Deleting Files

I have a WD MY Passport Ultra. 

Easy question, presumably:  I have backed up my computer to My Passport successfully. I did this because I want to have a copy of all my files that exist on my computer. I also did this because I need extra hard drive space on my computer. My plan is to create space on my computer so I can relax knowing that I have a backup of everything on my computer prior to deleting files on my computer. 

So why is it that when I delete a file on my computer, the same backed up file on my passport is also deleted. This defeats the purpose of having a backup. I expect my backed up computer files on my Passport to be safe from deletion. The whole point of making this back up was that it would SAVE my computer files so I could create space on my computer. The only way to create space on my computer harddrive is to delete those files…

Please explain to me how I can delete files on my computer without the Passport deleting those same files in the back up I asked it to create for me. If I had wanted my files completely deleted, I wouldnt have purchased a My Passport.  Kind of redundant.

Thank you.


If you created a backup using WD Smartware then your files will not be deleted from the external drive when you delete them from your computer. Please note that if your files are only stored on the external drive then it is not considered a backup. A backup is having your files on more than one location. 


I did creat a back up using WD Smartware. And the WD Smartware shows that when I delete a file on my computer hard drive, that file is then listed as ‘deleted’ and has a line through it. Are you suggesting that file is still there even though it has a line through it and will only show up when the ‘deleted files’ checkbox is checked? If that is not a deleted file, then why is it categorized by WD Smartware as a deleted file and why does it have a line through it?

Now, you also said that if my files are stored on my external passport drive then they are not considered a back up…  well, how do you do that? WD Smartware doesn’t have any options that I can see that suggest you can store files rather than back them up - as if there were some kind of obvious difference. Does one just drag and drop files onto the external drive and ignore the software supplied with the Passport? Won’t those files get overwritten by the software?

Could you please clarify and explain your points please?  Thanks.

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Scooby42 - not sure if you solved this or not -but i think I just figured out the answer ot your question. Just bought a wd today to aggregate and protext other drives with files.

Using the WD Smartware software - to create a “back-up”  (which it seems to technically mean a copy of your files that will be synchronized with the original source files) will as you say result in additions and deletions to your ‘back-up’ copy. You dont want this to happen - perhaps for some or all of your files.

Some of us (me for example), may prefer the simplicity of just copying our files to an external drive (a static capture of our data at any point in time), that will not be deleted or changed when we remove it from our original source.

To do this - I think you simply copy and paste the files (from windows explorer or my computer) and save them to a dedicated folder on your wd drive.  I created a folder called: “Copied FIles Date”  and that is where I’ll place my files that I dont wish to automatically synch…

My answer is a bit speculative but I hope that helps.  (If I am wrong about this I would hope someone more experienced with WD would please comment and correct this thinking)

WD Smartware Pro keeps up to 20 versions of each file.   Go into Settings to change this (normally set at 5).  

My question is when does the software delete files?    For example, lets say I copy some files to a folder, then move them to a different folder.   What happens to the old versions?    

I see the setting for the number of versions to keep, but don’t see anything about how long it keeps old files.  

WD Smartware Pro stores the directories in a folder call

WD Smartware.swstor

What happens if I delete this directory and want to start over?    Are there any indexes that need to be deleted?    Or is everything in this folder?

For example, lets say I’ve made a bunch of chages on the source comptuer, and now want a fresh copy on the Passport, but I have other things on there (image files of my C drive) and don’t want to completely erase that drive.   Is it ok to delete the

WD Smartware.swstor folder and start over? 

Yes, I need the answer also. I stopped a backup and deleted it from my Ultra drive, the folder name is WD … Smartware.swstor, but the backup is still in smartware. What do you know I restarted the backup and it recreated the WD Smartware.swstor folder and finished the backup! How do we get rid of the backups in both places? Smartware and Ultra.

Thanks in advance,


My question is… after backing up the files I choose onto my passport can I safely delete those files from my computer and them not delete from the external drive? if not that is kinda pointless to even move them… what I have read here is people are having the issue of them deleting from both the computer and the external hard drive… what if you unplug the passport before deleting the files you have already backed up on the passport… then once you unplug it… delete the files you backed up and then plug it back in… would that help? I don’t know… I just thought maybe… some help would be muchly appreciated! :slight_smile: as I just backed up over 22,000 pictures! and don’t want to delte them from my computer if it is going to delete them from my passport also…

I’m guessing this problem hasn’t been solved? I’m looking to improve the speed of my computer…that being the reason I bought the passport ultra but it completly defeats the whole point if this problem doesn’t have a solution. Someone please help!!

I wish someone would reply! lol I would like to know I can safely remove the files from my hard drive that I saved to my passport. :slight_smile:

I have this exact same question and I can’t find the answer anywhere.  Did you ever get an answer to this?

I can confirm that when you backup files, then delete them from the source PC, they WILL remain on the WD drive as previously stated here by the WD staff member.  

I have been consolidating large numbers of video and picture files from my old external drive onto my laptop, transfering them to the Passport (I’m using Ultra), then deleting them from the laptop to save space and free up some memory.  I was worried about this so I tested several files and was able to retrieve them all without issue.  They do appear as “deleted” and with a line through them on the Passport, but they are still stored on the drive to be retrieved.  I have my backup file versions set to the default 5.

