Western Digital Passport 120GB portable hard drive

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0skillz
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Western Digital Passport 120GB portable hard drive

Postby 0skillz » Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:54 pm

http://westerndigital.com/en/products/P ... riveID=525

These babies are great. No external power supply and they fit into the pockets of your jeans! Okay... as long as you aren't into skin-tight jeans they should. If the drive doesn't work when you plug it in to a USB port then try another port. The USB port needs to deliver power to the drive and some ports aren't able to do that. The drive comes with a 6" USB cable. Don't lose it. It's not proprietary in any way but it's a nice little USB cable.

I had the chance to play with one of these a few weeks ago. The person it belonged to had some files they wanted me to work on and then save them back to the drive. Sounded simple enough...

1st of all, they used the WDSync software that comes bundled... errr, preinstalled on the drive. I can't fault them there. They use autorun to launch the software as soon as windows detects the drive. Since I don't have autorun enabled at all it took me a whole minute or so to figure out why I couldn't get at their files. Once I figured it out, I needed their password to get them. Once I had the password I could 'log on' to the WDSync software and could only get at the files through the WDSync application. Lucky for them I have little to no interest in their emails or internet bookmarks that were also saved/backed up using WDSync. The files are all encrypted on the drive into useless crap - should anyone try and get them without the password they will fail. You can't even use windows explorer to get at the unencrypted files after you've logged into WDSync. Very nice. Secure enough for my taste, but I have no need for WDSync personally since my own drive is just that - mine and nobody else gets to touch it :P

One note of interest: the WDSync software will replicate your desktop wallpaper onto the machine you are using when you log in to the WDSync software. That sure could be embarassing if you use WDSync at home to save a TPS report to take into work the next day and your boss sees that naked picture of his wife as the desktop wallpaper on your machine after you log into the WDSync!

There's also some stuff on the drive so you can 'securely' browse the internet. Firefox is the browser on the drive, so take that all you IE fantards. If you are in the habit of uploading pr0n of your boss to the interweb or something like that from computers at a library or internet cafe then this baby will really come in handy! It also has Picasa and Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on the drive. All these things run right off the drive - no need to install them on the anonymous public machine :) Since I'm not a security buff and don't see any need for this stuff myself I have no desire to test them out specifically. I'm sure they work as good on the portable as they do any other way.

Copying and pasting files onto the drive is no harder than doing it with anything else... meaning that WD's software is not necessary to use it as a hard drive. Very smart because a quick smash-n-grab of someone's pr0n files can't be delayed by having to log into the stupid WDSync software and waiting for that crap to be initialized!

http://videosean.gotgeeks.com/i/WDPassp ... OnDisk.jpg shows the root of the brand new drive. - files lost
http://videosean.gotgeeks.com/i/WDPassp ... erties.jpg shows the drive properties. - files lost

For those that don't know me all that well, there's nothing I like better than to get ahold of something that I can take apart and see if I can mess with it :) When I got a Passport of my own today I was apalled to find that there are NO SCREWS HOLDING THIS THING TOGETHER!!!! That's a little bit of a bummer because it means that taking it apart becomes more risky. It's all plastic and the shiny part scratches just fine without taking a screwdriver to it in an attempt to pry it open! I'm also annoyed that I pulled off 3 of the 4 rubber feet before giving up on there being a screw under any of them and that means I'm likely to lose a foot or two at some point for no gain. They're held on by some double stick tape and the tape sticks to the plastic shell better than the rubber feet.

On the upside, there are also NO SCREWS inside holding anything together. This means I won't end up with any extra screws in disassembling and reassembling it but that's okay. The drive is just resting on some rubber pieces on it's bottom and there are some THIN rubber pads on the top of the drive as well. Not bad, it's all held securely in place but I wouldn't expect to be able to drop this thing onto the floor and have it work perfectly again.

Inside is just a standard notebook hard drive as far as I can tell. It's the standard ATA/IDE connecter and not a SATA connector on the drive. It's good to know these things for possible future upgrades ;)

http://videosean.gotgeeks.com/i/2007-01-31_WDPassport/ for pics of the journey inside :)
Last edited by 0skillz on Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby jackwipe » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:31 pm

Os,

that is a GREAT write up!! Just in time too. I'm wanting to take my 160gb drive out of my Passport and put it in a Creative mp3 player. Then I'll have not only a portable hard drive, but a decent mp3 player as well. My question for you is where do you start the disassembly? Where do make the initial screwdriver insertion to pry this thing open? Any chance you could show me w/ a pic? Thanks again for a great write up!

-jackwipe
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Postby 0skillz » Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:40 pm

I started with a tiny, flat/slot jeweller's type screwdriver along the front bottom edge and tried to not pry into the outside of the shiny piece. I wasn't 100% successful in not marring the shiny part. It's not easy to get apart but the bottom of the shiny comes away from the not shiny the easiest I think. The hard part doing it the way I did was the top/back of the drive. I ended up not using a screwdriver to pry at the edge/seam of the back side. I stuck a screwdriver between the drive itself and the back edge to kinda work that part up - starting at one end. The interlocking plastic pieces are kinda like one long ridge on one piece and then fingers that grip both sides of that ridge on the other piece. I think you can kind of see that from the pictures. The backside bottom piece has the ridge and the backside top piece has the finger like pieces. On the fron it's reversed, the bottom has the fingers and the top-front has the ridge.

\ / = finger like part
| = ridge
\|/ = what it would look like if we could see them after it's put together.

That's probably not exactly how they work but it's close. I have here the original size crop pics and notated the front and back sides... might help. I can't do really good macro shots these were as close as I can get with my camera - the files were all lost so the links below are worthless now.

http://videosean.gotgeeks.com/i/WDPassp ... 06203n.jpg
http://videosean.gotgeeks.com/i/WDPassp ... 06204n.jpg
http://videosean.gotgeeks.com/i/WDPassp ... 06205n.jpg
http://videosean.gotgeeks.com/i/WDPassp ... 06207n.jpg
Last edited by 0skillz on Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby 0skillz » Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:00 am

I came across this review of a 5.25 front panel bay that has 2 USB ports, a card reader AND a removeable 2.5" drive enclosure!!!

http://www.pro-clockers.com/review.php?id=201&page=2

I've carried the WD passport to and from work every day since I got it in the front pocket of my jeans and not one single problem yet. I love that thing :) This front panel bay thing looks pretty cool and offers the same kind of functionality and portability... so long as you supply the 2.5" drive.

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