During last 15 years, I bought more than 10 Western Digital hard drives, both internal and external. They all worked well, I ever had only one hard drive failure, and it was after many years of service.When I got this drive, initially I was very happy with it. It looked well constructed. It passed all self tests and external-program surface tests with flying colors. Surface tests and full formatting took a normal time for an external drive of such size (about 15 hours for full write/read surface test). However when I started backing up my data to it, it was progressing much slower than expected. Normally it takes from 20 to 30 hours to back up all my data (about 3.5T) to an USB 3 drive. It took more than 100 hours to back up my data to this drive. It looked like each file was being written with a normal speed, but there was a long wait between files, sometimes several minutes, when the drive seemingly was not doing anything. I verified that it was not my computer, or cable, or my USB port – other drives attached to the same port/cable did not experience such problem. The problem stayed consistent throughout the whole backup process. Rebooting computer or changing USB port did not help. The drive did not exhibit unusual noise or vibration, read speed was not affected, and in the end the data were written correctly.
I tried to update drive firmware, but was not successful. WD firmware updater was only saying “disconnect all USB devices except one hard drive you want to update”, even though I did not have anything else connected. I was not able to get past this message.
I was seriously considering returning this drive, but in the end decided to keep it, because I need a new external hard drive, there are not many options for 5T portable drives right now, and I did not want to spend the time on testing and then backing my data on another drive. Also, as far as I can tell, whatever problems this drive has, it does not affect data reliability.
Final point – WD now supplies a new software called “WD Discovery”. No documentation was included with the drive, but WD web site says that “WD Discovery allows you to download and keep up to date other WD Apps, and learn about software from WD partners”. The last part sounds like it is a big piece of adware, but for curiosity I tried to install it under Sandboxie (a virtualized environment guaranteeing that programs can be cleanly uninstalled). Installation failed because WD discovery tried to install a kernel driver that Sandboxie does not support. Why a program whose stated purpose is to help download other apps would need a kernel driver is beyond me.