A Closer Look & Software
The real accessories, as it were, are the software and files that come pre-loaded on the drive, which include a WD SES Device Driver, My Passport Apps for Mac, user manuals in a host of different languages, and WD Apps for Windows (which includes WD Drive Utilites, WD Security, and WD SmartWare)
WD SmartWare is arguably the most powerful tool in the bunch, as it offers backup and restore capabilities, which after all is what many people will use the My Passport Edge for. You can opt for either Category Backup--which automatically “locates, categorizes, and backs up” photos, music, movies, email, documents, and other files--or File Backup, for more specific and fine-grained control.
We ran a quick backup of 8.28GB of data, and it took the drive and its software less than 6 minutes to save it all. Of course, most succeeding incremental backups will go lightning fast, and the drive will automatically run those whenever it's connected to your computer. During the backup process, WD SmartWare offers a graphical representation of the job’s progress, which includes a categorical view of what type of and how many files are being backed up.
One major upside to Western Digital’s built-in backup software is file versioning; you can easily bring back up to five previous versions of any file you’ve saved to the My Passport Edge, and you can restore either individual files or huge batches of files depending on what you need.
If you don’t need any special backup tool, you can always simply drag, drop, and browse for files using Windows Explorer; WD doesn’t force you to use the SmartWare.
WD Security is a simple application that essentially just lets you create a password to restrict access to the drive. (Pro tip: If you keep your external storage with you any time you’re out and about, definitely use this feature.) You can set it so that there’s no password required for a given computer, so you can connect your drive to your own system without either messing with a password or disabling your security.
There are four feature areas of WD Drive Utilities: Diagnostics, Sleep Timer, Drive Erase, and Registration. There’s not much to Registration and Drive Erase beyond the obvious, and the Sleep Timer simply lets you adjust when your external drive will go to sleep when it’s inactive. Under Diagnostics, you can run a SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) test to predict any drive failures, and you can also run a Quick Drive test or a Complete Drive test to further check on the drive’s health.