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The My Passport Essential SE is a portable hard drive that backs-up, secures, and stores all your digital files without the hassle.


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The Essential SE easily fits in your pocket despite being able to store up to 1TB of data. As soon as you plug in the drive to a computer, the drive will automatically mount, prompt you to install its WD SmartWare, and asks you for a password to enable encryption.

The WD SmartWare has a very user-friendly interface. The main screen displays all the content stored on your hard drive (Pictures, Music, Movies, Mail, Documents, and Other) as well as on your My Passport device, and separates the functions (such as Backup, Retrieve, and Settings) into tabs.

The Backup tab allows you to choose the sections you want to mirror, although everything is selected by default. Clicking on the Run Backup button starts the process, and may take time depending on how big the files are.

We wanted to back up 51.28GB of data from our PC – a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo (with 3 GHz RAM) running on Windows Vista SP2. The My Passport Essential SE took 100 minutes to completely transfer the files, which roughly equates to about 512MB/minute. Dragging and dropping a 4.32GB folder to the drive took six minutes.

 


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All stored files (including dragged and dropped ones) are encrypted and can only be accessed by putting your password. In case the drive gets stolen, the only way to gain access to the drive is to completely reformat the My Passport.

The My Passport can also retrieve files, allowing users to either put the files to its original place or unto a single content folder. The time it takes to restore all the files depend on how much data you are pushing back to the computer as well as your hardware.

Also included in the SmartWave is the option to change the number of backup versions to keep for each file, put the backup process on hold until the computer is idle, set the retrieve folder, perform a drive diagnostic, and fully erase the drive.

Overall, the My Passport Essential SE is a must-have for any user. The small profile makes it easy to bring anywhere, the simple backup software may finally convince a user to keep a digital copy of their precious files, and its built-in encryption takes security to the next level. The WD My Passport Essential SE (1TB) is available now for $379.

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