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WD My Passport Essential 640 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive (Midnight Black)

4.2 out of 5 stars 438 customer reviews
| 7 answered questions

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640 GB
Midnight Black
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  • Automatic, continuous backup
  • Password protection and 256-bit encryption
  • Visual backup control center
  • USB 2.0 interface
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Technical Details

Capacity: 640 GB | Color: Midnight Black
  • Brand Name: Western Digital
  • Model Number: WDBAAA6400ABK-NESN
  • Hard Disk Size: 640 GB
  • Hard Disk Description: Portable
  • Item Display Weight: 0.27 Kilograms

Product Description

Capacity: 640 GB | Color: Midnight Black

Western Digital My Passport Essential WDBAAA6400ABK Hard Drive WDBAAA6400ABKNESN 611

Product Information

Capacity:640 GB  |  Color:Midnight Black
Product Dimensions 6.6 x 5.1 x 2 inches
Item Weight 7 ounces
Shipping Weight 8.8 ounces
Domestic Shipping This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
ASIN B002OHAH78
Item model number WDBAAA6400ABK-NESN
Customer Reviews
4.2 out of 5 stars 438 customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #2,478 in Electronics > Computers & Accessories > Data Storage > External Hard Drives
Date first available at Amazon.com October 2, 2001

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 22, 2009
Size: 320 GBColor: Pacific Blue Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have been using Western Digital My Passport model drives for a few years now in my work and have more than a dozen in a various capacities. Until now, there has been nothing unique about these drives. Plug them into USB port and you're ready to go. Some older laptop computers might not have enough power for them, but that means nothing more than using a special cable that plugs into two USB ports instead of one. The My Passport units have always come with some kind of backup software, which I have never used because I have preferred backup solutions. So I would simply get a new drive, reformat it and be ready to go.

This unit with its WD SmartWare solution is different: very different. Different enough to ruin the day for many people who find that they have something they don't want - an automatic backup system. Thus, this unit must be reviewed from two very different perspectives. One as a standalone backup system - and the other as a standalone external drive.

Essentially (pun intended), Western Digital blew it on this product line. I guess some MBAs decided that people wanted a plug-n-play backup system. Maybe some people do. But they sure don't make it clear on the box that when you plug this puppy in, it is very insistent on installing its backup software. And there is as virtual CD that pops up and pops up and pops up and pops up: you seemingly can't get rid of it.

As delivered - unless you want a simple backup system - this My Passport model is bad news. Western Digital got the message after the marketplace blasted it with reviews running from bad to awful. They finally introduced some software that would update the firmware and suppress the virtual CD function.
Read more ›
25 Comments 318 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Size: 500 GBColor: Midnight Black
Contrary to what many other reviewers are saying, the USB interface on this drive is not proprietary. It's the new (about 2 years old) Micro USB interface which we'll see on many new electronic products.

My Samsung cell phone has it and it's used on some bluetooth headset chargers. The advantage is it allows a slimmer product and is supposed to provide a more secure connection. But WD should disclose that they've switched to this new cable.

** Update ** After trying out this drive I decided not to buy it (and bought a Toshiba drive instead). The micro USB connector worked fine and was secure. Perhaps WD fixed this. The drive itself is a marvel -- tiny and very light.

But that Virtual CD and the software is a showstopper. What was WD thinking? They listened to the complaints and now have downloads on their website to disable it. But the 700 MB software can't be deleted from the drive.

Experienced users already have a backup solution and don't need this software. Less technical users (like the one whose drive I tried out) are completely confused by the virtual CD dialog box always popping up when plugging in the drive and don't know how to disable it (a complicated process requiring first updating the drive firmware then updating the software).

Amazon now allows me to change my stars rating, so I'm decreasing it from 4 stars to 3 stars. WD has needlessly complicated their very good drives. Instead I bought a Toshiba, a very good USB drive with none of the WD problems. For more details, see my review on this drive.
6 Comments 164 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Size: 500 GBColor: Midnight Black Verified Purchase
This is simple. Don't even think about buying this drive. I bought this just before the other reviews were posted. They are correct. My bad.

1. The cable is horrible. It disconnects and/or pulls out easily. They previous models with the standard USB cable were perfect. These are the opposite of perfect.

2. Even worse is the process to "install" the disk drive EVERY time you plug it in. I reformatted the disk to wipe everything from it, hoping that it would turn into a standard USB external disk drive. No luck.

Since I had other WD Passport drives (previous model) that were all excellent, I didn't give this much thought. I just bought it. I even tossed packaging away, being so sure it would be fine. Now we will see if Amazon will take this back with no packaging...

If you want the poster child for how to "update" a very good product into something that is virtually unusable, this would be it.
11 Comments 186 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Size: 500 GBColor: Midnight Black
PROS:
- Very small footprint
- Extremely lightweight
- Beautiful finish

CONS:
- Glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet (a questionable design decision for something users will handle frequently)
- Fragile USB connector breaks connection at the slightest touch
- Hardware-hidden, unremovable partition containing SES software

DETAILS:
A tiny portion of the drive's usable space has been set aside for the onboard backup and encryption software (SES). Wouldn't be a problem if we could just wipe out this partition, but it's hidden via the drive's firmware, therefore inaccessible; it can never be removed or deleted.

Windows will detect this secret partition as a new virtual CD-ROM device every single time you plug in the drive, and pester you with the "Found New Hardware" wizard, unless you install the unwanted drivers (unforgivable just on principle, to say nothing of contributing another layer of useless drivers to the house of cards we call Windows).

Contrary to a previous reviewer's comments, removing the drive letter of the virtual CD-ROM drive does not eliminate the wizard pestering. (Windows doesn't care if the virtual device has a drive letter or not; it simply recognizes the new device each time the drive comes alive and doesn't know what to do with it, hence the nagging.)

A tolerable drive for grandma or the kids, but an abomination for the rest of us who know better. Mine's going back, hopefully to find new life as something more useful, like a hockey puck.
4 Comments 55 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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