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Western Digital Passport: An Excellent Option for Backing Up Your Data to an External Hard Drive August 17, 2007

Posted by Mike in Data Backup, Hardware, Reviews, Technology, Worth the Money.

Western Digital Passport External Drive

I currently use a 120GB Western Digital Passport external drive to backup my data. It’s sleek, small and looks like a James Bond gadget.

I’ve used a Seagate FreeAgent external drive as well and I like the WD Passport device better.

Best Features of the WD Passport:

User-friendly software bundled on the drive, WD Sync by Dmailer, is great (much better than Seagate’s software, in my opinion).

  1. It allows me to setup multiple computer profiles so I can sync data from different PCs onto one device.
  2. I can password protect each profile.
  3. I can use a Windows Explorer-esque interface to select the files and folders I want to back up.
  4. I can review the files that I’ve backed up.
  5. The software can backup IE or FireFox Favorites.
  6. Emails and Contacts in Outlook or Outlook Express with a few clicks.
  7. Email SETTINGS can also be backed up with a click or two.
  8. Functions like “synchronize” and “copy to PC” are easily found on the main screen.

Worst Features

Based on the comments posted to this blog entry, I’d have to say the worst feature is a lack of user guides or online “how to” tutorials for customers.

Additional Limitations of the WD Sync software:

  1. The software only SYNCS data. If you backup a folder from your hard drive to the Passport device, this doesn’t mean that you can then delete that folder from your hard drive. Why? The next time you sync the WD Sync software will remove that folder from the Passport device. It considers your hard drive the “master copy” of the data. Any changes that are made to the master copy will be applied to the data on the Passport device when the next time you sync. If you want to avoid this situation, don’t use the WD Sync software that comes with the device. Instead, use the Passport device as a very large flash drive. You can manually copy/paste files to the external drive without using the WD Sync software.
  2. Given the issue in #1, I would suggest not using the “automatic synchronization” option in the WD Sync software. This features starts the sync process the moment after you enter in your profile password. Why not? Let’s say that you have a hard drive failure. Luckily, your data is synced to your Passport drive, right? Well, I’m concerned that if you get a new hard drive and connect the Passport device, the WD Sync software will notice that the new hard drive doesn’t have any of the files and folders from the last sync. When it runs automatic synchronization, you may then lose the backup copy of your data! I haven’t tested this theory out (don’t want to risk it), but it seems plausible. Instead, I’d uncheck the automatic synchronization option found on the OPTIONS menu.
  3. I wish the WD Sync software was smart enough to automatically include any new sub-folders in the sync process. For example, I have a folder called “My Digital Photos”. Inside that folder, I have many sub-folders. Each time I transfer photos from my digital camera, a new sub-folder is created. Despite having the parent folder (My Digital Photos) checked as a folder to sync, the WD Sync software will not sync the new folders because those folders did not exist during the last synchronization. Instead, I must use the WD Sync software to locate those new folders and place a checkmark next to them. This will include them in the sync process.

The WD Passport comes in a variety of storage sizes, like 60GB, 80GB, 120GB, 250GB etc. I would recommend it to anyone looking to use an external USB hard drive because the user-friendly software really makes a big difference to me.



1. Allway Sync: Free Software for Data Backup or Synchronization « My Tech Talk - August 21, 2007

[…] talked about various products and services to help backup data.  (See Mozy – online data backup,  Western Digital Passport External Hard Drive and Supercopy.)   Well, I’m about to add another product to the […]

2. Pat Cosimano - September 4, 2007

I love the drive, but I’m here to tell you all that Western Digital is one messed up company. My drive crashed and needs to be replaced (under warranty). It took 4 business days, not the 1 business day the web site promises, to get an email reply. The instructions were incomplete and it took several message exchanges (2 more days) before I got adequate instructions to confirm the drive is unusable. I got an RMA, paid $20 extra for overnight shipping for a replacement drive, and still have not received the replacement drive over a week later. Their web RMA status page lists the ship date, but no shipper tracking number. When I call in, my call is either dropped or they are willing to keep me on hold with no hold time indication until I have to do something else and drop out of the queue. When I finally did get to talk to a CSR after more than 10 minutes of hold time, he indicated that the replacement drive was not shipped on the date that the RMA web page says, but he cannot provide a tracking number. Bottom line: don’t trust Western Digital!

3. Mike - September 8, 2007

Hi Pat,

I’m disappointed to hear that their customer service is so inept. Luckily, I haven’t had any issues with my WD Passport to date (knock on wood). You may want to use http://www.planetfeedback.com/ to send a letter of complaint to the company.

4. Sameer - October 19, 2007

well it is a confusing thing. i have still not got used to understanding how the damn thing works…..

5. Linda Davis - October 27, 2007

How do I backup data using this device? Help!!! Synchronize and then use autorun??? NO DIRECTIONS! I’m not computer illiterate and have an older version for a desktop. This was sleek, portable but I just can’t figure it out. Help

6. R. Scott - October 30, 2007

I have to agree with Linda. The operation is not that straightforward, and I’ve been searching for some kind of instructions, The knowledge database is a poor replacement for a user guide. I figured out how to use file options, click on files, then synchronize. Thought I was doing ok, now that I had important data backed up on the portable hard drive. Until the next day after making several changes on the laptop I figured I’d better synchronize again, it seemed to go fine, except, it noticed anything I had deleted on the laptop and tossed it to never never land, (I thought it was safe on the portable) Any way to get it back? What’s sad is if it had a few less glowing reports about how wonderful it was and a little more info about what it can or can’t do, and how to use it, it probably is an outstanding device.
Also unable to find any way to drag and drop/ copy -paste/ anything from the laptop to the portable.
And EXACTLY what does restore deleted do? If I could select what it deleted, I wouldn’t need to restore it.

7. joe bones - October 30, 2007


8. Mike - October 31, 2007

Hi Linda,

Thank you for reading my blog. It is hard to answer your question without seeing your PC for myself, but I’ll give it a try. I’d suggest setting up a profile on the WD Passport drive first. When you do, you can use the WD Sync software to select which folders you want to synchronize with on your PC. You’ll find ‘file option’ on the OPTIONS menu in the WD Sync software. Selecting this menu item will give you a Windows Explorer look at the folders on your hard drive. You can then check a box next to the folder(s) you want to synchronize with your Passport drive. The WD Sync software will then create a copy of the folders on the WD Passport drive. When you add files to that folder, delete and/or move files from that folder or if you update a file in that folder, the WD Sync software will pick up the changes the next time you sync your PC with the Passport drive.

9. Mike - October 31, 2007

Hi R. Scott,

Thank you for the comment. I’ll see if I can help you out a bit with your questions.

The WD Sync software on the WD Passport drive is designed to synchronize with your laptop’s hard drive. It considers the hard drive to be the “master” copy of your data when you initiate a synchronization. In other words, it will apply the changes that you made on your laptop to the data on the WD Passport device (as you already discovered). It considers the laptop’s data (and any changes to it) to be the most current. So, yes, unfortunately the data on your WD Passport device did go to “never never land” because the WD Sync software noticed that you had deleted or moved a file from the “master” folder on your laptop. The WD Passport is designed to give a backup copy of your data in case your laptop hard drive crashes or a file on your laptop is accidently deleted. In these scenarios, you would then use the WD Sync software and its “copy to PC” option to restore the lost file.

The “restore deleted” option on the edit menu only applies if you delete a file from the WD Passport drive first. Here’s an example:

1. You are looking at your copy of your data files on the WD Passport drive.
2. You decide to delete a file from your Passport drive before syncing again with your laptop (delete is found by right clicking on the file).
3. By choosing delete, the WD Sync software draws a line through the file name.
4. If you choose to sync with your laptop at this point, the file with the line through it would be removed from your laptop too.
4. The “restore deleted” option removes the line through the file name, essentially restoring it to its original state so it won’t be deleted during the next sync.

Copy/Paste option.

If you are using the WD Sync software, then you will not see a copy/paste option. You’re right. The WD Sync software is used to sync, not copy/paste. However, you can access the drive in Windows Explorer and manually copy/paste files to it. This process bypasses the WD Sync software entirely.

Try this as a test: Connect your WD Passport drive to your laptop. Open your My Documents folder and copy a file located there. Next, open “My Computer” and locate the icon for the WD Passport drive. Double click open the WD Passport drive and paste the file onto the drive.

10. R. Scott - October 31, 2007

Mike, I figured out the copy paste issue first thing this morning, felt like an idiot it was so obvious, treat it just like a jump drive and add files to what was already showing. I kept starting the passport software which limits you to synch related tasks.
I certainly appreciate your response, and as I get comfortable with this I’m confident it will prove to be a valuable addition to my laptop capabilities.
I already understand more about how synchronization works and feel relieved having backup of critical data in case my laptop crashes. Also I’ll be able to keep less critical info on the Passport instead of overloading the laptop harddrive.

11. Mike - October 31, 2007

Hi R. Scott,

That’s great. Like most types of technology, it takes a little time to get used to it. Western Digital should provide better “how to” guides for users. Maybe I’ll update my original blog entry and put that as a “worst feature”.

12. Al Muya - November 4, 2007

Hi all.

I’ve just bought the WD Passport, and had some of the same questions answered here. I really wanted to offload non-critical files to reduce the load on my hard disk. I use a laptop and it’s really slowed lately, so I thought I’d unclog it with an external memory device.
At first I was really disappointed with the passport, because it didn’t look like I could drag and drop. Thanks to Mike, it looks like I can at least copy/paste.
Since I had junked the files I synced to the passport, is it possible to retrieve them using the sync option and then copy/pasting them back to the passport in the way described above?

Much obliged,

Al Muya

13. Mike - November 4, 2007

Hi Al,

Thanks for reading my blog. I’m glad some of your questions got answered. Regarding your retrieval question, I tried a quick test with my own Passport device. Here’s what I did:

1. Synced my Passport
2. Deleted a folder with files inside from my computer that had been synced with the Passport. I then also deleted that file from the Recycle Bin.
3. I re-synced with Passport.
4. The folder was deleted from Passport upon re-syncing.

I then tried to see where that deleted folder was placed. Sometimes external drives place deleted items into the computer’s Recycle Bin. Other times, external drives may hold them temporarily in a folder on the external drive itself.

In this case, it didn’t go to either of these locations. Since the WD Sync software doesn’t offer a “recover deleted items” feature, I think the answer to your question is NO. You cannot retrieve the files that you had junked by re-syncing with Passport.

The WD Sync software only syncs data with your hard drive. The Passport device and it’s WD Sync software view the hard drive as the “master copy” of your data. If you change previously synced files on your hard drive, the WD Sync software will make the corresponding changes on the Passport drive during the next sync operation.

14. Bill - November 14, 2007

Tried to use WD Sync on a new (different) computer running XP Pro. Now WD Sync tries to start but Widows interrupts and wants to send an error message to Microsoft. Windows then shuts WD Sync down. I can’t get past this to change settings in WD Sync for the new computer.

Thanks for any help.

15. Mike - November 14, 2007

Hi Bill,

I’m sorry to hear that. I’m not quite sure how to fix that, but take a look at this web site:


Dmailer is the company that makes WD Sync software for Western DIgital. Maybe something in their FAQs will help you.

16. Football Mom - November 22, 2007

I purchased a passport 120 GB and a laptop to use while making movies on Pinnacle to store football games DVDs to make highlight DVDs. ( I have to download the whole 2 hour games to get the hightlights) My problem is I don’t know if the WD has the DVD football clips on it or if its on my laptop or both? I know the laptop is starting to run slowly and we are only 4 games(DVD’s) into the season of 13 games so far. I also don’t know how to delete the parts of the games we arent planning on using for the highlight tapes. I am so afraid of deleting something important that I don’t delete anything. I dont understand the sync I keep reading about here at all. The passport didn’t come with any instructions at all. I need a tutorial badly! I have looked around for a tutorial and your sight is the closest I have gotten to one.
Any suggestions? Thanks

17. Mike - November 22, 2007

Hi Football Mom,

I think you should start by looking on your laptop. Are the movies still there? Essentially, the Passport Sync software will only store data that already appears on the laptop.

So, I’d suggest thinking about the following:

1. Are the movies still on the laptop?
2. Can you remember when you last synced the Passport with the laptop successfully?
3. If the movies are not on your laptop, can you recall when you may have deleted them?

If the movies are no longer on your laptop, it will be important to recall when you last synced the Passport to your laptop and when you deleted those movies.

If the Passport was synced after the movies were deleted, then the Passport will not have a copy of the movies either (it only syncs files it finds on the laptop. Delete a file from the laptop and WD Sync software will delete it from the Passport drive as well).

18. Tony L - November 23, 2007

If I use the 120GB Passport as a flash drive, will I be able to copy & paste files from multiple computers back & forth? I assume I can at any time burn from the Passport to CD’s for archival storage, true?

19. billy - November 23, 2007

I am really confused?? can ANYONE please tell me step by step on how to use this 120 gb passport as a flash drive??? I have been sitting here for 3 hrs?? THANKS

20. Chuck - November 24, 2007

Does anybody know why the WD sync doesn’t my music and my picture folder? Thanks!

21. Chuck - November 24, 2007

What if you make changes to your WD, will it automatic alter the copy in your hard drive when you sync it?

22. Mike - November 24, 2007

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for commenting on my blog. If you are using the WD Sync software and make changes (aka delete files) to the data on the WD Passport drive, then YES it will alter the copy in your hard drive.

I just tested this to be sure. Here’s what I did:

1. I connected my Passport drive and opened the profile for my laptop in the WD Sync software.
2. I found a Word document stored on the Passport drive that I didn’t need anymore.
3. I highlighted the document and went to the EDIT menu in WD Sync.
4. I chose DELETE and a line was drawn through the document.
5. I synchronized the WD Passport with my laptop.
6 The file was deleted from my laptop and the WD Passport drive.

As for your other question, I’m not sure why it isn’t syncing your music and picture folders. Mine sync just fine, so it’s not a copyright issue. Just a guess….maybe you are syncing “shortcut” icons to the folders and not the folders themselves?

