My Book 1.5TB Essentials failure with WDTV


Well, I bought the 1.5Gb version of this drive about nine months ago and have transferred ~900Gb of movies, TV shows, music, and videos for playback on multiple HDTVs using Western Digital’s WDTV and WDTV/Live. It is a totally awesome playback system per calling up any DVD movie on-the-fly versus having to load DVD’s into a player. WDTV has really made watching movies very convenient without having a wall of physical DVDs.

The first problem was WD’s backup software which wants to install no matter what. Great if you want it for PC backup…not so great if you just want a simple file storage device. Thus I had to download an update from WD to allow the unit to work without the backup software. Still it would try to load it every time you activated the drive on a PC, with an install unsuccessful message. But the update allowed the unit to work for moving files over to the drive and great on the WDTV. I still check WDs site for a final solution to remove the startup software issue, but haven’t seen it yet.

Then finally WDTV quit reading the drive. I put it on the PC with the same result. While I am a TV repair tech and a field service engineer for Samsung TVs, I’m also a certified Dell/IBM computer repair tech. I pulled the drive and put it on the test bench. You can hear the heads clicking away trying to read with no success. So all the data is gone per not able to read the hard drive, and it’s probably out of warranty. But I was smart enough to have two more drives with mirror images of this one.

Best Buy currently has the 2Tb on sale at a great price. I could build a drive at a little more cost and eliminate the backup software install issue. But drives fail no matter what, and in this case it was the drive, not the software or interface hardware.

So the real questions are:

  1. Does WD have a USB hard drive expressly designed for use with WDTV and/or Live version without the backup software issues?

  2. Is there a recommendation per operation of a WD drive and WDTV to prevent drive failures? Typically a customer wants the system on and ready to use even with a TV off. Perhaps both the drive and WDTV should be powered off when not in use.

  3. What is the life expectancy of a WD USB drive per daily usage incorporated into a home theater system?

Home theater is here per calling up videos via hard drive per WDTV or even proprietary cable DVR systems. Being a TV repair tech I also loaded video test patterns as well as 720p and 1080i samples on the on the drive and use it to test TVs as well as demonstrate to customers the capabilities of the system. Thus it did get moved around a lot, but I was always careful not to physically shock it in any way. So I’ve probably turned on a lot of customers as to what a WDTV system can do. It is awesome when all is working.

So I could probably sell this system a dozen times per week, but not if all they download to the drive fails later on. Any recommendations? Life expectancy?

Best Regards,


PS: If WD is interested in selling/servicing a turn-key WDTV + drive system through our company, just contact Tom at the above website.

Theres a patch to disable the backup software on the site.  I did it to all my drives also.

Also did you try to register your serial number at  Maybe its still in warrenty?  Also if you got the receipt they will do it from the date of purchase instead of the date it left the warehouse.