Advice requested on abandoning SmartWare

I was initially wary of the SmartWare backup approach of ‘don’t worry your head about whether all your data is being backed up’, but went along with it anyway. Now my backup is reporting ‘Partial Backup Complete’ with it persistently refusing to copy a yellow bar half a Gig in size of Pictures. Googling this, it seems like other people have had it.

So the time has come to just get rid and use a different backup tool – it’s clearly not suitable for what I want. So can anyone point me at the best way to

* Wipe existing backup data and prevent it from being regenerated (leaving space for the backup of something else).

* Prevent Smartware from running unless I ask for it

* (Despite using something else to do backups), retain the useful ‘Lock the drive’ functionality, and maybe the diagnostics.

I can pick up bits of the process from the docs, but I’m not sure how/ when / which files to wipe, or what to uninstall/delete from where, or whether I can lose backing up alone, and keep the other features. I suppose I’m after higher level guidance than the specific single actions that are in the manual. 

I don’t mind if it retains a little partition for a few files. I don’t even mind having to keep SmartWare if I need it for the passwording, so long as it doesn’t actually start backing up again.

Okay… You have asked lots of questions and I feel you deserve a comprehensive answer. Please read completely prior to attempt anything.

Since, you have not mentioned the OS you are using, I assume you use Windows 7 and My Passport or (SE) USB drive. Nevertheless, following steps you have to cover.

While WD Smartware PC installation intact, copy whatever the data you have in USB drive to different drive.

If you have enabled drive security in the subjected drive, now is the time to disable and remove from the drive using Smartware drive setup utility.

(To make sure, reboot or disconnect and reconnect the drive to verify WD drive security has been completely removed.)

Now copy Smartware software folder(s) and files that were residing in My Passport Drive to a separate Drive > folder and remember that.

Uninstall WD Smartware from your PC and reboot. If you need Instructions, they are here…

Smartware Uninstall Guide:!&p_li=&p_topview=1

Now that you have completely removed WD Smartware, your external may not show in the windows explorer. This Smart (idiotic) ware may have removed your external drive letter as well as SES communications device driver from your system.

(Only if you’re not planning to use Drive Utilities such as Security and Virtual CD)

To correct the issue, follow these steps. 

Step1 > Reassign a drive letter to your drive.

Connect subjected USB drive in to your PC.

Access Disk Management by right-clicking on Computer (on your Start Menu) and left-click on Manage. If you don’t have Computer on your Desktop, it should be located in your Start Menu.

You will get a window with two panes. On the left pane under Storage, click on Disk Management. This will load the right pane. You may need to maximize the windows to see all your drives.

In the lower right pane, you should see a list of all available drives/devices. Find the drive listing that corresponds to the one that has no drive letter.

Right click on the drive and select assign a drive letter and follow the instructions. (leave the USB drive connected)

Step2> Reinstall SES device driver.  (You don’t need this step if you plan to use Drive Security option)  Skip to this point >  My Passport Drive Contents: Windows…

Download device driver from here… 

Extract the zip and place the content in a location you could remember.

Right click My Computer shortcut on start menu and choose properties. Open Device Manager from left pan. In side Device Manager you’ll notice unknown device or other device listed.

Right click and choose Update driver. Select let me and navigate to the location you had extracted SES device drivers.

New SCSI Device will be installed.

Note: You have to follow previous procedure each time you uninstall Smartware.

If your Drive is not NTFS and still FAT32, Follow these steps to make your drive NTFS. FAT32 is very fragile and not suitable for USB drives.

Partition & Format Drives!!&p_li=&p_topview=1

Now you are half way done.

If you like you can copy back WD Smartware which was in your drive back in to the drive. This will enable you have just the drive locking feature which you needed. If you have not done or not sure about previously as instructed drive content backup, you can still download required files from here.

My Passport Drive Contents: Windows

Copy extracted zip file contents in to your desktop.

You’ll be presented with four files. Two of them for Windows and other two for Mac. (discard Mac)

Copy “WDSmartWare_ISO_PP4R2_1_4_1_2.iso” file in to root of the newly NTFS formatted drive. (I hate FAT32)

Than Extract contents of  ""  into root of your newly formatted drive.

