GUIDE: How to remove SmartWare permanently

That’s for old drives, recent Passports handle the VCD partition differently.


Have you found another way to remove the VCD permanently from Passport and My Book drives, ThePizzaMatrix? Perhaps by modifying the above procedure?

New drives do that on their own, the VCD partition is now called unlocker with 20mb instead of 700mb and it only has a tool to unlock the drive or to erase it if you forget the password and nothing else, it doesn’t even hold smartware any longer. Also, it will only show up only if there’s an active password, so you won’t even see the VCD until you create a password with the new drives, so the first partition recognized by the system is the drive itself rather than the VCD.

Thanks for your clear and helpful reply, ThePizzaMatrix.

“… it only has a tool to unlock the drive or to erase it if you forget the password”

Does it mean that the “unlocker” partition itself can be deleted permanently?

It can be assumed that hardware encryption and password protection are not needed.

Thanks again.

This thread does not bode well. :frowning:

RegisteredUser wrote:

Actually. I don’t understand why everyone is saying don’t set a password and it won’t appear. Mine has no password, but it still appears.


The WD unlocker resides on an HPA set in the DCO. The HPA (Host Protected Area) is a claimed portion of the drive’s space that is hidden from within the firmware so that the bios of your machine lets your OS see only a certain count of sectors.


The HPA is not invulnerable, there is a way to shut it off. But, i don’t know how. I know Linux has a tool called dd and it can shut the HPA off, reclaim the stollen space. but as far as windows, I’m really not sure. I wish I knew.


I’m asking WD right now if there’s a tool they have to get rid of it, my old passport did not have the WD Unlocker, and when my old one was replaced with this one, this one has it and so I think it shouldn’t.


There’s also a program you boot from on a CD called Hdat2, it supposedly has the ability to disable the HPA also, though I’m not really sure and it sounds technical. I don’t really want to break my drive to reclaim a few megs or even a few gigs of stollen space.


but the WD Unlocker sure is annoying. every time I plug it in “What do you want to do??” pops up. I want to ignore that drive forever and delete the autoplay file, but I can’t as it’s write protect.


I was told by WD support that it will disappear if you uninstall the smartware. Unfortunately I like the smartware, I just don’t like the unlocker VCD so I’m not going to attempt it myself but, you may try if you wish :slight_smile: I might get the courage one day to use Hdat2 on it

The purpose of the VCD is only to allow the drive to be locked and unlocked.  The drive uses hardware encryption, which prevents someone from pulling the drive from the case in order to access data.  If this is not something you want, then you should rethink using the drive.