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WD Passport External HDD - Partitioning??

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Jerold, Jan 17, 2008.

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  1. Jerold

    Jerold Thread Starter

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    I'm looking into the WD Passport 250GB and I've been reading some of the reviews on Amazon. One guy wrote that partitioning wasn't possible to do with these drives.

    I also just read thru the WD Knowledge Library and they recommend reformatting the Passport to NTFS.

    Has anyone had success with reformatting to NTFS and partitioning?
    ...and does this HDD come with WD specific software on the drive or is it just a bare drive?

    I've read a lot here and on Amazon about the USB power problem. I've never used a USB only external HDD that didn't have a plug for a USB DC power slot.

    For anyone who has one and wants to try this solution someone posted on Amazon...


    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
    Don't believe the doubters about power consumption issues, December 31, 2007
    By Andrew Gottlieb (Bay Area, CA) - See all my reviews


    All good reviews, but don't believe the issues with power. WinXP SP2 blocks the use of the drive because
    it thinks it draws too much power. But there is a simple procedure to override this (from WD site):
    "Problem:
    Under Windows XP, an error message of "Power Surge on Hub Port" or "USB device has exceeded the power
    limits of it's hub port" is displayed when connecting a USB device to a USB port on a computer or Hub.
    Cause:
    Under some computers, USB devices are only allowed to draw a maximum of 500 milliamps (mA) per connection
    from the USB port on the computer system or from a USB hub. Under the Windows XP Operating System, with the
    release of Service Pack 2, if a device attempts to draw more than this (500 milliamps), a USB port balloon
    message is displayed to indicate this over current condition. When connecting a USB device that draws power
    from the USB bus, a very brief over current condition is sometimes detected by the OS, and the warning message is displayed.

    Resolution:
    This message has no affect on the functionality of the USB port. The USB hard drive should still function
    correctly on the USB port regardless of the error message. To prevent the USB Power Surge Alert message from
    displaying, please complete the following steps:

    Click on Start.
    Click on Control Panel.
    Double-click on the System Icon.
    Click on the Hardware Tab.
    Click on the Device Manager button.
    Click on the + next to Universal Serial Bus Controllers to expand the selection.
    Right-click and select Properties on any listing that displays USB UNIVERSAL HOST CONTROLLER.
    Click on the Advanced Tab.
    Check the box that says: Don't tell me about USB errors."

    This works fine, and the drive works fine afterwards. I suspect it actually draws less power than they say.
    Maybe it has a brief power draw spike on startup, but it's running power seems less. In any case, it works
    fine without the Y cable. I do think it is tacky that WD doesn't give the cable for free, since my $7
    Sabrent 2.5" Hard drive enclosure came with a y cable.

    But most likely the drive will work fine for you. It is a lovely quiet drive, and takes up no space at all.

    PS I just tried it on my IBM X31, which is several years old, and it worked fine. So I think the power issue
    is really a non-issue, but if you really are worried about frying your usb port, then buy the Y-cable.
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Messages:
    51,988
    NTFS is the best idea. It is more stable and fault-tolerant and you will be a lot less likely to lose data.

    The size of the partitions is up to you, but I would definitely remove any that the drive comes with and create new ones that will be compatible with your operating system. Then format them NTFS.

    Right-click Computer > Manage > Disk Management.

    The only reason that you might consider FAT32 is if the drive is to be shared with Linux or an old version of Windows like 98 that does not have drivers for the NTFS file system.
     
  3. Jerold

    Jerold Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Messages:
    489
    Thanks.

    I was wondering if anyone has actually partitioned and converted the passport HDD and if it went smoothly.

    I'm just worried about getting a HDD that only has 1 type of interface. I have several 2.5" portable HDD's and I always get a combo exclosure that uses Firewire and USB just in case, but specifically because firewire doesn't need an extra power source.

    I use enclosures by Cooldrives for my other 2 portables - both combo enclosures. I bought a split USB cable and both won't work using this cable. When I plug into a desktop, I use firewire, but when I use it with my laptop, I don't have a firewire plug. I eventually found and bought a USB cable that has a DC power plug on the end that goes into the enclosure and the other end is USB2.0 and the 2nd cable that is both USB on both ends and it works with this setup.

    Did a search for the passport here and read thru them before I posted and this USB interface seems to be a major problem. Here and on other review sites.
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    I'm not really convinced that the USB interface is the major problem with these devices. But there do seem to be more of them if more than one drive is used at one time. And the problems seem to increase if the drive is not partitioned by the OS that is going to use it rather than relying on the partitioning that comes with it.

    In any case, I have a 320 My Book and have had not the slightest problem with it in the 6 months that it has been in continuous service on USB 2.0.
     
  5. Jerold

    Jerold Thread Starter

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    Thanks. It's pretty cheap now that it's worth a try.

    More than 1 drive huh... Maybe I'll pick one up and run it as a test unit and run it thru it's paces before I use it as a daily portable HDD that I take back and forth with me to work and home. That is my ultimate purpose for the HDD.

