I am running a Passport Essential on Win XP and I had the same problem, but it only happened after I did the following.
Under the “home” tab, I clicked “Update Software…” and went throught the firmware and software update routine, including updating the .Net Framework to 3.5. I think I saw a posting elsewhere on the boards that pointed out that on the update page ( http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/wdsmartwareupdate/step1.asp?id=wdfMP_Essential&os=win), AFTER giving all the instructions for the update, there is a hard-to-notice alert at the bottom of the page that says “This information is applicable only to this drive model, manufactured after June 15, 2010.” So I guess the whole update is bad for drives manufactured BEFORE that date.
Anyway, the following steps solved my problem:
- Right-click the WD icon in the system tray (lower right) and choose “Safely remove My Passport Essential.”
- Unplug the drive.
- Choose Start / Control Panel / Add or Remove Programs / Change or Remove Programs
- Select WD SmartWare and click “Remove.”
- When software removal is complete, plug in MyPassport drive again.
- Go through automated software installation process. DO NOT click the update button. Use the original version of the software as is.
The software should not be prompting owners of older drives to update – or at least, that is what appears to be the problem. At a minimum there should be warnings not to update unless your serial number is such-and-so. If my theory is correct, this is an appalling lapse on WD’s part and it is small wonder one sees so much frustration on the forums.