The File Selection capability found in the WD SmarWare application

I recently purchased a WD 2TB USB 3.0 external HD and it is excellent!  WD sure does a superb job when it comes to producing hard drives.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about their software. IMO, the SmartWare app is terribly weak. I can’t believe that someone decided to release it and call it a professional S/W product.

The single most disappointing aspect of this app is the way in which the user specifies the files they want to select to be backed up.

  1. The User’s Guide, states, “The advanced backup capabilities include: selecting specific files to back up”.

I think most people would expect that you would be able to name individual files to be included in the backup or to name individual folders and the files contained in those folder would be selected for backup.

But, that is not how it works. I expected that part of the file selection process would include using “wildcards” when naming files (i.e. "C:\LAST YEARS\FINANCIALS\JULY??\SUM*TELIX\reports.doc)

Naming files by using wildcards such as the “?” or the “*” is pretty much the standard approach used by a great many different apps. But nothing like that is available in the WD SmartWare app.

In addition, I would think most people would expect the user could specify various file attributes or some specific characters to be found in a text file before it would be selected.

There are a huge number of apps that use many different approaches to select files. But the approach used by the WD SmartWare app is extremely weak. IMO, it cannot really be considered as a professional software application. For those of you who may not know how the file selection criteria is implemented, I will attempt to briefly describe it as follows:

When selecting which files are to be backed up, there are six categories of files defined and they are based on the file name extensions. They are defined as follows:

  1. Documents  - .doc, .txt, .htm, .html, .ppt, .xls, .xml, and other document extensions
  2. Mail       - .mail, .msg, .pst., and other mail extensions
  3. Music      - .mp3, .wav, .wma, and other music extensions
  4. Movies     - .avi, .mov, .mp4, and other movie extensions
  5. Pictures   - .gif, .jpg, .png, and other picture extensions
  6. Others     - files that do not belong in the five main categories

When you want to select which files will be backed up, you can specify any number of those six categories. People who may be familiar with basic Probability theory will know how to calculate the number of different choices available. Given that there are N different categories, the number of different possible choices is 2 ** N - 1. If there are six categories,  the  number of possible selections  is 63.

As a simple example, if there are three categories, (let’s call them A, B and C), then there are 7 possible choices and they are:

  1. A   2) B   3) C   4) A and B   5) A and C   6) B and C   7) A and B and C

But, no matter how many files and/or folders you may have on your hard drive and no matter how complex your directory structure may be, you can only choose one of 63 different possibilities and that is over the entire hard drive. You have only one of 63 different possible ways to select which files you want to back up.

You cannot name individual files or groups of files. All you can do is specify one of  the 63 different combinations of the categories defined by the producers of this app.

You have absollutely no ability to modify the categories. You cannot include any new file extensions or remove any existing file extensions. Basically, when it comes to selecting which files you want to backup, the number of choices available to you is extremely limitied. As a matter of fact, that number is 63.

Given that a great many apps contain some kind of file selection capability and those capabilities are almost always far more powerful and comprehensive than the one contained in the WD SmartWare s/w, I would have to say the file selection capability contained in this app is extremely weak. I could go on at great length describing just how weak I consider the file selection capability to be, but I will spare you that.

Instead, I would just like to ask people in this forum, for their opinions as to what they think of this approach to file selection. Do  you think it would be possible for us to suggest to WD that they improve this aspect of the app? After all, they may not be aware that people would like a more comprehensive approach to selecting fies.

So, I would like to ask you the following questions:

  1. When you backup one of your HDs, are you satisified with only being able to specify one of 63 different combinations of files to be backed up?

  2. Would you like to be able to select files based on the names of the files or the names of the folders in which they are contained?

  3. Are you satisfied with using these six pre-defined categories with no ability to add or change them or or to include or exclude other file name extensions?

I don’t like the software and that’s why I used Windows to backup my files

drag and drop and system image will be your best option 

1 Like

Thanks very much for your reply.

It  certainly sounds correct to me. I will abandon the software and I’d like to try to use the Windows backup capability.

But I do not understand wha you meant by  “drag and drop and system image will be your best option”.

Did you mean “drag and drop the system image”?

Anyway, I don’t know what you mean by “system image”.  Could you please point me to somewhere that I can learn how to use the Windows backup facility?

I just want to add that I feel like I’ve been operating in the wilderness with this software. I had no one to talk to and no one replied to my posts except for you.

I kept experiencing so many mysteries (many were due to the fact that the software does not backup multiple drives at the same time). I had to completely uninstall the software and reinstall it twice and I had to spend many hours backing up both my drives multiple times in a hopeless attempt to get the automatic backup working.

You have certainly saved me a great deal of time and frustration.  I am very grateful and I have added some Kudos to you.

Well I was referring to combine both System Image and Manual Backup

Windows Backup allow you to create an Image of your entire C drive. This is convenient since file are compressed and you can backup everything. The downside of that is that you only have access to the files when you restore the system image. However, this feature is great if the drive goes kaboom.

You can also create a backup that is not an Image but this will take more space. 

The manual backup ( drag and drop ) will give you the ability to transfer files you regularly work with. This allow you to keep track of those files in an easier way. 

Thanks for your reply.

I will definitely try to get W7’s backup facility working.

I found a few sites that have tutorials and some of them look great. I think I will be able to get that working now.

I especialy appreciated your explanation as to the difference between backing up the entire drive and just backing up selected components. I agree that using a combination of both methods would be a really good solution.

Thank you again.