I just recently got a portable hard drive for backups, and in starting to use the software that WD includes I have gotten annoyed by the lack of information that it gives. All it tells you is the percent the backup is at, and the gigabytes covered already.

I would like the software to at least provide a little bit of information. Primarily, I want it to show the files as it goes through them. The main thing that I am thinking of when I say that is how winRAR will display the path and file name as it works through compressing each file.

Is there any backup software that could provide that information and possibly more yet still work on the WD Passport? Would just any software work with it?

  • 2
    please explain the phrase "...still work on the WD Passport"! - what do you call WD Passport? the drive or the software or anything else?!? Jul 31 '17 at 9:44
  • John, I've added a very basic answer to this question. There is simply thousands of possible candidates for you, and it all comes down to personal preference.
    – DankyNanky
    Jan 27 '18 at 17:46

In short, WD Passport is just another media for storage - so yes, "any" backup software will work - and trust me, there are thousands of options available for you.

In my answer, I'll make the following assumptions:

  1. You want a free solution;
  2. You want a Windows Based Solution;
  3. You run your account as an administrator, and not a standard user;
  4. You will only be performing full backups and;
  5. You do not want to schedule tasks

A side note, all my scripts are powershell scripts because...variables.


Robust File Copy Management is a command-line tool implemented in Windows as a replacement to xcopy because, like, it's more robust. We can therefore create a basic script to be executed for backups.

You can look at the manpage which is as follows:

Started : Sunday, 28 January 2018 3:32:16 AM
              Usage :: ROBOCOPY source destination [file [file]...] [options]

             source :: Source Directory (drive:\path or \\server\share\path).
        destination :: Destination Dir  (drive:\path or \\server\share\path).
               file :: File(s) to copy  (names/wildcards: default is "*.*").

So essentially (You can add error-handling, time stamps, error-checking, compression, encryption etc. to this as well):

$Source = "C:\Your\Path\Here"
$Destination = "D:\Your\WD\Passport\"
robocopy.exe $Source $Destination /E /ZB /SEC /ETA /LOG+file:my_file.txt

We are using several switches here, which can be explained in the help file.


  • Free
  • Comes with Windows
  • Command Line, can be made as a service
  • Robust (Get it?)


  • No GUI (not a con for me....)

Cobian Backup

Cobian Backup is free, but not open-source software. All the questions you have for this solution can be located here.

The reason in why I suggest this tool is:

  1. It's free
  2. You can encrypt files on backup;
  3. Capability to perform time-stamps on backups;
  4. You can do full, incremental and differential backups;
  5. The tool has an entire log screen for debugging;
  6. Tool supports impersonation on backups;
  7. Tool has functionality for compression using several standards and;
  8. Tool has WebUI and Email functionality.

It is worth noting that Cobian uses the VSS Service to perform several of it's own functions.

A very old quick video on the product can be located here and here is my question on the topic.


Also if you only going to be using this hard drive with the same PC, Windows supports backing up files natively. Its called File History and it works as a backup.

The feature takes snapshots of versions of your files and stores them on an external hard drive. Over time, you build up a library of past versions that you can recover if need be.

You can access it in your settings. You can get to it by running ms-settings:backup in your run dialogue box as such:

enter image description here

You should see this screen.  File History before it's activated in Windows 10

  • Whilst valid, does it meet OPs wants? I would like the software to at least provide a little bit of information.
    – DankyNanky
    Jan 28 '18 at 5:20

Any software that can copy from drive to drive can do it. Being a Linux guy, I'd look at writing a small shell script that outputs to a log file (that you can watch... or not). To do that on a Windows system I'd see if robocopy.exe will suit your needs - its limitation seems to be regarding open files, but if you schedule a backup to run when you are logged off then that shouldn't be an issue.

There is also a GUI version of Robocopy - https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/2006.11.utilityspotlight.aspx . However, this page recommends a different GUI tool - https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx

Anyway, these are all free from Microsoft (well, as free as anything from MS is these days...) and there are numerous tutorials, etc. on their use.

  • Oh look, another Linux fanboy. Great ;) Kidding! Might be worth noting enabling Bash on Windows 10 so we can use cp -ra (if OP is on Win10). Robocopy has a log function, and a period service to automatically copy data.
    – DankyNanky
    Jan 27 '18 at 17:27

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