Passport Essential first reaction

A long-time satisfied user or MyPassport Elite, I just bought an Essential and have a few problems:

With the Elite, I could just plug the drive into a USB port on my Windows XP system, and in a few seconds it would have a drive letter and be ready to go.

No such luck with the Essential.  The only thing that got a drive letter was the “Virtual CD.”  In order to get Windows to assign a drive letter for the disk, it seemed, I had to install the software.  I just wanted a generic USB drive, which Windows should be able to handle without special drivers.

Question: Is there a way to use the Passport Essential without installing the WD drivers, just as I could use the Elite?

Now it takes up two (2) drive letters, one for the Virtual CD and another one for the disk itself.

Question: Is there a way to remove  the Virtual CD and thus release its drive letter for use by other external drives?

Since I had to install the software anyway, last night I ran a backup of my system, but today my system is noticeably slower (doing just about everything) than usual.  I suspect the hint is in the manual:

The WD SmartWare software automatically and continuously backs up all of the content (music, movies, photos, documents, e-mail, and other files) on your computer to your My Passport drive.

Note that I do have “Pause backup until computer is idle” selected but that doesn’t help.  I would rather the SmartWare just stay out of the way while I do my work–I need all the performance my computer can deliver–and then do its job while I’m asleep at night.

I right-clicked on the WD SmartWare icon in my taskbar and chose “Exit WD Smartware” but nothing happened.  The SmartWare did not exit: the taskbar icon did not go away, and the system overhead did not lessen.  Sometimes  when I try this, a pop-up asks if I really wanto to exit; I choose Yes but it never goes away.

Question: Now, how can I really turn off SmartWare so as to restore my system to full performance?

All told, I am quite disappointed.

I could not exit WD SmartWare as I mentioned above.  So I tried something new:  I shut down my computer, physically unplugged the Passport Essential, then re-booted.  WD SmartWare was running again!  So again, I right-clicked on the SmartWare icon on the taskbar and chose “Exit WD SmartWare.”  Again, a pop-up warned “If you exit WD SmartWare, it will end automatic, continuous backup of your files”  and offered the options to Cancel or Exit.  Since that is what I wanted to do, I chose Exit.  However, SmartWare did not exit!  It’s still right there in the taskbar!

I right-clicked on it again and again chose “Exit WD SmartWare.”  It would not go away.  Finally I opened Task Manager and killed the three WD tasks.  That shouldn’t have been necessary, but that’s what it took.

All I wanted was a USB drive that would work whenever I plugged it into my USB port, like I have with the Passport Elite.  How can I get that out of an Essential?

I am looking for a similar answer, all i want to do is use the hard-drive as you would a USB pen, it’s cause major problems for me due to it requiring drivers to be installed which i cant do educational computers due to insufficient rights. There are plenty of other portable hard-drives i have seen people using without a problem. I taken to this product because of the style and well established brand but i am extremely disjointed i think they lost sight of what some people would consider portable, unless a receive a real response instead of the copy paste i received from the customer support i will be returning this and advising friends to stay away.

Information on how to remove the VCD partition:

however using that software installs a bunch of unsavory changes to your windows system.  everyone I talked to says that you should avoid it like the plague

Yes… but this doesn’t remove it… it only disables it and requires their software to be installed to keep it disabled.

There needs to be a way to make this thing JUST a hard drive with no crapware and no additional drivers or software needed.

I use linux and bought 10 of these **bleep** things before I found out about the [text deleted - keep it courteous]  virtual cd and crapware on it.

The only way to not have to deal with the WD Smartware software is to UNINSTALL it. Otherwise it keeps popping up everytime one connects the external hard drive device to the computer.

I have never used a backup such as My Passport.  I am actually appalled.  My computer isn’t exactly brand new and, like you, I tried to pause the backup to no avail.  In addition, I didn’t exactly need more of my computer memory taken up just for the purpose of a backup.  I can’t believe such a retarded program costs so much money.  I am very disappointed with my purchase and not being that tech-savvy, now have to figure out how to deal with this obstacle.  Hope someone can answer your questions!

Sorry for the weird appearance of the font in my message above.  Hope this one works the way it should.