Remove 'WD SmartWare' from your Western Digital Passport or MyBook

Western Digital Smartware Logo

This is the western digital smartware logo you may see on your computer when connecting your external drive.

If you’ve purchased a Western Digital Passport or MyBook drive in the past little while (I’ve recently bought 3), you’ve no doubt run into the Western Digital Smartware. This is a virtual drive that is setup with the hard-drive that mounts every time you plug it in. It would seem that at first it’s permanent, and the only way to get it to disappear is to install the software that comes with the drive. However, there is a fix that Western Digital provides on their website. Don’t ask me why a simple ‘delete’ function or ‘eject permanently’ isn’t more readily available.

You can view the instructions from Western Digital on this link, or on this page below! Note that these instructions may change in the future; If newer editions of the drive come out, then I’ll be making an update to the page. This should work for the next year at least:

Mac instructions will come first, and Windows users look further down the page.

IMPORTANT

The following precautions must be performed before installing the firmware update:

  • All AntiVirus software MUST be disabled.
  • All Anti-Spyware software MUST be disabled.
  • ANY and ALL programs that would require drive access during the update MUST be disabled.
  • Failure to perform these precautions may cause data corruption/loss and/or drive failure.

Mac STEP 1:Firmware Update: Release 1.032 (11/19/09)

Western Digital Passport Drive

Western Digital's portable 'Passport drive'

Mac OS® X, Tiger®, Leopard®, Snow Leopard™
This update is recommended for Mac OS X 10.4.11, Mac OS X 10.5.8 and any version of Mac OS X 10.6.

  1. Disconnect all other external drives from the computer except for the My Book or My Passport hard drive you want to update.
  2. Ensure that the My Book or My Passport drive is connected to a USB port on your computer.
  3. Download Firmware Updater for Mac. (mirror here)
  4. Unzip the Firmware Updater and double click WD Essential and Elite Firmware Updater for Mac.
  5. Verify the attached drive’s serial number located on the back of the drive.
  6. Select the drive displayed.
  7. Click Update Firmware.
  8. Drag both My Book Drive and WD SmartWare Virtual CD icons to Trash bin.
  9. Click OK.
  10. Click Accept the End User’s License Agreement (EULA).
  11. Click Yes.
  12. Once the updater is finished, click Exit.
  13. Turn off the drive – For My Passport, disconnect the USB cable. For My Book disconnect both USB and power cables.
  14. Wait 10 seconds. Reconnect the USB/power cables.

Mac STEP 2:Download and run the VCD Manager

  1. Download VCD Manager VirtualCDManager_v1003.zip for Mac to your desktop. (mirror here)
  2. Unzip the utility and double click to open.
  3. Click Continue to disable the VCD.
  4. Click Accept the End User’s License Agreement (EULA).
  5. Click Drive to configure and select your drive.
  6. Verify desired Virtual CD setting.
  7. Once the utility has found your drive, click Configure Drive.
  8. Once the Virtual CD setting is finished, click Exit.
  9. Power cycle the drive – For My Passport, disconnect the USB cable. For My Book disconnect both USB and power cables.
  10. Wait 10 seconds. Reconnect the USB/power cables.
  11. Verify that the VCD no longer appears.

 

PC STEP 1:Firmware Update: Release 1.032 (11/16/09)

Western Digital MyBook

Western Digital's External 'MyBook Drive'

Before running the Virtual CD Manager, you must first update the firmware on your hard drive.

  1. Disconnect all other external drives from the computer except for the My Book or My Passport hard drive you want to update.
  2. Download the Firmware Updater for Windows. (mirror here)
  3. Unzip the file and double click to open the Firmware Updater.
  4. Click Continue to update the firmware.
  5. Verify the attached drive’s serial number located on the back of the drive.
  6. Click Update Firmware.
  7. Click Accept the End User’s License Agreement (EULA). The updater will scan the drive; this may take a few minutes.
  8. Once the updater is finished, click Exit.
  9. Turn off the drive – For My Passport, disconnect the USB cable. For My Book disconnect both USB and power cables.
  10. Wait 10 seconds. Reconnect the USB/power cables.

PC STEP 2:Download and run the VCD Manager

  1. Download VCD Manager WDSmartWareVirtualCDManagerforWindows-v1.0.7.4.zip for Windows to your desktop. (mirror here)
  2. Unzip the utility (Extract the file using an extraction utility.)
  3. Double click WDSmartWareVirtualCDManagerforWindows-v1.0.7.4.exe.
  4. Click Continue to disable the VCD.
  5. Once the utility has found your drive, click Configure Drive and then click Exit.
  6. Turn off the drive – For My Passport, disconnect the USB cable. For My Book disconnect both USB and power cables.
  7. Wait 10 seconds. Reconnect the USB/power cables that have been disconnected in the previous step.
  8. Verify that the VCD no longer appears.

