Customer Reviews: WD My Passport 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage Silver (WDBY8L0020BSL-NESN)
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on January 30, 2013
Over the recent years I have purchased quite a number of these drives. I have a couple of USB 2.0 drives and about 12 of the USB 3.0 drives. They all performed flawlessly with my old computer. I purchased that computer in 2006 before these USB 3.0 drives existed and so the computer had only USB 2.0 ports. All the USB 3.0 drives worked perfectly in the computer with the USB 2.0 ports.

Then in December 2012 I purchased a new computer and it has USB 3.0 ports. I connected a drive and was anticipating the "blazing speed" for file transfers. But there was a problem...

The drive would lose connection and I would get an error message saying that the transfer did not complete and data was lost etc., etc.

I contacted the computer manufacturer and they claimed it was a Western Digital problem. I thought they were just passing the buck, but I did some research and found that there are very many complaints all over the Internet about the Passport USB 3.0 drives losing connections. The descriptions were fairly consistent: it happened most frequently when transferring large amounts of data (such as 2 Gb, for example).

There were two theories:
(1) The Passport drive uses only a single USB connection and therefore it draws all power through that USB port. The USB port, being compliant with the USB 3.0 protocol, does not provide enough power for the drive to spin the hard disk fast enough for the data transfer at USB 3.0 speeds. That results in the errors and lost connection.
(2) The USB cables from Western Digital are defective.

So I thought I'd test theory (2) first. I got on Amazon and found a seller for a compatible USB 3.0 cable, ordered it, received it, plugged it in - and the drive works just fine. I selected a folder that had a large amount of data (8.4 Gb) and copied it to my C drive - no problem. I copied it back and forth several times and it always worked (with "blazing speed", I might add - 100 Mb per sec - WHEW!!). I tried different drives - they all worked just like I expected. That seemed to confirm to me that the cables were defective in some way.

I called Western Digital support. The Technical Support person sounded happy to help me. I described the problem to him. The first reply was that the support person put me on hold to discuss it with his supervisor. He came back and thanked me for bringing it to their attention and asked if there was anything else he could do. I said, "Yes - you can replace the cables." I have 7 drives that are still within the warranty period, so I would expect a replacement for at least those drive cables.

After discussing with his supervisor again, he said only one cable could be replaced. I said that was not acceptable. He said it was a problem with the system that would not allow him to process more than one. I said that was not my problem and I expected to get the cables replaced for at least the drives that are in warranty or I would become a Seagate customer. He spoke with his supervisor again and said he could do it. I guess his supervisor must have somehow fixed the problem with the system.

Anyway, he said I would be receiving replacement cables. I asked if they would be the same identical cables which would also not work. He discussed with his supervisor - again - and said I would be receiving y-cables. At that I explained to him that this indicates to me that Western Digital has identified the cause of the problem to be a power issue - that not enough power is being pulled from using just one USB port. He said, yes that was correct.

I asked what I should do when I need a new drive and the market is filled with product that was shipped with the inadequate cables. Am I supposed to just wait until that inventory sells off or should I instead buy Seagate drives... He said I can buy a Western Digital drive and call them right away. They will send a replacement y-cable. He didn't sound very happy at this point.

Note that when I first called Western Digital, the response was to appear like they had never heard of this before and to just blow me off.
After I pressed, the next response was to try to mollify me with just a single replacement cable.
Finally, they essentially admitted that they knew all about this all along and also had a solution that they never offered to me until I pressed hard.

So I still think Western Digital hard drives are among the best. But they have an identified, known, and confirmed defect in the USB 3.0 drive design (really just inadequate cables). Their response is to keep silent about it and hope people don't notice or just put up with it.

Therefore, I would have provided a 5-star rating for the drive, but because of the poor approach to Customer Service I knocked them down a couple of notches.

Shame on you Western Digital!! I place a lot of stock in the Customer Support a company gives, and in the honesty of the company to their customers. My confidence in you as a company is seriously undermined by this. Seagate may not be my provider for my drives at this point, and although I never seriously considered them before, I *AM* considering them seriously now.

Note this, Western Digital: I WAS a very satisfied customer. I continued to purchase drives even though I never posted an evaluation of the drives. Now I have become a somewhat dissatisfied customer and I have taken the time and made the effort to post this evaluation. Think about that...
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Capacity: 2 TB|Color: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a computer repair technician, and one issue I have all the time with my customers is, the famous, 'a virus hijacked my computer and those precious pictures are inside'. Yeah, the prom, the honeymoon, or the newborn pictures are usually held without ransom. Most of the time we are dealing with malware of some sort that affects the Windows operating system files, but leaves the data intact. So, before I repair the computer, I rescue the pictures, and any other file they might value. However, not all repair technicians do this, most allege that the files are corrupted, which might be the case, but usually it really means they are too busy to rescue anything, don't know how to do it, or will not do it unless paid big cash.

