Purchased 2TB My Passport for Mac in February 2017 to replace an aging WD MyBook. In May Time Machine failed to back-up to new 2TB drive - could access drive and file structure but no back-up. Would work again after Mac reboot only to stop backing up within a day.
Western Digital’s latest has a solid build and multiple connections, but slow transfer speeds and a preinstalled security app hamstring an otherwise decent drive. Unlike the ( ) plastic exterior, the My Passport Studio is made from anodized aluminum with a black case and silver edges, giving it both a durable build and professional look. The drive weighs 0.75 pounds, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it feels sturdy when you hold it in your hand.
The drive has a USB 2.0 port and two FireWire 800 ports, and with a tiny activity light. The My Passport Studio comes preformatted for the Mac, so there’s no need to reformat it.
You get the necessary cables (though no FireWire 800 to FireWire 400 cable), along with a Quick Install guide and warranty information. A full digital version of the user’s manual is included on the drive itself, or you can it from Western Digital’s website. We tested the 1TB version, but WD sells a 500GB version for $170 and a 750GB drive for $200. Every time you connect the Passport Studio to your Mac, you’re greeted by Western Digital’s Unlocker software, which requires you to type in a preset password before you can begin using the drive. Editor's note: This was our experience with the evaluation unit used for testing. A WD representative says that with brand new drives, the Unlocker software should not ask for a password. This is to allow you to delete the software if you wish.
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To get around it, you have to use the provided WD Security app. Once installed, you change the password or stop Unlocker from showing up by removing any required password. I’d prefer that Western Digital let the customer decide if they want to use their security app or not, and I find it unfortunate that you’re forced to install extra software in order to deal with a preinstalled app on the My Passport Studio. But it’s possible that you may welcome the extra security the software provides. In every test we conducted, the My Passport Studio’s USB 2.0 transfer speeds were a bit on the slow side compared to similar drives. It netted 28.6MBps in our 2GB folder write test and 31.3.MBps in our 2GB file write test over USB 2.0.
In contrast, the ( ), a USB 2.0/FireWire 800 portable drive released over a year ago, obtained 30.8MBps in the 2GB folder write test and 31.7MBps in the 2GBfile write test. The My Passport Studio finished our low-memory Photoshop test in 90 seconds, one of the slowest times among the portable hard drives we’ve tested. The drive faired slightly better over FireWire 800, where it posted 55.8MBps in the 2GB folder write test and 67.1MBps in the 2GB file write test.
It also completed the Photoshop test in 64 seconds. Compared to other FireWire portable drives we’ve tested, the transfer rates were more middle-of-the-road, and the Photoshop time was sluggish, unable to surpass other drives. That’s too bad, since the drive is marketed to creative professionals, who generally need as much speed for their projects as they can get.
Macworld’s buying advice The My Passport Studio looks good and is overall a decent drive. But it lags in the speed department and has a security app that doesn’t disappear without intervention. Editor's note: Updated 3/23/12 at 10 a.m. PT with information about the Unlocker software on brand new drives.
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This allows the drive to be used on both Windows and macOS. This answer explains how to format a WD drive for use on Windows and macOS.
This answer explains how to setup and use WD Security and WD Drive Utilities on a Windows or Mac computer. This answer explains how to install WD Apps software in Windows (10, 8, 7, or Vista) and macOS (10.8.x Mountain Lion through 10.12.x Sierra).
WD Discovery Online User Guide. This answer explain starting macOS Time Machine backups to My Passport and External USB Drives. Direct Attached Storage Online User Guide and Solutions. This article explains how to safely eject a USB device from a computer. WD2Go™ Cloud Online User Guide for Information, Configuration and Solutions. This answer explains how to format a drive in the exFAT or FAT32 file system. This allows the drive to be used on both Windows and macOS.
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This answer explains how to format a WD drive for use on Windows and macOS. This answer explains how to use the Data Lifeguard Diagnostics for Windows utility to test a hard drive for problems. This answer explains why My Cloud mobile app is unable to access the 'TimeMachineBackup' or 'SmartWare' shares on a My Cloud device. This article explains how to backup and restore using the File History feature of Windows 10.
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