Western Digital wants you to rent your hard drive - and that's a bad idea

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Blackboard)

We accidentally stumbled across a seemingly new service from Western Digital called the “Monthly Subscription Program”, described as an exclusive scheme only available through WD.

“For a low monthly price, you can keep your files and data stored on a drive of your choice, and upgrade your storage whenever you want," reads the website.

The company offers three drives on a subscription basis: a 1TB Sandisk ibi Smart Photo Manager, and 4TB and 8TB My Cloud Home personal cloud storage devices, for a monthly fee of $5.99, $9.99 and $17.99 respectively. Alternatively you can buy the three storage solutions (essentially external hard disk drives) outright for $99.99, $179.99 or $279.99 respectively.

Bearing in mind you don’t actually own the device and the cloud management system is free when you purchase the personal cloud storage solutions on their own, the subscriptions are not particularly favorable. Sure, you don’t have to pay upfront for the devices, but you only have to use them for 18 months to recoup the cost.

And looking at the small print makes the deal even less enticing; since this is essentially a loan, your creditworthiness will be evaluated. In other words, they might check your credit history and obtain a credit report from a consumer reporting agency, which could have a negative impact on your credit history.

Oh and make sure you do not use the service to store “live performance recordings made without the consent of all performers” or obscene material (i.e. adult pornographic movies etc.), both forbidden as per the terms of use.

Western Digital is clearly trying to find its footing in the cloud storage market and, with the closure of Upthere last year, is finding it challenging to say the least.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.