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Western Digital ships new desktop My Book external hard drives

WD unveils redesigned My Book Essential and My Book for Mac external hard drive drive with new WD SmartWare software.

Another day, another external hard drive. I thought by now, storage vendors had exhausted ideas for new external hard drives. I was wrong.

Western Digital announced on Thursday its new and refreshed lines of My Book external hard dives, including the My Book Essential and My Book for Mac. Both hard drives are for desktops, and most importantly, they come with the new WD SmartWare software that's designed to ease the job of backing up your data.

The new My Book Essential external hard drive from Western Digital. Wetern Digital

Both new external hard drives are available in capacities ranging from 500GB to 2TB and feature user-selected password protection combined with military-grade 256-bit hardware encryption, which scrambles files before they're stored. Prior to these drives, these security technologies have been available mostly in much more expensive storage systems.

The two new drives also use WD's GreenPower Technology that helps lower the power consumption of the internal drive, according to WD, by up to 30 percent. They both sport an illuminated capacity gauge that gives you a quick glance of how much space is available on the drive.

The My Book Essential drive is a budget product and comes with only one USB 2.0 connection and is preformatted for Windows. The WD SmartWare software will launch by itself the first time the drive is plugged in and offers a real-time visual interface of the backup process. After the first backup, users' files are backed up automatically every time they change or add a file. This is similar to how HP's SimpleSave external hard drive works, with the exception that it requires a bit more user interaction than HP's solution.

The My Book for Mac is essentially the same as the My Book Essential with the exception that it's preformatted for Macs and comes with the Mac version of the WD SmartWare software. It also is compatible with OS X's built-in Time Machine backup solution.

The two new external hard drives are available immediately and are estimated to cost between $100 and $250, depending on the model and capacity.