You’ve heard it over and over again. Back up. Back it up. Be sure to back up. It’s good advice and the Western Digital My Passport portable hard drive makes it easy.
WD My Passport Design and Build
Measuring 3.24” x 4.33” x 0.85” and weighing in at just over ½ lb., the My Passport 4T portable drive is very compact, and light. Made of heavy-duty plastic, it is also quite rugged. There is only one port for the power and a small power/activity LED light. This light is on when idle and flashes when it detects activity.
These hard drives have a colorful new look that is really eye-catching. The top half of the drive is shiny plastic with a WD imprint.
The bottom half of the drive has a matt finish with textured diagonal ribbing that looks like waves. This My Passport is sure to grab your attention on the store shelf as it comes in four vivid bright colors: yellow, red, orange, and blue. It also comes in standard all-black and all-white. I actually prefer the metal look of some of the previous WD drives, but still, find the colors both appealing and easy to find on a messy desktop or briefcase.
This My Passport drive comes with a 15” long detachable cable. The color of the cable matches the color of the drive. Since it is a proprietary cable, I find that the colored cable makes it easily identifiable among my tangles of different cables from various equipment.
The Passport comes in 1, 2, 3, and 4 terabyte models. The 4 TB model is a little thicker than the others. All data sizes come in all colors. This is a great feature in that there are usually color and size restrictions. So if you only need a 1 TB drive and you love red, it is available.
WD My Passport Setup
The software for the drive is preinstalled on the drive. It includes WD Discovery, WD Backup, WD Security, and WD Drive Utilities. As expected this software eats up some of the drives. When the drive is plugged in, you have 3.64 TB on the 4 TB drive.
The My Passport comes with a small single-sheet quick start guide. While I believe in simplicity, this quick start guide, shown below, is almost useless. As you can see, it shows only the drive attached to a computer with no instructions. The User Guide is on the drive itself, although the quick start guide doesn’t even say that. Although the setup is really easy, WD needs to do better on the documentation.
To set up the drive you need to run WD Discovery.exe. Upon starting the WD Discovery software, I was immediately asked to update the software. Unfortunately, it took me almost an hour to update this software. Several failed attempts and a reboot of my computer were necessary.
Again, unfortunately, you have to actually look for the other WD software. Switch to the App tab and you will see a list of colorful apps provided by WD partners that are available with little explanation other than a “learn more” button on each. You must scroll to the bottom of these apps to find the place for you to install the WD Security, WD Utilities, and WD Backup software. Shouldn’t this be in a more obvious place?
Once installed, the Utilities make it easy to work with the drive including scanning the drive for problems, reformatting, and even erasing. The WD Security lets you set a password for the 256-bit hardware-based data encryption technology.
The WD backup software will help you prepare a backup plan and modify drive settings. As noted below you can also backup from cloud storage. The WD Backup software provides for auto backup. This drive also works well with the Windows 10 backup software.
WD My Passport Features
This My Passport is compatible out of the box on Windows computers from Windows 7 on. It is also compatible with all newer versions of the Mac OS from Mavericks on. However, since it comes formatted as a single NTFS partition, it will have to be reformatted to work with a Mac. Also, the included WD Backup software is only compatible with Windows.
WD’s My Passport drives are regular hard drives. An SSD version is also available. The drive uses USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C to deliver fast performance with transfer rates of 5 Gb/s. It is also backward compatible with USB 2.0.
Western Digital provides a 3-year limited warranty. The My Passport’s portable hard drives are priced at $79, retail for the 1TB model. The 4TB model that we tested sells for $159 (retail).
The 4 Terabyte My Passport Drive provides a lot of storage for the price. It is very portable and provides good encryption if needed. The build and design of this device are admirable. Once you get into the software it is adequate. However, it definitely could be easier to locate and install.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t I see My WD Passport on my computer?
In most cases, this small error occurs because the File Explorer or the default file management app on your operating system can’t detect an unformatted hard drive – which might be the case with some of the default WD My Passport models. I’d recommend you to go to Disk Management and check how the drive is recognized there. Another thing you could try is Uninstalling and Re-installing the WD My Passport from Device Manager. If you have a spare USB cable, you could try plugging the HDD with it as well.
How long does a WD My Passport external hard drive last?
Depending on how much data you read and write to it, it could last you anywhere from three to five years, or even more. If you take good care of your WD My Passport external hard drive, it could last you even for ten years. Keep it away from dust, water, or abrupt movement when you’re writing and reading data to and from it.
Does WD My Passport work with Windows 10 and Windows 11?
Yes, WD My Passport works flawlessly with both Windows 10 and Windows 11 alike. In case your OS doesn’t detect the drive, you can use the above-mentioned method of reinstalling the software, or verifying it with Device Manager to see if it was configured correctly. Worst case scenario, you can contact the Western Digital support team. They should be able to help you out and, if necessary, send you a replacement hard drive that works in case the model you’ve bought happened to be one of the defective ones.
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