    Right now I use a 160GB in a cooldrive enclosure and I'm always itching for a bigger drive. It hasn't failed me since I got it, but getting another setup like that with a bigger HDD would cost me around $250 (the enclosure I got is encrypted so it cost more than a regular one).
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    I don't know if it is a universal problem or just one with my particular board, but if I use 2 externals at the same time, I keep losing the second of them. It just vanishes in the middle of transferring files and I need to replug it to get it back. It could be my enclosure for sure since it came originally with a CD-ROM in it, but I thought I'd mention it to you anyway.

    But the MyBook is connected as a permanent drive and all the caches are turned on. I even have a Program Files folder in one partition and install large programs there that I don't want on my system drive. So the drive is always in service and the machine is rarely off. It has not so much as hiccupped in the 6 months it has been running.
     
  7. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    El, that issue with multiple usb external drives is something that I have had issues with for years, and seldom read anything about it. It doesn't matter if you dasiy chain them or plug front and back, use of one disables the other. It's happens less often with 1394 but still occurs now and then and I have always felt it is a known problem with XP that I do not remember with Windows 9X systems but it's been so long. I did notice when I used a pci-x1 1394 card, I could run 2 drives with no interference though.
     
  8. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Interesting. I don't see the "disabling" problem so much. And in fact they seem to be stable for me up until I try to copy a large file, like a drive image, from one to the other (or even from the main drive to one of the externals). When I try that, the drive vanishes partway through the transfer. It seems to work fine so long as the files are small.
     
  9. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    I have had that version too where the second drive disappears trying to transfer files to it from the other. By disabling I mean it will not access.
     
  10. Jerold

    Jerold Thread Starter

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    ok -

    I picked one up last friday. I went ahead and copied the WD software onto my desktop PC and reformatted/partitioned the 250GB to NTFS and into 5 partitions to match the number of partitions on my current 160GB External HDD that I'm using. The formatting went very smooth just using Disk Management in XP Pro.

    I copied all the contents from the 160GB to the 250GB to see if there would be any problems transferring files. No problems at all and it actually is much faster than copying the same amount of files from my desktop's HDD to the 160GB external HDD. Don't know why though...

    I haven't decided if I'm gonna use this HDD as a replacement for the 160GB yet or repartition it with fewer partitions to use as just a data dump. I'm gonna carry it in my bag and connect it to different PC's as I do with my 160GB and see how it "travels" since many of the complaints online were about the WD250 quitting after being moved from PC/MAC to PC/MAC. I'm still gonna use the 160GB as my main transport drive for now until I'm confident that the WD250 is reliable.

    I just want to be cautious since I keep all my important data on the 160GB that I take with me daily to and from work and home. The only thing is that the 160GB is in an encrypted enclosure (the key type) so if it's lost or stolen, my personal & work data is unretrievable. This is also one of the reasons for not switching over to the WD250 as well. I haven't found any type of HDD protection software that works well with an external HDD.

    Actually, there was one program that ran perfectly. I think it was called Lock 'n Go and did exactly what i needed it to do - connect the HDD, type in password, unlocks the HDD and that's it. Without the correct PW and the HDD is not accessible. the only thing is that it only works with FAT32 and not NTFS - and the company won't ever make it useable with NTFS.

    Most other programs that I found requires that the HDD contents run thru an encryption process or doesn't allow the program to work on any other PC's other than the one the software was installed from. I would need to shut down and encrypt a 160GB HDD at lunchtime so it gets done by thye time I go home.
     
  11. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    I would not have used the WD software. That seems to be one place that later problems start. Partitioning and formatting should be done by the OS that will be using the drive, even more so in Vista since Vista creates a new type of partition.

    But hopefully you won't log on one day to see a message that the drive is not formatted as seems to be common lately.
     
  12. Encephalo

    Encephalo

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    Partitioning should work just fine with the WD passport...did for me. Second partition data problems occurred for me (hence my request for help below). Also, to answer the question about more than one external USB HDs, I have used Many different external USB drives. I found that when I used 2 of the same type (exact brand/size) AND on the same USB port (i.e. into the same hub) that one would always vanish (maybe a name conflict in how the drive is recognized by windows). For me this has included 2 USB ATA drives with the same enclosure and with 2 USB flash drives. They would work simultaneously if on different USB channels.

    My problem has been data loss. Over and over. I am on USB HD #4. One was a LaCie 250Mb (maxtor inside I think). It died in about 5 months, outlasting the others. The other two I bought were Ultra enclosures and I stuck WD 340Gb IDE drives in them. They made it into month 2 or 3 before losing all of my data. I just bought an sATA to USB (Thermaltake N0028USU BlacX USB Hard Drive Dock ). It's the coolest thing...the sATA drive sticks into it like an old Atari cartridge. But....same thing happened as with all of the above IDE external drives. I copy all of my data onto it (large video files mostly) and much of it disappears from the directory tree. Can anyone explain this or help? The brand new WD 500Gb sATA formated well in the Thermaltake dock, and I copied 100Gb test. Powered off/on, all there and the videos all played. I then copied another 200Gb. It was there. I powered down and later restarted. Next morning around 100Gb was gone (files didn't appear). I have recovered some with a disk check. This has happened with ALL of the USB HD's I have had. Has anyone had this experience. Am I doing something wrong? The new one is formated NTFS...should it be FAT maybe?

    Thanks,
    Jim
     
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