Accessing locked WD drive for system restore

Hi there, I’m hoping for some help, and I apologize in advance for my ignorance. My computer tech literacy is limited, but I don’t seem to be getting too far with WD Support, so I thought I’d try asking here.

I have a Lenovo Thinkpad with Windows 7 Professional. It is getting on in years, so I thought it wise to create a system repair disk, which I have on DVD now, and then I bought a 1TB My Passport, to back up the system image and all of my files via Windows Backup (now on a regular backup schedule).

Now comes the question of password protecting my WD drive. I have installed WD Discovery, and thus far have WD Drive Utilities installed (which, by the way, really seems to slow down my system when accessing the laptop hard drive, or external thumb drives – so I usually exit out of it once my laptop is up and running, so not sure what’s up with that, but it’s annoying) but have not installed My Security yet.

It is my understanding that My Security installs to my laptop. So, my concern is that, if I have an OS failure, and then use my system repair disk, and then want to use my WD drive to restore the system image and all of my files, what happens when I plug a password protected WD drive into a laptop with a crashed OS? I am assuming WD Security will not be operational, so, does that mean I can’t unlock my WD drive??

WD Support was not clear on this, suggesting I can access the drive on any computer that has WD Security, but, again, what wasn’t addressed is that I’d be trying to do a system restore, so the computer I’d be using in that scenario would not have anything, if the OS crashed, meaning no access to WD Security (at least, that is my understanding). So, I’m guessing a password protected drive would not be able to unlocked, without the software that locked it?

They next mentioned something called WD Unlocker VCD. From what I can find, in references to that program I have found in searching, it seems that Unlocker is installed to my computer, but then installs to the WD drive itself? WD Support was not clear on this, or on how it works. I have yet another inquiry going back to them, seeking clarification.

Does this Unlocker VCD solve my problem? In other words, I plug in my password protected WD drive, and the drive itself will run its own software to enter a password? Thus, I can access my system image and files to do my necessary system restore even though my OS is crashed?

If so, that’s great, except my next challenge is there is no “Unlocker VCD” in the “Downloads” section of the WD website. So…where do I get this Unlocker VCD from? I found a version of it, dated 2013, on a software download site (Softpedia) but I’d obviously rather download it from WD, just to be sure I have the right software, and the most up to date version.

Sorry for the length here, but if anyone can help me, I’d really appreciate it. It’s not super critical to even password protect the drive – I mean, nothing on it is of much concern if somebody stole the drive, frankly – so, if there is any issue with a password causing problems in a system restore on a crashed OS, I can live without a password on it, but, even so, it is both personal and work stuff so it is always nice to have some privacy protection, but not at the cost of having the data locked and unavailable. Kind of defeats the purpose of using the WD drive as a potential rescue backup.

Or, is another option to connect my WD drive to a different computer, load WD Security to that computer, remove my password protection, and then go ahead with the system restore on my crashed computer? Is that possible? Can I remove the password that way, if that’s the best route?

Any recommendations or clarifications here?

Thanks in advance. Much appreciation for any assistance.

Basically what I think you’d need to do is use another PC to DISABLE the password protection. Meaning, don’t just UNLOCK it (because it will lock again when you’re done), – but TURN OFF the password.
Then any PC can use the drive without needing the password.
Once your PC is restored, then you can re-enable the password.

Thanks for the reply. Seems this is maybe not a topic folks have run into that much, based on limited response here, so I appreciate your feedback. WD Support still hasn’t seemed to understand my question. They have now suggested I call in, so I’ll try that, but your suggestion here makes a lot of sense. Thanks again!

So, yup, I just talked with Customer Support. They don’t know what Unlocker VCD is either, or why Customer Support suggested it. From what I can find, in references online, it is old WD software. It’s not currently on their site, for download, as I mentioned.

Anyway, their suggestion is exactly what you said Tony – if you password protect the WD drive, it will indeed be useless on a crashed system because you can’t unlock it, so, if you intend to use a password protected WD drive to restore a crashed laptop/PC with a backed up system image and files, you need a second laptop/PC, on which you have loaded or can load WD Security, to remove (disable) the password protection.

Then you can go ahead and use it for the intended system/files restoration.

Problem solved. Not sure why they couldn’t have just said that to me in their first response, haha, but at least I now know.