This is a nice drive be sure to click through each of the storage amounts because of the time of writing this review the 500 GB was only $10 less than the 1 TB and doubling your space for $10 is a no-brainer (Also be sure to click through the different colors as the prices vary for the same storage size for example the time of writing this review the black and blue 2 TB hard drives were $20 less than the red 2 TB hard drive). I never use backup software so I won't comment on that. I'm on a Mac and time machine does it for me but even when I was a Windows user I would just format the hard drive and use it to store my files. I also recommend doing just one partition as personally I think when I get into multiple partitions it gets confusing as to where I put what and then you will run out of space on one partition while having ample on the other just use folders.
If you're a Mac user setting this hard drive up with your computer is super easy follow these steps.
1. Plug in the the drive
2. Open up disk utility found in your applications folder inside the utilities folder
3. Next select the newly plugged in a drive and on the right-hand side you should see partition click on that.
4. Then inside that screen on the partition layout drop-down choose how many partitions you'd like to set up. I generally go with one partition and just use folders to organize my files.
5. Then on the right-hand side you can name the partitions and select the format. If you are transferring video files I highly recommend you choose Mac OS Extended (If you want to use it with Time Machine this is the choice you need to make) as it can handle files over 4GB. Sometimes it's good to make two partitions and one using "MS-DOS fat" or "ExFat" if you might be transferring files to and from a Windows machine. The reason is Windows machines and Macs can read and write to the "MS-DOS fat" format but your files will need to be under 4 GB each as that's the maximum file size it can handle.***
6. Then click apply and your Mac will create all the partitions you wanted and you're good to go.
*** The ExFat format is newer PC & Mac format and doesn't have a 4gb file size limit the "MS-DOS fat" or Fat32 does but not all cameras & digital devices can't read or write to it.
Thanks for reading it is helpful please click the button thanks.
UPDATE: I edited this to correct an error in my use of NTFS thanks to David Hobbs in the comments
on November 14, 2013
Update 2/23/14 - Okay fellow Amazon shoppers. I'm caving in to some of the comments that have been posted on my review and upping my star rating to four stars. Reason being that the price of this storage drive keeps fluctuating so much that it's often a better deal than other, lesser drives out there. I've also edited my review a bit to accommodate that. The drive itself has been working like a champ for me so far and I've got no complaints there. However, I'm still holding off one star due to most of the reasons I stated in my original review. The WD Smartware included software is still garbage despite recent updates/patches, and I stick to my story that the packaging is misleading to the non-technical.
I had been using a Seagate FreeAgent Go 640GB portable drive for about three years now, and wanted something with some more space and higher transfer speeds. I purchased this drive for it's beefy 2 TB of storage space and speedier USB 3.0 interface.
Out of the box, you get the drive, a 15" USB 3.0 cable, soft pouch, quick install guide, and a 3-year limited warranty. The drive looks nice, and appears to be of good construction. Doesn't look or feel cheaply made. I like how compact it is. It's about an inch shorter in length than my FreeAgent Go, and maybe a millimeter or two thicker. The included soft pouch is a nice addition and helps keep dust and dirt off of it. Not an ideal case solution if you're prone to dropping things or somewhat rough with your belongings, so you might want to invest in a more rugged case. It works fine for me though as I keep mine in a messenger bag when on the go, and it's a nice addition considering most other drives don't come with anything. The included USB cable is long enough to plug into the USB port on the front of my PC and reach my desk's surface. So, thumbs up there.
Functionally, the My Passport Ultra 2TB works as advertised. Transfer rates are roughly 3x faster than that of a USB 2.0 drive. I noticed the difference in speed right away when transferring large files (1-5GB+), taking only 2-3 minutes instead of 5-10 minutes or longer depending on file size. I work with large media files all day long, so the bump up in transfer speeds is really nice. The drive is very quiet while running. You wouldn't even know that it's on except for a tiny little LED indicator light to the right of the USB connector port.
