How to remove "WD Unlocker"?

hey guys,

I bought a 320GB my passport drive a few days ago so I could use it to take some files to school and print them… however i’m having a problem, when I try to plug the drive into the computers at school it doesn’t let me, the techs at the computer lab tell me it’s because the drive tries to install a virtual disc partition (which the lab computers block).

I found a solution here that said I should install the wd software and disable the virtual disc thing, but that only seems to work on my computer at home. When I take the drive to school the same thing happens, it won’t work.

How can I disable the virtual disc thing from popping up before I plug in the drive at school?


Is it a “WD Unlocker” VCD or a “WD Smartware” VCD?

The Unlocker VCD remains hidden unless you set a password, and hides itself again when you remove a password, but it cannot be removed from the drive.

If the school PC’s won’t allow the Unlocker application to run, all you can do is remove the password from the drive.

WD can’t force the school to install the Unlocker application on their computers.

If it’s a Smartware VCD, then if you install the firmware patch to hide the VCD, it should stay hidden for all devices the drive is attached to.  That’s the way it works for me… the hidden Smartware VCD doesn’t show up on this PC, doesn’t show up when plugged into the Server, doesn’t show up when plugged into Mrs. RG’s PC, doesn’t show up when plugged into the WDTV, doesn’t show up when plugged into the WDTV Live.

It seems much more likely that it’s the SES driver of which the school is blocking the installation.  If you don’t have a password set, you should just be able to skip the SES driver.  If you do have a password set, you won’t be able to unlock the drive without installing the SES driver – all you’d be able to do is remove the password from the drive at home and try again.

I bought a My Book Essentials for home use, and it always puts the WD Unlocker on my desktop. If I unmount it, it comes right back. I found a KB article that talks about removing it, but it didn’t work. After calling WD Tech Support and getting escalated to Tier II, I was told that I have the “Mini” Virtual CD, and there is no way to disable this. It will always be there as long as the drive is connected to my computer. During the calls to WD, they had me install the WD SmartWare, against a lot of protest, but it had an option to hide the Virtual CD temporary, but a reboot or remounting the drive caused the Unlocker to appear on my desktop again. Plus, now I had the WD SmartWare always running on my computer and even placed an icon on my task bar. I consider this worse, because now their software is always running on my computer and it’s stuff I’ll never used. I did uninstall the WD SmartWare, and I noticed now when I unmount the WD Unlocker VCD, it stays unmounted and doesn’t remount. It also changed the icon of my drive too. Since it changed the behavior after uninstalling, I am left wondering what it has left on my system and changed? The Tier II tech support did tell me some WD Products that didn’t have their SmartWare on them, but none of them came in the 3 TB size. I just hope that the software doesn’t amount to a root kit. I am very protective of what gets installed and changed on my laptop, which has left me very disappointed with Western Digital after this last purchase.

If you choose not to password protect the drive, then the unlocker will not appear. So if yet remove the password protection the same thing should happen. You probably just had a bad drive.

About the 3tb drive without Smartware, you can get an Elements, get more info  here

jfarrell wrote:
I just hope that the software doesn’t amount to a root kit.


By definition, the Unlocker and Smartware can not be a “rootkit”.

A rootkit, by definition, hides its existence.  Applications that put a shortcut on your desktop and things in the taskbar, even if they were malware or contained malware, can’t possibly be rootkits.

It does come down to, if you didn’t want a lockable drive that needs the unlocker, and are that paranoid of any application you didn’t write yourself, then why buy a drive that needs support applications installed to function properly?

As Wizer points out, you can easily buy a 3TB Elements:

Not sure you can remove it but you can go in the parameters of the WD and disable the security

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

Try disabling it in Device Manager.