And there you have it, good riddance!

credit to Western Digital for the instructions:
http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/updates/?family=wdsmartwareutilities
http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/updates/?family=wdsmartwareutilitiesmac

135 comments to Remove ‘WD SmartWare’ from your Western Digital Passport or MyBook

  • V8x

    As a million other people already explained, this trick only hides it but does not fix it. It still needs smartcrapware to be able to use it. It is not a USB mass storage device compliant disk. That’s why it will never work on a ps3/xbox or efery other computer where you don’t have admin right, like public computers.
    And that is inexcusable and defeats the purpose of this drive.

    Why didn’t WD made a USB mass storage compliance device? Why force their own standards?

  • rtp

    The only way to effectively REMOVE the Snartware is to format the drive with HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool as explained in the link: http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/passport-vcd.html
    I had tried many things before but the virtual CD was always there, even though hidden. That HP tool really removed it.

  • Lassi

    Hi! I did the steps and configured the drive in “set up drive” -section to disable VCD. After that I also changed software settings so that it won’t “automatically start when connected”. STILL the smartware pops out every time I connect. It appears on the os x desktop although it’s not open. AND I can’t open the Virtual CD manager -program anymore or can’t get to “set up drive” section anymore to change the settings. What have I done wrong and how can I get rid of it?

  • Keevinw

    Neither TR’s commnand prompt method, nor the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool worked for me! Anyone else?

  • alex

    wd smartware virtual cd manager:your wd smartware drive is locked;please remove your password to remove security before attempting to configure your wd smartware VCD can be enabled or disabled.HELPPP!

  • Christina

    Thanks! This worked great to hide the VCD!

  • WDhater

    Western Digital really screwed themselves on this one. I’m sure there are A LOT of people who will never buy a WD hard drive ever again. I’m one of them. F U Western Digital!

  • James

    Just thought i would add that i did the above and could not see my drive anywhere after the update…Disk manager didn’t even see it. So the fix for all the people have this problem is to redo the firmware update. This has happened to me on three different drives and this fixes it everytime. Thank You

  • WDhater

    So, I wanted to get rid of this virtual cd partition completely rather than just hide it in hopes that getting rid of it completely would allow it to work on my PS3. It took many hours but I was successful.

    TR’s command prompt method took two hours to format and didn’t work. The HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool kinda worked. I formatted several times going back n forth between NTSF and FAT32 and eventually it worked… The only problem then was that the HP tool only would format 128gb of my 500gb drive. I went to CNET.com and got EASEUS Partition Master 6.5.2, and it formatted the entire drive as FAT32. I tried it on the PS3 today and it worked. Never buying a WD product ever again!
    Thanks everyone for the info!

  • Chelsea

    I was confused at first when I encountered the software on my 500GB MyBook. I mainly wanted to use it for a GINORMOUS flash drive to store extra music and junk on my computer, but soon found that the only way to access the drive at all was through the SmartWare program. I found this blog trying to see what other people were doing about it and I’m amazed at all the long drawn out instructions. If you don’t want to use the software, why can’t you just HIT THE FREAKING DELETE BUTTON? It amazes me that the company felt controlling enough to make it impossible for that to work too. The last time I encountered this problem was with a U3 flash drive. I simply deleted the software on it and had the full 2GB to work with afterwards. I’m about to try the EASEUS Partition Master mentioned above, then I’ll let you know what works.

  • Chelsea

    I decided to try the disk manager first. It started to work just fine, but about 5 or 6 seconds into the formatting, an error message popped up, stating that the files were write protected. Onto the next method…

  • Chelsea

    Ok, this time i tried uninstalling the formatted hardware inside the properties tab of my hard drive. When I started up the disk manager again, it took a few minutes to format, but it was successful. Just as WDhater mentioned though, it only formatted 128GB of my 500GB drive. Once again, onto the next solution.