So, why only four stars? Hardware-wise, The Passport Ultra is no different from WD's regular Passport series of portable drives. They're the same exact drives, only slightly different in appearance. What the regular Passports lack from the Ultra is the soft pouch, the Ultra label, and WD's misleading labeling on the box that touts, "Auto & Cloud Backup Plus Security." The "Auto" backup is merely referring to WD's abysmal backup software included on the drive, WD SmartWare (more on that later). The "Cloud" backup is basically instructions on the box for setting up a DropBox account. No kidding! They're advertising cloud storage on the front of their packaging like it's a feature they're offering. Flip the box over and you'll see that it's nothing more than an advertising gimmick for DropBox with instructions on how to set up an account.
As for the included backup software, WD Smartware, they should consider renaming this to Dumbware or Stupidware, because it simply doesn't work. The software is supposed to keep your designated files and folders on your PC synced to your Passport, meaning, when a file is updated or a new file is added, Smartware is supposed to see those changes and update the files on your Passport the next time you sync. Unfortunately, the current version of Smartware has a bug where it doesn't notice any updated or newly added files and doesn't copy them to your drive when you sync, rendering the whole thing useless. People have been complaining about this on WD's support forum for a while now, and WD has yet to acknowledge it's customers about the issue on the forums or address the issue with an update or fix. This is highly unacceptable!
EDIT 2/23/14: Despite a new update for WD Smartware (v2.2.1, updated 11/25/13) which was supposed to, "fix an issue where files are not backing up properly in some instances," it still does not function properly. After running the update, the software often hangs for too long or freezes up altogether. So, I've given up on WD Smartware. I wish I could use Seagate's Manager software with this drive, as I never had a problem with that software.
In summary, the WD My Passport Ultra 2TB Portable External Drive is a really great drive. It's small, fast, quiet, and works as advertised. However, the drive retails for $30 more than the regular Passport model of the same storage capacity. All you're really getting for that extra $30 is a silly, soft pouch, Ultra labeling on the drive, and the feeling that you've been made a sucker for believing this product was anything more than it appeared to be. So save yourself a few dollars and get the regular Passport 2TB and put that $30 towards a better protective case.
EDIT 2/23/14: Depending on when you purchase the drive, the price may be cheaper than other, lesser drives. In this situation my comment about the more expensive price would be irrelevant. If you find this drive on the cheap, by all means make the purchase. It is a great drive, especially at a bargain price!
- Lots of storage in small, compact form factor.
- USB 3.0 transfer speeds. Great for large media files!
- Included pouch keeps away dirt and dust.
- Included USB cable is long enough for some play.
- Misleading labeling.
- Same drive as the regular Passport, except for pouch and Ultra markings.
- WD Smartware automatic backup software is garbage. Doesn't work as advertised! Use an alternate 3rd-party backup
Update 12 No 2013: Needed a slight update to my review because my original claim that My Passport (no Ultra) is cheaper is no longer true. Prices change, so do compare them before buying.
My Passport Ultra is a fast drive. I've had several USB3 drives over the years and they are all real fast. If you need to transfer huge amount of data quickly, like 100+GBs, USB3 is the way to go. In terms of hardware, I don't have any complaints.
Oh the case looks pretty sleek too. No power cable required. You can use the USB cable with USB2 ports also, with the speed downgraded of course.
- Bundle Software -
1. WD Drive Utilities - Provides some utilities services to check status, test functionality and reformatting.
2. WD Security - Enables you to set password to the drive
3. WD SmartWare Pro - This handles the auto-backup. It's for Windows only but Mac users can just use Time machine. You can choose to backup to Dropbox online for additional duplication. The thing about Dropbox is, you need to have your own account (obviously). WD is not providing any additional storage on Dropbox so the default starts at 2GB. Currently, the paid Dropbox plan starts with 100GB for 99 dollars per year. Personally, I would just buy another WD My Passport for duplication backup. For the same mount of money, I can also buy two different brands of 500GB hard drives for two peace of mind.
If you're into cloud drive, also check out Amazon Cloud Drive and the Google Drive. Both offer syncing services to your desktop drives.
on February 28, 2014
I'm used to external HDDs that are about the size of spiral notebook, and about an inch thick. Or the size of two bricks placed side by side. That's what I was expecting when I ordered this. I didn't mind because I wanted a drive that had a good capacity and that was USB 3.0 so I could try out the new 3.0 jack on my new laptop. I've never owned a USB 3.0 device before this one.
