Use as BACKUP device or as ADDITIONAL external drive?

My internal hard-drive is almost full. I bought a My Passport primarly to use as an additional external drive.

But now (having seen it comes with Smartware) I’d also liked to create a backup of my internal hard-drive (to the My Passport).

Is it possible to make backups to the Passport AND also store other files on it, like you would to an ordinary external harddrive? If this is possible, do I need to install Smartware, to be able to do this? Or do I have to use it “without” Smartware?

I realize that using it this way (if even possible) will mean that I won’t have a backup of the files that are stored directly on the Passport. But at least I will have a backup of my internal hard-drive.

I’m considering using the Paspport just as an additional external drive, and possibly use an online backup service.

Can anyone advice?


You definitely need 2 copies of important files. If you intend to use the external as an additional drive also use online backup or a second external. These forums are full of posts from people who just moved stuff to there external as the only copy then ran into some problem and lost everything there.


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Thx Joe. Altough now I get a feeling as if internal hard-disks are more reliable than the My Passport I just bought.

I’ve been using computers for over 20 years, never had a (serious) problem with a hard-disk.

Also seems to me that hard-disks/technolgoy gets more and more reliable over the years, and is still getting better and better.

But of course anyone can say this, till one day something really bad happen to/with their hard-disk.

And 20 years ago I did not have family pictures, films, etc. stored on a computer.

You are right. Something can go wrong, and I better heve 2 copies of important files on two seperate devices.

I willl follow your advice. Thanks.

USB powered drives are more susceptible to corruption because of their voltage sensitivity and wimpy power supplies used on so many PCs. Then constant removal and using between machines adds more problems. A big cause of problems is improper removal. Also most externals have no fans so overheating can be a problem. Over all I think an internal is more reliable for those reasons.


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Joe,… I was just reading this over,… and now suddenly got very concerned.

Those ‘lot’ of people you mentioned that moved there files to an external-drive, and then ran into problems, and lost everything,… do you mean this happened on external drives by WD??? I.e. like My PassPort???

If so,… doesn’t this mean that the relianbility of WD external drives is not that good ???

And it would be better to leave your important files on your internal hard-drive!??? (or whatever other drive you are using?)

I don’t mean to crash on this thread, but could someone help me.  I’ve installed the WD My Book external and went along with the Smartware software, however all i really wanted was an additional drive to compliment my existing PC and something I could manually back up some of those files to.  I need to be able to directly save to that external drive and for the life of me can not figure out how to do it with this drive.  I’ve read the user manual twice and it appears that i’ve bought a drive used only for ‘backup’ purposes.  Can anyone tell me how to use this device as an external drive?  Do I need to uninstall the Smartware?  Any help appreciated. 

Well nevermind, I know I sounded like an ■■■■■, but my 4 year old had turned the external off and no wonder I couldn’t see it under “my computer” and figure it out!!! Geez!!


It’s happened with numerous external drives it doesn’t matter who makes the drive. It might be something as simple as tipping it over on the desk. I always lay mine on side. Or a power failure while transfering files. The most common problem is not removing the drive properly. To be safe you need 2 copies of important data it doesn’t matter who malkes the drive orwhether it’s internal or external.


Thx Joe. Then one more question,…

You mention “The most common problem is not removing the drive properly.”

What’s the proper way to remove the drive?

sunnyisland wrote:

Joe,… I was just reading this over,… and now suddenly got very concerned.

Those ‘lot’ of people you mentioned that moved there files to an external-drive, and then ran into problems, and lost everything,… do you mean this happened on external drives by WD??? I.e. like My PassPort???


If so,… doesn’t this mean that the relianbility of WD external drives is not that good ???

And it would be better to leave your important files on your internal hard-drive!??? (or whatever other drive you are using?)

It’s not that they are not reliable, as Joe just points out most of the time what kills the drive is an external factor. There are indeed bad drives out of the box which people unfortunately buy, but according to WD only 8 drives out of 1,000 (0.8%) are factory defective, so they are very reliable based on the numbers, but out of each 1,000 drive batch 8 people will get the short end of the stick.

And there’s no way to tell if you’ll be one of those 8, so it’s better to prevent than to regret.

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Click on the icon in the tray and it will give a popup to select from then it will give a prompt when it’s safe to remove. A lot of people simply pull the plug and eventually windup with a corrupt drive.


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Ok, I get the point. Still though,… it is a ‘portable’ external drive. And apparently WD intended it to be used as a backup device.

I’d expect a ‘portable’ drive, intended to be used as a ‘backup device’, to be somewhat robust. It should be able to handle normal day to day use, and stuff like an accidental little nock over on the desk, without any problem. I certainly will handle it with care, and be carefull not to drop it, or spill coffee or so on it, ect. ect. … But still,… as a backup device, I’d expected it to be more robust and reliable then even the internal hard-disk. Otherwise, what’s the point of having an external PORTABLE BACKUP device??? It’s intended to be carry around (is it not?), chance are it will get an occasional bump. It should be designed to be able to handle this without any problem! I certainly would NOT expect to handle this ‘portable’ hard-disk like delicate porcelain, which is the FEELING I’m getting right now.