23. Football Mom - November 24, 2007

Yes All the videos are still on the laptop I don’t know how to delete them even when I am finished with them. I dont know what Sync is at all. I see it on the windows media but really don’t know what it is for. All the instructions said was plug the WD in and no other info was given for how to use it and what it does.

Right now I am frustrated because I am trying to work on the DVD highlights and there is no sound at all. the Media player works fine. But on my videos there is no sound ( there used to be sound) I have been following the tutorials checking all the set ups etc… Im not sure but i think my son downloaded the movies in mpeg and I think they should have been media player. I don’t know Im just trying to think of anything that could be causing this. Ugh! I only have until Friday to complete this and I need sound. Any suggestions? Also if any instructions on learning what Sync is and when to use it that would be great. Any help would be great. Thanks

24. Football Mom - November 24, 2007

Horray! I found my sound! I’m not going to embarrass myself and tell you where… I am still in need of knowing what Sync is and how to use it. Thanks for your help…

25. Ken K - November 24, 2007

My experience with the Western Digital Passport is similar to several of your contributors. My company computer techinican recommended the product so I could backup my home desktop and laptop computers which I use to maintain a website and digital pictures which I use for volunteer work. I purchased on-line and spent threeevenings trying to figure out how to make this work. The WD website shows a program called WD BackUp which is what I need, but they do not show how to download. I called their c/s in India nad they said “No backup software is provided with this product and I should Google “Back-up software” and use one of the programs that I find. That sounds very risky. I told the c/s agent that everyone who does a lot of digital photography needs a back-up drive like this. Why would they not make it easier to use, they could sell millions of these.

26. Chuck - November 24, 2007

Thank you very much for help. I think I get a hang of it now. Do you know if the Sync software included in the hard drive is for free or just for trial? If it’s only for trial and if you decide to purchase the software, can you use the purchased sync software on other hard drives? Thanks!

27. Mike - November 24, 2007

Hi Chuck,

The WD Sync software is included when you purchase a WD Passport hard drive. It is not trial software. I’m not sure if you can use the software on other devices. It is an interesting question. You may be able to copy/paste the WD Sync setup files on your WD Passport drive to another external hard drive. To do this, you’d connect the WD Passport drive and then use Windows Explorer to look for the WD Sync setup files to copy.

If you’re able to get it to work, let me know. If not, I’d suggest a couple of alternative software programs for data syncing: Allway Sync or SyncBack by 2BrightSparks. I’ve blogged about Allway Sync and you can read it here: https://mytechtalk.wordpress.com/2007/08/21/allway-sync-free-software-for-data-backup-or-synchronization/

The SyncBack software has a free version that you can download and use. The company’s web site is http://www.2brightsparks.com/freeware/freeware-hub.html.

28. Chuck - November 24, 2007

I will try that sometime later, but about the software. It’s not free in the box. The one in the hard drive is only a trial version. I have to register and download the actual from WD website. I’ll let you Know when this software on another hard drive. Thanks!

29. Mike - November 24, 2007

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for clarifying that point on the software. I don’t recall having to register the software when I bought it. However, that was a while ago and I may have just forgotten about that step. I do recall the absence of a software CD in the packaging. The only copy of the WD Sync with my purchase was installed on the device itself.

30. Claire - November 28, 2007


We have recently purchased two WD Passports. And imo they really need to have a better user guide.

How do i delete stuff of the WD Passport?
I read something here about if i delete stuff from the WD passport then sync it it will delete the items that i have deleted from the passport of the computer as well???? Did i get that right?

Im so confused 😦

31. Claire - November 28, 2007

Hello again,

After much searching I found this site which has a semi ok user guide for the WD passport.

the link is – http://www.dmailer.com/site/products/wdsync.html

I hope that can help some of you out. its pretty basic, and doesn’t answer my question though.

32. Claire - November 28, 2007

I found how to delete items of the WD passport, except that it deletes EVERYTHING from it, how can i just delete a few files, without them then being deleted of the computer as well???

33. Cindy - December 3, 2007

Wow! I thought surely I was the only one who was missing something here! LOL! No instructions whatsoever. What’s that about?

I purchased (upon discussing in length all of my options with the salesman) WD 250 GB for the purpose of storing my files since my internal AND external (Maxthon One) harddrives are full. I’m embarrassed to say I actually purchased two (gift)! Couldn’t wait to get home and make some room on my hds (I’ve been putting off for months a certain project because I can’t dl all of the necessary downloads. I can hardly do a thing with my hd’s in the state they’re in…and I’ve been so worried that my pc is just going to crash.

Anyway, 3 days later, I still haven’t been able to figure out just how I’m supposed to use this, this…thing! I wish I’d gone to another store to purchase another Maxtor One. 😦 Reminiscing the ease of use w/Maxtor, I suddenly wondered if I could drag and drop, ended up copying/pasting, but I’m sitting here paralyzed because I’m too afraid to erase these files from my pc!

I’ve done nothing but search the web for 3 days. I found some helpful info/FAQs here:

I’ve been saving files to DVDs for months now and seem to be getting nowhere in my attempt to create some space on my drives (I dl as much as I save to DVD). With Maxtor, I could even dl directly to this storage w/o cluttering my desktop at all. Since I really just wanted to use this as a portable storage device, can I simply do that and forget about syncing altogether?

As far as I can tell from my searches, the software pre-installed on the harddrive is included…they just suggest you visit their site to download the latest version.

Several sites mentioned drag and drop as one of WD’s features.

Can someone explain to me the disconnect process. There was a warning in the Quick Guide that explained users must disconnect by clicking on an icon in the desktray? what icon? to properly turn off program. Only when we receive notice can we then disconnect the hd from its power source. They warn of the potential for partial or total data loss if one simply disconnects the cord from the hd.

Thanks for confirming that I have not lost it altogether!!! 🙂
No instructions. Tsk.tsk. I still don’t get it.

Thanks for your help!


34. Rob - December 3, 2007

After searching the internet for ages I can’t believe I’ve finally found a site devoted to my problem peripheral… can you help me?

I too made the classic mistake of assuming that having synched my PC onto the Passport I could then delete stuff off my PC permanently. Years of photographs and music gone in an instant, deleted from the Passport during the next sync!

Here’s the funny thing though (if you can call it that)… although the passport shows the original file structure empty when using the sync software, if I look on the Passport using the XP file manager there are a series of folders containing a load of .dml files… the sum size of which adds up to the amount of data I originally backed up. Do you think there could be a way to recover my data from these? I’ve asked WD three times but they refuse to reply to me.

It may be obvious to some, but I think it should be made clearer how the sync sofftware works. It sucks when I lost my data because of the false security I felt I had, when in fact it actually lured me into creating my problem. I’d have been better off if I’d taken my chances and waited for my disk to crash. I don’t have a very high opinion of WD technical support either.

Thanks for reading this far,


35. Cindy - December 3, 2007

Spent the most part of today searching the wd knowledge base. Was able to get some of my questions answered, but it sure would have helped if WD had included a manual.

Okay, I’ve decided to use WD Passport as a storage device. I guess I need to change sync settings so that I don’t accidentally delete any of my files. Or should I just uninstall the software altogether?

I read about one issue I’m having where I don’t have the “eject hardware button” anywhere…not in tray, on desktop, and this is why I could not easily disconnect the harddrive. However, instructions state we must first disconnect hd from pc, then from harddrive/Passport. Is it really necessary to follow this procedure exactly?

Included a few links that may (or may not!) be helpful. Thanks again!


Question about Sync software…trial version or not?
http://tinyurl.com/ywngtg or

How to Setup & Use WD Passport
http://tinyurl.com/295xcp or

How to restore files or folders that have been synchronized by WD Sync
http://tinyurl.com/2z58nt or

How to setup and use the WD Sync synchronization software on a Passport external hard drive
http://tinyurl.com/2hm6cq or

Failure to connect the drive using the procedure below may result in your system not recognizing the drive. Also, not disconnecting the drive correctly could result in data corruption or data loss.

Drive letter assignments unexpectedly change in Windows 2000/XP.
How to change the drive letter assignment in Windows 2000/XP.
http://tinyurl.com/2efswq or http://preview.tinyurl.com/2efswq
and http://tinyurl.com/ytmmya or http://preview.tinyurl.com/ytmmya

I can’t use the Unplug or Eject Hardware icon to stop my FireWire or USB drive in Windows.
http://tinyurl.com/2hg8qg or

36. Mike - December 4, 2007


Thank you for taking the time to share your comments, feedback and additional info on the WD Passport device. I’ll look into some of the questions that you’ve raised as time permits. From reading all of the comments, I think one of the main sources of confusion is with the term “sync”.

The link Cindy provided in her comment under the heading of “How to Restore Files or Folders” will take you to a Western Digital help page where it plainly states that the sync software is not intended to be backup software.

The sync process literally creates a mirror image of the files on your hard drive. I think most people expect (and prefer) the software to function more like a “copy/paste” program wherein you get a duplicate copy of the files and then can delete them from the USB drive without impacting the original files on the hard drive. It just doesn’t do that.

If you’re frustrated with the WD Sync software or don’t like how it works, don’t use it. It doesn’t mean the Passport device is now worthless. If you connect the Passport drive, use Windows Explorer to manually copy/paste your data onto the device. This bypasses the WD Sync software, but does not encrypt the data.

37. brian - December 4, 2007

I just bought a WD hard drive. i synched some files onto it but now want them off. Is there a way where I can delete the entire memory or do i really have to delete each individual file. I have 50 folders with 150-250 songs in each and it’s a bit time consuming. any suggestions? am i doing something wrong?

38. Mike - December 4, 2007

Hi Brian,

“Delete” is probably the wrong word to use. I’m assuming you want to keep the files on your computer but would rather not sync them to the WD Passport drive. The simple thing to do is to “deselect” those 50 folders from the sync process. Then, sync the Passport drive with your computer and those folders will be removed from the WD Passport.

To deselect in the WD Sync software, go to the “OPTIONS” menu and choose “FILE OPTIONS”. This will give you a smaller window with check boxes next to the files and folders you want to sync. Simply uncheck the folders you no longer want to sync and click OK to sync the Passport drive with your computer using the new settings.

39. Ash - December 6, 2007

I bought my WD250 passport yesterday and set it up to sync. Made the mistake of selecting the entire laptop harddrive INCLUDING C:\windows and \program files. This syncing of 80GB is going on for past 36 hours. I can see that the WD Sync is encrypting everyfile and writing to the passport perhaps encryption is what’s taking longer.

Once the sync finishes, I am going to change the option to uncheck these folders so as to save oly data next time.

Good thing, I am able to see the WD passport in windows explorer and am able to drag/drop files to passport. Not sure if this is what you meant by copy/paste in your blog above.

Having used Microsoft’s free SyncToy software, I am aware that WD Sync is also a Sync only software and NOT a backup software. You delete files in one place and it will replicate that action on the other computer.

I plan on mixing encrypted and non-encrypted data on the passport drive i.e. keep non-critical data by drag/drop on the passport to a folder E:\whatever and personal data encrypted thru the WD Sync application. This will hopefully cut down the time taken for each re-sync. I PRESUME the unencrypted data placed on the passport E:\whatever folder WILL NOT be touched by the Sync software making me a happy guy!!!

40. Ash - December 7, 2007

OK, I managed to get both encrypted data (thru WDSync) and normal unencrypted data (thru drag/drop of files) on the WD 250 Passport without any issues. The Sync software is EXTREMELY SLOW (unlike Maxtor 1 Mini Sync software) and takes a long time to open when I want to select folders in the options menu.

There is no comparable MINI drive on the market that offers 250GB hence I am stuck with this drive I guess for now. Maxtor Mini is max 160GB capacity and does not fit my entire music/photo/data collection (currently sitting at 175GB).

I also downloaded PGP Desktop software ($90) which allowed me to create an encrypted virtual drive on my laptop harddrive which I can use to store sensitive data and unmount/mount as needed. This way files would not show to any user and are encrypted with AES 256 bit. I like the PGP solution much better as the virtual drive created is 12GB but it extends depending upon the data stored. Currently I am only using 1.5GB of it. PGP software also came with PGP Shredder allowing me to shred files off the hard drive in a secure manner!

Touch wood, I hope it stays like this without any crashes or issues with the drive 🙂

41. Mike - December 7, 2007

Hi Ash,

Thanks for the update. I haven’t tried to sync such a large volume of data like you did, so I haven’t seen slow performance with the syncing software.

42. Abol - December 8, 2007

Hi Mike

I like your site. it is informative.

I bought the WD 160. I play with it I lost some data.I am realy confused by now. I have a few question. Is synchronizing software coming with WD, or I have to instal from somwhere.What does it mean by synchronizing. Is that simply mean transfering data from laptop to WD? My understanding is any time I get into the WD I lost what I have already put in it. Could you please give a clear instruction how to put my stuff from my hard drive into WD to be abale to retrive it again and empty my laptop hard drive. it is over full. It is ready to explode. thanks

43. Mike - December 8, 2007

Hi Abol,

Thank you for reading my post. I think your question provides a good example as to when NOT to use the WD Sync software. Syncing means duplicating files from one location to another. If you want to sync Document A from your hard drive onto the Passport drive, it will show up in both places. If you delete Document A from your hard drive and sync again, it will delete it from the Passport drive.

In your situation, WD Sync software is not a good option. Your hard drive is full. You want to free up space by removing (not deleting) some files. In this case, I suggest using the Passport drive but NOT the WD Sync software.

This can be a bit confusing, especially if your Passport drive automatically launches the WD Sync software when you connect it. Look at some of my earlier comments. I mention how to disable the autoplay feature for the WD Sync software.

You can take advantage of the 160 GB of storage space by using the Windows functions of “cut” and “paste”. I say “cut” instead of “copy” because it will remove it from your hard drive and allow you to paste it somewhere new. In this case, that new location is your Passport drive. When it is connected, you should see it in your ‘My Computer’ folder as a drive letter, probably E or F or G. Find the Passport drive letter and open it. You can then paste your files onto the drive. They won’t be encrypted, but you’ll skip the WD Sync process this way.

