REVIEW SmartWare Firmware My Book Studio model WDBAAJ0010HSL


My Book is beset by problems if you do not wish to use SmartWare. It appears to contain firmware that ‘loads’ a virtual cd automatically on installation. This contains Smartware which you may load onto your computer to back-up data from your computer to the disk. Being open minded and after following all the installation instructions I found it succesfully backed up my files. However 24hours later the software was unable to reslove the original classification of the data, i.e. photos, movies etc. I don’t like unreliable back-up software so uninstalled using the software provided. However I could not uninstall the software on the virtual cd. I attempted numerous sequences of installing, uninstalling the back up software, changes of cable etc. Eventually I located the infomration that I required a firmware up date. This I attempted and it failed on three different machines both power pc and intel. The firmware up dater could not see the drive. I replaced the drive and had the same issues again. Several different OS’s but no higher than 10.5.8.

It appears that either the back up software or the firmware or both are somehow at fault at present. Whether this just applies to the mac or just the UK I do not know.

I have been moved to write because for me personally I like to have confidence in the  reliability of my back up device. I of course keep multiples and used WD products succesfully in the past. This is not a rant at WD. BUT this particular model is problematic in my view and in the shop where I obtained it they have examined my issue and have offered me a more expensive drive from another manufacturer as replacement at the same price.


Same issue here in Brazil, but with the WDBAAJ0020HSL model (2TB). Using Windows 7. Cannot update the firmware (because it does not exist), but the download page for this model (all sizes) keep pointing us to the firmware update of the other MyBook models (Elite and Essencial). That firmware update does not recognizes our MyBook Studio drives. I tried to open a support request, the guy answering has no idea about I´m talking about, keep giving stupid answers from the book, without really looking on my issue. I explicitly asked about a firmware update (as requested by the WDSmartWare update, to allow proper VirtualCD hide/unhide functionality), but after waiting many, many days - forget about the 24hours answer policy - I just got the answer that there is no firmware update. This means for me that those guys have poor product management (since the software for it request an update that does not exist). I´m very disapointed with WD. I was expecting more from their product management and product support teams. All I can do at this moment is to keep waiting for a firmware update (that only God may know if will come or not).

Shame on you, WD.


I’ve got the same problem.  Really upset with WD on this one.  I’ve tried WD Smartware in the past and it’s terrible - no control over it at all.  However, on my other drives I have been able to remove the WD Smartware and use other backup software (Time Machine, etc.) using this method:

However, I’ve searched everywhere and tried three different firmware updaters (on both Windows and Mac) and NONE of them can see this drive on USB or Firewire.  So for now, there’s now way to disable the annoying WDS virtual CD, and really thinking of just returning the drive and going with something else.

To WD: Please stop embedding useless, unreliable software!  Software is not your thing!  I like your drives, but you are rendering them useless to me!!!

I’ve the same problem.

WD Smartware and Firmware updater doesn’t work,

Virtual disk everytime appears.

Osx 10.4.11

I am having the same issue with my 2009 My Book Studio model. The firmware update doesn’t appear as an option on the page for the drive itself. I have e-mailed Western Digital, but it has been two days with no reply, despite their “goal” of a reply within 24 hours.

There is an update for the other version of the My Book Studio (the one WITHOUT the e-label ink screen), but it’s from January 2009. Despite the similarities in the drive, I refuse to even attempt the firmware update with this version. I really like the functionality of the My Book Studio with the e-label, but I really didn’t know that there would be strings attached with the Virtual CD and Smartware Software. While I am glad to see that they are taking steps in the right direction by creating the VCD Manager, but I would appreciate if it could be applied to their whole product line. Hopefully the firmware update is in the works (since it doesn’t seem to exist). If it does exist, they really should to update the website. I bought this drive to switch between my new Mac and my old PC, so it is formatted in FAT 32. Hence, I am using this drive for manual backups, not their pre-determined software. I do not want the drive to be a mirror of either one of my computers, but a mix of both. Please, WD, just give me a firmware update that allows me to simply have a regular external hard drive that acts as a removable device. I bought your drive for the quality of the hardware, not for some stubborn software that I can’t work around!

the updater does not seem to work on the new my book studio drives, i will report this to WD so they can work on it!

Same problem here, all versions of the firmware updater can’t find the unit … I would like to remove the virtual cd :frowning:

I tried with iMac 27" Snow Leopard 10.6.2 ( with usb connection ) and also with a PC ( Windows XP SP3 ).

Please let us know if you will release a fix.

Thank you, and sorry for my bad english


Issue, upon issue, that support doesn’t seem to have a solution for. I give up. I have tried all of the available suggestions. Invested many hours and no success. Updater doesn’t see the drive, so firmware cannot be installed, so drive software cannot be disabled, so I can use TimeMachine. Willing to some of the heavy lifting, but this is a new, “compatible drive” for Mac’s and OS 10.5. No way. I am returning mine and finding another solution. h.

Since this is about about a REVIEW of Smartware. I spot two types of problems.

1- The virtual CD ‘concept’

2- People have problems with the software itselve. 

About point 1: For Studio users I see no alternative then to return there units and look elsewhere. All reviews and Forum discussions I stumbled  upon indicate that there is no way to stop smartwhere from mounting itselve.

Fot other MyBook type’s (like the Esential and “For Mac”) you can disable the feature, at least, I was succesfull. But You cant remove it, and it stil gives false data on what is on the disk. You still lose diskspace AND you’ll lose an hour fihuring out how to fix it etc. So in my book (bad joke I know) its not worth the trouble.