  • Chrysa

    Ok, I have spent ALL day trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with My Passport Essential (500GB). It had been working fine and I loved having it over the past 6 months. It helped me restore my computer quickly after a crash a little while back. But over the past 3 days, I noticed it was consistently getting stuck 75% of the way through the backup. After several attempts at system restores and software uninstalls, the stupid software would not reinstall correctly. It kept giving me the error about not being able to create a file in the Program Files section, then exiting the installation process. I worked on this for over an hour with no results, changing administrative settings, running in Safe Mode, etc. After a little reading, I checked to see what version of the .NET Framework my PC was running. It turns out that Windows Update (naturally) had updated me to version 4 three days ago (aha!). I uninstalled the update and reinstalled version 3.5. That got me a little further than before, but still no luck. Several hours and more research later, I came across a blog that recommended uninstalling SmartWare completely, and downloading Acronis True Image WD Edition. So far, the installation process went well. I will let you know if it was successful after the reboot….

  • Chrysa

    Worked! My Passport no longer has Smartware, and it’s now recognized as a regular backup drive… do a Google search for Acronis True Image WD Edition. Good luck!

  • LB

    Chrysa, does the Acronis uninstall the Smartware, or do I need to do something else to uninstall it and then run the Acronis to format the drive? Thanks

  • alex elaments

    hello peeps. if u r lookin for a drive from wd tat doesn’t have this smart ware, u could consiter getting a elaments drive. thay r just like the old pass ports but no software and thay r quite reliable. i have 3 of those and i am never getting passport unless thay have a way to deleet the wd smart ware thingy thanks

  • fady

    thanks so much it works

  • Sean Gomes

    Had this same problem.
    Using Windows 7.
    Type Disk Management in the search box
    Click on Create & Format Hard Disk Partitions
    Delete the partition on the WD Drive then format it.
    Once you’ve completed then you should be alright.

  • Jim H

    Western Digital should have included an option for storage
    of data and not just “Install WD Smartware and Backup” options . This would have
    saved a lot of grief for me and others. The packaging clearly states
    “Premium backup and storage”.

    A different approach would be to have any software updates available, applied
    directly to the external WD drive(s) and not not chew up the resources of the customers laptaps,pcs etc. which inevitably slows them down to the point
    of crashing !

  • tony

    Easy to remove WD Smartware.
    Download Microsoft Diskpart, run the program, select the the WD USB hardrive, clean the disk. Format the disk, and done. Smartware is gone forever.

  • Steve

    Thanks for the fix . The smartware virtual CD was annoying enough that it prompted me to buy hard drives from WD’s competitors . I’m glad there was a fix that didn’t include opening the drive case and running boot and nuke . While Seagate drives have a similar offering it can be side stepped by running a simple format from my computer .

  • bill

    Formatting and cleaning will remove the Snartware software, but not the firmware that creates the virtual CD which is stored in read-only memory. That will stay active. That firmware will interfere with using the drive as a boot disk.

  • I usually prefer WD drives over others, since they’ve proved to be very reliable for me. However, I knew something was problematic about that smartware software. It would consume 80% of my cpu resouces whenever I would boot up. At one point, my Norton security suite was disabled; although, I can’t confirm it was caused by the smartware. This invasive program was unacceptable and had to be removed. After firing down my machine, I unplugged my drive. This allowed me to use windows to uninstall it. It took about ten minutes to remove, but I think it’s gone. So far, I’ve had no more problems. I don’t really care if I lost anything on the drive. I intend to reformat the drive anyhow and find a 3rd party backup program.

  • I want to try the “uninstall” option (I know it just hides it, but whatever.) I have over 600GB of media on my HD, should I worry about losing it when performing the uninstall, or does it work without effecting the existing files? Any insight would be appreciated!

  • Barbik

    Dear Marc,
    I have been trying to get rid of this for weeks. I was hopeless but it worked.
    Very easy to do. Perfect instructions.
    Thank you very much.

  • Peter

    Hi, Thanks so much, I have been trying to delete their crap for more than an hour. Your method worked fine. Definitely I will send WD a mail that next time my choice will be more careful for sure !!.

  • I’m using a PC. I have tried this process twice (using the same information listed above, but found on the WD site), on two different computers. Both times, I got an error stating that no drive is found. “Please insert a WD SmartWare drive to continue; them click Rescan.

    The drive is clearly mounted and is viewable in Windows Explorer. The SmartDrive icon is present in my system tray, and shows that the drive is active.

    I have always like WD drives, but this SERIOUSLY sucks.

  • Hello,

    I bought, tried and was upset with Western Digital and returned it. But now I have all the Western Digital stuff on my computer and I think it is slowing it down. I have long since moved on to another backup system, and cannot get this stuff off the top of the page and off my machine. Can you advise. Your fix it appears to require that you have the actual unit, serial number to get rid of it. Am I able to do it without those two items?

    thanks.