For one own's sakes, the best thing to do is backing up the data before the computer gets infected, or the hard drive fails. For pictures I recommend backing up the original files into data discs, but for faster everyday files backups (music, movies, games, software etc.) is better to use an external hard drive.

The Western Digital My Passport 2 TB is an awesome way to carry large amounts of data in a tiny container, that is always available and secure. I love its dimensions, both physically and in bytes.

Also, the truly fast data transfers done with the USB 3.0 interface save time every day. Speaking of the USB connector, another great feature is that only requires a single USB port for power, while many external hard drives and enclosures, with form factor 2.5", require two USB ports.

This drive is great not only to keep multimedia files, but also for storing documents in digital form, because it saves space. Besides, in case of an emergency it's faster to grab it then a folder. I've been doing backups using both hard drives and discs, and it has been of great help throughout the years. For example, the last time I moved, the new school district wanted my daughter first vaccines' records. I knew I have the original card somewhere in a box, but I needed it fast. Then I remembered I scanned the card years ago, and that print-scanned image, which was storage in my daughter's digital folder, inside my external hard drive, saved me hours of search and quickened her registering process at the new school.

About the WD SmartWare software offered by the manufacturer, I hesitated before going for it, because in the past WD back up software didn't work well for me. However, when one is dealing with such a big amount of data, doing it manually is a pain, and the alternative of using the backup and restore features included in Microsoft Windows 7, is something I would only do for a complete system image, not for the everyday backup. So, I installed the WD SmartWare software and so far, it's performing well, it does require time and attention to learn its functionality though. If you decide not to use the WD SmartWare, you can still use the hard drive right out of the box, like any other external hard drive.

Besides reading the user's manual, I strongly suggest that before plugging in the drive into your computer, you go to the Western Digital My Passport's support page, and read how to use it.

Because there are a few details to know before starting backing up your data. Among these topics, How to install WD SmartWare from the external drives, How to create a category backup using WD SmartWare, How to backup specific files and folders using WD SmartWare, How to retrieve a backup using WD SmartWare, Setting up security to lock or unlock a WD external drive with WD SmartWare, (videos are provided in some of these), and How to partition and format a WD drive on Windows (7, Vista, XP) and Mac OSX etc., etc.

I can't post links here, but one can do a search for WD Support / Downloads / My Passport and will find the page where a variety of software that works with the Western Digital My Passport 2 TB, can be downloaded for free.

However, the most important fact of reading Western Digital's support information for this drive, is to learn how to use it 'before' entrusting your valuable data to it. Specially, if you choose to install the WD SmartWare software.

There are very important steps everybody should know while setting up these drives, so it's clearly stated on the Western Digital's support pages.

For example, while installing the software, it will ask if you want to apply any security (password & encryption) to the drive. Before setting up the password you must check an, I understand box, certifying that you understood that if you forget the password, the data is unrecoverable. I repeat, and excuse the capitals, but this is crucial, IF YOU FORGET THE PASSWORD, THE DATA IS UNRECOVERABLE.

Since there is no way to retrieve your password if you forget it, please write that password in a secure available location. If you want, it's possible to change your security settings, remove security or/and change the password, but in order to do either, you still need the original password entered the first time.

If you forget your password, you will not be able to access the data storage in the hard drive, but you can continue to use the drive again if you format it. Of course, the process of reformatting the hard drive will erase all the data inside the unit, and remove the password.

I highly recommend the Western Digital My Passport 2 TB external hard drive.

I do have an warning though, the only proven and trusted way to preserve important files is to burn them into data discs (CD/DVD/Blu-rays). Because hard drives have a limited lifespan, and will fail sooner or later, usually without any warning signs. An external hard drive is very convenient to use, but the stuff that cannot be easily replaced, should always first be backed up on discs. Trust me, it will give you peace of mind. Also you can have two different hard drives with the same information, like I do. If you really don't want to keep discs around anymore.
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331331 comments| 3,015 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Wow. So many mixed reviews here, and like those of you who are pondering over whether it is worth purchasing this Western Digital MY PASSPORT, there may not be a clear answer.

Let me tell you my story.

Recently bought the new Retina Macbook Pro with its 500GB SSD drive. For a person like me who puts a lot of software on my laptop and does quite a bit of movie editing, hard drive space is a premium. So, when figuring out how to handle nearly 200GB of music, I decided it would probably be best to run iTunes off an external drive instead of taking up space on the Macbook.

Again...Wow. Reading these reviews on Amazon was quite unnerving. So many great experiences with this drive followed up by a handful of negative experiences -- many talking of total hard drive failure. It's almost as if you are rolling the dice as to whether you'll receive a drive that works or doesn't.

