My friends passed away and I can't get digital recordings of him off of my external drive


I have an older external WD Smartware drive on a Mac. It recently stopped working when the operating system was updated. I didn’t pay it any mind until now, when my friend passed away and I was trying to access digital recordings of us playing some games together. I just want to hear his voice again.

I have been searching the WD sites and downloading software to try to get the external drive to unlock and nothing has worked so far.

This external drive is called a “My Book Elite”.

The folders that are locked are:

  • DriveUnlock
  • Virtual CD Manager
  • WD Smartware
  • A few folders in the Extras folder are locked too (WD +TURBO Installer & Uninstaller)

I reached out to support and they sent me this link (but nothing I have found there yet has worked either, and a few of the suggested downloads were things I already tried):

When I try to unlock the drive it gives me this error:
" “DriveUnlock” needs to be updated."

The latest MacOS does not support 32-bit software, which this drive apparently operates on. So I need some sort of work around or update to unlock these folders.

Any help from anyone who knows what I should do is much appreciated. I want to share the recordings I have with other people who know our friend who passed away too.

I’m actually about to try that when I get back home! Thanks for the suggestion! We might be able to get the files if we connect it to my wife’s old Mac book. I tried connecting it to my gaming PC but it would require my to reformat the drive to use it and thus delete all the content stored. So many roadblocks haha

So I tried to use the external had on an older Mac with an older operating system, and the folder doesn’t appear with a locked icon, but I still can’t open the folder. I tried downloading the software needed to access the drive but it didn’t work. :frowning:

found this comment on youtube related to this problem

“I had to call Tech Support to find the answer. Unlock the drive (if applicable). Open the drive and double-click the WD SmartWare.swstor folder which contains the backup data in its hierarchical organization. Data can be easily accessed on another computer so long as the SmartWare software is installed which can be a thorny problem. Note that the SmartWare and related information is located in the main folder as well. Backing up those folders will enable recreation of the drive should backup data on the drive be corrupted. As flash drives have greater capacity, backing data (particularly graphic data) on flash drives may be the better option.”

These older external drives would appear in your OS as two storage devices. There would be the usual USB mass storage device which would contain the user’s data, plus there would be a small Virtual CD (VCD) which would contain the abovementioned software tools (DriveUnlock, SmartWare, etc). You would need to run DriveUnlock, which would then issue a password challenge. Supplying the correct password would then unlock your data.

If you need to bypass the password, there are data recovery companies that can do this. That’s because WD’s older products were very insecure and were plagued with numerous vulnerabilities, mostly related to bad implementation.