WD Security / WD Drive Manager disrupts USB on Windows 11

I spent several days on this problem, so I wanted to post in case it affects anyone else.

The symptom in my case was that whenever a large amount of data was read or written to ANY external drive on my system, WD or otherwise, I would experience USB connectivity drop-outs. My mouse would stick, my keyboard backlight would flash, keys would stick, sound from my sound card would be disrupted, etc., and I could reproduce this very reliably just by running winsat disk -drive Z -seq -read.

These symptoms all went away in Safe Mode, so I knew I had a driver, service, or background process problem. I disabled drivers that didn’t load in Safe Mode one by one, then disabled services one by one, until I got to the “WD Drive Manager” service. As soon as I stopped it, the problems went away completely. To double check, I disabled this service, rebooted again, and the problems stayed gone.

It was definitely the WD Drive Manager service that was causing USB disruptions on my Windows 11 Pro machine, absolutely no question about it. I don’t know what it’s doing exactly to be able to cause such a widespread disruption to all the USB devices on the system, but I can say with 100% certainty that it was. The problem is very easy to reproduce with that service running, and impossible to reproduce with that service stopped.

WD Drive Manager appears to be something that gets installed with WD Security, probably as something that watches for encrypted drives being plugged in so they can be unlocked. But it’s doing what it does very badly in such a way that it manages to cause widespread harm to all USB devices on a machine.

I’ve changed the startup method to “Disabled” for WD Drive Manager for now; if and when I need to use my WD Passport Ultra drive, I’ll start the service manually just long enough to use it, then stop it again. I recommend that anyone else having bad USB problems that occur when moving a large amount of data to/from any external drive on their systems do the same. I can’t say whether this problem affects only Windows 11 Pro, but it affects at least this version of Windows. (It’s kind of weird that a single service can wreak this much havoc, so I’m almost impressed.)

This may also relate to a problem reported earlier by another forum user regarding WD Drive Manager interfering with network traffic. That problem was reported all the way back in 2015, and still no resolution. A similar problem was reported back in 2013 with LAN traffic as well.

WD, you need to look into and to fix this. It’s not okay to cause this much trouble with your disk unlocker. You certainly shouldn’t be interfering with network traffic to unlock a drive, nor should you be interfering with USB packets from devices that aren’t WD external drives.

Hi @spatula,

Thanks for reporting the issue.

Have you opened a Support Case? If not opened, for more information, please contact the WD Technical Support team for best assistance and troubleshooting:
https://support-en.wd.com/app/ask

I reported the issue to them on Twitter and provided all these same details here. I’m not interested in burning my time trying to “troubleshoot” a fundamentally harmful program unless you guys are interested in paying me for that time. I’ve already DONE all the troubleshooting at considerable expense of time and effort on my part.

All I’m interested in doing right now is making sure everyone knows how harmful this service is to their Windows 10/11 systems so they can disable it or uninstall it.

1 Like