Western Digital My Book Moved to iMac

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I’ve had my 500GB Western Digital My Book drive for over a month and just got around to moving it to my Mac after testing in on my Windows PC. Click on the previous link to go to my post where I write about the drive and installing it under Windows.My intent all along was to use it as a drive dedicated to my iMac. Because of this I want to reformat the drive using HFS+ [Mac OS Extended (Journaled)] file system rather than FAT32. If you want to move the drive between Windows and OS X then you’ll need to keep the FAT32 format.

Here’s the procedure I used to setup the drive:

1. Cable the drive to the Mac and plug it in. I used a firewire 800 connection. The drive will immediately be recognized in finder and can be accessed.

2. Since I’ll be formatting the drive I want to copy the software off of it. The software is also available on the CD that was received with the drive. I copied both files from the Mac directory on the drive to my local hard drive. Also save any sata you may have on the drive.

 

3. Open Disk Utility (Applications Folder -> Utilities Folder). Select the My Book drive (called 465.8 GB WD in the screenshot below), then click Erase in the menu bar. Select “Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the volume format. You can name it anything, I called it “My Book 1”. Uncheck “Install Mac OS 9 Disk Driver unless you plan on using the drive with OS. Then click the “Erase” button.

 

4. The erase will not take very long. The screenshot below shows how the drive will appear after formating. Click the “i” information icon to see the information screen that is shown.

 

6. Now locate the file “WD Button Manager Software.dmg” that you copied off the drive in step one and double-click it. This will mount the drive in Finder. Run “WD Button Manager.pkg” by double-clicking it. You can click through the installation by accepting the defaults. You will need to reboot when you are done.

The button manager driver is used to control the status lights a safe powerdown button on the drive. If you don’t want these features you can skip this install and use the drive like any other “dumb” firewire drive.

7. You can install the EMC Restrospect software at this time by double-clicking the second file that you copied in step 1 – EMC Retrospect Express. The installation also requires a reboot. There are more choices during this installation but I just took the defaults. I haven’t used the software yet since I plan to use SuperDuper! but I’ll probably look at it in the future out of curiosity. The software does not appear to be tied to the drive as there are alternate destination such as DVDs available (but like I said, I still haven’t used it).

Benchmarks

Benchmarking the drive is useless for comparison to other systems since there are too many variables. But I did benchmark the My Book drive, the Maxtor One Button III drive and the external iMac drive all running on the same system at the same time. This should provide a fairly good comparison of each drive against one another. With the caveat that my specific system or the benchmarking software may mean you’d see different results. The internal iMac disk is “as-is”, I haven’t run any optimization, maintenance, or repair utilities on it in awhile and it’s just over 50% full. The Maxtor still has the backup files on it and is also about 50% full. The Western Digital is also about 50% full but has only had files copied to it once so it’s all nice and tidy.

XBench 1.3 was used for the benchmarking.

  1. Western Digitial My Book Pro using Firewire 800 scored a 65.92
  2. iMac Internal Drive scored a 33.05 (this scored a 37.86 when it was new)
  3. Maxtor 300 One Touch III using Firewire 400 scored 36.26
  4. USB connections came in well behind with the My Book scoring 16.55 via USB and the Maxtor scoring 16.45 via USB

Issues

I’ve only one into one issues with the My Book on my Mac. The drive is supposed to power down automatically when the computer is powered off. This worked fine with my Windows XP SP2 PC (via USB) but it’s not working with my iMac. The drive goes into “system standby” mode but stays on. I can power it down with the button. Since my iMac usually stays on this isn’t a high priority for me to research or try to fix. The only other benefit of with the driver is the capacity indicator so I may uninstall the driver.

The manual mentions to “select the language of your choice from the available folders” for the Mac installation. There weren’t any languages available for me.

Summary

I already liked the My Book and moving it to the Mac was simple. With a benchmark score significantly higher than the the internal iMac drive it may be worth booting off the drive and seeing if there’s a noticeable difference to see it’s worth me running off the My Book. I could also split my usage with one drive running the OS and applications and using the other drive for data. But for now the My Book stays as a backup drive.