  • Hans de Vries

    Thanks, great! Finally if got rid of this junk.

    Hans, Amsterdam.

  • stephanie

    If I do this will it delete all of the contents on the drive? The warning pops up saying a reformatting of the drive will delete all existing data. I hate to be obviously ignorant, but this doesn’t seem like a good idea for me…
    If I go through with the formatting will I still have all my data?

    Thanks!

  • Wadey

    Well i got as far as the “select drive to configure” section of the mac setup 2 and i can’t select my new tofay WD drive :(

  • GEEZ

    THNAKS SO MUCH….U HELPED ME A LOT!!!

  • DeFiNiTioN

    What a pain this is, nice tutorial mayn.

    For people claiming WD Smartware is what is stopping their drive from showing up on their xbox 360; i’d suggest formatting your drive in FAT 16 or 32… most externals are formatted NTFS leaving the factory, although they support large files, xbox 360 DOES NOT support NTFS.

    Also, anyone given any thought to fdisk or a similar utility to re-partition these drives? I’m not in a position to test a format… would be interested to know if it’s possible?

  • Daniel

    I’m wondering if anyone can help I have a 500 GB WD Passport with Smart ware on it, It has locked it’s self leaving a password hint of “ME” we didn’t lock the drive and we were wondering if anyone else has heard of this problem or experienced it. Help is really needed as there is all our baby’s photo’s on it. I found hidden data showing this.

    23-Jan-2011 03:16:36 PM> Apollo drive( WXJ0A79Z0558 ) detected.
    23-Jan-2011 03:16:36 PM> Apollo drive letter not assigned.
    23-Jan-2011 03:16:36 PM> Apollo drive locked.
    23-Jan-2011 03:17:35 PM> Exception Assertion!
    File = .\ApolloDrive.cpp
    Line = 572
    23-Jan-2011 03:17:35 PM> Application exiting…

    and this as well.

    23-Jan-2011 03:19:45 PM> Apollo drive( WXJ0A79Z0558 ) detected.

    This info was hidden in Appdata under local on my drive C:

    I hope someone can help.

    Thank you all…

  • Rory

    Bless You!!!

    This was driving me nuts, and interfering majorly.

    May good stuff happen for you!!!!

  • Brillo Brown

    WD Smartware. Junk. Nuff Said.

    Here is a workaround for using the drive on a PC running Wondows even after you have used WDS to run a backup, password protected it and then discovered what a pain in the arse it is.

    Kudos to Marc C for posting the hiding solution. My alternative DOES NOT REMOVE OR HIDE THE VIRTUAL CD. It DOES allow you to access the drive and keep it password protected.

    1 – Attach drive to USB Port

    2 – Close Autoplay window (if it pops up)

    3 – Open Windows Explorer

    4 – Open the virtual cd drive (called WD Smartware)

    5 – Run WDSmartware – enter password. Your drive should appear in the drive list in windows explorer.

    6 – Unfortunately at this point WD Samrtware will want to install. Click ‘Do Not Install’

    You can treat the mounted volume as a ‘normal’ external HDD, however I have noticed that the transfer progress floodbar fails under Vista, but the data WILL be moved. As always DOUBLE CHECK it has successfully copied/moved your data.

    Each time you want to write to or access data that is on the drive volume you will have to go through the above process. Mildly painful but if you have password protected the data using WDS and wish to keep it passwaod protected then it works WITHOPUT HAVING WDS INSATLLED.

    To remove the drive ‘safely’ simply:

    1 – Ensure that the drive is not selected in any Windows Explorer windows and that no data is being read from or written to the drive (i.e. it is not in use by ANY software)

    2 – Right click the drive letter in Windows Explorer and select ‘Safely Remove’

    3 – Once you receive conformation you may unplug the drive.

    Personally I use TrueCrypt to protect data but I discovered the above rescuing a non-techy friend from the evil clutches of WD(S).

    I hope someone finds this useful until a REAL solution is provided by WD.

  • kmc

    Life saver! i bought x3 1tb drives and thought it was a total waste of money, they have been sitting around as paperweights for a few years, thanks!

  • Brillo Brown

    PS – Scuse the typos in recent post :P

  • jmc

    Have carried out instructions, but not bothered about not seeing software as I have sufficient space for back-up. Time machine now running – BIG THANKS

  • Alessio

    Good Job Man!
    Tnx for your insight!

