WD My Passport 2TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive Review

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The My Passport Backup Software

WD My Passport Drive Popup

The first time you install the WD My Passport 2TB drive into a USB port it will be automatically detected by your PC just like a traditional flash drive and you can open it up and look at the contents.

WD My Passport Drive Contents

On the drive WD already has five folders and an application that you can run to setup the supplied WD software. The folder titled ‘User Manuals’ has PDF files in numerous languages that have a 77 page user manual that goes into great detail on how to use the My Passport. If you don’t want to use any of the WD software you can delete the 185MB worth of files and use the drive how you see fit.

WD My Passport Essential

If you run the WD Apps Setup executable, you’ll begin installing all the WD Software.

WD My Passport Essential

You have to accept the EULA.

WD My Passport Essential

After you accept the license agreement you get to select which of the three software features that you wish to install.  By default WD has them all set to install. The WD Drive Utilities is a program that allows you do erase, perform diagnostics and also a registration page to register your device. WD security allows you to place passwords and to encrypt your files. WD SmartWare is needed for automatic and continuous backup of all your files.

WD My Passport Essential

We’ve installed all of these utilities before, but for this review we will focus on just the WD SmartWare utility.  You might only need this as well if you never plan on taking the My Passport out of the house, so no passwords are needed.  Sure, someone could break in and steal it and gain access to our data, but that risk might be worth it to some. Some people buy a small portable drive like this to easily fit inside a wall safe or a special hiding spot.

WD My Passport Essential

The installer will then install the selected software to the primary drive on the system you are using.

WD My Passport Essential

After that the setup wizard is complete, but don’t think you are having your data backed up as you just installed the application and didn’t actually set it up.

WD My Passport Essential

Now that the WD SmartWare application is installed you can open it and when you do you’ll see the GUI above pop open. You now need to select what type of backup you want to run. You get to pick between category backup and file backup.

  • Category Backup – Finds and backs up all the files of the selected categories of your computer.
  • File Backup - Backs up files or folders that you select from a folder view of your computer’s internail hard drive.
WD My Passport Essential

If you leave it on the default settings, the WD My Passport will do a category backup and you can go ahead and click start and the program will backup all your basic files. 

It is important to note that the WD My Passport Essential doesn’t backup your operating system or installed software/games and you can’t select specific folders to backup.  If you wanted to do a complete file structure backup or be able to select what folders you wanted to backup you’d have to purchase a 3rd party solution for that. The included WD SmartWare utility is aimed at backing up your general day to day items.

WD My Passport Essential

The software program places your files with certain extensions into one of six general categories when backed up. They are documents, mail, music, movies, pictures and other.

WD My Passport Essential

Under the advanced view you can enable and disable the six categories if you don’t want to back them all up for some reason.  This backup method works great for general users, but it you have more than one storage drive that you would like to back it up won’t automatically backup items on the other drives.

WD My Passport Essential

For this you need to select the file backup plan and then you can manually select the drives that you want to backup from and then manually select the folders.

WD My Passport Essential

The screen you don’t want to ever find yourself on is the the retrieve screen, which is where you go when you need to get files from a backup.

WD My Passport Essential

You can change the retrieve folder by going under the settings tab. You can also change the number of backup versions to keep for each file under file history (default is 5) and the preferences. Our drive came with WD SmartWare version 1.5.4 and we were able to automatically update to version 1.6.0 by allowing the utility to check for updates.

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