How to Set Up a Password on Western Digital External Hard Drives

Updated April 17, 2017

Founded in 1970, Western Digital is a well known and trusted company that provides various internal and external hard drives for computers and many other electronic devices. A Western Digital external hard drive is a reliable, simple and secure way to expand storage on your desktop or laptop computer. In order to keep your data safe and secure, you will need to set a password on your drive. Follow some simple instructions and your information will be password protected so only you can access it.

Plug your external hard drive into your computer via the USB cable. Your computer will detect the drive and the software will begin to install automatically. A screen will appear on your computer asking, "What would you like to do?" Choose the second option, "Install Drive Settings." You must then read and accept the license agreement and wait several minutes to finish the installation. When the installation is finished a second window will appear on your screen, giving you "Security" and "Registration" options.

Click "Security" and enter a password into the field provided on the next screen. You will need to enter the password twice to ensure the password wasn't typed incorrectly and provide a hint to remind you of your password should you forget it.

Click the box next to "I understand" after reading the password warning, then click "Save Security Settings" to save your password.

Select "Finish" on the bottom right-hand corner of the window to finish the password-protection procedure.

Plug your hard drive into the wall and connect it to your computer via USB with the cables provided. A "WD Smartware" icon will appear on the desktop screen of your computer. Double click this icon to begin the program, and choose "WD Smartware" again from the resulting menu. This will take you to the next page, asking "What would you like to do?"

Choose "Set Up Drive" on the bottom right side, which will take you to the Drive Settings screen. Click "Security," which is the second option on the left-hand menu and will take you to the screen where you can set your password preferences.

Enter your password. You will need to type the password twice to ensure you've typed and saved it correctly. Also provide a password hint to remind yourself of your password should you forget it.

Click to place a check mark in the "I understand" box after reading the password warning, and click "Save Security Settings" to finish the procedure.


When you plug in your drive, a "Found New Hardware" pop-up screen may appear. If so, click Cancel. Your hard drive will install the necessary software on its own. To change a password, or add one after installation is complete, start the WD software on your computer, click the "Settings" tab and choose "Security" from the menu on the left side of the screen.


Do not forget your password or you will not be able to access the data stored on your hard drive; you will have to erase the drive and start over.

Things You'll Need

  • Western Digital external hard drive
  • Cables (provided with your hard drive)
  • Computer
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About the Author

Tess Reynolds began writing in 2010 for various websites, specializing in parenting, relationships, film and video-editing topics. She has taken private local classes to expand on her interests. She also enjoys writing about computers, family and home improvement.