Needless to say I was blown away. I was expecting it to be delivered in a box the size of a small microwave oven (Amazon tends to pack things that way). I was actually a bit pissed off when I saw that the package was a MANILA ENVELOPE! However, when I opened it and saw how frickin' tiny the drive is, I changed my mind. This thing is small enough to fit into my back jeans pocket. Heck, this thing is SMALLER THAN MY CELL PHONE!! Of course, I own a Galaxy Note II, but hey, it's still a sight to behold.
I've done only a little bit of performance testing so far, but it's about twice as fast in the USB 3.0 port as it was in the USB 2.0 port (40 MB/sec vs 22 MB/sec).
I used CDM 3 to benchmark it; and below are the results:
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 x64 (C) 2007-2013 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
* MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]
Sequential Read : 112.099 MB/s
Sequential Write : 110.528 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 41.950 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 57.537 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.535 MB/s [ 130.5 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 1.453 MB/s [ 354.7 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 0.598 MB/s [ 146.0 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 1.486 MB/s [ 362.8 IOPS]
Test : 1000 MB [G: 0.0% (0.4/931.5 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2014/02/28 21:18:42
OS : Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)
Greater than 110 MB/second sequential data transfer. WOW!
I'm quite pleased with this...I even splurged and got the blue version.
Quite happy with this thing.
on February 20, 2015
Works great! I purchased it for my Xbox One because I needed more storage. No complaints it provides extra storage in beautifully designed, compact box.
I added a photo to show a reference of how big it is, you could get the exact dimensions but it's about a wide as a Q-Tip, and is tiny compared to a blue ray case. The cable is about a foot long but, it's hooking right up to your device anyways. Overall this is perfect for the price and necessity.
on April 28, 2014
Well, I was really excited to have all my file & system image backups on a single drive, without a wall wart and in a portable small form factor (I never move it as it is connected to a desktop system). Unfortunately, after 3 months, it started whining, then grinding and clicking and now it comes on only 5% of the time, regardless of the computer it is hooked up to - I thought it was the antique of a PATA drive I had connected to the motherboard making the noise but it wasn't. WD Drive Utilities says the SMART status passed, CrystalDisk Info says it failed and the Quick Drive test in the WD Utility says it failed. This just reinforces the need for a complementary Cloud backup solution or a second backup drive. This drive was "Made in Thailand" so who knows if it was made with the equipment that got affected by the flooding in the past. Usually, I only go with WD Black hard disk drives due to their well known, industry reliability and warranty coverage. I would just buy that with an external hd case but I'm already invested in this drive now. Hopefully the replacement is new and works like expected.
UPDATE: Since I had files on there that I wanted but wasn't willing to pay $500-$1000+ for data recovery services, I tried doing a PCB swap with a donor board and firmware transfer since that seemed like an inexpensive possible fix (pros did the firmware transfer). When that didn't resolve the situation, I had another 2TB WD My Passport Ultra around and I opened up that case to see what is involved with a potential platter swap (that didn't go well either). While doing so, when I opened up the "new" Passport Ultra, I noticed it specifically said on the drive "Recertified"!!!! I can't believe it. Seeing this only reaffirms my thoughts on just buying an external hard drive case and OEM HDD together and using that instead because otherwise, you don't know what you are getting. I still will use the WD Blacks as they have never failed me and I am very impressed with their performance and warranty. Also, for backup, I will stick with the 3.5" size as now I know, with everything so miniaturized on the the 2.5", recovery seems a little more challenging (which I will do what I can to even prevent that from being needed again).
on January 22, 2014
I loaded about 1TB of family pictures and church services, as well as a backup for my desktop computer. Two days later the product would not let me have access to any of the files. An email to the company gave me instructions to unlock the drive which did not work. Another email told me I could return it for another and they would send me an RMA. I said I had to retrieve the files first and they suggested I contact a 3rd party to retrieve as they could not help. After 12 days of trying, I was able to see the files, but retrieval was happening at only 2 to 4.7kb per minute when I could get anything. After a month, I figured it would take over 300 years to extract all the files. At this point I realized my files were gone and I decided to try to reformat the drive and wipe it clean, and send it back for a replacement. I was able to wipe it but Windows could not format it. The company emailed an RMA with a mailing address and said further instructions could be found online. I was not able to open these, but I had saved the packing material from their shipment to me and I sent it back packaged as they had sent this unit (and a second which works but is excedingly slow). Two weeks later it was returned, untouched with a note saying the warranty was being voided as It was not packaged according to the instructions (that I never got) ie; it wasn't in a static bag and in a box.
Both units were shipped to me bubble-pack envelopes with no static bags.
I feel the company has a lousy product and a warranty that is fraudulent.
on December 11, 2013
I received the WD My Passport Ultra 2TB external HD this evening. I connected it to my 3-month old Dell XPS 850 / Windows 8.1 computer, which immediately recognized the device and displayed a directory for all the files on the HD. Unfortunately, the directory began to flash on and off at random intervals. Undeterred, I installed the WD software provided on the drive, and I waited patiently after being told that more up-to-date software was available on line, and waited longer as replacement software was installed. It was only with great difficulty that I managed to register the new product with WD, because the constant disconnecting and connecting of the drive made it difficult for the registration program to accept my typed name, address, email, etc. I then followed the instructions provided after the installation and product registration was complete and re-booted my PC.
Alas, installation of the newest WD software and rebooting made no absolutely no difference. The WD HD continued to connect and disconnect rapidly but randomly, preventing me from backing up any data onto my new WD external HD. I searched WD support pages to find a diagnosis for this problem (which has been reported by at least 7 other WD My Passport Ultra 2TB external HD users. I implemented a couple of the proposed fixes, but none worked. After 45 minutes of experimentation, I gave up, physically disconnected the failing WD external HD and replaced it with my older (but full) WD external HD, which worked flawlessly. I removed the newly installed software, re-installed and then updated the software provided with my older WD external HD, and requested that Amazon accept my return of a defective HD, a request that was promptly granted by Amazon.
It is conceivable that the apparently defective device works, but is somehow incompatible with my new Dell PC or the Windows 8.1 OS or some obscure default setting in my PC or Windows 8.1 OS. But I am not an engineer; WD does not provide anywhere on its website a straightforward explanation or fix for the problem, and I do not feel it is the responsibility of the user community to engineer a fix for this or any other problem in connecting an external HD to a standard, plain vanilla PC. I hope I can find another 2TB external HD that will serve as effectively as my older 1TB WD external HD as my main backup device. (By the way, the WD-supplied backup software, even on the older, perfectly functioning WD HD was crap. I used the Windows Vista OS backup software for backup on my old PC, and it was much more intuitive, straightforward, and dependable.)
UPDATE: 12-23-2013 - After returning this item, I went to a specialized store and obtained recommendations for an external HD. After discussing the alternatives with a knowledgeable expert, I purchased (at his recommendation) the very same WD My Passport HD model that earlier failed. His comment was: "All hard drives will fail someday, and a small percentage will fail immediately. Yours happened to fail immediately." He thought the WD Ultra HD offered the best combination of speed and simplicity; he uses it for his own personal laptop PC. I brought the new HD home, hooked it up speedily and without incident, and it has worked fine for a week. In fact, I restored a defective file onto my home PC with very little effort. We'll see how long it lasts. So far so good.
UPDATE: 04-03-2015 - The replacement WD external HD still functions well and without serious errors. One small problem is that my PC occasionally "loses" the external HD. That is, even though the HD remains connected to the PC, the PC no longer recognizes that it is connected. The problem is easily dealt with, however. I physically unplug the connection and then plug the external HD in again, and the device functions without incident.
on November 18, 2013
Be aware: Amazon often combines the reviews for different capacity disks within the same product family. The reliability and the performance of the different disks can vary for a variety of reasons, so check the "This review from:" headers. This is for the 500GB version.
For an intuitive sense: This drive is small-enough and light-enough to easily carry in my shirt pocket -- but I wouldn't actually carry it there for risk of it falling out when I bend over. The texturing on the case makes it easy to grip securely.
Note: Larger capacity drives in this product family are somewhat larger and heavier.
My Use: I wound up not using this as a backup drive for my computer. Instead I use it in a variety of situations where it is useful to have something better than a flash drive.
