You may have a problem with you PC. I brought my Passport Essential 640Gb yesterday and apart from all the problem you have mentioned about the software I have been able to copy 19Gb of movies using “drag & drop” to my Passport and actually play them from the drive. I unistalled the software because it is painful to me because I want to specifically select directories to back up. I am more annoyed that I can’t retrieve the drive space that is locked up by WC that has their software stored in.
This product should be more flexible because not all of us are “Dummies” when it comes to backup because this is what this software is pointed towards.
The main problem with using it without the software is that the Windows “Install new hardware” appears everytime it is plugged in. I just hit “cancel” and it works as a external hard drive (how it should of in the first place). I tried the VCD Manager but you need to have the WD Smartware installed and I will not run a software program that uses so much system resources so I put up with the “Hardware install” screen.
Hope this helps.