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Not so long ago we told you about a special external network storage solution from Maxtor (for details please see our article called Shared Storage Drive from Maxtor: First Look at Network Storage Devices). Now we are ready to offer you a detailed review of another product of the kind. This time it is going to be a solution from Western Digital.

Since we have already tested quite a few regular external storage devices supporting USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 interface before (you can check our Storage section for more reviews), our interest in these new solutions gets even greater, especially due to the ever growing popularity of local networks.

Closer Look at Western Digital Essential NetCenter (WDXE3200JBN)

The case of this hard drive is made of plastic of two different colors: silver and gray. To tell the truth the selected type of the case material doesn’t make it very robust, although on the other hand, a sensitive device like that shouldn’t be subject to any heavy physical shocks.

      

There are ventilation slits on both sides of the case, and the hard disc drive inside can even be noticed through them. The Power On button is located on the front panel of the drive, right under the NetCenter name. This button is combined with the operation status LED.

On the rear panel of the drive you can find the power supply connector, the network port, two USB ports for external devices, a tiny reset button (which cannot be pressed with a finger tip) and Kensington slot, which is intended to protect this device from unauthorized use to some extent.

Here I have to stress that there are two reset modes available. Of you press and release the Reset button quickly enough, i.e. in less than one second, the entire device gets shut down and will be ready for work in approximately 5 seconds. After that you have to push the Power On button again to turn on the device. The second reset mode is only good for special situations, because after that you will need to enter some network parameters anew. To activate that second mode you will have to press and hold the tiny Reset button for 10 seconds, and the drive will reboot in about 40 seconds. The drive should be set vertically that is why it is supplied with a special stand. Since there are no pads or stands attached to the drive case, we assume that it is the only acceptable position for proper operation of the device advised by the manufacturer.

According to Western Digital, their storage solution is perfectly suitable for data storage in home or office environment. It allows creating password protected folders. It can serve as a backup storage solution where you save the data from all other systems. The convenient thing about this drive is that it offers constant access to all files at any time and from any machine, even when the main system is shut down. Besides that the drive also allows connecting external devices to it, such as printers or additional external storage solutions. In this case the connected external devices will be also accessible from the network.

 
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