Questionable design element: The Power/Activity LED is in the middle of the back where you cannot see it (because placing it next to the cable connector saved space). However, it is bright enough that if you stick something close enough, you can see the reflected flashes. For the intermittent checks, simply use your finger. For monitoring, fold a small piece of white paper so that it stands up.
There are two basic categories of USB disk drives: Backup (this one) and Expansion. Backup drives are intended for intermittent use by predominantly background tasks, and consequently responsive performance is not a priority. If such performance is what you need, you want to look in the Expansion Drive category. Expansion drives will often give you the same or better performance than the drive that comes in your laptop: Because the expansion drive uses wall-plug power, it doesn't need to conserve power, and it doesn't need to meet the size constraints of a laptop disk drive. However, a "backup drive" can often serve as a perfectly adequate expansion drive for many users, and may even have advantages.
This drive makes additional tradeoffs for excellent portability. Most drives use 5V power for the electronics and 12V for the motors. To avoid having a power adapter ("brick", "wall wart"), this drive uses motors that run on USB power (5V with power restriction).
Warning: Do not use this drive with an unpowered external USB hub because the other devices that you connect to that hub may draw enough power that there isn't a big enough remaining for this drive. And be aware that those devices can draw varying amounts of power -- you don't want this drive to lose power while writing a file (I haven't experimented, it is just something that is to be avoided). If your USB hub has its own (wall-plug) power, the problem is limited to contention among the devices for the bandwidth between the USB hub and your computer.
USB 3.0 vs USB 2: YMMV
Copying a single file of 8 GB to the drive:
- USB2: 32 MB/sec
- USB3: 50 MB/sec (56% faster)
Copying roughly 4600 photos of various sizes (11.4 GB):
- USB2: 26 MB/sec
- USB3: 37 MB/sec (42% faster)
Copying collections files of smaller average size is slower.
For comparison, my high-performance expansion drive(Seagate Expansion 2 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STBV2000100) is only slightly faster for photos (40 MB/sec for USB3), although significantly faster (90%) for the 8 GB file (94 MB/sec).
Heat: no problem encountered. In pushing 20GB to the disk, I observed the temperature rise only 3-5C. With an ambient temperature of 70F, the inactive disk reports 30C = 86F. The max temperature I observed was 35C = 95F. This is well below the threshold where you start to have concerns (50-60C).
The included software (WD Quick View) has a icon whose display mentions temperature. However, since I didn't get into a bad temperature range, I can't say how well this works.
Background: On *some* external drives, heat can be a problem because the drive has been designed for active cooling (a fan designed to provide needed air flows), but the case does not provide such, for example to reduce noise and size. This is a problem predominantly in higher-performance *expansion* drives.
Noise: Not noticeable unless I listen carefully.
Used with Windows 7 Pro SP1 x64
Included Software: SmartWare Pro:
I decided not to use this software. During my first use, I was decidedly unimpressed by the features. However, what made me unwilling to trust this software was the output, specifically the "Files Not Backed Up" listing. This was a pop-up window that was relatively small and could not be resized -- when I resized the filename field for longer names, I then had to scroll the rows. And there were only filenames, no directory pathnames. This indicates that it is unlikely that anyone serious about backup tested, much less used, this application.
This application was *very* slow. It took over 4 hours to back up 22 GB of files (1.6 MB/sec).
I have seen comments on the web that SmartWare fails to properly detect&backup files that have changed, but I didn't personally test that.
The Manual (PDF download):
This manual was written for someone who has never before used a computer and who has well-below average intelligence. It is badly cluttered with blindly obvious details that make it hard to find anything meaningful. For example, on page 9: "Type your first name into the 'First Name' box". Having been a software developer, I know you are often required to provide such, but there are multiple better ways to handle, such as putting it in later chapters or appendices.
The screenshots accompanying the instructions were taken at a low resolution that makes them blurry to unreadable (increasing the magnification on the PDF simply confirms this).
-- Douglas B. Moran
on January 11, 2014
This drive worked just fine for the first 30 days. I used it to back up some important data files. Now, 3 months later, I can't fully retrieve some of that data, even using specialized file recovery software. Repeated runs of disk diagnostics now show increasing numbers of unrecoverable media errors. I'd rather it had failed right out of the box. Then, I wouldn't have to deal with both the data loss and the joy of trying to get the manufacturer to make good on the limited warranty.