44. Tony - December 10, 2007

Has anyone had problems copying large files from a Vista PC to a Passport?

I bought the Pasport for the simple purpose of copying the “My documents” file to create a periodic update. I do not use the WD backup or synchronization software for all the issues and risks above. I can copy large files from my old XP laptop to the Passport but not from my new Vista machine. For example, of a 50G music file containing thousands of smaller individual folders and files, only 15G and 1877 songs transfer. I have tried it multiple times on 2 different Passports. There is no error message or any other indication that the file has not transferred in its entirety, so you have to be very careful to doublecheck each time you copy. This is very inconvenient and risky in case you forget to doublecheck.

I have contacted WD and their response was to reformat from Fat32 to NTFS but that won’t work for me since I want to also use the drive on my Mac.

Since I can copy using my old XP PC, it must be a Vista to Passport compatibility issue and I could not find anything on their website. I know there is a file size limit of 4G on Fat32, and while the folder has 50G, each individual file is at most 10MB, so that should not apply.

I can’t be the only person who has had this issue, so I welcome any suggestions on how to fix it.

Thank you.

45. Ash - December 11, 2007

OK finally I managed to uncheck unnecessary folders in the OPTIONS menu which allowed the WD Sync software to run faster. I only use the Sync software to copy 2GB of sensitive data which I would like encrypted using the WD software.

The rest of my 160GB data is copies using normal drag/drop to another folder on the WD drive. So far there have been no issues and the drive is fairly fast.

Thanks Mike for suggesting Allway Sync software. This is better than the Microsof’s SyncToy I was using for past 2 years so I exclusively use it now for my syncing to the WD passport.

As indicated above in my message, I managed to create a virtual encrypted drive on the Passport using PGP software which I can mount/unmount using the PGP Desktop software ($90). It seems to work well for my security purpose so I may totally stop using the WD Sync in future.

Mike, thanks for your blog. Lots of useful info here!

46. Kate - December 13, 2007

Hey Mike,

Great website, VERY helpful. I have a quick question: I have used the WD Sync option and have synced my computer. If I have an EXTREMELY important document (that is now synced) that I can never delete, can I also simply open My Computer, WD Passport, and copy the document over onto the Passport?? Will the file be deleted the next time I sync? If I delete the file from the WD Passport (G:) will it be deleted from my computer the next time a sync?

Thanks for all the help!

47. Kate - December 13, 2007

Oh, sorry, one more quick question: I am using a different Passport with my new Macbook (not using WD Sync) just copy and pasting files into the removable drive. (running OS Leopard with Time Machine). Is there a way to put a password on the drive so you would need to enter a password before the G: drive is able to be opened using My Computer? Or possibly password specific documents or folders?

Thanks again!

48. Mike - December 14, 2007

Hi Kate,

If I understand you correctly, you have used the WD Sync software and successfully synced your Very Important Document. Now, you want to take the additional step of manually copying/pasting the same document onto the Passport drive.

Assuming, I’ve understood your situation correctly, here are my answers to your questions:

1. Will the document copy over onto Passport? Answer: YES.
2. Will the file be deleted the next time I sync? Answer: NO. You still have a copy on your hard drive for the WD Sync software to reference.
3. If you delete the file from WD Passport….? Answer: NO. If you delete the file that you manually copied and pasted from the WD Passport drive, it will not be deleted from your PC during the next sync. You still have a copy within the WD Sync software and on the hard drive itself.

As for the hard drive password question, there may be software you can use to password protect it. If I find a product you can use, I’ll post info about it for you.

49. Mick - December 16, 2007

Hi Kate, Firstly thanks for the review very helpful 🙂
But I a little confused by Limitations 1.
Does this mean I cannot use WD Sync to back up photos (the only files i wish to backup) because if I accidentally delete a photo next time i sync the photo will also deleted on the Passport.
What i would like to do is just sync my photo so new one’s are added to the passport but if should loss a photo/s I could then restore them. Is this possible with WD Sync?

50. Mike - December 16, 2007

Hi Mick,

I think you would be better off not using the WD Sync software that comes with the Passport drive. Instead, manually copy/paste your photos onto the Passport drive. This will give you a backup of your photos and you can then restore one that you accidentally delete from your PC hard drive.

Technically, the WD Sync software can do it too. However, you have to turn off the “auto sync” feature and be careful not to initiate a sync before you’ve had a chance to restore the accidentally deleted photo.

You’d be better off just to copy/paste the photos and use the Passport drive as a very large USB storage device.

51. Mick - December 18, 2007

Mike, (name correct this time!)

Thanks – Think that’s what I will do. don’t want to accidentally delete my back-up copy.

52. BobRobertz - December 19, 2007

Help! – I have the same issue as Rob. My *.dml files are still on the drive but I can’t access them with WD Sync because I get the error this error message when I log in:
“An item could not be found” 0x40010011 – WD Sync v6.3.130

Is there a workaround to decrypt the files as I have the correct password?

Any suggestions appreciated.



53. Linda Elliott - December 23, 2007


I also have the same problem as Rob and Bob. I have a series of .DML files that I’m hoping I can convert back into the pile of photos that I once owned!

Is this possible?

Many thanks for your time if you can help.


54. Drew Jarvis - December 26, 2007

Does this item include a 2.5″ mobile hard drive inside? could I open the box and use the hard drive as a replacement hard drive for my laptop that has recently stopped working? the price has dropped to a level where its lower than a hard drive and I think this could be an option.



55. Mike - December 27, 2007

Hi Drew,

Thanks for reading my blog. There is a 2.5″ hard drive inside. I cannot say with certainty that you can use it as a replacement hard drive for a laptop though. I just haven’t tried doing that.

A fellow blogger has also written about the Passport drive. You can read his post here:


56. Leah Reeves - December 28, 2007


I have played with my Passport for a few days now trying figure out most of what is posted here…by the way, THANK YOU for all the helpful information. Most of my questions have been answered. The only thing I want to use the Passport for is to back up (store) pictures and videos so that I can get them off my computer. Luckily I used the trial and error process before deleting anything because I would have lost 7 years worth of pictures if I had re-synced.

I want to share something that I have tried and get your input on the procedure. I have set up different profiles on the Passport with the WD Sync software on the same computer. I am basically using the profile as a “folder”. So when I add new pictures to my computer, I can name the profile something like “Pictures Jan-Mar 2007” and still have the picture on the Passport that I deleted off my computer named in a profile “Pictures Oct-Dec 2006”. The only thing is-I don’t know if there is are limitations as to how many different profiles can be used. Just in case, I will also use the cut and paste option mentioned many times above and use the Passport as a very large usb storage device.

Please let me know what you think and if you foresee any problems with my doing this.

Thanks for your time and comments,


57. Leah Reeves - December 28, 2007

One more question? Can I back up cd’s to the Passport?



58. Chu Chen - December 29, 2007

Hi guys my name is Daniel Chen.

I’ve just gotten my Passport 320GB and I’ve tried to drag stuff into the drive and it only allows me to drag 10gb of material then it says that it’s out of memory. I’m not quite sure what this could mean because the drive has 320GB of capacity. I’m currently using Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit. If anyone has has this similar problem and has found a solution I’ll be greatly aprecciated if you can help me out. I’m also very surprised at the lack of users guide that came with the drive. I had to sit and try to figure it out all the different ways to drag stuff into the drive. Plz help

59. Mike - December 29, 2007

Hi Daniel,

You may want to fire off an email to the support team at Dmailer.com. This is the company that Western Digital used to create the WDSync software.

I’m not sure why you’re having the problem, unless it has to do with compatibility with your Operating System for some reason.

Here’s the link to submit a request to support:


60. Jay Pogi - December 31, 2007

Hi, Mike. My name is Jay. I bought this HDD a few weeks ago. I have no problems so far but after browsing the internet I’m starting to get concerned. It seems many people are having problems with this drive. How’s yours so far?

61. Mike - December 31, 2007

Hi Jay,

Thanks for reading my blog and posting a comment. I appreciate it.

I’ve had no problems with my WD Passport. While some of the comments you’ve read on this blog do indicate a hardware or incompatibility problem, many of them are questions about how to use the WD Sync software.

While I like how it works, the software itself seems to be a point of confusion and the lack of documentation doesn’t help people trying to learn how to use it.

If it works for you, that’s the most important thing. For the most part, the hardware seems to be sound.

Happy New Year!

62. Zach Leuschner - January 1, 2008

Mike, you have done an excellent job responding to questions and I applaud you for contributing time to those of us unfamiliar with the Western Digital way. Hopefully you can help me with my problem too.

I purchased a 120 GB WD Passport for Christmas. Its primary purpose was going to be as a large flash drive to copy all my files from my home computer for transportation to college next fall. Unfortunately, I synced the drive, and now it is filled with 102GB of information I cannot move from computer to computer.

How do I “de-synchronize” without losing my information? I know that the copy/paste feature will work to use it as a flash drive, but I need to get rid of the synchronized version first to get it all to fit. Thanks for your help.

63. Tom Collins - January 1, 2008

I want to start the whole process over with my WD Passport. I dont know which files to delete on the Passport to do that. I just want to attach the thing and start over. Any suggestions?

64. Zach Leuschner - January 1, 2008

I must have missed posts 37 and 38 in my reading; they solved my problem. Once again, Mike, thank you for providing great information!

65. Mike - January 2, 2008

Hi Tom,

To start over, I would change your WD Sync file settings by unchecking all of the files and folders that you were previously syncing. Once you’ve unchecked them, you should re-sync with your computer. This will remove those encrypted files from your WD Passport drive and are taking up space. Once you’ve done that, the WD Passport drive will no longer contain any synced data from the WD Sync software. At this point, you’re essentially back to square one.

66. Mike - January 2, 2008

Hi Tom,

I wanted to clarify one thing in comment #65. I said “remove” and not “delete”. That’s a key distinction. The files will still exist on your computer’s hard drive, unless you deleted them from there previously. However, they will not exist on the WD Passport drive as an encrypted file.

67. Prasad - January 2, 2008

Dear All,

I bought a WD 250GB passport couple of weeks back. Have loaded close to 200GB of data onto it (did not use any sync just normal copy / paste). It was working allright till couple of days back. Now suddenly it gives me a “file structure corrupted” error and does not open up. When i plug it into the USB port the HDD gets recognised however when I try to open it / explore it i get this error and it fails to open. I have close to 50GB of important data on this drive. Can anyone pls. suggest ways to recover this? I have tried it on windows xp & professional. Your advise would be highly appreciated.

And ya one more info … before using this drive i had it reformated into NTFS file format.

Thanks & Regards,

68. Mike - January 2, 2008

Hi Prasad,

I’m sorry to hear that happened. You may want to contact Dmailer support for that issue. See the link on comment #59.

Alternatively, you may want to look into some data recovery software if the hard drive on the device did fail. Here’s a blog entry that I posted about one available product: https://mytechtalk.wordpress.com/2007/11/13/recover-data-with-file-scavenger-software/

69. Greg - January 3, 2008

Mike, thanks for going through all these and helping us out.

My question: I had synced all “My Documents” to the portable hard drive. Then I realized that it was only syncing, and not making a backup copy like I wanted. In the WD Sync program, I clicked “Files” at the top, and then “Reset Data”. Thought it was only going to delete the synced files off the portable. Whoops. All “My Documents” of my laptop’s hard drive are gone. I’ve tried to use a couple file recovery wizards, but I’m not sure where to look. Thanks so much.

70. Mike - January 3, 2008

Hi Greg,

Are the docs still viewable in the WD Sync software? Or are they gone from there as well as your laptop hard drive?

71. Greg - January 3, 2008

They’re gone from both, sadly.

72. Stuart Roberts - January 3, 2008

Hey, Mike.

I have read through as much of this blog as I can.
I know I’m repeating what has gone before but I am so confused!!

I had the WD Passport (160GB) as a Christmas present. I went into the sync software and chose all the files and folders on my two HDDs to back up/ sync. It took about 30 minutes to complete but when I looked in explorer under Drive I: it showed no files. Properties showed an empty drive.

I am not bothered about deleting desktop files then losing them on the Passport. I just want to know the difference, in simple terms, between back up and sync.

Am I doing it right? Should I see a list of files in explorer under the Passport drive that I can drag back or restore, etc?

Please pretend I have no brain and spell out what this thing does???!!



73. Mike - January 4, 2008

Hi Greg,

According to the FAQs on the dmailer site, the “Reset Data” option erases all data. I know that’s not good news for you.

I found the info under question # 4 “How to” ? on this site:


74. Mike W - January 4, 2008

To all who have trashed their data with the WD Sync software,

I really feel for you. Losing comprehensively built up and irreplaceable information must be terribly traumatic. However I have some good news; it is possible that ALL IS NOT LOST – although a significant chunk may be. Firstly I must applaud Mike for his stalwart efforts in maintaining this blog. Next I will try to update, or add to the sum total of the extensive knowledge base contianed within this useful page:

I do not fully understand the format in which the sync software stores its files, nor how to recover them once a data set has been “reset”, or a file has been deleted by the syncing process, but there is always the other copy of the file, on the PC or laptop, which may be much easier to recover. The recovery can be partial or total depending on the following criteria: If the PC is not used at all after erroneous deletion, the hard drive is extracted and attached to another computer containing some file recovery software (Mike referred to one in an earlier post, but others may have their own favourite programs for this task), the files that have been deleted should be close to 100% recoverable.