It is also important to let WD know that they must stop doing this. See

software like this 

About point 2:

Now if it were the best backup software in the world you might argue that, though the delivery method ■■■■■, it at least has some value. From what I’ve read it seems to be pretty mediocre. 


But there is plenty more like that to be found. 

I have not tried the software since i have a tight and effective backup scheme for a bunch of computers using Time machine and SuperDuper. But is it true that WD did not only decide to force feed some software, but actuely force feeds bad software as well. Seems an important question for a review. 

Personaly I only tripped over point one. Was looking to buy another Studio version, but now I wont. The problems with the “For Mac” version and what I’ve read in these topic convinced me otherwise.

I don’t know what to call this approach to ‘software distribution’, but it is an outrageous business practice. When I purchased a hard disk I wasn’t made aware that my Mac was going to be invaded by an unadvertised product that was impossible to disable. It is irritating and unwanted.

I wanted to buy a hard disk, not be forced to use a marketing gimmick!

For what its worth, I own a graphics company which spends a lot of money on hard drives. We used LaCie hard disks for years, but recently started experimenting with WD disks. We will never do so again.

I also have a problem with this software trying to use it for my three computers.  The classification system is very bad and finding a file is hopeless.  My 8.3 Gb of music turned into 78.7 Gb of a mixture of all kinds of files.  WD needs a firmware update that simply turns this into a dumb drive for those of us who want to use it that way.  It s useless for my needs.

Unfortunately, a firmware update for the My Book Studio is not avaible at this time.  If you’ve been trying to use the firmware that’s been posted for the other My Book drives, it won’t work on the Studio.  Please know that they are working on a firmware update, and will make it available as soon as possible.

What is the status of this? When will I be able to remove “smart” ware from my drive?

Why would I want the virtual cd to load every time I connect the drive? If I were given a CD i wouldn’t load it each time I connected the drive…

Hi all.

I managed to get rid of any trace of the vcd, but unfortunately before I could copy the smartware software or install it. The only reason I need the software is to change the e-label. Can anyone send me the contenets of the vcd?

by the way, I got it off by entering this one line in terminal and then formatting using diskutil:

sudo sh -c "echo UUID=`diskutil info /Volumes/WD\ SmartWare/ | grep 'UUID' | awk '{print $NF}'` none hfs rw,noauto 0 0 >> /etc/fstab"

I used your terminal command and now suddenly the WD Software tells me it can’t find the virtual CD anymore, so I can’t install it. The virtual CD drive ist still listed in the disk utility, so I don’t really get whats wrong now… Do you have a terminal command to reactivate the virtual CD drive? I could also upload the WD-Software.

As far as I know the only way to change the e-label is the WD software…

I have been reading all the reviews, now I am NOT sure I want to purchase a WD My Book Studio 1TB Firewire 800/400. After doing the research I finally found one that should work. BUT I have a G5 I-Mac with OSX 4.11 (Tiger) . It does not have Leopard (which contains Time Machine software) and I think that could be a problem too. it sounds like I would have to use WD Smartware Firmware and that is not getting the best reviews. I have never done a back-up on my mac which is now almost 5 years old. I also have a lot of photos in iphoto and use photoshop.  After speaking with the people at the Apple store, they recommended this model, but now I’m scared to purchase it. Please let me know what you suggest for an older iMac with Tiger.

My personal opinion, based on twenty years in the computer graphics industry, is that I will never purchase any WD products again. This whole saga speaks of a customer hostile attitude which I can well do without.

There are plenty of other manufacturers out there who provide external hard drives which allow you to back up your data how you like, and to format and partition your disk how you like. (LaCie have been producing hard drives for years and I have used them without an issue).

Firstly, forcing the user to have to mount an undeletable partition is rude and bad business practice. From a technical point of view, I don’t even have words to describe the fact that the partition on the Studio version can’t even be disabled - let alone removed completely (not that it should have even been there in the first place). I have been getting constant errors as my system struggles to deal with this rogue partition.

Secondly, the WD Smartware software is awful IMO. Even if the partition didn’t steal space from the hard disk and force users to mount this software every time they want to use the disk, I wouldn’t use this software. 

All that is needed to back up a Mac is an external hard disk with a Firewire or USB2 connection. You don’t need time machine to back up an older Mac, you can simply drag and drop the files across. If you want to automate the process, there are free products like Carbon Copy Cloner - which can do incremental timed backups. Or other paid for products like SuperDuper. should have both of these.

But, whatever you do, if you haven’t backed up the Mac for five years, I would strongly suggest doing so ASAP. :neutral_face:

Thank you for your quick reply! I am convinced now, and will research the LaCie HD. Thank you Thank you. Do you have one you could recommend for my OS X.4.11 with a 400 Firewire? (i could also use the USB, but I have read that Firewire is faster). The Carbon Copy Cloner sounds like something to look into in the future. I agree, right NOW I need to do a back up soon. The Mac locks up occasionnally now and I’m getting nervous.  I just want somehting easy. I’m on the artist end here and don’t like all the “Techy” ■■■■.

Thanks again!

Same problem here. Futhermore, I had to format the drive because it began to work pretty slowly and some files were not accesible(luckyly is not being used for backup purposes). After formating problems seems to have disappeared. Last chance after sending it back to the store.

My first WD and quite dissapointing.