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A note about Western Digital Passport USB hard drives
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Author Topic: A note about Western Digital Passport USB hard drives  (Read 12373 times)
Ken
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« on: January 17, 2010, 06:24:34 PM »

For a number of years, I have used Western Digital's Passport hard drives for portable storage.  They have always been a good value, and I have not had any problems to date.  I purchased a 750GB model yesterday from Costco, and did a bit of research on the drive before opening it up.  It appears that WD is now using micro-USB connectors with their portable drives, and it seems that many of the connectors have a problem staying connected.  Aslo, without an adapter, you cannot use older mini-USB cables on these drives.
 
Also, the drives contain a hidden partition that mounts as a virtual CD when the drive is connected.  It is my understanding that this hidden partition cannot be deleted.  There is some means of disabling the software, I belive through a firmware update, but the drive still wants to install a driver every time it is connected.
 
Needless to say, neither of these changes appeal to me, so the drive went back today and was replaced with a Seagate 1TB FreeAgent Go drive.  The Seagate drive uses a mini-USB cable, and it is my understanding that its software can be easily deleted.  You may want to keep these two changes in mind if you are considering a portable drive.
 
 
--Ken
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2010, 07:20:50 PM »

Ken,
I've read about those partitions on some of their full size externals. That would be a shame for the passports.  I have several of these, and was thinking about getting more as I have upgraded my laptop internal drives, and need larger backup drives.
Peter
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Ken
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2010, 01:31:20 PM »

Ken,
I've read about those partitions on some of their full size externals. That would be a shame for the passports.  I have several of these, and was thinking about getting more as I have upgraded my laptop internal drives, and need larger backup drives.
Peter

Peter,

It is a shame, as I liked the basic simplicity of the old Passport drives.  I purchased a 1TB Seagate USB drive, but have yet to take it out of its package.  The drive is manufactured in Thailand, as opposed to China where most of the older Seagate portable drives have been manufactured, but I cannot seem to find any additional specifications about these units.  They casing is certainly taller than the older style units, so I believe that it probably contains a 12.5mm profile drive as opposed to the smaller 9mm ones that have populated a majority of the older (and slimmer) units.  It is my understanding, though, that the manufacturer's software on these drives can easily be disabled.

One additional note on the new Passport drives that I failed to mention in my post above.  I was reading on several forums that these newer style drives are designed without a SATA connection.  It appears that the micro-USB connector is soldered directly on to the controller board, and there is no SATA connector.  So, it appears that these new drives most likely canot be used as a laptop replacement unelss somebody has some kind of adapter, if one even exists.

--Ken
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george
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2010, 04:32:39 PM »

Ken,

Thanks for the heads-up.  Off to do some reading about this stuff.  I also have several of the older models and was about to buy one of the 750gb or 1tb models.

--George
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Ken
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2010, 09:40:59 AM »

George,

I had a chance to take the Seagate drive out of its plastic clamshell packaging the other night.  Its software is easily bypassed, and the drive was fine.  It came formatted w/NTFS, and had 931Gb available.  It is bigger and heavier than the WD drives, but its seemed like a reasonable price at Costco - $170.  The drive was manufactured in Thailand, but assembled in China.  Other than that, I could not find out any more information about the drive mechanism.

--Ken
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george
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2010, 06:25:48 AM »

Thanks Ken--I'll check it out.

--George
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george
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2010, 12:34:02 PM »

Hi Ken & Peter,

When you have a chance, please look at this:

http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/updates/?family=wdsmartware

It looks like the VCD can be disabled, but not removed.  Do you read this this same way?

--George
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Ken
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2010, 09:37:38 AM »

Hi Ken & Peter,

When you have a chance, please look at this:

http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/updates/?family=wdsmartware

It looks like the VCD can be disabled, but not removed.  Do you read this this same way?

--George

]

Thank you for the link, George.  The question I have, as stated in my original post, is does the drive still alwyas want to install a driver, weather VCD is enabled or not?

--Ken
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