How to Install a WD External Hard Drive

by Gregory Thompson

Sometimes, installing a WD external hard drive doesn't mean powering it on and plugging the device into your computer. There are some steps you should take to ensure that the external hard drive is installed completely and correctly on your computer.

Installing a WD External Hard Drive

One or more of these ports may be included on the hard drive.

Remove the hard drive from the box. There should be the actual hard drive and a USB cord. In some cases, an installation disc is included, but most of the installation software comes stored on the hard drive itself. A FireWire cord is sold separately if you want faster transfer rates, especially for larger files like video.


Boot up the computer. Plug the larger end of the USB cord into the hard drive and the smaller, rectangular end into the computer's USB port. The WD external hard drive should turn itself on. If not, press the power button.


At this point, the computer is installing included drivers for the hard drive interface so the computer can read the external hard drive. Depending on the speed of your computer, this could take anywhere from one to five minutes. Some older Windows XP computers use USB 1.0 ports, which are slower. A warning may appear that informs you that "this device may perform faster if you upgrade to USB 2.0 ports."


If the purpose of installing the WD external hard drive is to copy files manually by dragging and dropping them via USB into the WD folder, then you are finished. For complete backup solutions and information about installing the FireWire driver, continue to step 5.


Located on the hard drive is a FireWire driver. It is a separate file in the "WD Tools" folder. Double-click this icon to install the driver to Windows so you can use a FireWire cord. FireWire allows for speedier transfers, which is helpful for large files or a large group of files. The rate is about twice the speed of USB. Once the driver is installed, connect the FireWire cord to the WD external hard drive.


After Windows installs the appropriate drivers, install the backup program, WD Backup. This is also in the "WD Tools" folder. This creates an icon on your desktop and runs the program in the system tray for quicker startup. WD Backup is a program that backs up your hard drive's files (music, video, documents) at specified times or whenever you want.


  • check If you plan to move a lot of files from the computer to the hard drive, don't run other programs while this is occurring since this may decrease transfer time.


  • close Do not use USB and FireWire at the same time.

Items you will need

About the Author

Based near Chicago, Gregory M. Thompson is a freelance writer of over 20 years. He has screenwriting credits as well as other print and online media credits and recently has done a number of interviews in the entertainment industry.

More Articles

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera