The Western Digital Passport 160GB hard driveHard Drives store your data. This much you know, and in the past, it was all you needed to. But with portability, style, and extra features shifting from the rage to industry standard, Hard drives have gotten a makeover in style, capacity, and even appearance! We’ve got a massive selection of these high-storage beauties, and have scoured up reviews that will help you know your HDD just that much better! Enjoy!

Western Digital Passport
Pocket hard drives such as the Western Digital Passport are certainly handy for backing up your notebook or desktop hard drive. In cases where you don’t want to shuttle your laptop back and forth to work, this 160GB, 5,400-rpm portable hard drive can carry your relevant documents or even clone your My Documents folder. And it’s ruggedized to take the bumps of a daily commute!

Measuring slightly less than 4 by 6 by 1 inches, this notebook drive weighs about half a pound with its external cable, and it has features that make it a good laptop companion. The Passport has a rubberized outer case that helps keep the drive intact as you drop it in your commuting bag. A handy flap covers the mini USB port, so a notable weak spot is protected from your keys, loose pens, and anything else that can catch and bend metal. The Passport’s USB cable is only “single headed” (it has only one USB plug), so you’ll need to use an optional AC adapter if you want to use the drive with a system that has a low-powered USB port. That shouldn’t affect desktop users, since the back-panel USB ports on just about all desktops are full power. However, some older notebooks use low-powered USB ports that don’t transmit enough power to spin up the drive. I’ve seen this on systems such as the 15-inch Apple PowerBook G4, and it’s a major annoyance. A dual-head USB cable with enough length to reach both sides of a notebook (such as those found with Maxtor and Seagate hard drives) is a must in this situation.The Western Digital Passport uses a single USB connection, so you'll need to plug in the A/C adapter if your computer is using an older, low power USB port

The 160GB Passport is good enough for tens of thousands of digital pictures or MP3 files, or 30+ feature-length films. Because most of today’s notebook drives are in the 80GB to 100GB range, it can handle most laptop data with room to spare. The drive is also pretty speedy; copying a 1.2GB test file in Microsoft Windows took about 55 seconds.

Western Digital’s WD Sync utility comes with the Passport, or you can also download it from the site after registration. WD Sync lets you back up your Microsoft Outlook data files and other work documents, then sync them to your home computer. You’re not backing up the whole computer (system files and applications are notable exceptions), but you’re backing up the most valuable assets on it: the data files with your reports, databases, and e-mail. Since digital pack rats tend to fill up their Outlook inbox, backing up your OST and PST files can save your hide if you need to look up a year-old (or older) e-mail that you’ve archived. You could theoretically use the Passport drive and any computer with Outlook on it, access your e-mail, and then disconnect the drive after you’re done, since the files are on the drive rather than on the PC. Take the Western Digital Passport Hard Drive Anywhere!WD Sync also facilitates secure browsing, with caches that stay on the drive rather than on the PC. Both of these features are good for people that share computers or often use Internet cafés. Another nice security feature is WD Sync’s optional 128-bit AES encryption. This means that if your drive is stolen, it will take much effort (and possibly a supercomputer) for the thieves to access your data.

At about $1.67 per gigabyte, the Passport compares well in terms of bang for the buck with rivals such as the 100GB Maxtor OneTouch III mini and the Seagate 160GB portable hard drive (both of which are now produced by the same company).

Related Links: Western Digital Passport 160GB Portable Hard Drive