Geek Squad advised NOT to use the built in software in My Book Essential

I just purchased the My Book Essential 2TB at Best Buy.  The technician strongly recommended that i NOT use the built in software. He said it compresses everything into one file. If there is a problem in my desktop hard drive or a problem with the WD drive it can be very difficult if not impossible to access the files within the one file.

He suggested I back up manually by copying and pasting to the drive. Would anyone care to comment on this advice. I am especially hoping that the administrator will reply. Since the technician works in the repair dept. he sees many different kinds of problems and this is specific to the My Book software.

Thank you in advance to anyone who replies. Also any recommendations to the best free backup software that does not compress files would also be appreciated. I am using Windows XP Professional - should I simply use the backup utility in Windows XP Professional?


Christopher F

I don’t use Smartware. I use GoodSync and MS has a free tool SyncToy that may work too. That’s just my opinion.


Dear Joe_S,

Thank you for your immediate reply. Does GoodSync compress everything into one file? The reason I am asking is I researched the backup utility in Windows XP Professional and it turns out that it too compresses everything into one file.

Thanks again.

Is the reason you do not use the Smartware for the same reason the technician gave me?



I believe it does. The sync programs simply make the files match on the 2 drives they are standard Windows files not propieraty files. Say select My Documents on both and any change is made on the drve is cone to the second.


Thank you again. I have a question regarding Sequencing. I have never used an external hard drive before nor have I used backup software before.

I have decided to purchase Acronis True Image Home Edition 2012. By sequencing I mean should I install/attach and open the My Book Essential (it is still shrink wrapped in the box) and then install the Acronis software, check and download the latest drivers, open and then begin tje back up process or should I install the Acronis software first, check for updated drivers, open it and then install the new hard drive and begin - also since will not be using the smartware of the WD do I still need to check for the latest drivers for the hard drive too?

Thanks again - you are the only person who has replied!

I would install the Acronis first. Then you should only have to plug in the drive to use it. I wouldn’t update the firmware if the drive is working OK I don’t on mine. acronis has a good forum if you have any questions about that.


1 Like

I personally would agree with the geeksqaud guy for the most part; as much as I dislike them. Here’s how I conduct small personal system backups in two parts.

1- I image the main drive which contains installed applications and o/s. This creates a single image file of several GB in size. It goes onto a drive with big red sticker titled “_ BACKUP _”.

2- Then I manually copy my super important personal media and data files to the same drive. I use a basic drag’n’drop operation for this. Or a perhaps a simple freeware sync program.

So this “_ BACKUP _” drive now holds two things. My o/s with installed applications. And my personal data.

I figure if anything goes wrong with my “perfectly prinstine setup” I would want to restore it exactly the way it was, no troubleshooting, no muss, no fuss. I pull out the image and restore the disk image. Problem solved! If and when your system is experiencing a seemingly unsolvable problem. It’s best to just restore instead of wasting time troubleshooting something obscure. I’m certainly not going to spend hours digging through thousands of files and troubleshooting. If there is a an internal problem with an application or windows, chances are you’re not going to know what specific files is causing it. Restore the whole thing and be done! That covers #1.

For #2, this is where a simple file-sync program absolutely shines absolutely! As you build your media and data collection all you need to do is drag and drop the new files to the backup drive. Or have a simple MANUAL sync program do the tedious work for you. You specify the source and destination and the program runs through, making a list of differences. Correctly set up it will simply add files from your media directories to your backup drive. You approve it and the job is done!

Of course there are variations on a theme and as the saying goes - different strokes for different folks!

Now, I dislike totally automatic backups for one simple reason. Here’s why. The most important thing with backups is to know exactly what is getting backed up and what is not. A backup program should be clear and concise with no ambiguity as to what is happening. And the point here is to have two copies of everything. And to also know you can restore the system successfully. This means that you’ll have already tested the solution and have complete confidence it will work as intended.

Dear Keith,

Believe it or not that is exactly the advice that was given to me by another technician at the Geek Squad yesterday. He said he still drags and drops everything but uses Acronis for the complete copy of his entire system. Thank you again