I go into a computer shop, and ask for an external hard-drive that I can use to back-up the photos and music I have stored on my computer.
The chap hands me a Western Digital My Passport Essential 320GB.
Looks good - it has Smart Backup, and Storage.
Well, I’m not sure about “Smart Backup” - I’d rather just copy over the files that I need every so often; I’m quite capable of managing my own backup, plus I know there’s Windows Backup and other excellent Backup tools out there.
Plug it in - and suddenly, with no option to disable it, I’m in WD Smartware world.
What is this program? What is it backing up? I have no idea. Sure, it’s backing up “pictures.” What pictures? All my Jpegs? Just the ones in “My Pictures” or others? What about the gifs? What about my *.CR2 files from my Canon DSLR? How do I know? I click “details” and it gives me a little list with “pictures” and a ticked checkbox. In what way is that more “detail?”
The program slows my computer down abominably each time I start up, it’s always scanning something in the background.
After finishing a back-up, nonetheless it seems impossible to get it “safely remove My Passport Essential” - it is never ever safe, no matter how long I wait, no matter how much it appears to be doing nothing. Should I carry my laptop with the drive plugged in forever, never switching it off in fear of losing my data?
If I log browse to the external drive in explorer, perhaps I can see what data has been copied? Not really - it is all mysteriously bundled up into hashed folders - there’s no way of consistently seeing what’s actually on there.
Currently I’m backing up my D:. Well, apparently. Although “Run Backup” is pressed, and I can “pause backup” - at which time it tells me I really shouldn’t interrupt the backup - it appears nothing is happening. At the top it just says “ready to perform backup.” It has been like this for about an hour now. I don’t know what it’s doing - anything? Nothing? Is my stuff backed up or not??
This software is complete junk. It is clearly buggy, completely untransparent, gives no control or reassurance to the user, and the whole set-up is apparently impossible to disable.
When I bought an external hard drive, I expected to have 350GB of space, on to which I could copy or backup the items that I know need backing up on my computer.
What were you thinking, Western Digital? Do you assume every customer of yours is some sort of grandma that needs to have every ounce of control hidden from view? Do you also assume that there wont be some disappointment when even that grandma might be stunned that your program didn’t backup all the data she thought it was backing up?