Now delete unwanted Mac folder from your USB drive. (You can ignore it - Just taking space)

To setup security, you need to run WD SmartWare.exe (5.4Mb) file from your USB drive. It won’t work outside of the WD drive.

You’ll be presented with WD welcome screen and ask you whether you want to install just Drive setup software or Full Version with Backup Software.

Since you want just security feature, select basic (Drive Setup) installation.

In the end of installation you’ll notice WD task tray icon back again.

Reboot is optional… Now run WD Smartware shortcut from your Startmenu or from Task tray WD icon. (right click)

On the Home page you’ll see only your Passport listed. No backup/Retrieval options. Now click settings tab.

Go to Virtual CD and enable VCD and recycle power on USB drive. (Disconnect / reconnect after few sec.)

( Now you should see the virtual CD in your Windows explorer.)

Next click security button and do the security [HARDWARE ENCRYPTED] settings…

Be warned: If you misplace your password or drive itself get corrupted (Bad sectors common on FAT32 and or in USB powered drives) you’ll loose all your data. Further, Drive rescue is not possible on locked drives. And only can be unlocked from a utility which was written on the same drive. IMO, if your locked drive get corrupted you’ll end up with a nice paper weight as drive itself become unusable. Data recovery may cost $1,000.00 or more.

Open virtual drive and you’ll see Unlock.exe , you can lock or unlock your drive using this utility. If not consult this forum again.

For the file backup requirement, you could use MS Backup or any other - consult forum or Google.

If you want to make system drive image, you can use Paragon drive backup or Nero drive imagining software.

WD has their own preparatory FREE drive imaging software – only works on a system that has at least one WD drive.

We have got  that, don’t we?

Mabikay – SLK

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In second thought; take a look in here… More info on Smartware (FAQ)

Mabikay - SLK

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Thank you for taking so much trouble. I’ll try to do that over the weekend (I might have to download current software rather than use what came on the drive, as it’s over 6 months old). Hoping to do the 'solution button!



Personally I don’t see much of an improvement on the newer version of WD Smartware. They may have fixed certain issues such as high memory utilization bug. So called newer version didn’t work well on my Vaio with Win7x32. (It had freezing and missing drive letter issues on random basis)

I no longer use any Smartware version to get my work done. I backup my files either using SyncToy or MS Backup utility. For System drive image, I use Nero which allows you to create boot CD with USB drive support.

They are not smart but excellent software because, they do whatever they were intend do in straight forward way. In another words, they don’t treat you like if you were a complete ■■■■■!  :smiley:

Good Luck for whatever you’re planning to do.

Mabikay - SLK

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Well I’ve worked through it, and just thought I’d check back with you that I’ve got what’s expected. Smartware is showing as you described, with only the Passport listed, and the security is working how I expected. It’s also ran a ‘software update’, and brought it to of its own accord. So this is all good; MS Backup here I come!

I’ve now got a drive J (My Passport) that’s got the ISO file, plus WD Quick formatter.exe, WD Smartware.exe, and the Extras, User Manuals and WD Smartware folders; i.e. what was in the Zip files. I’m not sure whether this is the I downloaded or the that’s installed and running from Drive C since the update. I think the former.

I’ve also still got the Virtual CD driveWD Smartware  at Drive E, which seems to contain the original version of Smartware (i.e. the same 3 folders) and unlock.exe and virtual CD manager. The readme implies that this would be what’s updated by automatic software updates, but I don’t think that can be true. I don’t think I can write to it either. Is it normal for it to just stay like that?

Can I delete everything I put in drive J (since I’ve done the install) or is it needed and I should leave it there ? Or is there a way to get them on the virtual CD? I’m thinking the manuals and extras haven’t been copied to drive C.

Best regards



Your intentions are not clear to me right now. But I’ll try to answer your queries the way I understand.

If you want to keep the password lock feature, you cannot disable/hide/delete VCD. Same goes to SES driver as well.

All files available on VCD are available on the zip file you downloaded. ISO files can be opened and  contents extracted using either WinRar or Power ISO applications.

