy compared to the fighting I had to do with the plastic My Book case. Sure, standalone hard drive enclosures are designed for people who at least know enough to buy one of those and a 3.5″ SATA disk, not to mention that these things exist. It’s not brain surgery, but it’s also not the kind of thing you need to know to be a “computer user” these days.
Of course, being such a user means shrugging your shoulders and losing data when only half of your product breaks.
The choice is yours, but unless you like headaches, I suggest not buying dumb shit.