WD says disk is designed for 5 years, no more!

I just got off the phone with an official representative of WD. The conversation was about a failed 500GB MyBook, model WD5000C032. S/N xxxxxxxxxxxx Reference xxxxxxxxxxxxx

While the disk is out of warranty, I was surprised to hear the rep tell me very specifically that the lifespan of this product is 5-years and no more. Furthermore, how can any kind stability or longevity be expected from a disk that runs at 66C - 68C? That’s way beyond the specification any low-cost consumer-class drive. There is no provision for either passive or active cooling. And it was a bad decision to put a hot running drive in an enclosure. This drive has 8 surfaces and 8 heads, that’s a lot of mass to spin. And the 8 surfaces make a lot of drag, thus straining the motor and making the +60`C operating temperatures unavoidable. Defective by design.

For certain I am quite thoroughly upset that I had purchased a disk with a known design life of 5 years. Not being informed of that is the worst part.

I had trusted WD to design something good, as they have done in the past. But not this time. This particular drive has failed because of overheating and no other reason.

So if you have earlier MyBooks, best be sure they are backed up.

I think a lot of people make the problem worse by using these drives like an internal drive to listen to music or watch videos. I only power up mine when I do a backup or sync files.


Neither the box nor the documentation says anything about a requirement for running the disks for limited periods of time.

The .PDF file for the MyBook 500 states, “With just the essential features for add-on storage it’s perfect for all your precious digital assets.” This doesn’t specify intermittent operations.

Another .PDF sheet claims “Inside the case is an exceptionally fast (7200 RPM spin speed), ultra quiet, cool-running hard drive from WD, of course!” There’s nothing cool-running about a 4-platter 7200RPM disk. Especially one from the timeframe in which this one was built.

The early versions of the MyBook 500 run at +60C. Whereas I have a 1TB MyBook from recent times that runs no more than 48C.

WD mis-designed (or underestimated) the cooling requirements for this disk. And because of that they have short lifespans.

Joe, it should be noted, too, that if a basic backup is run the temperature still gets too high.

Let us consider this scenario:

30GB of data on the host system
20MB/sec USB 2.0 transfer rate

This comes to be about 1/2 hour runtime on the disk if a backup is being done. That’s sufficient time for the drive to heat up, especially if it’s hard at work doing write operations. There’s nothing, anywhere, in any documentation, to indicate that this type of backup is unreasonable and damaging to the disk’s mechanism.

Most products I’ve encountered that are designed with intermittent use in mind have that stipulation noted in a list of cautions that accompany the device. But not here. And, furthermore, what if I was to use WD’s very own DLG tools and performed a zero-write procedure? This would run for 6-hours straight.

The good news is that WD contacted me and we’re working toward a resolution / fix. Stay tuned.