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.
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.
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 drive. 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 setup is really easy, WD needs to do better on the documentation.
To setup 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 was 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.
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 is 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 to 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 or this device is admirable. Once you get into the software it is adequate. However, it definitely could be easier to locate and install.