Notebook won't boot with Passport


I recently bought a 1TB My Passport Essential SE.  To my dismay, the drive was laden with the WD backup software which wants to install and the drive has a built-in virtual CD that pops up a box every time you plug it in.  So, I wiped the drive clean  (the part you can access, the VCD is not accessible with any normal tools) and disabled the VCD in the device manager.  The drive works fine except for one thing, the computer hangs at boot if the drive is plugged in at boot.  It only continues on into boot if the drive is unplugged.  This is EXTREMELY frustrating for a device you bought to attach to your daughter’s notebook at college for automated scheduled backups, for which my instructions to her were going to be “leave it connected all the time”.  Now it will get pulled at reboot and likely not get reconnected.  I am unhappy with losing the VCD space on the drive but can live with that if I can just get this thing NOT to disable my computer.  Doesn’t seem too much to ask from something.  Theoretically, I could disable boot from USB, but I don’t want to do that.

Any solution?  Other than buying Seagate and tossing this in the closet.

[Edit] changing the boot options does NOT solve the hanging problem.  It hangs on the boot startup options screen where you can push F9 to change the boot options, etc…  Last [deleted] WD hardware for me.

We are having exactly the same problem with a Passport, but with a PC. If it’s plugged in the computer stops at the boot screen and stays there. With the Passport unplugged the computer boots fine, and if you plug Passport in once the Windows screen shows during boot, then the drive works fine and the boot finishes. But nothing we have tried will induce the computer to boot with the Passport plugged into the USB port. Changing the BIOS configuration and boot settings has no effect at all vis-a-vis this problem.

The Two Reason Of Why This Can Happen Its:

1- The BIOS Have The USB Port In The Boot Sequences Which Its Not Supposes

2- The Computer Might Have a DLA Software Which Its Having Conflict With The VCD Of The HDD

 also have the same problem. i am having WD my passport essential 500GB and also passport 160GB. the 160GB does not create any problem but the 500GB cause problem during boot, when i start my laptop while plugin the HD it cannot boot into windows. (But sometimes it boot into windows after somtime). what could be the problem.

I also have the problem at boot up. Without the My Passport Essential SE connected my HP Pavillion w/XP starts up fine but with it in the HP Pavillion hangs up.  I don’t see anything here from WD that gives a simple resolution.  Maybe posting it on Twitter or Facebook might help. 

Same problem with 1TB Essential.

Will be calling them to see if there is a fix. Will post any findings.

Anyone else had any joy with this yet?

Look in the BIOS and check the boot order.


I am having the exact same problem here but with my Laptop.  Technically, this should not be happening but it is.  I am not sure why.  I also read up on an earlier article about power starvation.  I wonder if it only happens durning startup or if thats part of the problem in the beginning.

If anyone has a solution, I like to hear it.  Personally, I would have WD tech engineers fix this problem.  This is not suppose to happen because its just a plane old hard drive.

By the way, every time I have my hard drive plugged in during startup, It corrupts my main hard drive and I had to run a windows automatic repairs to fix the drive several times already. 

I also called WD tech support and they said change the BIOS settings.  I did that and it didn’t work.  To prove that its an product issue and not us; I have a WD 320gb HD and I had that plug into my laptop during startup and I never once had a problem with it.  Why this one? 

It’s the Smartware firmware that is interfering with your boot. You CANNOT turn it off, even if you hide the VCD.

My Dell laptops will handle it, but I suspect that it will require a change in your computer’s BIOS to get around this.

Score another one for the Smartware VCD!

Found this link in another post:

It basically says that if you have checked your boot settings in your BIOS, then you should plug in the drive after you have booted.

Real helpful.

Boot a gparted livecd, remove the virtual cd bit. 

Worst case scenario is you’ll have to take the drive out of the caddy then run gparted, but it seems very unlikely that this would be the case.


My understanding is the VCD firmware is in flash memory on the circuit board, not on the actual disk.

The Smartware program is on the disk itself.  In the newer versions (minimal VCD), it can be formatted away.  But the VCD firmware is still active even if you hide it with the VCD manager.