Comes with different capacities ranging from 3 to 20 terabytes. USB 3.0 port ensures fast transfer speeds for larger files. Built-in encryption software is easy to use.
The larger size of the hard drive makes it difficult to carry around or to use with laptops.
Comes with up to 4 terabytes of storage contained within a durable shell. Plug-and-play capabilities allow the computer to detect the hard drive without any drivers.
The computer/hard drive connection can drop at times during file transfers.
Slim and compact. Simple plug-and-play design. Backup software included. Durable construction. Offered in various colors. Available in 1-5TB.
Lacks shockproof protection offered by pricier models.
Rugged steel shell. Includes an 18-inch USB-A cable. PS4 and PS5 compatible. Slim. Compact. Shock-resistant. Available in 2, 4, and 5TB sizes.
Must be formatted to store PlayStation 4 games.
Unobtrusive design with a small footprint relative to size. Offers fast data transfer speeds with USB 3.0 interface. Preformatted NTFS for plug-and-play performance with Windows PCs.
Requires reformatting to work with Macs. Needs AC power.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Your photos, videos, games, documents, and other data are extremely important, so why would you risk losing it all to a hardware malfunction, theft, or a simple accident? An external hard drive is an excellent way to keep your priceless data safe, and Western Digital (WD) has been in the business of making top-tier external storage devices since 2006.
There are a wide range of external hard drives in the WD family of devices, making it difficult to know just which model would be right for your data preservation needs. The list of major considerations for buying a new WD external hard drive includes portability, data security, and most importantly, storage capacity.
For your convenience, our preferred WD external hard drives are listed here, and we can’t recommend them highly enough. We’ve diligently researched a number of external hard drives from Western Digital, so we know exactly how to find the best ones for storing your most valuable data.
This is an easy one: bigger is always better! Although the average person may never fill an entire 20TB hard drive, if you find a WD external drive with a larger storage capacity that’s within in your budget, go for it.
Generally speaking, the family of WD external drives range from 2TB to a whopping 20TB, and it’s a good idea to buy a device that has the capacity to store more digital content than you think you may need. Better safe than being forced to buy another hard drive later!
If you plan on traveling with your WD external hard drive, it’s a good idea to consider lightweight, smaller, and more rugged devices. Not only do portable external hard drives take up less space in your bag, they are simple plug-and-play devices that take moments to unpack, set up, and store once more.
On the other hand, while these compact external hard drives are easy to carry, they rarely have the capacity of an external hard drive made for your desktop computer. You wouldn’t want to lug around one of WD’s heftier desktop external hard drives unless you had to, but they make up for their bulk by featuring sizable storage capacities of up to 20TB.
In theory, copying your most important digital content onto an external hard drive is an excellent way to preserve valuable data, but the best models go the extra distance to safeguard your data against physical and human threats alike.
Keep an eye out for external hard drives that claim to shield data from drops, shocks, heat, moisture, vibration, sudden movements, and other physical threats. The ability to set a password on your hard drive will go a long way to keep out thieves and hackers as well.
It may not take too long to find a few external hard drives with the storage capacity, level of data protection, and portability you need, but you’ll want to think about each device’s unique features and selling points as well. While there may be a few WD external hard drives that seem like they’d be a good fit at first glance, choosing the best one for you may come down to something as simple as locating a specific model with a connection port compatible with your device.
Of course, you’ll want to ensure that the device that you are considering shares the same connection types as your computer. These connection types may include USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, Thunderbolt, Wi-Fi, or any combination thereof.
Operating system compatibility
WD’s family of external hard drives are compatible with various versions of Windows right out of the box, but you may have to reformat the device if you want to use it with other operating systems, such as macOS.
Why settle for the default when you can get a device in your favorite color instead? Some of WD’s external hard drives are available in a range of designer colors, including yellow, red, blue, and orange.
Since WD external hard drives are premium data storage devices, you should expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $800 for one.
WD external hard drives that cost between $50 and $100 include 1TB to 4TB on average, but be warned that the overall price will continue to rise with each additional TB of memory. The highest-capacity external hard drives with 16TB or more will be priced over $500.
Optimized for Windows 10, My Passport Ultra is a USB-C-ready external hard drive that includes a USB 3.0 adapter, simple-to-implement password protection, and 256-bit hardware encryption features. It has up to 4TB of memory and is available in your choice of silver or blue.
While it’s strange that the 3TB version of My Passport X is only compatible with the Xbox One, yet its 2TB variant works perfectly with both the Xbox One and Xbox 360, this lightweight external hard drive is an excellent way to store a ton of game data on your favorite Xbox console.
Q. Which operating systems are WD external hard drives compatible with?
A. WD external hard drives are fully compatible with the following operating systems: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and macOS. Unix and Linux operating systems are not supported by Western Digital.
Q. What should I do if I cannot access the data on an external hard drive from my computer?
A. Device issues happen to the best of us, and if your computer isn’t recognizing or allowing you to access the data on your external hard drive, try the following solutions:
Q. How to I safely disconnect my external hard drive from my computer?
A. You may have heard that yanking the connection cable from your computer without ejecting the external hard drive could corrupt or delete your saved data, and it’s absolutely true!
Simply locate your external hard drive from under the This PC window, right-click on its name, and select Eject. Once you have ejected the device, it will be safe to remove its connection cable from your computer.