So I bought a Western Digital My Passport Essential 500 GB external hard disk yesterday. Got home and plugged in on my Windows XP 64 box, USB triggers to find a new device, Windows churns, installs the appropriate support. According the documentation some virtual CD should start installing the appropriate software to use the advanced features (not that I will use them). But nothing happens. So I check disk management and see that it is there, as disk 8, with 2047 GB as size. Wait a second, it’s only a 500 GB version (Hint #1). Next I try updating the firmware from .30 to .32 and the application says it tried too often and failed (Hint #2). Then the downloaded software to manage the drive sees the drive, but cannot do anything with it (Hint #3). Trying from Windows disk management to initialize the drive in order to just format it gives the message that the drive is write protected (Hint #4). Listening to the hard drive yields the typical distinct sound of ‘ticking’ which is a clear indicator that the hard disk is most likely dead.
Time to return it to the shop and get a replacement.