I got a WD MyBook Essentials the other day but after a week or so the drive physically broke.
I tried opening the case and replacing the drive with another SATA WD drive I had lying around. This seemed to work except Windows 7 drive manager didn't show any partitions (it does show the disk itself and the correct size) and said the disk needs to be initialized. When I tried to do so I got the message "The media is write protected."
Tried installing WD SmartWare but that doesn't even recognize the drive.
Also tried using gparted under Ubuntu but it came back with the message "I/O error reading /dev/sdb".