11-03-2010 10:41 PM
I received My Passport Elite as a replacement for a My Book Home Edition external drive that broke down. I have been using this drive for almost a month. During the last few days I discovered that 'WD Drive Manager Status' tries to access the internet every 10 seconds. The IP address it tries to access is 22.214.171.124 and the port number is 1900.
This happens on every computer I have 'WD Drive Manager Status' installed.
I don't know what is being sent to (or received from) the IP address and port number above, so I blocked the application.
Does anybody know or have an idea as to why this happens?
Needless to say that I have checked and double-checked the computers for viruses, spyware, malware etc.
11-22-2010 01:50 PM
I'm having exactly the same problem (with a MyPassport Essential), and I am as puzzled as JohnPap as to why "WD Drive Manager Status" needs to "phone home" -- because it is indeed what it does, as at least some of the IP addresses it tries to contact belong to WD themselves...
If an explanation is given somewhere, it is not explicit enough, as I haven't seen anything during the installation process or in the user manual. Searching the web wasn't more helpful, and the only thing I found was this thread, which I hope will get answered.
When you buy a disk offering full-disk hardware encryption, you definitely don't want the software managing the drive to send data anywhere without you knowing it. So WD, we are eagerly waiting for more explanations on this: Such things quickly shake your consumers' confidence, if left unanswered...
Thanks in advance.
11-22-2010 02:03 PM - edited 11-22-2010 02:07 PM
Don't you have to click "Accept" on the licence agreement before Smartware will install?
If you didn't want this behaviour, you could have chosen to reject the agreement and not install Smartware.
"By installing the Software and not disabling the automated check for Updates, you hereby agree to automatically request and receive Updates from WDT or third-party servers. You consent to such automatic upgrading, and agree that the terms and conditions of this Agreement will apply to all such Updates. "
11-22-2010 03:22 PM
That is right, RoofingGuy, I clicked "Accept" after having read the words you quote.
I then disabled the automatic updates, thinking that SmartWare would probably not ask for internet access. However, it kept on doing so. And the text you quote is only about "updates". I reckon that when the WD Disk Manager Status (wddmstatus.exe) tries to connect every other second to the internet, it is not looking for updates... and if it is, it should say so, as SmartWare itself sometimes does.
And to answer your question, the reason I installed SmartWare is to be able to use the data encryption solution. Something else that I regret with this drive is that it is apparently necessary to use the "WD Disk Manager Status" tray icon to safely disconnect the drive. When I plug it on a computer where SmartWare is not installed, I can unlock it all right and work with my files, but the LED keeps on blinking after I disconnect the drive with the usual "Safely remove hardware" tray icon. I'd expect the LED to go out, though. I then have to unplug the drive while it is still blinking. If there is a better way to proceed, I'd be happy to know.
It all may look like small details, but to me it is not : when using an external drive to back up your files, you need to feel 100% safe and in control. I can't say I do, unfortunately...
11-23-2010 06:37 PM
After my original post, I waited for an answer and since I got none I decided to contact WD Support directly. I have to admit that whenever I contact WD Support I always receive the attention a customer expects from a company.
So the news is this: IP Address 126.96.36.1990 port 1900 is a broadcast address where all Universal Plug and Play devices send signals and wait for another UPnP device to respond. This transmittion almost always is blocked by DSL routers and ISP providers, so it never reaches the internet. I searched the internet regarding this issue and found out that on some computers the application that broadcasts this signal is 'Windows Explorer', on others 'Internet Explorer', etc. etc.
SOLUTION: Steve Gibson of Gibson Research has developed and offers for free a utility (http://www.grc.com/unpnp/unpnp.htm) that enables/disables the Windows Services that control the UPnP status. I downloaded it, disabled UPnP and all traffic to 188.8.131.520 port 1900, stopped.
Regarding the other issue that WD Smartware tries to access the internet, there is nothing wrong with that as the software needs to access the internet in order to find out if there are any updates available. No other data is transmitted to or received from through this communication and from what I have seen this connection is attempted only once; specifically whenever I start my computer. In my case the IP Address WD Smartware is trying to contact is 184.108.40.206:HTTP. Although I have not granted WD Smartware the right to contact this address at will, whenever my firewall informs me that Smartware tries to contact this address, I always allow it.
I hope that the above will help you decide on how to configure your environment.
11-24-2010 01:35 PM
Thanks a lot for your very informative reply.
There are indeed two groups of IP addresses that SmartWare tries to access regularly. I had already read about this UPnP stuff somewhere else, and your text comes as a nice confirmation. As for the other IP addresses, my SmartWare is trying to connect much more often than just once per session, and not always to the same address. In any case, it is much more often than if it was only checking for updates, in my humble opinion.
As a consequence, I am blocking all internet traffic related to SmartWare, and I'll update it when I choose to. I haven't had any problems over the last few days, after I started doing so.
I still think WD should be more transparent about all that : it is great that more and more hard drives come with encryption solutions, but there is definitely room for improvement if they want to gain the confidence of consumers for which privacy matters.
Anyway, thanks again for your message, which will undoubtedly be of help to many.
11-30-2010 06:44 PM
I've noticed the exact same problem with my new 1TB MyPassport SE Essential. I don't want to install the SmartWare, but I am very disturbed that the LED light continues blinking while I "safely" remove it from WinXP. Know of any way to get an answer from WD on this? If I'm risking damage to my drive by removing it in this fashion, I'd really like to know!
12-01-2010 08:03 AM
Until I managed to sort out the problem I had with WD SmartWare, I had blocked it and so I also had to "safely" remove my Passport Elite from Windows XP. This is means that I also had the same blinking on my device. This lasted for a month. As you can see from my previous posting I no longer block WD SmartWare and therefore I remove the device from within WD SmartWare.
However, during this monthly period I used to disconnect the device not paying attention to the fact that it was still blinking. I would just make sure I unplugged it in-between two blinks. I don't know if this was what I should do, but I didn't notice anything going wrong with the device or any other kind of erratic behavior.