31 Mar 2021
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World Backup Day - WD My Passport and Sandisk iXpand Luxe

By Darren Price

Today is World Backup Day. In this data-driven world, one small accident or device failure could destroy all the data that you care about. Important emails and photos could be lost forever due to equipment failure or just losing your phone or laptop.

If you’ve never backed up your data, you are not alone - 30% of people have never backed up their stuff. That doesn’t mean that you needn’t worry as 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute and one in 10 computers are infected with viruses each month. If you’ve not lost any important data as yet, it’s only a matter of time before you do.

Protecting your precious photos and emails doesn’t take much effort. Western Digital recently sent over a couple of solutions that may be worth considering.

The easiest way to backup your data is by copying it over to a thumb drive. I wouldn’t recommend this for long-term storage, only because the technology is still relatively new. Any device is at risk of failure, even your backup devices. A thumb drive should easily retain data for ten years, some say it could last, if properly stored, for up to 80 years!

The biggest drawback to using a thumb drive for data storage or even transfer is the capacity. Even if you weed out all your junk, that cheap 8GB thumb drive you got from eBay probably not only lacks the capacity but is also not reliable enough for your precious data.

The Sandisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe, whilst a bit of a mouthful, sports both USB 3.1 Type-C and Lightning connectors. No matter if you’ve got a modern Apple, Android, or Windows device, you can use this thumb drive to both store and transfer data between platforms. I was sent a 256GB version of the flash drive to try. 

The iXpand drive has a metal chassis that should be able to withstand getting dropped. The outer part of the drive rotates to switch between the Type-C and Lightning connectors. A plastic cap covers the exposed connector. It feels weighty and robust. 

I checked the Sandisk flash drive using Crystal DiskMark 7 and recorded a reasonable 95MB/S read and 50 MB/s write. This is a marked improvement over the 23MB/s read and 7MB/s write from a generic bulk-buy flash drive from Harvey Norman.

It’s worth noting that for backing up data, a fast portable drive is not as important as a portable drive that you use for your everyday use. If you’ve buckets of cash, something like a Sandisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD or WD My Passport SSD may be right up your alley. Both are great portable SSDs, but a bit pricey for something that you just want to stash your data on for safekeeping.

Western Digital’s My Passport uses a regular 2.5” drive and so is not a fast as its SSD counterpart. You are looking at nominal read/write speeds of around 130MB/s, on par with a regular hard drive.  

Compared to the portable drives of old, even the 2.5” drives, WD’s My Passport is pretty small and lightweight. The red and black plastic shell of the 2GB version sent to me for testing seems a bit fragile and would likely not fair very well if dropped. The interface is a regular USB Type-A, so this is a backup solution more for laptops than mobile phones or Apple devices unless using an adapter.

The Acronis True Image for Western Digital can be downloaded from the Western Digital website for automating backups. The WD My Passport portable drive comes with WD Discovery ready for installation on your Windows or Apple computer. This application is your gateway to a number of optional WD utilities to get the most out of the drive.

It’s worth noting that a backup is exactly that. It’s a duplicate of your important data and not a replacement. If you want to place your important data somewhere safe to free up storage on your devices, you need more than just a portable drive. The law of averages says that it is unlikely that your local data and your backup data will both be lost.

Removing your local data does, however, remove that redundancy. If you want to remotely store your data AND remove it from your local devices, you need to consider either using a cloud-based storage solution or a network-attached storage (NAS) solution set up in a RAID configuration.

There are many backup options for you to consider. If you are looking for cost-effective solutions, both the Sandisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe and WD My Passport will do the job. They are easy-to-use storage solutions that I’d easily recommend for protecting your valuable data.

Now go and backup your stuff. You’ve no excuse not to and everything to gain by doing so! 

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