...then there's the reviews from people who claim they are having problems using this drive on their Mac.

Well, I picked myself out a RED 1TB drive. Thought it was a cool color and didn't mind paying the premium price for it. In addition, I picked up this fantastic Case Logic QHDC-101 Hard Case on Amazon for $10. It's the perfect compliment to the red hard drive that fits snuggly inside.

Using the Western Digital MY PASSPORT on a Mac couldn't be easier than opening the package, plugging the USB cord into the Macbook, and then formatting it using Disk Utilities. From package to format took under 4 minutes.

And for anyone claiming to have a problem using this drive with their Mac, this is all you need to do...

1. Plug in the drive via USB connection
3. Click on the hard drive icon located at the very top left sidebar
4. Select the ERASE tab and FORMAT in Max OSX Extended (Journaled). Assign your drive a name if you wish.

That's it. Easy.

The drive works incredibly fast thanks to its USB 3.0 compatibility, which is backwards-compatible with USB 2.0. The drive is extremely quiet, and I didn't notice it getting warm.

And, yes, you can run your iTunes off the external drive.
2828 comments| 1,009 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 5, 2012
This is my first experience with a Western Digital hard drive. I purchased the 1 TB Passport drive as opposed to others mainly because CNET awarded its Editors' Choice for the 2 TB model ( which was not available for sale when I placed my order). I am currently using the WD SmartWare (version that comes with loaded the device.

Smart form-factor. Very small and sleek for a 1TB drive.
USB powered ( just plug it into your USB port). No need for a power cable or bulky ac adapter. Makes for true portability.
Impressive USB 2.0 speed during my initial back up of 131 GBs worth of files/content.
Automatic file backup feature
One USB cable( supplied)supports both 3.0 and 2.0.
Surprisingly quiet and runs fairly cool too.
Excellent customer support. I called twice and spoke to well trained/professional technicians.

WD Smartware software. Surprisingly so-so for this cool little device. Not as intuitive or slick as I had expected or read about. (Am wondering if I would be better off deleting the Smartware software altogether.)
This version of Smartware is not very flexible and doesn't include a full system backup( system image)feature. I had to install another application to create a system image ( Luckily WD provides a free copy of an application called Acronis for its customers--however I had to call customer service to learn about this application and be told where to find it on their support page.
Automatic backup feature only works while your system is idle.

Based on my overall user experience with this device to date ( only a few days) I am somewhere between a 3.5 and 4.0 rating. If however portability with incredible amounts of storage capacity ( the next model goes up to 2Tbs !)in a pocket size device is your main priority--then I don't think there is anything else currently on the market that beats this device in that regard.
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on July 19, 2012
I have had Western Digital My Passport drives since they came out with the 100GB Version. I still have several older ones, but was looking for more space for work. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to own another. Unfortunately, that was my mistake. This is specific to the 1.5TB version

For whatever reason, I am getting the same issues as many, where the drive will work for a period of time, then the computer will no longer recognize it. After unplugging and trying again, it will work on and off intermittently. First thought: defective. So, I go and buy one locally (first was purchased at Amazon). Same issue. Tried different cables and still no luck. Tried four different computers in total. Each time, would work for a while, then stop.

I work in technology, so I'm not a stranger to troubleshooting issues. This is my conjecture, but based on the findings I've had, I believe Western Digital has an overheating problem. Case gets hot when transferring a lot of data and all of a sudden, no longer recognized by the system. Usually, that means a larger problem.

It's sad, because the only option above 1TB right now are these drives, but I'm a little too gun shy based on early performance to trust my data to these drives.

For anyone interested, I've decided to go with the AcomData dual enclosure and 2 1TB drives. Once I have had a week to play with it, I will be posting reviews online. And rest assured WD, I did not purchase your drives for this new time around!
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on July 8, 2012
The hard drive worked fine until it didn't. It is dead after just a few months, thank goodness I keep extra digital copies of my photos. I understand hard drives sometimes fail, but what is unacceptable is that western digitals customer service has been nonexistent. I did the RMA through their website. They specifically state to send the hard drive in with the RMA form and that it will not be accepted without the RMA form. The RMA form would be sent to my email in 24-48 hours. I receive the link and click on it; nothing. I try again the next day still no RMA form. I email customer service they say that they have new software that has been causing difficulties. Ok, they are a technology company that can't install their own software, scary but I need this hard drive fixed/replaced so I wait. I get another link, still doesn't work. I try again the next day still doesn't work. I email customer service, no response for over a week. I go to their website and try to call them, no support on Saturdays so I email them. This is the response:
Service & Support


An internal server error occurred during your visit. Please click here to try and login again.

We apologize for the inconvenience.
If you like to report the error please visit below WD sites.