    Regards

    Alessio

  • NickB

    Even as someone not technical-savvy with computers I instinctively didn’t trust the SmartWare that came on the disk and didn’t install it (seems like it might be pre-installed on some of yours). Based on all the negative things I read after double checking I decided not to use their EasyFormat software either.

    Instructions for Mac, PC, & Mac/PC below:

    -So, I don’t know if this will work if you’ve already installed the software, but I’m fairly certain it will. I reformatted the drive (on a mac) with Disk Utility (Applications–>Utilities–>Disk Utilities) to a 1 Partition Volume Scheme. Reformatting DELETES EVERYTHING from your drive so make sure you move anything off it before doing this. Instructions on how to do this (for Mac, PC, & Mac/PC) are included in below link.

    -After reformatting, write the entire disk with zeros (instructions here for Mac, PC, and Mac/PC [I split the link to get it to post here] http://thelightroomlab. com/2009/01/formatting-an-external-hard-drive/). Seems like it removed the SmartWare completely off the drive, though there is still about 400MB being used by something. Warning: writing zeros to the drive takes a LONG time. For my 2TB drive it took about 20 HOURS.

    For those of you concerned about why your 2TB drive is showing up at 1.8TB or your 100GB is showing up as 93GB, etc., this has very little to do with the software. WD advertises a 1 TB drive as 1 TB because it has 1 trillion bytes on it. To the layperson 1 trillion bytes=1 TB. For some reason or other though, 1 TB in the computer world is 1 trillion 99 million something bytes (1,099,511,627,776). The latter is what your computer reads so it ends up showing 900GBs instead of 1TB despite the fact that you’re still getting those 1 trillion bytes of storage. In other words: SMARTWARE IS NOT EATING UP 10% OF YOUR DRIVE. This is simply the way ALL computer storage is advertised and sold.

    Good luck. Let me know if this works for anyone.

  • Dannyboy

    To all those complaining that the drive is so and so GB’s off of its said Storage space…this is just how the Hard drive business is. My whole life buying HD’s its always off, its impossible to have exactly 500GB on every HD sold. I’ve never had an exact GB or MB (Yes those existed back in the day). My 320GB internal is 298GB, my 500GB external is 465GB, and my main OS HD is 150GB but is actually 148GB.

    Sometimes you will get an exact hard drive space as advertised but I doubt I’ll see one in my lifetime. Even Ipods and mp3 players, and! USB thumb drives are the same way! Thats just how it is people.

    For those having problems with the firmware update that the author provided just go to the WD website or google “WD Firmware Updater” and download the lastest one and it will work and it will update any type of external WD Hard drive.

    To the author, thanks for the help and information.

  • [...] Remove ‘WD SmartWare’ from your Western Digital Passport or MyBook « Let Me Teach You Something [...]

  • I ALREADY USED MY WD 500GB NOW…. TNX SO MUCH,……

  • Enzo

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! Still working fine in November 2011. Awesome not having to see the crap software floating on my desktop ever again. Bless you good sir!

  • Furias Styles

    Awesome! thanks! I love it when its simple!

  • Jim

    Did some hacking around. The USB to SATA converter in the enclosure off sets the sectors to create storage for the VCD. I offsets it by 34041344 octets, or 8310*4096 or 66487*512, depending on if you are using 512 or 4096 sized sectors. If you take it apart, then attach the hard drive to a SATA link and zero out those sectors, it will completely remove the VCD. You might want to back it up first. I do not know the format of those sectors, or even if it is a real VCD or just raw ISO file format. Didn’t do enough snooping and didn’t do a backup before I zapped it. Not sure if you can still lock it or not after.

    Worked on a 3TB USB 3.0 drive.

  • James McCoy

    It is wonderful people like you that make computing easy. I don’t know how you came across this information but you really made my life easier today. This has to be the best laid out instructions I have ever found when it comes to computers! Thank you so much and may you have a wonderful Christmas!

  • Senthil S

    Thanks a lot for wonderful solution.. I got my passport essential 500 GB was working fine till I upgrade my firmware. Then only power glows but not recognized my any windows machine. Nothing available in disk management. Finally I ended up with this website downloaded Apollo 1607E Firmware Updater v1.032 (1.0.7.4).exe from the above link resolved issue.

    Cheer’s
    SSenthil

  • aurezio

    This didn’t work for me. I got a 500Gb my passport elite with smart drive on it. I updated the firmware then I used virtual cd manager to disable the wd smartware but it says “Impossible to configure vcd with the current version of the firmware. Update the firmware to the latest version and then try again”. But… I HAVE the latest version of the firmware… I don’t know what to do. Please get back at me for some help. Thanks

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