If the machine has been used since the erroneous deletions, there is a chance that the space on the hard disk that the deleted file(s) occupied has been overwritten by something else. Where vast scads of data have accidentally been trashed, there is still a good chance that most of it will be recoverable, depending on the use to which the computer has been put since the deletions – eg, if a DVD has been created, it is more than likely that all data has been lost, because the massive file size of the DVD files will have overwritten the space formerly occupied by (eg) numerous documents, songs and/or images. However if the machine has been used only for basic web browsing tasks etc, much of the space that the deleted files occupied will have been untouched, and therefore will still be available to an appropriate file recovery program to restore the deleted files. There is another bleaker possibility though, that I am unable to verify (perhaps Mike can if he has the time). If the WD sync software (which I have no intention of trying, as it appears so user hostile) “erases” the files it deletes on the source drives, ie overwrites the space on the drive where the deleted files were stored with something else, most non-professional tools for recovering files will be unable to retrieve them. I do hope that WD sync is not that sophisticated!

For automatic data backup I prefer Karen’s Power Tools Replicator, which *can* behave like WD Sync, but by default behaves like most users here would like a sync program to behave, IE just adding stuff to the backup destination, although without encryption, and popping a warning up if you set the program to behave like WD sync.

If the above seems overly techinical (and one of my many weaknesses is to get a bit too techy sometimes) for those who have lost data, taking your computer to a *competent* IT technician should result in good results for a relatively small outlay.

I hope this helps some people. I was just passing this blog, looking for a way to use my second hand black passport drive with Windows 98SE, so far with no results, so I am unlikely to return often. However, if anyone wants more help or info, please email me (perhaps via Mike?) at the email I used to submit this post , and if a link to this page is included, I will post any help I can offer up here for the benefit of others. Keep up the good work Mike, you’re obviously doing a really good and valuable job here as an unofficial WD tech support guy – perhaps you should send them an invoice – it might encourage them to include some operating instructions with their products!

75. John K - January 5, 2008

I have the WD 160gb and used it using the wd sync software (I wish I’d just used it as a jump drive now!!) and shortly afterwards I had a terminal hard drive failure on my home PC. I felt quite smug that I had backed up my data only a few days before but now I cant recover the data from the drive via the WD Sync software onto the new PC, all it does is copy all the empty folder structure (the same as my old PC) but without any files in it. I know that the data is on it as it tells me that the used volume is circa 60gb, yet all it does is copy an empty folder structure to my new pc.

Please Help!!?

i wish I had used it as a jump drive as I could just drag and drop – I certainly will never use that software again

76. mike - January 7, 2008

I’m trying to eject my brand new drive. used it once. it has stayed spinning for the past 1.5 hours. I can’t get it to safely eject…

does it matter if I just yank out the cord with the light on?

77. rajaubud - January 8, 2008

Hi Mike it’s very useful information here about WD passport, regarding Daniel Chen problem, I could say that WD come with FAT 32 file system, this system not recognize file over than 4 GB…..so when you copied file 10 GB…it won’t work…you can split the files to under 4 GB.


78. Morgan - January 8, 2008

Help! I used my WD Passport to backup my old Win2000 machine and it worked fine. Now I’m trying to back up my work laptop (WinXP) and plug n play seems to work fine… it recognizes the drive… and device manager says it’s installed and working fine- but it won’t show up in My Computer (even after clikcing “refreash”) any ideas?

79. Mike - January 8, 2008

Hi Stuart,

I’ll do my best to explain sync vs. backup although the term “backup” has too many variations to really be summed up in one definition.

To most people, backup means that you have a copy of your data that you can anything you want to without affecting the original files.

A good example would be burning files onto a CD and storing that CD in your desk drawer. You have the files on your hard drive and on the CD in the drawer. If you delete a file on your hard drive, it does not remove the copy from the CD.

Sync, on the other hand, is quite different. When you sync, the software checks the hard drive any changes to the original files. If a file is removed from your hard drive, the sync software will remove it from your external hard drive (in this case WD Passport) during the next syncing operation.

For this reason, syncing is not a good solution if your goal is to free up space on your hard drive.

80. Mike - January 8, 2008

Hi Leah,

Because I was curious myself, I emailed dmailer tech support regarding your profile question. It took them several days to respond (not good). However, I did get a response.

They said that their is no limit to the # of profiles you can create with the WD Sync software.

I’m not sure how to answer your CD question. You may want to copy the CD files to your hard drive and then back it up to the WD Passport drive instead.

81. Mike - January 9, 2008

Hi Mike W,

Thanks for the good info and kind words. I’d be happy to pass along your email address should anyone ask me for it.

82. Mike - January 9, 2008

Hi Rajaubud,

Thank you for pointing that out. The WD Passport hard drive is formatted FAT32, which limits the size of individual files to 4GB.

The NTFS hard drive file format allows for larger files. Reformatting the WD Passport drive from FAT32 to NTFS is possible. However, any data stored on the Passport drive (including the WD Sync software) will be deleted during the formatting process.

83. Stuart Roberts - January 9, 2008

Please help…

I have written a couple of batch files to backup my ‘Data’ drive (photos, music, documents) to the Passport drive. My ‘Users’ directories (e-mails, desktops, documents) copy just fine and I can view them in Explorer under the I: drive (Passport). BUT, when I copy across the 41GB from the ‘Data’ drive, at first the directories/ folders are seen. Upon completion, though, the ‘Data’ directory cannot be viewed. At first it appears but if I navigate away from the Passport directory then back again the ‘Data’ directory is hidden – even when I allow ‘Show hidden files’!

The batch is as follows…

xcopy “G:\” “I:\Data Backup” /c /d /e /h /i /o /r /v /y

I have worked out that by allowing ‘show protected system files’ it displays the ‘Data’ folder along with the ‘Recycler’ & ‘System Volume Information’ folders. When I go into properties and try to remove the hidden attribbute the check box is greyed out. I can select all files and remove the write only attribute but it appears to reset itself afterwards and the read-only box has a square in it again.

This is driving me mad. If I go on to another system I won’t be able to view my files to use them.

Mike, please help.


The batch file uses these switches when using xcopy… xcopy “G:\” “I:\Data Backup” /c /d /e /h /i /o /r /v /y

84. Mike - January 9, 2008

Hi Robert,

Is the 41 GB data folder on the Passport drive? Furthermore, is it the encrypted data that the WD Sync software created when you did a sync?

85. Stuart - January 9, 2008

I have stopped using the sync software as I only want to back up at this stage.

The 41GB of data is on my desktop hard drive. It is my G: drive. I want to back it all up on to the Passport in the folder I:\Data Backup.

All the files copy to the Passport but are only visible when I allow the ‘show protected/ hidden system files’. Even allowing ‘show hidden files’ will not show them.

For some reason it is always hidden without any way of ‘un-hiding’ it. The User accounts backup is fine. Could it be something to do with the system volume info folder and system files?

86. Stuart Roberts - January 9, 2008


The 41GB of data from my hard drive is copied on to the Passport. I no longer use the sync software as I am happy to back up at this stage.

I have formatted the Passoprt drive and tried again…

The Data Bakup folder is not visible when I enable ‘show hidden files’, the ‘show hidden files’ box is greyed out and the only way to see the files is to ‘display protected system files’.


87. Tom - January 9, 2008


The WD 250gb Passport was working fine for the last month with USB cable(not the double USB booster) to my laptop and desktop. Now it comes up as “Unknown Device” on device manager. Drive does not show up under My Computer.

Drive light button is on and you can hear the drive running(like a fan is on).

I have tried a lot of workarounds but no luck. Would “Spinrite” do the trick?

Also, any one disassembled the drive. I would like to take it out and attach it to an external drive enclosure if this might help.



88. Jimmy - January 9, 2008


I recently got a WD 250 Gig Passport to basically back up music, movies, and documents from my MacBook Pro. When I first plugged in the hard drive, everything seemed good to go but there was a folder in hard drive’s window that I deleted. I thought it contained a readme and other files that I didn’t need, but I think this folder had some installation or formatting software that I deleted. Now, when I plug in the Passport hard drive, the computer doesn’t even register a USB device as being connected; nothing comes up at all. However, the passport recognizes that it is at least drawing power from my computer, as the blue light comes on. I’ve tried to download some software drivers from the WD website, but they are all written for Windows software. How can I get my Passport hard drive up and running again?

89. Jimmy - January 9, 2008

Also, I would like to format the drive in NTFS. But can I do this if my MacBook doesn’t even register that the drive is plugged in?

90. Mike - January 9, 2008

Stuart – what OS does your PC have?

91. Mike - January 9, 2008

Jimmy –

It sounds like you deleted the folder with some or all of the WD Sync software files.

I’m not sure how to get them back unless you consider buying some file recovery software.

You may want to consider re-formatting the hard drive in FAT32 format to get your Mac to recognize the device properly. I don’t have a Mac so I’m by no means an expert on Macs, but that’s just a wild guess.

If my limited Mac knowledge is accurate, I don’t think Mac’s OS can read the NTFS format at all. Assuming I’m correct, you shouldn’t reformat the drive in the NTFS format.

92. STuart Roberts - January 10, 2008

I have resolved it… for now. I use WinXP by the way.
I copied across the folders and files, including hidden ones. I removed the /h switch from the batch file (copy hidden and system files).

The batch file copies to my new folders, which are now as normal and not hidden. I think the copying of the hidden & system files was the key!


93. Felix - January 11, 2008

I am using Vista and have recently piurchased a WD. I did the original synchronisation and it all worked well for a couple of weeks. Now I get a note that Dmailer has stopped working properly and I just can’t get it going again. I was advised to reinstall Dmailer and to do the whole thing over again. I did that and I was able to synchronise one time. I tried to re synchronise and I get this message about not working properly.

94. John K - January 15, 2008

I’ll try again.

I have the WD 160gb and used it using the wd sync software (I wish I’d just used it as a jump drive now!!) and shortly afterwards I had a terminal hard drive failure on my home PC. I felt quite smug that I had backed up my data only a few days before but now I cant recover the data from the drive via the WD Sync software onto the new PC, all it does is copy all the empty folder structure (the same as my old PC) but without any files in it. I know that the data is on it as it tells me that the used volume is circa 60gb, yet all it does is copy an empty folder structure to my new pc.

Please Help!!?

i wish I had used it as a jump drive as I could just drag and drop – I certainly will never use that software again

95. Terry - January 15, 2008

Hi i am having a problem with my external hard drive atm-
everytime i connect it it makes a beeping noise- soft but faint,
then after 20 seconds the safely remove button come up on the computer
but the hard drive is not visible in My Computer- and in the device manager it reads it as so-
However i tried using the WD FAT 32 formatter and it read the hard drive as SCORPIO and says it cant format as is too small partition?
In addition on the hard drive it says the model no is- WD600VE-00HDT0 which on your system means its a laptop/mobile device.
So i downloaded the program for the model no stated- laptop/mobile and it says it can only format up to 20 gig and its suppose to be 55 gb what should i do??
Been 12 hrs since i posted on WD no response as of yet? How i can i at least format it as 60 gb i dnt really mind bout the sound jus is it dangerous?? And if i format it as 20 gb can i go back and change it?
Thanx Terr

Wd tell me this NOW-

Thank you for registering your WD product below.

Model Number: WDXMS600TN†
† For external drives, the order number is displayed instead of the model number.

96. Mike - January 16, 2008

Hi John K,

I’m not sure how to resolve that issue. I assume you’ve tried to contact tech support already. I’m wondering if you can use the WD Sync software to manually sync the contents of the Passport drive to your PC. Did you change operating systems on your PC, by chance?

97. Daniel - January 17, 2008

I just purchased a 160GB Passport 2.0 and I cannot get it to be recognized by Windows Vista Ultimate. It says that the drivers install properly and the device is ready to use, and then immediately tells me that the USB device cannot be recognized. I have tried uninstalling the driver and repeating the whole process but it does the same thing on all three of my USB ports. My laptop is a pretty good machine and this is the first real problem I have run into. Can you help?

98. James H - January 17, 2008

Just like John K I too had my HDD crash a little while after a sync with the Passport. When I went to “Copy to PC”, only the folders copied over (no files). When I look at the information on the drive from WD Sync it still says that there are 50GB unavailable (the same amount as before when I did the original sync). So the information is there, I just can’t copy it to the PC, and ever since I clicked on “options -> file options -> okay” the files and folders now don’t even show up on the main screen for WD Sync (but again, the 50GB are still unavailable). The tech support guru told me over the phone to format the Passport to NTFS and that I would then recover my data (where do they get these guys). I’m not saying to do that for anyone reading, fastest way to lose tables on encrypted data and I have no idea on how to get it back after that. I’m really trying to figure this one out and would appreciate any input.

99. Robin Plummer - January 19, 2008

Hi Mike. I must be blind cause I have gone over and over and can no find where you posted “how to disable the autoplay feature for the WD Sync software”. I want to use mine just as storage. I have learn so much though reading your blog. Thanks in advance.

100. iliketodrum - January 22, 2008

i bought the wd passport hardrive as i wanted to free my laptop of the thousands of songs i have on itunes. I synched the music onto the drive and deleted all the original copies. However i soon realised that if i disconnected and then reconnected the drive, i couldn’t play any songs on itunes without spending ages importing them from the drive again. I then very stupidly resyncd my empty music folders and lost at least 4500 songs. i have now seen the light and refuse to sync anything, instead i will drag and drop. However, i was wondering if it would be possible to retrive these music files back?? there is 30gb used up on the drive, so there must be something on it, right??!! any files that i can find are in some obscure folder in a dml format (i think) and they can be found when i go on to “my computer” and in to the drive, in another folder called “data”. I was also wondering if it is possible to load itunes onto the wd hardrive, so that i wouldnt lose the song file locartions when i disconnected the drive. please help!! im going out of my mind with this thing!!

101. iliketodrum - January 22, 2008

oh and btw, im also having the same trouble as James H. i unclicked the folders to sync with & everythime i try to add them again to syn they don’t appear on the main screen. I just keep getting told that i havnt syncd the c drive, which i keep trying to do!! : (


102. Ron - January 23, 2008

HI all and Thanks all . Thanks Mike in particular!

Okay so I have the 250 gb wd passport .
On my laptop I have windows vista and it works fine. On my desktop I have windows xp OS ( have not tried it yet).
My questions:

What is the advantage of reformatting from FAT32 to NTFS besides the ability to save large files?
Does NTFS make the the full 250 GB available?
If I reformatt will I have compatability issues with other devices? Like Xbox or PS3?
SHould I do it or leave well enough alone?


