Is safe mode the right way to do firmware updates?

I bought a couple My Passport Essential SE 1TB drives last week and was thinking of updating the firmware.  However, the WD firmware download page says:

  • All AntiVirus software MUST be disabled.
  • All Anti-Spyware software MUST be disabled.
  • ANY and ALL programs that would require drive access during the update MUST be disabled .
  • An internet connection is required to install the firmware update.

If I disable Antivirus and stay connected to the net, that doesn’t sound like a recipe for happiness.  Add the instruction to disable “ANY and ALL” programs that could access the drive suggests to me that rebooting in Safe Mode would be the right idea.  However, the next bullet requires staying connected to the internet (maybe Safe Mode with Networking would work?).

Should I reboot in Safe Mode while installing firmware updates?  Does the updater really need internet access (didn’t I just download it to my disk so it could be run offline)?  Am I being overly concerned about this?  What do I _really_ have to do? How many programs that start at startup have to be disabled?

Another question would be - is there any reason to do a firmware update if I’m not having trouble?  So many software vendors push updates for various reasons (including security patch fixes) that I’m used to just saying yes to updates.  But should the same rule apply to firmware?


You update the firmware to ensure it is up to date, however, if you do not want to and the drive is working fine now, is your choice if you want to update. In case you are willing to do it I would recommend you to follow those instructions through to avoid issues, safe Mode might be an issue if you are trying to make changes in your computer configuration.

If the drive is working I wouldn’t update the firmware I didn’t on mine. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it is sometimes the best policy.