SmartWare/VCD: Things to consider. Technical questions for people


* I read on here that the Virtual CD is not on the drive itself but on the enclosure controller firmware, is this right?

I bought a 750GB passport on Sunday & wanted to take it back to the store when I discovered SmartWare, thought it was on the drive itself and I wanted to delete it & recover the space but if the VirtualCD is not actually on the drive but in the firmware - which can be disabled then perhaps I’ll keep it, I can’t use that firmware space anyway.

 With the hard drive space untouched & SmartWare/VCD in the firmware and disabled is there anything else to worry about?

* I read somewhere that the Virtual CD takes up about 663 MB of space. Can the chip(whatever) hold that much?

* Can I take the drive out of the enclosure & use it inside something else but retaining the data on the drive?

 I also read that it would not be possible to access the data already written by taking the drive out of the enclosure, that one would have to reformat the drive before it would be usable with its new controller as there was a theory that the data was arranged by the WD enclosure controller and in order to access that same data you must access it through the WD enclosure.

For instance, being unable to access data on the drive with the drive removed from the enclosure & installed into something else but that was written while the drive was still inside the WD Passport enclosure. Is this true?

What does anyone think, take it back or what?

Hell, maybe someone will make their own firmware for this POS, like what they did with the mp3 players eg: Rockbox.


AIUI, VCD is stored on the “negative” cylinders of your hard drive. It does not consume a single byte of user area. The drive’s firmware is also stored in the same area.

OTOH, the firmware for the USB-SATA bridge board inside the enclosure is a separate issue.

This forum thread has a good explanation of the System Area (SA):