I’m starting to feel sorry I bought this thing. For two reasons,… one, I’m reading, the Smartware that comes with it, seems to just killl the performance of your computer,… and two, now I’m reading, that apparently, you  run the chance to loose all your data, by the slightest nock over on the desk, or if you happen to remove it improperly just once, or any slightest ‘external’ mishap that could happen, while you carry this arround.

If what I’m reading is true, then I feel WD should inform the buyer of this!

They should PUT “HANDLE WITH CARE !!!” on the box + the device itself.

Aftrer all it seems like you’re buying “fine china” here, and it should be handled as such. With GREAT CARE!

They should inform the buyer/user how to properly handle the device, and perhaps it’s NOT THAT PORTABLE after all.

Btw, … my WD Passport, didn’t even come with a one piece paper of “quick instrucitions”.  I wonder why, because this thing surely requires you to read instructions on it! I went online and search for the manual myself. There was not even a small piece of paper indicating you should download the manual. Thankfully I did, … there’s where all my questions began, and that’s how I stumbled on this forum.

I for one, am going to handle this thing with a LOT OF CARE.

Use it, very  careful, then store it safely in a desk, till I need it again.

I’m not planning on carrying it around (anymore).

Gosh,… maybe I’ll even replace it with something better, as soon as I get something better.

I’m dissapointed. Thought WD would deliver better products.

I’m not sure what to think of this. Seems kind of odd, just to read all this, and getting concerned whether data/files and/or backups I save on the Passport will be save. Gosh, this shouldn’t be happening. I bought a device to give me piece of mind, not to fill me with concerns.

Ps. What happen to those poor 8 of 1000 people that get a defected device right out of the box?
I suppose they at least get a refund.

Well, portable drives are not meant to be carried alone. Just like phones you can buy a protective shell and that’s when they shine as portable; I got one of those rugged cases from WD and played soccer with the drive to test it. I bashed it, kicked it and slammed it to a wall and then ran a test and the drive didn’t even have a single error, it was a really funny experiment :smiley:

And those 8 poor people? WD will refund you if you bought the drive from WD on their online store. If you didn’t then you’re up to your retailer’s sake as WD will only offer to replace it. 

…“portable drives are not meant to be carried alone…” ???

Well,… they look pretty cool,… just like most cool cell-phones. Why would WD make a cool looking ‘portable’ drive (that’s not supposed to be carried ‘alone’) for which th customer probably pays a bit extra for that cool shiny color, and then for the customer to buy a shell, to hide it???

"… Just like phones you can buy a protective shell "…

Lots of people carry their phone ‘without’ a shell. And I can do the same thing with my cell phone WITHOUT any protection, and it still works fine. Not even a scratch on it. Wouldn’t do it on purpose, but it did really happen on several real-life situations, where it got pretty beaten up. Not like your supposed testing environment.

Btw, … you really want me to believe you did all that with your external drive!? And if you did, then I suppose you’re working for WD, and they pay you to do that kind of thing in a testing environment (even if it is a foorball field).

And if this device was to be carried in a protective shell,… then the very least WD could do, is to inform the customers of this. Again WD should put on the box and device itself,…

                         “HANDLE WITH CARE - FRAGILE”  and

                         “BUY ADDITIONAL PROTECTIVE SHELL”

                         “DO NOT CARRY ALONE”     (whatever that may mean,… perhaps you need to buy a save for it)

Btw,… let me also remind that mine came without any instruction what-so-ever. I had to look the manual up online.

Thanks, … but rest assured,…  I won’t be buying WD again.  

Nope, I don’t work for them. It’s just that they advertise the case to resist moderate damage from a 7-feet fall, so I took an old Passport I have I don’t mind breaking and used it for the test :smiley:

And I was not clear, it’s not that they’re not “made” to be carried alone, but for example, if you’re like me and you’re very pron to falling down out of the blue (Yes, I am that clumsy) then you want to protect breakable things you carry around, I learned that with a phone.

Phewwww !!! … for a minute there I thought you work for WD.

“…they advertise the case to resist moderate damage from a 7-feet fall…”

You mean, the ‘protective’ case/shell you bought to protect the drive?

That’s what they advertise will protect the drive to resist moderate damage from a 7 feet fall?

Did it work? If so, they should sell the case with the drive.

Ps. I once dropped my cell-phone in sea water (beach). Picked it up immediately. Thought it was a gonner, … took it appart,… let it dry in the sun,… putit back together,… it worked just fine. Just saying, won’t compare this thing to cell-phones just like that.