103. ScienceChic - January 25, 2008

Hi Mike,

Bless you for this page. I have (what I think) is a novel problem and I don’t understand why no one else has this problem. If I just use the drag and drop method of switching files from my laptop to the WD 160GB drive, they are still synched. If I manually delete a file on my PC then it is also deleted on the pocket drive without running any sync software, it just mirrors everything I do. And it works the same in reverse. I want to reformat my hard drive and I wanted the pocket drive to act as an external storage site for all my files so I could selectively transfer them back to my pc after I reformat it.

I’m saving my files on another external that isn’t mine so hopefully I won’t loose anything…. but I’m terrified that I’ll loose all my work on my WD pocket drive.

Any suggestions?


104. Jace Stansbury - January 26, 2008


You are the man! I just purchased a 250 G WD Passport and was about to begin pulling my hair out trying to find a users guide to answer questions I had and then I came upon your blog. I used the sychronization and then find out how to use this thing just like a thumb drive using the drag and drop. Now knowing this I would like to start from scratch and remove everything I put on the WD passport. Can you tell me how to do this? Thanks again for your blog.


105. Fraser - January 26, 2008


First of all, thank you for having this site! You have no idea how much this means to me! So…my situation is as follows. I have a 60 gig WD passport drive with 35 gigs of music and 10 gigs of photos. Recently the drive name has changed to a plain old letter drive (E: Drive) and all the data that ive put on (drag and drop method) is “invisible”. I know the info is there since properties says there is space used up, but i can’t see anything. It’s in FAT32 format if that has relivance. all i need is the photos.

Thanks in advance,


106. Jennifer - January 31, 2008

Hi all–and thanks for this amazing resource. It’s been very helpful to read everyone’s comments/suggestions.

After reading through some of the messages, I have decided that I would like to manually “copy/paste” files and not use the sync software. As such, I wonder if I should I re-format my drive to get rid of the sync software and allow for large files to be copied? Would you recommend this action? Aside from permanently deleting the sync software, is there a downside/potential problems to re-formatting the drive? Your thoughts/comments are much appreciated!!


107. Mike - February 1, 2008

Hi Fraser,

What happens if you plug the Passport drive into a different PC? Does the same problem occur? Have you tried enabling the “show hidden files and folders” option in the Windows Explorer. That’s a long shot, but easy enough to try. I haven’t encountered this issue before, so I’m just offering up some suggestions. What happens if you add a new file to the drive? Does it disappear too? You may want to look into using some file recovery software if you still aren’t able to view those files.

108. Mike - February 1, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

The main benefit of reformatting is to allow for larger file sizes. I am still using the sync software in FAT32 format. I wouldn’t expect to find any difficulties with reformatting the drive, but maybe some else who’s done it can share their experience with us.

109. Vlai - February 4, 2008

Hi Everyone, just wondering if anyone can help me. I recently bought an 80g Western Digital HD on ebay and want to use it as an extra storage for my Mac, but when I plug it in it does not read the HD. Is this a software issue or hardware issue? Any little help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

110. Janine - February 4, 2008

Hi all…wish I head read this forum before I just moved all my pictures to my WD and then later synced, thereby losing all my photos.

Anyone have any luck retrieving the lost files either thru a file recovery program or opening the mysteriously formatted data files that are in the WD?

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you.

111. Fraser - February 5, 2008

hello again Mike,

thanks for the responce. I tried showing all hidden files but that doesn’t do anything, and i can put new folders on and have no problem at all, yet i still can see all my old files. i downloaded a program called Photo Rescue PC which enabled me to see all the photo folders, yet was just a bunch of false hope since when i tried to get them back i was told i needed to buy the software (and im not going to stoop to that level). I know someone that could retrieve the files for a price, but i want to be able to debug this without paying. So do you know of any free programs out there that you would recomend. all i need is to get the photos and then ill just wipe the drive by reformatting to NTFS.


112. Juan - February 6, 2008

I´m a bit frustrated that I can not sync new sub-folder that I created after the inititial folder selection. Is there anyway to make sure WD sync update all forlders within my documents?. I know you mention this is in the above section

113. Mike - February 6, 2008

Hi Juan,

Thanks for reading my blog. In my experience, the WD Sync software will not auto-sync new folders. If you creat a new folder or sub-folder, you must go into the WD Sync software and check a box next to that new folder so that it will sync next time.

114. Lovely - February 12, 2008

Hi I need help with the WD Passport Portable (Red 160GB). My Drive changed for F:/ to E: how I have no idea. But I need help changing it back. I have my entrie Zune collection on it and I can’t open my Zune software because if I do all the information will delete off of it due to the software can’t find the files in the F: drive.



115. Steve - February 12, 2008

I am amazed at how seemingly common it is for users to use WD sync to copy files to the Passport device, delete those files from the host PC, and then discover to their horror that the WD software deletes them ALSO upon the next sync operation. Yes, this happened to me (before discovering this blog), resulting in several lost files. WD should be shamed for not documenting that warning more explicitly. Obviously the solution of choice (in hindsight) is to bypass WD sync altogether and just use Windows Explorer to copy and paste to the device. But just in case some miracle has arisen since previous posts, could you confirm Mike that once WD sync deletes a file, it is gone forever? This is very frustrating — imagine a data storage product that comes complete with software that deletes the needed data. How ironic.

116. Fraser - February 12, 2008

hey, the above post sounds like the problem i have. if i try to reformat it threatens to remove all my files and the drive name changed. Hey “lovely” are all your files dissapeared yet still on there?

thanks again

117. RichardF - February 15, 2008

Every time McAfee antivirus runs, it flags the directory “\system volume information” on the Seagate Free Agent drive, as containing adware. Specifically named “Adware-Starware”. Even though I have instructed McAfee to remove it, the adware reinstalls itself. The directory is a hidden folder.

1) Is this directory required by the Free Agent drive?
2) Is the “Adware-Starware” a part of Seagate’s
3) Has anyone dealt with this problem before and what did you do to solve it?



118. Jeff - February 22, 2008

Hi Mike,

Thanks for caring enough to help us out! Per the outer packaging that came with my passport, I want to use it so that I can sync the data on my work computer and use that information to have a the same desktop on my home computer. I want to continue to work at home as if I am using my computer at work. I understand the risk of losing material through the use of the sync software on the work computer, but I am concerned about the other end, my home computer. Will it delete the majority of what is on my home computer, or work as promised on the outer packaging and give me my work desktop and files at home?

119. JOSE QUINTERO - February 29, 2008



120. Kevin - March 2, 2008

I get this error: “An item could not be found” 0×40010011 when I put my password in! What do I do? WD website has no help on it!

Thank you!

121. Christineeeeeeee - March 5, 2008

Hi Mike!

First of all: thank you thank you thank you!

Second of all: I purchased the WD Passport 3 months ago for the sole purpose of freeing up my laptop of 15GB of songs on iTunes. Clearly, due to some serious user-unfriendly issues, I still have no idea how to do it!

Is it possible you could provide a quick step-by-step guide to:

1. Move all my music from the laptop to the WD Passport.
2. Delete said music on the laptop whilst being reassured that they will be on the WD Passport and;
3. Launch iTunes with all music already on it from the WD Passport and thereby not having to relocate each individual song?

Please tell me if this is possible or am I fighting a futile battle???

Thanks a million

122. Robin - March 14, 2008

You have helped so many people and I have learned a lot reading this blog. Fortunately my new WD Passport is not recognized by my PC so I have synched away my files. Unfortunately, all the passport does is blink and beep. My PC runs Windows XP pro. Can you help?
Thanks for all you do!

123. Robin - March 14, 2008

Last message should have said I have NOT syched away my files.
:)) Robin

124. Robin - March 14, 2008

Sometimes things are too simple. I had plugged the short little USB wire that came with my Passport into a USB extention cable (about 4′ long) because my PC sits on the floor. When I plugged the little cable directly into the computer the beeping disappeared and my computer quickly found the Passport!!! Go figure. Well, I always like to know why, so I searched around the WD FAQ pages and found out that the Passport will not work if connected to USB cable longer than 22″ (which happens to be the length of the little USB that came with the Passport!). Hope this helps someone else!
Thanks again Mike for sharing and helping.
🙂 Robin

125. David Roos - March 15, 2008

I bought the 250 Gb passport and have been trying for 3 days on 4 PC’s to get the thing to be recognized.

It keeps coming up with ” Unknown Device ” in the device manager and nothing I do seems to help.

I am not the smartest man in the world but certainly frustrated and the help quaestions at WD are of little use.

126. steve - March 16, 2008

hey mike, i just got the 250gb passport. i plugged it in and loaded the wdsync program. when i got the first screen asking what i wanted to sync i chose “other” (i think it wa called “other) and it sync’d up my IE favorites and outlook contacts. that’s all. no music, no files, etc. (which i didn’t click on first page). anyway i just dragged all my doc folders (including all my music) into it and they’re all there. my question is, it seems to me the best thing to do from reading previous posts is to bypass wdsync, especially since i mainly bought this to use as huge flash drive to just save music, etc on. how do i double-check the wdsync settings or where is that option – so i can make sure it isn’t syncing anything? i have yet to be able to find that initial window that asked me what i wanted sync’d. hope i’m explaing this clear….

127. steve - March 16, 2008

did you ever find an answer to your question from March 5th? I’m asking because that’s exactly what I bought the passport for.
let me know….

128. Christineeeeeeee - March 17, 2008

Hey Steve!

Yes i figured it out! It’s probably not the best way to do it, but it worked for me! Hopefully the ‘easy’ how-to guide that I made up below helps:

1. Delete songs from iTunes, but MAKE SURE YOU SELECT “”KEEP FILES”” (as opposed to selecting ‘send to recycle bin’). If you’re afraid of losing all your songs accidentally, try a test run by deleting one song and checking if it’s still in the same place you saved it.

2. Uninstall iTunes from your computer –> By having one iTunes program, your computer won’t get confused of what iTunes you’ll be opening up (i.e your WD Passport or your computer hardrive)

3. Download/install iTunes and save it directly to the WD Passport (it’ll ask you where you would like to save the iTunes program, so search for the WD Passport Drive). Hint: Create a new folder called ‘iTunes’ on the WD Passport (NOT THE SYNC PROGRAM) so that it’ll be easier to organise. Another hint: when downloading the iTunes program, it gives you an option to have a desktop shortcut – if you say yes/or check the box, you can open iTunes directly from your computer without having to open it up through Windows Explorer then the WD harddrive.

4. Move your Music folder to the WD Passport via Windows Explorer (again, as if saving on a USB). Depending on the number of songs you have, it’ll take a few minutes. It took me around 30minutes for the Music folder to be transferred to the WD Passport

5. Open iTunes and add all your songs to your iTunes library!!! Make sure you go to Edit>Preferences>Advanced> and reset the location of iTunes Music Folder to the WD Passport drive.

Note: you’ll never actually ever have to open up the WD Sync Program using this method, and therefore hopefully have zero issues!

You’ll be able to open up iTunes directly from the desktop shortcut as aforementioned AND without having to have to relocate songs! Just make sure you have the WD Passport connected when you do open it up.

Good luck!


129. Dana Nutter - March 26, 2008

Been fighting with a 250 GB for about a month now. First I copied the files over. I put it in my car and hooked to the USB connector on the stereo. It worked for a few minutes then stopped. After messing around I gave in and bought a USB cigarette lighter adapter and one of WD overpriced “power booster” cables (which should have come with the unit). It now works fine in the car for playing music, but while trying to copy and backup data from my home computer, it’s corrupting everything. I can’t even reformat it now?

This thing is a big piece of junk. I regret buying it, and really hated having to invest more money for a cable that should have been included in what should have been a plug-n-play device directly out of the box. I should kept my loyalty to Seagate products which I’ve used for many years without hassle.

130. allan who is in great need of your help - March 30, 2008

hey all, just wanted to say that mike is a champ for taking the time to read all these posts so im hoping he or anyone that can help will read mine 2. I bought a 160gb wd passport 2 days ago and the wdsync has been driving me insane. I started using the wdsync program realising i prefered to use my passport as a large flash drive rather than a synchornized backup. now when I plug in my passport all the files in my wd passport appear on my laptop and when i delete them off my laptop, it deletes it from my wd passport. I’ve tried turning off the auto-synchornize function and i have also unchecked all boxes of what directories i want to synchornize and ive have even tried deleting the profile i set up but everytime i plug in my passport, the files keep appearing on my laptop which is a waste because i bought the passport to free up space on my laptop. can anyone help? cheers

131. Neil - April 1, 2008

Hi I have a new problem with WD Passport! I started with 15gb free on my laptop hardrive. Then cut and pasted a ton of files/ pics and music to the WD to leave me with a nice big free space on my laptop- But now I only have 4gb freespace on the lappy?!! How is this so – i moved all the files FROM the laptop TO the Passport then deleted originals from my laptop therefor should have gained space not lost it???? Confused please help

132. doug - April 3, 2008

I can’t get WD Sync to work – every time I use it it spends time going through the sync process then gives me an error message saying it can’t sync on this occasion. Having read this thread, I’ve decided not to bother trying to get it to work – I’ll just use the Passport as a back-up storage unit……

Which leads to the next problem (which is more Windows than WD, probably). I have copied My Pictures (a folder which has many sub-folders) to the Passport. Fine. Next day, I added some pics to one of the sub-folders in My Pictures on the PC. I thought that if I dragged and dropped My Pictures on my PC to the identical folder on the Passport, it would ask me if I wanted to replace the existing files or not and I could then just add the latest ones that were added to the PC file earlier in the day. Not so – it added the whole My Pictures file as a sub-folder to My Pictures on the Passport. Any idea why this is?

If this is the only way to do a back-up, it means that a folder can’t be updated by dragging and dropping – it would have to deleted each time something new was added to the original and then copied anew.

What am I missing?


