UPDATE 2: A Mac OS X version of the firmware update and VCD Manager are now available here. In my own test updating my MyBook Essential 1TB, both utilities worked perfectly. See the comments below for more information.
UPDATED: It appears that Western Digital has released a firmware update and a utility called VCD manager, which will prevent the Virtual CD from mounting. Both pieces of software are Windows only, and are available here. Thanks to robert and Section8 for posting this in the comments below.
I recently purchased a 1TB Western Digital MyBook Essential from Amazon. It comes pre-loaded with WD’s StupidWare SmartWare software, which is their cross platform answer to Apple’s Time Machine. A decent effort, but of no concern to me. I wanted to use the drive my way, so I partitioned and formatted it, but could not get rid of the SmartWare partition. I did some research and found it’s a part of the drive’s firmware and mounts as a virtual CD every. time. the drive. is. mounted…After trying gparted in Ubuntu Linux, Disk Manager in Windows XP and a host of boot/partition live discs (Easeus Disk Copy, Ultimate Boot CD, Hitachi Feature Tool), I gave up on being able to access that ROM portion of the disk and thought of alternate solutions.
I remembered that I have the simple, but very handy DoSomethingWhen system preference pane installed. DSW allows you to perform a few basic actions when a volume is either mounted or unmounted. I use this to automatically run an automator workflow I wrote to back up my primary flash drives when they are inserted. I created a new rule that will automatically eject the WD SmartWare virtual disc (VCD) when it is mounted.
It’s not the optimal solution I was looking for, but at least it takes the burden of always ejecting the VCD, off of me. I’ve contacted Western Digital and asked if they have plans to publish a firmware update with the ability to remove this software. If I ever get an answer, I’ll be sure to post it.