6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 7, 2010 11:08 AM by Donald Palmer
corelle Level 1 (5 points)
I went to Best Buy and asked the sales rep. about the Western Digital My Book for Mac vs. the Western Digital My Book Essential external hard drives. He said with the My Book Essential, which is not pre-formatted for Mac, I could format it for Mac myself, but it will not work with Time Machine.

Is that correct? Even after I format the hard drive for Mac, I still would not be able to use it with Time Machine?

The smallest Western Digital hard drive pre-formatted for Mac is 1TB. I want something a little less, but it only comes in the non-Mac formatted version.

Mac OS X (10.6.1), 21.5 inch iMac
  • Kappy Level 10 (263,335 points)
    WD products have a sketchy history of compatibility with Macs. The MyBook can be partitioned and formatted for the Mac and will work with Time Machine, however, it cannot be used to boot the Mac. Most WD packaged drive systems simply won't boot a Mac.

    Personally I'd suggest getting a drive system from MacSales.com and steering clear of WD. You can purchase a hard drive separately and an enclosure separately and install the drive yourself in five minutes. See the following:

    Visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQ on backup and restore. Also read How to Back Up and Restore Your Files.

    Although you can buy a complete FireWire or USB drive system, you can also put one together if you are so inclined. It's relatively easy and only requires a Phillips head screwdriver (typically.) You can purchase hard drives separately. This gives you an opportunity to shop for the best prices on a hard drive of your choice. Reliable brands include Seagate, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Fujitsu. You can find reviews and benchmarks on many drives at Storage Review.

    Enclosures for FireWire and USB are readily available. You can find only FireWire enclosures, only USB enclosures, and enclosures that feature multiple ports. I would stress getting enclosures that use the Oxford chipsets (911, 921, 922, for example.) You can find enclosures at places such as;

    Cool Drives
    Firewire Direct
    California Drives

    All you need do is remove a case cover, mount the hard drive in the enclosure and connect the cables, the n re-attach the case cover. Usually the only tool required is a small or medium Phillips screwdriver.

    If your computer supports Firewire that would be my recommendation for speed.
  • Alexandre Level 3 (850 points)
    Hi corelle,
    Kappy has given some very good info here. From personal experience, I'd go with LaCie firewire HDD. Very good indeed and I have been very pleased with my 1Tb. The choice varies from country to country, but prices are very reasonable for some and they do lower spec ones, too (i.e. less storage, less cache etc). If you want to boot your Mac from it, too, I'd recommend at least 16mB cache (32 better) and opt for 7,200 rpm. And 500Gb should be well sufficient to run OSX. (you need to read LaCie's instructions as to how to format your new external drive correctly prior to installing the OS and making efficient use of it.
    Good luck with your choice(s).
  • corelle Level 1 (5 points)
    Can you use non-Mac formatted LaCie or OWC (after you format them) to boot a Mac? Is that just a WD problem or if it applies to all non-formatted hard drives of all brands.
  • Alexandre Level 3 (850 points)
    LaCie firewire are definitely good for booting after appropriate formatting (I know from own experience). Intel Macs officially support USB 2.0 bootability, so OWC (read through the specs) should be ok. Does that help?
  • corelle Level 1 (5 points)
  • Donald Palmer Level 4 (2,170 points)
    My 2¢.

    The interface of the standalone WD drives give problems with booting a Mac, the drive itself works fine with Mac.

    LaCie or OWC don't make HDDs. They use a variety of drives and stick them in an enclosure with their name on it.

    One of the drives that has had problems lately is the 1Tb Seagate.
    They had some bad components in the controller that would result in loss of data.

    Hitachi took over the IBM Deskstar (Deathstar by some accounts) line.

    Good Luck