More useful error messages in Firmware Updater

Many users appear to be buying WD’s newest drives and then getting frustrated that the Firmware Updater keeps telling them:

_ “Please disconnect all USB devices and connect only the WD drive you want to update; then click Rescan” _

Users are getting frustrated spending hours (or days) trying to get the firmware updated.

The software should simply be telling them that it isn’t finding an updatable drive beacuse the drive doesn’t need any updating._   _

Please make future updaters more user-friendly.


I wasted considerable time trying to update the drive - because the WD SmartWare software said an update was available and needed to be installed. Please fix this and get your act together!

I also wasted a lot of time trying to update the firmware on a USB 3.0 My Book Essential until I discovered it wasn’t needed

Same here.  I would highly recommend fixing this issue, as it will help avoid future frustration.

The firmware updater seems to be a common problem for everyone. I got an error message tell me to turn off any app. that may be accessing the drive, and there is none. It simply don’t work. I think WD should allow user to do a scan first and then take it from there. This is poor customer service from such a popular brand.

the updater needs a fix and better immediate user documentation and installation instructions.  apparently the update is blocked if any i/o type device is connected/active on a usb port.  so it’s not really the software (application) you are running, it’s the device type and drivers that the updater does not properly recognize.

I found the same problem. The software told me I needed a firmware update. I followed all the steps. In the end it says my WD My Passport Essential SE is in use. I tried over and over with everything I could think of (undock, power cable only, boot into Safe Mode, etc). Thank God I found this thread letting me know it’s the crappy software and not me. There are actually 2 bugs in the WD software. 1) It says I need an update when I don’t. 2) It says my drive is in use when really it just doesn’t need the update. I’ve been using computers heavily for over 20 years, and I have yet to find a piece of software included with a hard drive that wasn’t horrible. It’s a real shame. WD, can you please create a quality piece of software? Please?! I know that HD’s are considered commodities by most users so you have to cut expenses to the bone, but please just make the software work, on a basic level. PS: I sure wish WD Smartware would let me choose exactly which files to backup. Why does it have to treat me like a 95-year-old grandma? At least the buggy software on my last Maxtor drive let me do that.

I did the same, in fact I was almost ready to take it back and get a refund.  Loss of business for WP.  Please update your messages to be clear and concise - think about the user/customer HP!   Who designed these (what outsourcing company did you use or is this YOUR design)??

I think the part about using computer heavily for over 20 years is a strange admission. Has your memory failed? The amount of space typically allotted to programming utilities along with the fact that such tools were, in the past, only used by people who understood exactly the task at hand means that the user feedback part of the programming is very limited by those constraints.

Hire a professional if you experience an inability to understand what you see.

Feedback from programs as well as error information typically take the form of something to indicate that a change is needed and since the amount of possible changes typically exceeds the amount of space allowed to react to those with a message, messages are limited and frequently must be translated by the person using the tool.

After a single repeat of a message the proper approach is to say to yourself “Hmm, what exactly is causing this response and what is it really saying to me?”

For instance, the tool is telling you that it does not see anything that it is capable of updating and it includes a few extra words that fit into the space available for error or help messages and they chose to use the words that fit the most frequently encountered user situations that would generate the error. If you can not reason it out then go looking for help.

The concept of repeatedly doing the same thing and getting the same undesired result sort of fits into that old adage that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

When you feel that a tool is driving you crazy then is the time to ask questions and find a different behavior.

The tool is simply telling you that it looked and found nothing to do and making some suggestion about an action you could take. If you were one of the probably larger percentage of people who saw that message because … oops I forgot to plug in the device… then the message would have been helpful and you would have connected and completed if the device were at a level that needed upgrading and a type that applied to the tool you were using.

I remember purchasing a 10MB hard drive in 1987 for $800(yes, MegaByte as in storage just a bit larger than 10 of the current 800K floppies in use at that time) , using our 33.333% developer discount.
Today we routinely pay less than $100.00 for drives in the hundreds of gigabytes or even terabyte sizes. How much money should be invested in holding the hand of a user when the cost is so low?
Perhaps we should approach the drive manufacturers and ask that they raise their prices so they can keep full time hand holders on staff to help us learn how to use the tools.