133. sam - April 6, 2008

Neil – Did you empty your recycle bin after deleting the files?

134. Earlene - April 9, 2008

Has anyone ever had a problem safely removing the device? I get the message The device ‘Generic volume’ cannot be stopped right now. Try stopping the device again later. At which point all I can do is click ok. I also want to simply use this to free space on my laptop, and I did try unclicking sync from the options menue. All I wanted to do was copy a test file onto the drive then delete it from my machine and see if I could get it back before I start transferring all my files but now I cannot even safely remove the device and I’m afraid of ruining the device (excuse my lack of knowledge on the topic, this is my first removable storage device). WD’s technical writer should be fired immediately!!!! Help please.

135. david john yap - April 12, 2008

can i back up my itunes songs in my western digital storage device? would want to save them in the device just to make sure they are secure. thanks. how do you do it?

136. vasuki belavadi - April 14, 2008

I bought a 250GB (Black) Western Digital My Passport Essential disk. My XP computer refuses to recognise it! If there are any, where do i find the drivers to instal. Pl. help! I have spent $160 buying it!! Help in this regard will be highly appreciated. I am sure you will appreciate that technical support in India for such products is hard to find.

137. Alex Toh - April 16, 2008

Need someone help!! I’m bought 120G WD passport external hard drive and detected I/O input error. I have save my personal data inside the drive but now totally can’t open it….. is this attacted by virus or??? please advise how to recover it.

please mail me the solution with thanks.

138. Matt - April 20, 2008

I’m struggling to see the poing in this piece of software, surely the point of Sync software is to have two copies of data? right?

I have lost my Laptop HD and have I need to re-‘sync’ back the data, but if the software sees that there is no data at the Master copy location then it will delete my backup on the Passport.

What on earth is the point in this? How do I know retore?

139. Martha - May 2, 2008

I had the same problem as Matt — thought I had a backup. To make matters worse, sync was set to automatic. It took many days and several emails but I did get info from support at western digital. I copy below what they said and worked for me:
— WD answer —
Yes, we will do our best to help you restore your data.
The only way that you will successfully transfer the data from the Passport drive is to connect the drive to another computer ( different than the one you synchronized from) and change the automatic setting.

Answer Link: http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1456&p_created=1152900182

Answer Link: http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1455&p_created=1152630952

140. Martha - May 2, 2008

I had the same problem as Matt — thought I had a backup. To make matters worse, sync was set to automatic. It took many days and several emails but I did get info from support at western digital. I copy below what they said and worked for me:
— WD answer —
Yes, we will do our best to help you restore your data.
The only way that you will successfully transfer the data from the Passport drive is to connect the drive to another computer ( different than the one you synchronized from) and change the automatic setting.
–So I did the above and connected the passport to a pc it had never visited – the system ‘cranked’ for a while and then came up a screen whereby I could redo my settings. I changed it to manual, went back to laptop that had crashed and did a copy and paste from the Passport to the laptop. I retrieved all my files. I used one or both the WD links below to help in the copy and paste process. Hope this helps.–

Answer Link: http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1456&p_created=1152900182

Answer Link: http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1455&p_created=1152630952

141. Sharon - May 3, 2008

When I connect my WD 120GB to the USB and it load’s the “FOUND NEW HARDWARE”, and ask for a disk to install ot to install it automaticlly. I press install automaticlly because I got no installaion disk with it. After pressisng it searches for a driver and it can’t find nothing that it can use to install the WD. On my other computer it works well, I just pluj it in and it works!

142. Vladimir - May 7, 2008

I just bought 250gb Passport drive with WD Sync. This blog post and discussions are great, thanks for making it.

143. ITA - May 10, 2008


I have a 120 gig western digital passport drive (black) bought at the end of the year to backup files. This was fine under Tiger; but now under Leopard with Time Machine the USB will not mount and tries to mount itself but fails. About this Mac shows fast USB device, but nothing on the Disk Utility.

The latest driver updater does not help; and Apple is even less help.

144. len deegan - May 12, 2008

First, Im sort of limited on computers. So saying that, hers my situation! Bouht a 160gb. Attached it to my satellite to copy a movie. Then to my desktop. connected and to my computer F drive. I see several files, one of which shows dishppv.ts. HOW do transfer this to a blank DVR on the computer. I dragged it and it showed transfer, but would not work on my dvd machine. I guess that was to easy a procrdure. Directions would be helpful! Note: using this unit for DVD transfers only at this time! Thanks! L

145. marvin kyllonen - May 12, 2008

using asserys backup command in windows xp
does not show WD passport drive

146. Deborah - May 26, 2008

This forum is amazing but reading through it I can not find any reference to the problem I keep having. When I plug in my WD Passport to my notebook to transfer files from my desktop, I keep getting the following message. I click OK to get rid of message and the syncronization continues for a bit, the message keeps popping up, I keep clicking it away and eventually it completes the syncronization but the it makes me a bit nervous as to why I keep getting this message and if it is syncronizing properly.

“WD Sync could not access to your mobile storage device. Your mobile storage device may be full or disconnected. Please verify that your mobile storage device is plugged in and syncronize again.”

I am VERY thankful for having found this forum before losing important data and agree with the person who said WD should be ashamed of the info they give/do NOT give to protect people’s data. And it’s ridiculous that it updates when you delete a file but not when you add a file – I thought it would automatically update both ways. WD needs to improve, but a big thanks to Mike for all his time and efforts.

147. Mike - May 27, 2008

Hi Deborah,

Thanks for reading and contributing to this commentary. You may want to try connecting your WD Passport to another USB port on your computer. Or, if possible, try a different USB cable. Perhaps you’ve already thought of this, but the idea is to eliminate the possibility of a faulty cable or port before continuing with the assumption that its the WD drive itself or the software on it that is the root of the problem.

148. Will - May 27, 2008

Hello All,
Here is something that may help those that do not like the sync feature on WD Sync. I received this info from Dmailer after contacting them. Thanks for everyones help and postings on this website.

These features are availible with Dmailer V7.

There is some difference between these two products. Dmailer is the creator and developer of this software.

Nevertheless, Dmailer version 7 is already available and includes:
– MS Vista + Exchange 2007 + Office 2007 full compatibility
– Windows Mail full support
– Automatically add sub folder to synchronize
– New synchronization algorithm
– New skin
– New improvements

Please, note that you can download the latest version of Dmailer V7 software at

As customer satisfaction is our top priority, you will automatically get a 50% OFF discount from the regular price. To access this promotion simply click on:http://www.shareit.com/product.html?productid=300066319

149. Mike - May 27, 2008

That’s great info! Thanks much, Will.

150. silvestre - May 28, 2008

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your website and your time spent helping people get around the WD Passport drive.

My question refers to the new update by dmailer. Is it possible to download it to the Passport and delete the older version?

Maybe this question may sound silly, but I am pretty illiterate when it comes to syncing and external hard drives.

Again, thanks for your help


151. silvestre - May 28, 2008


thanks for explaining how to transfer all the music from your pc to the Passport. However, I would appreciate if you help me by telling me how do I UPDATE the WD when I have new music (and artwork) to update… How do I do it? Is it a long process? If so… could you explain me how?

Again, thanks if you can help. Your way of explaining processes is really good, clear and understandable. Not easy to find around. Very appreciative.



152. faferris - May 28, 2008

I have a WD 160GB and I used the WD Sync program to make a backup of my files. But now I could not open some of the files because, just an error message.

153. Jenny - May 31, 2008

Hi, I have a 120GB and I am getting a message that says that the HD is not recognised. I have tried it on another computer and it isn’t recognised there as well. Can someone help me please as I have all my photos stored on this device. I have read all the blogs and I don’t see any solution there. I hope this is not fatal
Thanks Jenny

154. EY - June 2, 2008


I bought 250GB external passport drive and then successfully sync all my files between the Laptop and the passport, but after accidently reformat my laptop HD, I can see in the external passport 32GB size of files under the “My Profile” in a,b,c,d… and DML extention that was originaly synced with my laptop but I can’t retrieve or restore back to my laptop, I have some important files that I need to retrieve, I’ve noticed that some people in this forum have the same problem as me. How can I access to those files or retrieve back to my laptop. Please if anybody can help me.

155. BALLA - June 2, 2008

jai achetéle dsque dur externe et en le connectent à mon portable il me réclame une clef que le vendeur a oublie de me comuniquer
aider moi à l retrouver

156. Lorianne - June 17, 2008

I love the 250gb version. Awesome to have all my data, photos, files, etc on a little drive I can take out of the house. Do yourself a favor, and get one and keep it at the office for backup. House fire, water damage, lighting, you just don’t know what can happen.

157. Dave - June 23, 2008

I used WD passport drive wd2500me for about a month without issues.
Now when I connect it, it powers up (led light with usb symbol turns on) makes soft noise like some fan running inside the drive…
but my computer does not recognize it…

a message is displayed saying “unknown device”..

I just disconnected from one computer and connected it imediately onto another from when this problem started.
From then on I’m unable to access any data on it as it is shown as unknown device ….

How should I proceed to get it to work again…

is it just a crap and can’t i use it again??

158. Frustrated - June 26, 2008

I bought 5 160GB WD Passport HDDs for our small non-profit to place our hard drive files and Outlook mail on. My issue: As I installed each one and went through the oh-so-not-so-helpful User Guide, the WD Sync software FAILED for each one. There is no reason for this to be happening, unless someone can explain. I tried tech support, but got a rep on the phone that I could not clearly communicate with (that is all I’ll say about that), and then when i went the Dmailer contact route, I discovered it is a company in France and they leave no contact telephone number…now how am I supposed to solve this issue. I think it is a shame we must rely on just each other (which don’t get me wrong…i’m eternally grateful for) rather than the product and software makers.

159. JR - June 26, 2008

How do I back up my Mac mail onto the WD Passport Essential.

160. Frank - July 1, 2008

Can anyone HELP? I lost about 8GB of pics from our mission trips because the sync softwre was enabled. After confirming the pics were on the passport I deleted the folders from my laptop. When I connected the passport again to the laptop it started deleting from the passport. I was l literally like a “deer in the headlights” unable to respond quickly enough to save the data.

161. Donnie - July 10, 2008

I don’t know if you can get those files back. I lost 20+GB testing it’s storage with junk and semi-important files that I could shrug off. Damn synchronization.

Anyone looking to use this as a simple storage device should follow this link http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1021&p_created=1055967594&p_sid=6Snraoph&p_lva=&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPTEmcF9zb3J0X2J5PSZwX2dyaWRzb3J0PSZwX3Jvd19jbnQ9MSZwX3NlYXJjaF90eXBlPXNlYXJjaF9mbmwmcF9wYWdlPTEmcF9zZWFyY2hfdGV4dD0xMDIx&p_li=
that provides the steps to format and change the file system to NTFS. The next time you open the drive folder, it should be completely empty and ready for copy/pasting.

162. Mike - July 10, 2008

Thanks Donnie. To further clarify your comment, using the Passport as a “simple storage device” means that the WD Sync software would no longer be used. If you choose to reformat the Passport hard drive, it will erase ALL data (including the WD Sync software) stored on the device. NTFS format will allow you to store large files (greater than a few MB) on the device, whereas FAT32 does not.

163. Juan9569 - July 15, 2008

I just bought the 250GB elite model and had problems getting XP to recognize the drive (got the “found new HW” but it couldn’t find the driver) on my work laptop while an older XP desktop at home had no problem recognizing it. I noticed some other people have had the problem, so here’s what I did to get it to work.

For many of us, the problem is that something in our XP install or driver configuration is corrupt. In my case, it’s a bad corporate image for my particular laptop model. Ideally, we should reinstall our PCs, but I found a quick hack as a workaround (it’s an adaptation of an old trick I learned many years ago on win 2000 when I was still technical ;-).

Basically, I uninstalled the device from the laptop that was able to recognize the drive and dumped the registry to a text file. Then I plugged it in and dumped the registry again and ran a difference tool to figure out what keys were changed.

For this fix to work, you’ll need 1) access to another Win XP machine on the same Service Pack level that does recognize the disk 2) a USB memory key and 3) if the below looks like greek to you, pls have a friend that can understand the steps/idea do this for you

On the laptop that doesn’t recognize the drive, go into the device manager and look for the yellow exclamation point items – one of them should say ‘external disk’ or something similar. Go into the properties and make a note of the device ID string – it will look something like this: “USB\VID_1058&PID_0705&MI_00\6&6FE17B7&0&0000”

Open regedit on both machines and go to key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USB

Then look for the device ID string you noted from the other laptop – e.g., VID_1058&PID_0705

You may have a few of these (I did). Check each for a sub item that appears on both machines. In my case it was “57442D575843333038373839313636”

On the pc that recognizes the disk, export this key to your usb memory key. On the pc that can’t see the disk, right click on this registry key, and change the permissions for “everyone” to full. Then delete the key.

On both pcs, go further down in the registry to the following key:

On the pc that can see the disk, look for the following sub item:


Export this key. Follow the steps above to delete the key on the machine that can’t see it.

Move the USB memory key to the pc that can’t see the hard drive, then double click on the 2 registry files that you exported. This should import them into the registry and configure your PC as if it had successfully recognized your disk.

Plug in your disk and hopefully it should work. Hope that helps for some of you!


164. Erfan - July 17, 2008

Take care all!!!!!! NEVER USE THE WD PASSPORT AS A BACKUP TOOL!!! this is what the company say!!

The WD sync is the worst ever cuz all ur data will be gone in case u forgot the password u added and it will not give u the chance to leave a blank password! and they say due to security issues u can not get ur data back and have to simply forget all about it!!!!!!!

