WD SmartWare Security: Encryption

Hi All,

I have a question about the level of security on WD My Passport external drive using WD SmartWare.

I have setup password security. To unlock the drive I run Unlock.exe on the Virtual CD and enter the password. This unlocks the rest of the drive (to a different drive letter).

WD say that: “The VCD contains the WD SmartWare installation software, the encryption and password protection application”. Are the files on the locked part of the drive encrypted or hidden or what? I don’t think the files are encrypted. I have 330GB on this drive. Setting the security up was very quick. I know encrypting the large amount of data on my hard disk took some time.

How secure is this method of hiding my data on the drive?

Thanks in advance!


WD My Passport Essential SE (USB 3.0). Using WD SmartWare 2.1.0. Windows 7 64-bit.

Hello, the encryption method used is the 256 bit AES, only the partition that contains your data will be encrypted, the VCD will always be available. 

Thanks Ichigo,

I understand what you said. However, I want to know if the files on the encrypted partition are encrypted? Or are only the system files that run the partition encrypted? If I used disk recovery software to read the bits from the disk, would they be encrypted?



That is correct, it is not possible to recover the files using a data recovery program once the encryption key has changed. 

Hi Ichigo,

Thanks again. There’s something I don’t understand. Can you explain? When I setup security on my Passport drive, how did the WD SmartWare software manage to encrypt the 330GB of data that was already on the drive? It didn’t have time to read the unencrypted files and write encrypted files back to the disk.

Hope you can explain.



Hi again,

The access to the data is encrypted, not the files. Smartware will only backup the files into the Passport and the hardware encryption will lock the access. 

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Hi Again,

So, the files in the encrypted partition are not encrypted. The ‘access to the data’ is password protected and encrypted. I guess that means the partition information and file indices. That’s secure enough for my purposes. However, I guess a professional data recovery service could recover the files.