I am making sure to create new folder names for each batch going onto the WD, to ensure that they are not overwritten or deleted in future backups though, and retaining the old drives as a backup (always a good idea just to be safe)

Perhaps the fact that files that are removed from the source PC get marked as “deleted” and with a strike line, although they remain on the drive, is for the purpose that others are asking about for restoring entire PC backups.  Since you can choose to click to show the ‘deleted files’ checkbox, perhaps it is done this way so that people can choose to restore versions with those older files, or simply with the latest version and the deleted files excluded.  I am not 100% sure of this though, sorry.

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The only time in my few hours use of my new Ultra 1tb that i was able to completely delete a backup directly from the WD was when i erased the drive using the incl. utility. Set continuous backup by mistake to a drive, canceled, changed backup mode. Browsed the drive & the canceled backup was sitting there, partially written (700mb of 40gb). I didnt want the 1st thing written on the drive is space i will never need! Hence the erase. Can’t afford to do that in the future, of course!

I understand now from this thread how deleting on this drive works. Thanks for all ur posts.

I love it already & am waiting for a My Cloud 4Tb to arrive from the US :)) was available here in Cairo for a while & all units were snatched right away. Naturally.

  1. I tested it out (after losing a ton of my files) and find after deleting the files from my computer, the files show in my WD hard drive but when I go to that file IE: playlist  it does put them into my wmp but will not play, it only shows the list of songs/artists. I will never trust a portable hard drive if I want to keep the files safe. Maybe I did something wrong in putting them on the WD?? Any suggestions out there?

Thanks for HD staff for answering Scobbydo. Anyway, I have 500 GB internal HD for my laptop and 1 TB ultra. After backups and backups and backups… my ultra got low spaces to store my internal data. So… how to delete these data from ultra to save spaces ? Dont mention about clouding when you have tons of GB at hardly expensive prices IMAHO. Thanks

Best Regard,


I am not sure if I am missing something in your situation, I think you have a problem with your backup settings.  If a file deleted from your hard drive is also deleted from your external hard drive, you must have your backup set to “continuous”.  You can change that to a scheduled backup using the options available.  Or you can just disable the backup altogether using the Disable/Enable button on lower left of the Smartware screen. 

Hope this helps

yurkin wrote:

I am not sure if I am missing something in your situation, I think you have a problem with your backup settings.  If a file deleted from your hard drive is also deleted from your external hard drive, you must have your backup set to “continuous”.  You can change that to a scheduled backup using the options available.  Or you can just disable the backup altogether using the Disable/Enable button on lower left of the Smartware screen. 


Hope this helps

Hi Yurkin,

From my understanding…

The continual backup setting will back up a copy of your file as soon as you create or save it… ie backs up live… (it doesn’t delete previous versions or anything you have deleted from your pc) the scheduled setting periodically looks at what you have created or saved in the last week or month (depending on the setting you selected) and backs up only those new changes over that period and again it does not delete older versions.

When you retreve data from your backup drive you can select to only retreive the latest versons of all files that were saved on your pc and not the deleted rubbish. 

However if you wish you can also select to retrieve older versions and deleted files because fortunately…

* the previous versions of files you have saved over the top of will show on your back up drive but greyed out.

* the files you deleted from your pc will also show on your back up drive but with a line struck through them.

The number of older versions you can go back will be dependant on the settings you have selected.

Brilliant Options, brilliant program!

I hope this helps.


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Bumping an old thread.    

I am now using Beyond Compare 4.    It syncs folders deleting files from the target.  

Smartware has the right idea, but it needs a sync option.    With BC4, you can choose which files you want deleted.  

Okay. Maybe I’m the only one, but I’m still confused. The whole reason I bout my WD hard drive was BECASUE of the continuous backup. I don’t know when this laptop is going to go out on me, and I don’t want to have to be constatnly remembering to back things up, or miss things if it only backs up once per week. If I had just wanted an extra copy of my files, I would have saved money and gotten a couple of flash drives. But it appears that the “continuous” setting will also delete files if you delete them from your computer?? I’m so confused. I’ve only got 3 GB left on the actual computer now. Please help!

*Editd to add* Okay. I just tested this. Yes, it will SHOW as “deleted” when you go to WD “Smareware.” But the file is still there. Basically, the file is still there underneat, and it’s to tell you which files are on your comptuer and which are not. So if it is grayed out with a line through it, it is not on your computer. But it IS on the portable drive,and can easily be recovered to its original location.

Smartware will not delete anything either on your source drive or your backup destination drive.

It is back-up software, not synchronisation software, so one likely scenario is that you will actually want to recover a file that has been deleted from the source drive later on, and of course if it had also been deleted from the backup destination drive then you couldn’t do that.

Indeed after a long time you may well find that your backup gets large, as it will accumulate files that are deleted and actually no longer wanted. But that’s the cost of doing things that way, and in most cases is something that can be lived with (and a new backup can solve anyway).

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OK Let me see if I understand correctly.

When I bought this ext HD, I “expected” it to act like Carbonite - in that, if I moved a file from say, my desktop, to a folder in my documents, the same thing would happen when my WD updated (set to once a day, overnight here.)  So in reading this thread, I was wrong about that. Correct?  (not complaining.  just the facts.)

So.  When I move a file as described, my computer will have 1 copy of the file, while WD HD will accumulate now 2 copies of the file, right?  One on my desktop, and one in my documents.  Correct?

So in order to “fix” this would it make sense for me to “start from scratch” say once a month?  To get rid of the “extra” files on the WD HD?  And if so, how do I do that?  Go to the drive, find the Volume folder and delete that off the WDHD?  Will that then allow me to basically restart all over again?

Thanks in advance.