I thought you were going to abandon Smartware for obvious reasons. And finally, if you can give-up drive security, you don’t need any portion of Smartware at all.

Good luck,

Mabikay – SLK

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Sorry for not being clear. My aim was to have Smartware in its ‘security and utilities only’ version, which I’ve got thanks to your explanation. As you say, what I’ve got from the Zip file, is a newer version of what’s on the VCD (albeit without unlock and VCD manager, which don’t seem to be in the Zip file).

This is just housekeeping. I don’t mind having the VCD either there or visible. It just struck me as untidy that I’ve got both the old version of Smartware as shipped with the drive in the read-only VCD, and the version and ISO file newly downloaded, in the read-write partition of the Passport.

I was just checking which of these situations was the case:

a) Having installed ‘security and utilities only’ Smartware, I delete all the files you told me to download from the Passport. This makes space, and leaves me the original ‘unlock’ utility in the VCD for when I plug the drive into another computer, but I take care that if I ever need to install or reinstall Smartware, I re-download from the support site, rather than use the old version that’s still in the read-only VCD (especially since that old version doesn’t seem to give the option of installing ‘security and utilities’ without also ‘backup’.)

b) The version of Smartware in the VCD has for some reason not been updated by the latest version automatically. That is, the fact that it was not overwritten when came down after I installed as you described, is an error. (My reason for suspecting this is the ‘what is this.html’ file on the VCD which says ‘… updates to the WD SmartWare VCD, when available, are automatically downloaded from the web to your drive so you don’t have to wait for the arrival of a physical replacement CD.’). If this is true, there should be a way of getting into the VCD, which seems the best place to store the current version of Smartware.

Perhaps it’s because I’m not clear about the function of the ISO file. I know it’s a disk image, but your instructions were to copy it along with the contents of the Zip file to the Passport, and run the installer from the Zip file from there. That’s why the read-write partition of the Passport still contains the ISO file and the Zip file content where I downloaded them and ran the installer from. I originally assumed the ISO was just another file that’s called on by your installation process. Are you saying that the ISO file is in fact an image of what should be in the VCD and (despite the fact that the VCD seems read-only) I am to use the ISO file to manually replace the VCD’s content with the new version?



I guess you haven’t repartitioned and formatted your drive as I instructed on the former post. That is why you still have old VCD components in your drive. If you’re unable to get-rid of old stuff, you have old firmware in your drive.

As a workaround, you could download newer firmware version from WD support site and it’s available as standalone exe file and you can update your firmware without any support from Smartware. As far as I understand, this will enable you to remove old VDC components but it has other disorders. One prominent issue is eight second sleeping sickness which I really hate.

Anyway, I can see that you have achieved what you really wanted in the first post without going through drive FW upgrade. Once upgraded, there’s no way of going back.

(If the things work for you, why bother which version of software you have? Besides, most of newer software releases have NEW SET OF BUGS!)


Mabikay - SLK

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Ah. I read the partitioning instructions ‘If your Drive is not NTFS and still FAT32, Follow these steps to make your drive NTFS. FAT32 is very fragile and not suitable for USB drives.’, and it was already NTFS, didn’t do it. I think I have the latest firmware, because I did that a few weeks ago anyway. Perhaps I’ll redo your instructions and do the partitioning this time! When I’ve done it, does the ISO file get written to the VCD?


Actually, I think I’m just scratching an itch now. I’m going to just leave installed on the PC and wipe the downloaded installer, and live with the old version in the VCD. After all, the old unlock still works and that’s all that matters!

Thanks for all your help!


Argh! link for the SmartWare uninstall guide is broken!  Anyone have instructions?  I can’t find it on the web, only how to hide the partition from yourself.

It’s just simple… Use Contol Panel to uninstall the Smartware Program.


But if you need to uninstall Smartware from the drive for good, that’s a different story.

Mabikay - SLK

Note: Click the Kudos star to say thank you for helpful posts. And be sure to come back to click the ‘Accept as Solution’ button for the post that solved your issue.

I uninstalled the software with Revo to get rid of traces in the Registry (after updating firmware and running Virtual CD Manager to hid the CD), rebootted and all is well.  No WD processes running either.  Yeah!