Smartware startup issue... WDFME.exe?

All, i have a ‘my passport essential’ 320mb drive and recently installed both firmware and smartware updaters, exactly per WD procedures, and all hell broke loose… it’s version (updater file says …0.16a).  The laptop is a Toshiba m600 running vista business, fairly standard corporate specs with Outlook, Office, CA eTrust, IE, adobe, winzip, java, .net installed; bluetooth, wireless stuff turned off.

Before the updates, smartware worked albeit very slowly.  Now, it’s not and at best inconsistent but most of the time, it’d hang upon starting… i traced it to a process called WDFME.exe; it also takes up a lot of CPU (80%+ sometimes), if it starts… basically, the smartware windows kind of going on/off… one minute it looks normal (though i still cannot ‘get hold of it’), seconds later, it blanks out and is ‘(Not Responding)’… and this cycles non-stop and i had to close the application every time in the end.  WDFME.exe registered 10% to 80% cpu while this happened… with screen blanked out when cpu% went high, and screen reappeared when it went low…  this part is predictable.

However, WDFME.exe may not start in which case all i see is a smartware home page without ‘categories’ (blue boxes) for my laptop drive (presumably WDFME’s job is to categorise files). i do not know why WDFME did not start… it’s pretty much the same after a proper laptop reboot or shutdown, with or without the my passport drive attaching to it, i.e. random far as i can tell.

WD L1 talked me through uninstalling/ reinstalling smartware, as well as reformatting the my passport drive; backup worked once after this however went back into the same problems.  The ticket is with WD L2 support however it’s not doing anything, except asking me to unstall / reinstall a bunch of aforementioned standard software, without any troubleshooting??  i am honestly quite dumbfounded… 

It’s a corporate laptop… all software is licensed and up-to-date with auto update running; again, no prorpietary stuff.  With help from our IT folks, i ran an update check utility and verified all installed apps are indeed current.

any ideas?  appreciate your help…

I’m having a similar issue and have been working with both L1 & L2 support.  My issue is that I get a popup error message “WDFME.exe - Application Error, The exception unknown software exception (0xc0000409) occurred in the application at location 0x7a0ca6be.”  I found that I can restart the wdfme.exe service from the Admin Tools in Windows without having to reboot my PC, which will work for a day or so before the popup error shows up again.

Support has had me run the Complete Drive Test, uninstall/reinstall the WD Smartware software, upgrade to the latest firmware, defrag all my drives, and run chkdsk on all the drives, but still I keep getting the error popup.  I hope that WD can fix these problems soon. 

Is there any 3rd party software that can do the same thing as Smartware that maybe I can just use the WD drive and not this problematic Smartware software?

If you have Windows XP, Vista, or 7, you can use Windows Backup utility.