165. scigirl22 - July 18, 2008

DON’T BUY THIS PRODUCT!!!!!! Maybe the hardware is ok (is it SATA or EIDE? toss a coin!!), but the software stinks and after spending hours on the WD website looking at 100s of “answers” it’s obvious if you have any version of Windows you’re screwed and will inevitably lose your data. WD’s c/s is awful and DMailer is in France! WT*?! I made the “mistake” all too many others have made and used the WD Sync software, thinking my files were “secure.” My IT techy “friend” recommended the Passport to me, telling me how great it is because it “backs up and encrypts” your data. Well, HAH! After my hard drive failed due to a power surge (I now have an UPS), I was so thrilled I had all my data “backed up” on my brand new handy Passport. Well, apparently “autosync” is the default setting (would be handy to have that in a…ummm…what’s that called? oh, yeah, USER’S MANUAL) and the evil ba$%^ds at Dmailer didn’t think to add in a prompt asking you whether you are SURE you want to PERMANENTLY DELETE all the photos of your new nephew and your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa. I, too, was a “deer in the headlights” as I watched all my photos disappear in disbelief. $cre* you, DMailer and WD!

166. Alwyn D'Souza - July 19, 2008

I have a passpoet elite 320gb. Every time I try to install the drive I get a messege ‘WD sync failed try again’ and when I try again I get a second messege ‘unable to lacate D:\wd_windows_tools\WDSync.exe’ Any thoughts on how I get arond this prblem. Would you advice using sync or a back up software? Help would be greatly appreciated.

167. Kevin - July 20, 2008

i just bought this wd passport essential and i got home hooked it up and synced all my video music and pictures which i then thought were safe so i reformatted my hard drive on my pc when i was done i had only used the copy part of the sync program for my pictures so i could save room on my pc hard drive by not putting back my music and video directly on the pc but when i had hit the sync button again to update it i lost all my video and music… please tell me is there any way to get this back help help i need my videos of my kids being born back

168. Gill - July 22, 2008

Hi all, well yes I too am one of the many on this blog that have been caught unawares by the WDSync software. Thinking I was clever and backed up the hard drive of my failing XP laptop. It eventually died and I plugged it into my new Vista machine. To my horror it shows no files… I don’t think it auto-synced anything. Using windows explorer i can “see” my files in the drive all 110GB of them but the are encrypted .dml files. I have trawled through google and this blog for hours trying to find out how to “decrypt” them but that has been in vain. Have I lost my thousands of hours worth of downloaded music albums and precious family photos.. I don’t know yet… I’m not giving up! Any help appreciated.

169. Joe - July 23, 2008

I’ve just spent the last few hours, off and on, reading this blog from beginning to end. It’s incredible to me that it has persisted for so long. Thank you. I’ve had my 250GB passport for a few months now and have not used it much. Luckily, I stumbled across this blog as I just noticed a 68GB folder on the passport with the folder name ” WD Sync Data”. I have no idea what is in the folder or when it was created. When I first purchased the drive I first copied all the files and folders on the root of the drive to another drive and immediately formatted the drive NTFS and then copied the same files and folders back to the passport. I never installed the Sync software. I just cut/copy files and folders on and off the drive. After reading through all the comments here. I am wondering if somehow some of my files have been “archived” to the passport without my knowing it. This situation is confusing to me. The passport was connected to my desktop computer that uses another external drive, a 500GB Free Agent external drive, to store the “MY Documents” folder. There is currently 218GB’s of my user files on the Free Agent and as I mentioned, 68GB’s of files archived in that WD Sync Data file. Is there any way for me analyze what might be in that folder since I never installed the Sync software? I’m now afraid that files may have been accidentally “moved’ to the passport, and I have no idea which ones they might be. Anyone have any ideas? Is the original size of the WD Sync folder as much as 68GBs. Somehow I doubt it. What worries me even more is the fact that the first folder down from the “WD Sync Data” folder resembles the name of the Passport connected computer on my network. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks again, Joe

170. Mike - July 23, 2008

Hi Joe,

I have a few questions regarding your situation:

#1: After formatting the drive to NTFS and pasting the folders back onto the Passport drive, did you notice that the WD Sync software was still functional?

#2: Is the WD Sync software currently installed on the Passport drive?

#3: Is there a chance that you may have removed some or all of the 68GB of data from your computer?

171. Joe - July 23, 2008

Hello Mike, that you for the reply.
#1) After formatting the drive and pasting the the folders back, I did not really notice if the WD Sync software was still functional because I do not remember ever actually initiating a install of the software.
#2) I believe the software was successfully copied back to the root of the Passport drive, but again I don’t remember going through a install process.
#3) This is my big concern here. From what I have read in the posts, if the 68GB’s no longer exists on the main PC, it will be deleted from the Passport drive if I reconnect and sync, correct?

I the way of an update; despite my apprehension because of my inexperience with the software, I connected the Passport drive to one of my notebooks that is a relatively fresh install of XP, with a virtually empty “My Documents” folder. I thought I might be a bit less likely to loose data files this way. I then initiated the WDSync_v7_1_020.exe executable and was presented with the program interface, which I do not recollect having seen before. There was only one profile listed so I took a couple of stabs at the password and was able to open up the archive. After browsing around a bit I chose the “Copy to PC option” and created a new folder in the My Documents folder as a target. The files are in the process of copying as I type this response. Hopefully I will be able to then use clone cleaner or clone remover to compare this set with my primary My Documents folder.
Some of the posts that I have read here, make me apprehensive about relying on the software to manage a synchronized set of data, but browsing around the interface made me hopeful that the software might have some promise. Since I am so unsure of the origins of the sync set on the Passport, would you recommend that I use the reset feature and try to start over? Do you have any tips on what I should look into or look out for? Also with respect to your questions 1 and 2; I was concerned about the viability of moving the software files on and off the root of the Passport the way I did in terms of breaking the software. I couldn’t find detailed enough information about this at WD’s site. They talk about reformatting the drive but nothing about how to back up and restore the provided software. I also came across a hidden, read-only file on the root that was sort of a bear to copy off the drive so that I could paste it back. Do you know anything about this folder? Is it some sort of copy protection? It was called ” System Volume Information”. Thanks again, Joe
Also, with regard to that 68GB set, does anything I have said give any insight into how it was selected, or from what source. It does not coincide with the size of my primary “MY Documents” data set despite the fact that the directory structure looks very similar. Is there a way to query the application to tell me anything about the history, timing, or parameters of the last sync?

172. Brian - July 24, 2008

Here’s a link for a forum which may help those of you who have data stuck in .dml files. Hope this helps.



173. Mike - July 24, 2008

Hi Joe,

I’m not aware of any means of querying the software application to find out about the history or timing of the last sync. I think you were wise to connect the Passport drive to another PC to try and learn more about the encrypted 68 GB. You found the right option with the “Copy to PC” feature. It should have transferred the 68 GB from the Passport drive to your PC. I hope you also turned off the “Auto Sync” feature.

I am not aware of the contents of the System Volume Information folder. I think the WD Sync software that came with the Passport drive was designed to run only on the Passport drive, so maybe the folder has some critical files associated with that.

174. Stacy - July 28, 2008

Hi Mike –

First of all – WOW! This is excellant information that did not come with my passport! Just to be sure that I don’t loose any valuable items such as all of my pictures, would I be better off doing a copy/paste of my pictures to the passport device in an effort to give my laptop more space? I am not sure, after reading all of this, that I want to Sync these files.


175. Mike - July 28, 2008

Hi Stacy,

That depends entirely on how you tend to use it. If your goal is to free up space on your laptop, using the sync software is not the solution for you. The files must remain on the laptop in order for the sync software to keep a copy on the Passport device. If you want to free up hard drive space, then the copy/paste option works best. You should make sure the Passport hard drive uses the NTFS (not FAT) format. If it has the FAT format, you will need to reformat the drive. Reformatting is not difficult, but it does erase all data on the drive….so make sure there’s nothing on there of importance to you.

176. dan - July 29, 2008

Dear Mike,

First I want to thank you for your kind attention to so many writers. WD should compensate you, for if they had been even minimally responsible they would have provided adequate documentation for their bundled software, “WD Sync;” users would have been spared much aggravation and at times serious loss, and you could have devoted your energy to other useful endeavors.

When I purchased my WD drive I was immediately confused by the WD synch software, and angry that I was wasting hours trying to be sure of its capabilities and function, seeking to learn how to use it safely while trusting I was not going to lose data. I slowly realized that it is powerful software that could easily destroy years of important files. It also can work more or less well, once it is carefully understood and configured and applied properly. Fortunately, I did not lose any data. The automatic synchronize feature should probably be disabled permanently.

I am moved by all your writers who have lost their data due to the negligence of WD and their inexcusable failure to explain clearly and explicitly the risks, appropriate use, and limitations of this software. This negligence contributed to many users, thinking they were safeguarding their data, to cruelly lose it all. I believe it would be entirely reasonable for those users, as a class, to sue WD, given the depth of unnecessary suffering and loss caused by such negligence. That WD still does not provide clear instructions and warnings for this product is shocking and inexplicable. The company appears recklessly irresponsible, if not incompetent.

You are a generous soul to devote so much energy to providing the information that WD should have offered clearly and freely with the product when purchased. Thank you for helping so many users. Given the power of this software, WD’s negligence is inexcusable; I for one would be entirely sympathetic to any effort to hold them liable for their customers’ losses.

177. Stacy - July 29, 2008

Thank you Mike. How do I find out which format the passport hard drive uses?

178. mr l.a - July 30, 2008

********************************************************************************** I just want to put a simple password protect on my wd- So when anyone comes across it they cant simply plug it in,it would instead start off with asking a password…. Sooo does anyone know if its possible and where to find that software etc? help !!******************

179. Julia Tirres - August 3, 2008

Dear Mike

I don’t know if you have ever answered a question to a 71 year old greatgrandmother, but here it is. How do I go to square one on My Passport Elite that I bought yesterday? I wish I had read your blog before I used the sync software and backup my files. I just want to drag and drop my files. I am sure that you have answered this question the past two years. Give me a step by step way to go back to last night

180. Julia Tirres - August 3, 2008

I just read post 175. I have the NTFS, if I reformat my divise will it stop syncing with my laptop? I don’t want it to do that anymore. I just want to say to the Passport instead of my laptop.

181. Me - August 4, 2008

I had a PC and now bought a MacBook. I want to get all my music and videos (.rmv and .dml files) off my PC and onto my MacBook so I bought a WD Passport to back things up etc. When I hook my WD to my Macbook and go to to open these files, it says “application can’t be found to open”. What do I need to do? Please can someone help?

182. Bryan B. - August 4, 2008

I have a 160GB passport. When I connect my drive I cannot accesss it. I am getting the error message: F:\ is not accessable. The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error.

I have tried to use it on multiple computers wih no luck. Is this thing done? Or can I at least get the data off of it?


183. Tom - August 4, 2008

Hi Mike,

I have a WD Sync drive and like others have said it is very confusing and direction (or lack of) are terrible. Problem I am having is we used the WD to back up everything on my daughters hard drive to the WD under a Prolfile Name and password. Her system crashed and I am trying to take the data on the WD and somehow get it to a different hard drive image. There is a folder under her Profile,Data,Sync.4.0.Deposit (a,b,c,…etc) with .dml files in them. Is there a way for me to recover all her pictures?

184. Aaron - August 10, 2008

Hi Mike

I have scrolled through a lot of the posts. I don’t want to use the sync software, just use the passport as a large flash drive for saving music on. Unfortunately every time I plug it only shows up in my computer as a wdsync. How do I open it without the software.
Thanks Aaron

185. Cliff - August 13, 2008

Hello Mike and everyone else.
Not to beat a dead horse, but thank you so much for this help.
I just purchased my first external HD-320 GB My Passport to backup about 75 G of music mainly. After reading all through this amazing chronicle, I have decided that I would only use copy and paste. I never had the message pop up asking if I would like to sync all or giving me the option to check or uncheck certain files and folders. So I was going to just copy and paste the folder containing the I -tunes music. I wouldn’t know how to re-format if I needed to, but since the folder is copying away as I type this, the 4gb limit does not to seem to be a problem for me. My question is two-fold. When I open my computer and right-click on the WD My Passport icon and then click explore, I see the various folders that are part and parcel of it’s pre-installed hardware. Which of these can I delete if I just want to completely get rid of the syncing software. I hadn’t intended to do this but after reading some of the horror stories here, it seems like it is the wise thing to do since it does seem as though some folks have had the syncing start up automatically some time after they had first used the device without using sync.
Now that I have made that all as clear as mud, I hope you can help.
And thank you again for your time and effort here. I believe I will copy this entire blog and paste it into an e-mail that I will send to WD.

186. Cliff - August 13, 2008

Hello again,
Of course I meant that I wanted to un-install some of the pre-installed software , not hardware as I typed in last post.
The reason I got to your blog was having read customer reviews on various sites before purchasing this, I had seen many good reviews and the most tech-savvy folks had all pretty much said to dump the software that came with it and to just use copy/paste. Well, yeah but none of them said how to do it, which I know is easy but not if you don’t know how or haven’t done it, seen someone do it etc.

187. Cliff - August 13, 2008

oooooooooooooooo, those evil, evil bastards!!!!
I copied this entire blog to post along to our friends at WD and when I went to the “Contact Us-tech support section of their website, I got this…

Western Digital

Email Support
Internal Hard DrivesExternal Storage
Serial ATA DrivesEIDE DrivesExternal DrivesSCSI Hard Drives
Help Center

WD Support

This site is currently undergoing maintenance.
Thank you for your patience.

188. Jennifer - August 18, 2008

Hello Mike and all:

Thank you so much for this helpful forum! I have a question related to the use of both the WD Sync software and WD Anywhere Backup software included on my 250G Passport Elite HD.

It is my understanding that I can use the WD Sync software to make changes to work files while I am home by running the files from my external HD and then syncing my external HD with my work computer in order to have the changes reflected on the “base” computer. Is this correct?

From my understanding, this sync process is completely separate from the automatic backup that is occurring on my “base” computer via WD Anywhere Backup. Can you tell me if I am running both WD Sync and WD Anywhere Backup – are my files safe from accidental deletion?? I’m so confused.

Basically, I want to use the included software for 2 purposes. First, I had hoped that syncing software would allow me to be mobile with my data, using it on numerous computers and then being able to easily update the files on my “base” computer.