They are a joke. They can't even maintain their website much less make products that last. They are going to replace this hard drive and then I will sell it on ebay (with full disclosure) and buy a seagate rive. I am done with them.
1818 comments| 209 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 21, 2012
I recently purchased this drive and was so disappointed with its performance. I had purchase a MY Essential Passport 1TB 2 months prior and expected the same kind of performance. A 1 hour backup on the older drive was taking more than 8 hours on this drive. I stopped the backup and I ran Atto benchmark on this drive. Out the box and it was rate at 25-30 MB/s which is USB 2.0 speed.

I Have a My Essentials Passport (which is also USB 3). So I took the cable from that drive and ran the benchmark, it read/wrote at 115-120 MB/s which is what I expected in terms of performance from this drive; its very close to eSata speeds with the proper cable. I changed USB 3 ports and saw no change in performance. I reattached the original cable provided and the speed went to USB 2.

I contacted WD technical support and was told that I had a defective cable and that I would receive one in 4-5 days. When I got back from vacation the cable had arrived and I ran the ATTo benchmark against the drive. Initially it was performing properly, but when it got to the 1024 test it failed. From that point on this drive with the new cable performed at 25-35 MB/s. I called support again, told them their cable does not support the drive. Yet if I put the working cable from the other drive in either USB 3 port, the drive worked great.

I was told by the support person I spoke to at WD that they would overnight a new cable and that it would arrive by Tuesday. As it's now Thursday and a new cable has not arrived I can only surmise that these cables are defective and not USB 3 rated. I have spoken to tech support twice and have been told that the cables on it's way. I finally convinced them to give me a tracking number. Well the status says it hasn't been picked up.

Now if you have a cable problem fess up and give a date-certain as to the delivery? I tire of calling and getting the same answer. It's all about the cable with this item, if you got it (the proper USB 3 Cable) you can expect the performance gains, because I see them. I just have to remove the cable from my other drive to see it.
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on July 13, 2012
Lasted a month, then stopped working. Still gets power but just buzzes and flashes; computer no longer recognizes it. Tried mounting it on multiple computers, different ports, both USB 2 and 3. Also, the USB cable connector is unreliable; move the drive slightly and it loses the connection. Nice paperweight.
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on April 26, 2012
Capacity: 2 TB|Color: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I exercised this little drive pretty hard and it performed. Here is what I did:

I used my Apple iMac to test the drive. This computer only offers USB 2.0, so that is what I used. I used this drive as a Time Machine backup device, with data encryption. Unless you are an Apple user, that won't mean much to you. But this is relevant to any customer: Using the drive for the first time kept it writing, without interruption, for 48 hours straight. Apple's software wrote data to every available spot on the disk drive. When you have 2 terabytes of spots to write, it takes about two days. I kept the drive connected for another 12 hours too. During that time, the Time Machine software wrote a modest amount of data to the drive, once per hour.

No problems! I also tested the physical cable connection of this drive. This is a particular area of concern to me, because I know of several portable disk drives that have faulty connectors, which renders the entire drive useless. One of these faulty drives was a Western Digital 1 terabyte drive. However, this particular drive was great! I used the USB 3.0 cable that ships with the drive. With my finger, I tapped the cable end, near the disk drive. I (gently) picked up the drive and dropped it about half an inch. I did all this while the disk drive was busy writing data. No problem! These little drives can also accept a micro USB 2.0 cable, and I repeated these tests using just such a cable. Again, no problem.

There are not very many 2 terabyte drives of this size on the market. It is therefore not surprising that you will pay a bit of a premium for this one, where the premium is measured in dollars per megabyte. But this premium is not unreasonable. I must say, I am really impressed by this drive. So many bytes, yet so small!

I have several other portable drives that I can compare to this one. For appearance and apparent quality, I like the Toshibas best. Second place goes to Buffalo Technology. The Western Digital drives look just a bit too plasticky to my eyes. I was concerned that all that plastic might cause the drive to overheat and fail. But I did run it for two and a half days, and it never got more than slightly warm. Again, I am really impressed.
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on December 7, 2012
This drive is very small and could fit into a man's shirt pocket. It is a usb3 drive which makes the transfer of files very fast. It uses the power from your usb port. You can plug it into a usb2 or usb3 port. Please keep in mind that because it is powered by the usb port, that some older laptop computers cannot power some of the external hard drives that need power from them. I have had this drive for several months and it gets a work out. Because it has worked so well I purchased another. I waited a few months to write this review to really test it. Anyone can write a review of something that they just bought! The second drive works just as well as the first. Both drives are very quiet. 2TB of storage is quite impressive in such a small package. Well done Western Digital. This is a FIVE STAR product. Art D Long Island N.Y.
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