Secondly, I want to have a complete backup of my “base” computer that is separate from the syncing process. For this I thought I could use the WD Anywhere Backup software. Can you tell me if my assumptions/ideas are correct?

Thank you so much for any assistance you can offer.

189. Anthony Brien - August 23, 2008

I’ve just had a horrible experience with this drive. My mom got it to backup her huge collection of pictures to make room on her laptop. I told her over the phone, just drag and drop your folders to back them up and then you can delete them from the laptop. She did just that, but apparently, this WD Sync software kicked in and setup synchronization. The next time she plugged in the drive, the WD Sync must have automatically kicked in and start deleting her backup because it no longer existed on her drive.

Thankfully she disconnected the drive when she saw the word “Remove” a lot during the sync process and called me. However, she did lose some important folders.

I just hate that kind of custom software that does things that should be a separate program that the user has to install on their own, rather than replace basic hard drive functionality under their nose like that.

190. ibdribbles - August 24, 2008

Greetings and thanks for the info on WD. I recently visited my daughter after she purchased a 2nd computer for use in Physician Assistant school. It was an HP dv2000 laptop with is an impressive beast despite the fact it runs Vista. She also took advantage of getting a mini drive and selected the WD 160G to back up her data, pix & itunes. I worked to move things from the old computer to the new and transferred stuff every which way. When it came time to copy stuff to the WD I used the copy & paste method and everything seemed fine. Shortly after my return home, my daughter called to tell me that she had 8-10 copies of the same folder on the WD. It looks like the auto-sync option is turned on and is making multiple copies of the same folder from her HD onto the WD. I thought when the sync option was on it would copy OVER the original not make multiple copies. How do we correct this? Since the online documentation is limited on WD and its sync features I’m trying to help out my daughter as she lacks patience with fixing computers and the problems associated with them. She’s like her Mom…wants to just turn the key and go…not concerned about the blinking red light on the dash! I guess I need to find a step-by-step process and walk her through this…would WD tech support help?

191. Mad Guru - August 24, 2008

This is one confusing piece of equipment.

After I sync I can see the files in the WDsync software. However, when I use windows explorer, I dont see any of them.

I have done a search of the drive using windows explorer for files I can see in sync, but nothing at all is showing up.

Any tips on what Im doing wrong here??

192. Amanda - August 28, 2008

Mad Guru,

You should probably know in advance that by using the WD Sync software that’s loaded on the hard drive automatically ‘encrypts’ any data that is transferred to the device. Encryption is used for extra security and must be ‘decrypted’… Keep in mind that the drive is generally used to synchronize with local files that you don’t want to lose and is not intended to be a browsable drive (ie thumbnails of files). Hope this answers your question.

193. Amanda - August 28, 2008


I’m definitely NOT Mike, but it sounds to me that you just want to restore your daughter’s data on her system. What you need to do is click “Copy to PC” and select what files need to go on her computer.

194. Mike - September 5, 2008

Hi Amanda,

Thanks for helping out. Your suggestions were on target. Maybe you could be me! : )

195. Danielle - September 8, 2008

So hard for me to believe that this thread has been kept alive so long… thanks for doing this and if you are willing to answer any more questions, maybe you can answer this, for me and for others who find this. I have not found it spelled out anywhere else online.

Some of the amazon.com power users talk about removing the pre-loaded software and replacing them with free programs that work better for them…. except none of them spell out…

1) The best way to remove pre-loaded software off this drive (I plan to refomat it to NTFS)

2) Alternative free or low cost backup software for each of the major functions (with any luck better documented) such as encryption and automatic backups.

196. Mike - September 9, 2008

Hi Danielle,

Thanks for checking out my blog. Here’s some info for you:

1) Reformat as NTFS should be adequate to remove the pre-loaded software. Here’s a link to a YouTube video that will help show how to do that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC2wMF4Uv-Y

2) A colleague of mine recommends Sync Toy from Microsoft. It is free and allows you to sync data between a computer and a USB drive. I haven’t used it myself, but he says it works for him.
Here’s a link to get more info and to download: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=c26efa36-98e0-4ee9-a7c5-98d0592d8c52&displaylang=en&tm

197. Danielle - September 9, 2008

Wonderful, thanks so much for the quick response!

198. Erin - September 18, 2008

Hi Mike or anyone who can help.

I have a 250 gb passport that I want to delete the Sync software. I read that I need to reformat it to NTFS, but when I started the process I realized that it is already in NTFS. What should i do. The, software is still there and it wont let me open it as a just a hard drive or folder or what not. Thanks for listening.

199. Mike - September 18, 2008

Hi Erin,

It is my understanding that you can still reformat the drive. If you reformat an NTFS drive as NTFS, it would just wipe out the data that is on that drive. In your case, it sounds like that is what you want since the sync software would be removed as a result.

200. Madanmohan - September 19, 2008

Hi Mike,

I just bought the 160GB WD passport, and i did downloaded the Dmailer Version 8 and installed, while the time of installation it is asking me for 3odays trail version, or to buy that one. Now am in dilema that earlier with the WD passport device i got WD Sync.exe along with that, now if i want to use WD sync, i need to buy the DmailerV8, which i dont want.

Please suggest me how can i revert it back to WD sync.exe(verion 7)

Need your valuable suggestion

Madanmohan Reddy

201. xalaras - September 21, 2008

hello mike and everyone.
i have a wd passport 320 gb.
it was ntfs and i wanted to make it fat32 so i can plug in ps3.
i format the drive in fat32 but now when i plugged in the pc it is not recognized and i can’t format it again.what can i do?
sorry for my poor english

202. pedro - September 24, 2008

Hello Reddy,
if you register your WD hard drive on western website, you will be able to download wdsync.

203. Tom - September 26, 2008

I am amazed at how many folks are using the WDSync software for backuping up their data. If you want to backup your data then backup software. I am not bashing anyone just stating a fact. If I was able to, I would upload an actual user guide for this software.

204. Eddie - September 28, 2008


Thanks for all the help. I bought a 320g just a couple of weeks ago as a back-up drive and created a Home profile, saving the most important data. My PC was recently reformatted and although I have most of the files, I wanted to retrieve the saved files in the external drive. Now, when I open my Home profile it does not recognize the pc as being the same one and I can’t access my saved files…what should I do? Please help.

205. Craig - September 29, 2008

Hi Mike,

I have the same exact problem as Eddie with the 250g passport drive. I synced my desktop to the hard drive before studying abroad and when I switched over to my laptop I used the same profile name. Now I have no clue how to access the files as it re-synced to the laptop. They are still most certainly there as the drive is about half full and my laptop only holds about 20 gigs max.

Is there a way to change a piece of code in one of the files to trick the drive into thinking I was on the other computer, or perhaps changing something in the registry? I have jack to little experience in computer coding, just thought I throw it out there,


206. Mike - September 29, 2008

Hi Craig,

When you plugin the Passport device, does it auto-sync to your computer or prompt you to choose a profile?

207. Craig - October 1, 2008

Hi Mike,

It prompts me to choose a profile.

Thanks for the quick response!

208. Eddie - October 1, 2008


Mine is asking me to chose a profile and when I do so I open it but there are no files there. It brings the message that it is not the same pc as I had created the profile for. On the other hand, when I explore the Passport device within the file of this profile, there is a backup file of 53MB (which is the data of my backup). Question is, how can open this data now that my pc is changed? Is there a software I can use or something I can do?


209. sd - October 4, 2008

IS there a user’s guide for WDSync? I can’t figure out how to use it. I watched their video with the beautiful model/world traveller working on the road, but it didn’t tell me how to do it.

210. Mike - October 4, 2008

Hi SD,

I don’t think there’s very detailed user guide anywhere. They spent too much money on the model and the video. You may find some info on the help menu within the software or by visiting the support section on the software manufacturer’s web site, http://www.dmailer.com.

211. Mike - October 5, 2008

Craig and Eddie,

Two thoughts:

1. Under your “old” profile, can you access the COPY TO PC menu? If yes, try copying the files you want onto your newly formatted hard drive.

If #1 doesn’t seem possible, here’s another option to consider.

2. I haven’t tried this myself, but I think it may be a solution. Your device assumes that you’ve connected it to a new PC. Leave your old profile intact. Create a new profile for your new PC. Be careful to TURN OFF THE AUTO SYNC function in your new profile, which is found on the OPTIONS menu in the WDSync software.

I’m assuming that the WDSync software will sync your device to your new PC using the new profile, thus leaving your old profile and old data intact. Once the new profile is created, **and you’ve disabled auto-sync on both profiles**, go back to your old profile and see if my first suggestion will work. You should be able to use the COPY TO PC menu from the old profile and select the data you want to copy to your computer.

212. Carolyn - October 8, 2008

Mike — you are a GODSEND!!! WD tech support (if there really is one!!) is horrible. I started reading “My Tech Talk” and instantly recognized all of the problems/questions I have. It looks as though I can browse through “My Tech Talk” and get my questions answered. Thank you so much!!

213. Raakesh Ohri - September 9, 2009

Dear Mike,
I have a wd250me passport. Operating system of Laptop Vista Home premium. External HD is not being recogonized but the icon flashes.

214. Kathy B - September 25, 2009

I’ll ditto Carolyn…THANK YOU MIKE!! If it weren’t for this blog I would never had realized that Sync had the potential to erase all of my files.

I installed Sync thinking that it was back up software. Luckily I stumbled across this blog.I unchecked auto synchronization, unchecked all file/document folders and will be reformatting in order to “wipe the slate clean” on this and use simply as copy/paste drive.

here we are Sept 2009, almost 2 years after the 1st post and still Western Digital has done nothing to enhance or improve upon its Sync software….no Help icon during initial setup, no easily accessible guide, no indication to be found without some major searching that Sync has the potential to delete a user’s file…what an awful way to run a company

215. Paula - October 8, 2009

Hi Mike

Just read all the comments above! Also v. confused and I thought that I was fairly computer literate. I stopped using the Passport drive when I realised that it seemed to be making an exact back-up of what was on my P.C.

As I want to remove some video files from my P.C., can you delete all the existing folders on the passsport drive and then use it as a standard external hard drive? So the WDsync disappears and back-up then becomes a simple drag and drop process?


216. Paula - October 8, 2009

213. Paula – October 8, 2009
Hi Mike

Just read all the comments above! Also v. confused and I thought that I was fairly computer literate. I stopped using the Passport drive when I realised that it seemed to be making an exact back-up of what was on my P.C.

As I want to remove some video files from my P.C., can you delete all the existing folders on the passport drive and then use it as a standard external hard drive? So the WDsync disappears and back-up then becomes a simple drag and drop process?


217. Tim - October 11, 2009

Backed up data from pc to Passport and put them with dml extension. Now i cannot view them

218. phil - December 31, 2009

my computer recently crashed. i had to format hard drive and reinstall windows xp. before the crash i purchased wd 250g and backed up files on wd. after i reinstall windows and the newest version of itunes i copied folder of itunes from wd to reinstalled windows xp ,the file has no info on music, it just has itunes symbol and numbered. how do i find and restore itunes from wd.phil antonio

219. Brian - January 2, 2010

You mention in your excellen intro, “Given the issue in #1, I would suggest not using the “automatic synchronization” option in the WD Sync software.”

However, I can find no such option. At the top of the Sync software, I see the buttons: HOME, BACKUP, RETREIVE, SETTINGS. It is not to be found in any of these

220. Mahesh Prasad - January 7, 2010

Hi, I am unable to remember / recollect the password for the profile I created on the WD Passport drive a few months ago.

I need to restore the data on the new laptop now.

221. GUEST - January 30, 2010

I´m able to open my profile, but I can´t see my files in Product, and my drive contains .dml files!

Download it following this link :http://www.dmailer.org/download/DataRecoveryTool.zip

– When you have downloaded it, here are the steps to use it:
1. Launch it and go to “Profiles->Scan directory”.
2. Select your “Data” folder (E.g. “DmailerData”) containing your synchronized data. You should see all your profiles being listed.
3. Select the profile you wish to synchronize and click “Save All To”.
4. Choose the destination folder.All your files from your profile will be recovered in his directory.

222. Tamara - February 2, 2011

I’ve read through a lot of these comments but unfortunately I don’t have time to read the lot, so I apologise if my questions have already been answered.
I’m on my second WD Passport. It took me so long to figure out how to use my first one and then it crashed. Luckily it was still under warranty but had no option but to get a new one when I would have probably preferred a refund!
Anyway, with my current one I’ve figured out the sync and all is ok but what I want to do is access my files on other computers eg work, uni etc. I can open the sync software and open the file (except a few files which seem to have ‘issues’ at present). I then want to work on the file and I can normally save my changes though sometimes it is read only and won’t save so I have to save as and just save onto it like a flash drive. At present I am then having to copy the file (either in the sync software or on the ‘harddrive’ part) onto my home lap top to replace the ‘original’ file and update the changes I’ve made through the day. Thankfully the sync only syncs changed files on my laptop so the work I have done during the day at uni is safe on the WD, though I have to physically move it onto the laptop. though really what I would like is for both my laptop and my WD to sync each other so just the most recent version would be updated onto either and I could have a copy on both. I hope this makes sense? Also, if for instance I forget that I had made a change to the (synced) file or think i have the most recent version and then work on an older file on my laptop and save it, the next time it syncs my changed file on the WD will be overwritten.
My other main issue with the WD is that I am capable of copy and pasting like a flash drive but this makes it a very expense flash drive and very time consuming ensuring the most updated version is in the right place!!!
Thanks, Tamara

223. john clay - November 18, 2011

To anyone who buys this fantastic product there is one minor modification you must make to save yourself a heap of grief. Upgrade the Wd Sync To the latest version or delete it. V9 is compatible with windows 7 vista and firefox 3. It is great software and their is no other product which offers the same functionality. SO well worth the upgrade if you want it.

You can upgrade to v9 here:

To delete it simply delete the wdsync.exe and wdsync data folder to delete its data.

Thank me later,

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