A Workaround for removing Western Digital’s SmartWare Virtual CD Partition

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.

[Download DoSomethingWhen]

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82 Comments

  1. Reply Per Mikkelsen

    Hi
    Thanks for your post. I have got the same problem with this stupidware. So I am looking forward to see if you will ever get an answer from WD.
    Why do they make such a nice little Digital MyBook and then put a software on it that you just can not remove ?

  2. Reply N C

    I think almost everyone who has bought this drive have the same issue with this crapware…
    I have a concern with your workaround : have you noticed that, after manually ejecting the VCD drive, it shows up again after a very short time.

    Actually, tried your workaroud, does not work on Leopard (will install Snow Leopard soon, but don”t think it will make any difference)

  3. Reply Anonymous

    Found this on a forum:

    On OSX you can unmount the SmartWare partition for good by editing /etc/fstab and adding a line:

    UUID=your_smartware_partitions_uuid_here none hfs rw,noauto 0 0

    You’ll get the UUID by typing diskutil info /Volumes/WD\ SmartWare on your terminal window

  4. Reply andrewminchew

    @anonymous i found that same forum post about using terminal to permanently unmount it, but i’m not really clearly on exactly how to do that. anybody know how to take advantage of that advice??

  5. Reply acletras

    I had a long reply to all of you written out, and I had to restart my machine, forgetting to save the reply first, so I’m going to try and remember what I said…

    Per — I did hear back from WD a few days ago. The email they sent me did not answer my question at all. They only gave me some tips for having it not mount in Windows.

    N C — I have not noticed it automatically re-mounting…yet. My primary machine runs Snow Leopard, so when I get a chance, I’ll test it on one of my Leopard machines. I too, doubt it will make a difference, since the version of DSW I’m running in Snow Leopard does not have a 64 bit version, and asks to re-launch System Preferences in 32 bit mode, in essence, running exactly as it would under Leopard. Try adding a 1 or 2 second delay to your DSW rule and see if that helps.

    Anonymous and Andrew — Do you have a link for that forum post? I had written up full step by step instructions for Andrew, but then I couldn’t get it to work myself. I found a different forum post stating that fstab was depricated in Leopard and Snow Leopard, and to use autofs.conf instead, but I couldn’t get that to work either. For now I’m going to stick with DoSomethingWhen since it works, but if we can get another solution worked out, I’d be in favor of it!

  6. Reply Adrian

    OMG, I am having the same problem and it SUCKS… I bought about 10 of this hard drives and they will not work for me because I use them as an external drive for the Apple TV. This really sucks because I now have 10 useless external hard drives and all thanks to WD. I use to trust them, but not anymore.

  7. Reply acletras

    Adrian, just a question. What’s the reason these won’t work with the AppleTV? Does the VCD cause an issue when it tries to mount on the Apple TV? I got an Apple TV in August and haven’t had a chance to unbox it yet, so I’m still unfamiliar with its ins and outs.

    Any volunteers want to start a petition to send to Western Digital, to persuade them to create a removal utility?

    Also, anyone know where the VCD partition resides? On the disk itself, or is it on the enclosure’s PCB? If anyone has taken theirs apart, I’d be curious to find out.

  8. Reply yakkoj

    Here’s another way to keep the virtual CD volume from mounting (tested on Leopard):

    1. Connect the new WD My Passport or other drive “infected” with this firmware
    2. Open a Terminal and type something like:

    diskutil info “/Volumes/WD SmartWare”

    (this corresponds to the volume you want to get rid of)

    3. Copy the large string of numbers that corresponds to “Volume UUID:” in the info.
    4. Edit /etc/fstab as root using vifs:

    EDITOR=nano sudo vifs

    (if you want your usual editor, drop the “EDITOR=nano” part)

    5. Add a line like the following, putting your UUID in from step 3:

    UUID=that_big_number_from_step_3 none hfs ro,noauto 0 0

    6. Save the file to quit out of vifs
    7. Disconnect the My Passport and attempt to plug it back in and watch!

    It’s a bit more involved than DSW, but you only have to do it once and the virtual CD volume won’t remount. WD really need to issue a firmware update that removes this virtual drive. At least give some of us the option of not having it!

  9. Reply IvanT

    Hi guys
    I don’t have Mac and I don’t now if it can be done on Mac, but if it can help somebody…
    I came with an idea to disable WD virtual cd in device manager an it’s working even if I unplug (or safely remove hardware) disk. Than I went to disk management and shrinked the partition so I’ve made two of them. All this was done in Vista Basic now I will try in XP PRO. I’m still testing and I will report….

  10. Reply vinz

    Hello,

    thank you for your hints. this wd thing is anoying me. As I am not a very smart IT person, I would like to ask if somebody could explain me what exactly to do in yakkois steps 4 to 7 (see above). I was able to copy the line in step 3, but have no idea what is meant afterwards.
    Thank you very much for your help!
    (I habe Snow Leopard)

  11. Reply PHB

    I will be doing a podcast on this. I have looked at several forums and nobody has a solution, only workarounds. Stopping the software mounting on one machine does not solve my problem, I want to low level format the disk and remove all traces of the code.

    Even if I trusted WD as a software provider, I would never consider using first generation code. My experience with Sandisk and U3 was that the drive did not work at all on Vista. I do not want to spend time administrating machines to remove an issue that should never have occurred in the first place. I did not buy a Mac to edit /etc/fstab files.

    • Reply acletras

      I agree. A workaround is totally unacceptable as a long term solution. I seriously hope Western Digital is listening to the growing negative chatter about their software and decides to do something about it. Be sure to post a link to your podcast when it’s completed!

  12. Reply Richard

    Is the StupidWare on the drive rom or some other chip? Could yank the drive and put it into a different enclosure? I’d try it but if I doesn’t work I’ll have a problem returning this POS. Likely going to just buy the notebook version of the drive and a separate enclosure. Cheaper and should work.

    • Reply acletras

      Richard, I’m not sure exactly. I too asked the question in a previous comment. I’m in the same boat as you, in that I would rather not risk damaging my drive to find out. If anyone is willing to take one for the team, please post a comment and let us know.

    • Reply acletras

      It’s about darn time! I looked around on the site but I can’t seem to find any information about when the firmware update and VCD manager were released. Anyway, thanks to you both for posting. Has anyone tried this yet to confirm it works? My drive is formatted as HFS+ and since this is a Windows only utility and firmware update, I’ll have to wait until Monday when I can back up my drive to another at work before reformatting to perform the update. There’s no mention from WD as to whether or not it will fully remove the software, or just disable the VCD from mounting. Any ideas?

  13. Reply chris

    i have this wd shitware. I cant get rid of it using all programs ive downloaded. I formatted the drive to fat32 but this bloody crapware stops the drive being accepted. I only want it for films on my ps3. Somebody please help!

    • Reply acletras

      Chris, did the drive stop being recognized during or after the firmware update and VCD manager manager software install? If so, another commenter experienced the same thing.

  14. Reply Robert

    acletras,

    Chris wants to use the drive on his ps3. This I assume would require the drive to simply mount like any other simple HD. While searching for info about the 1TB Passport SE, I have seen some posts in gaming forums, about using various methods to get drive that is not designed for the ps3 or xbox, to work. I think the software he is referring to for that purpose.
    I assume that his specific problem, is that the old methods to remove the VCD (repartition and format) don’t work on the newer drives, thereby preventing the ps3 hacks from working.
    Of course, with the VCD on the drive, his ps3 won’t accept the drive.

    Re: Chris’ firmware crash
    I had assumed that a firmware update crash, would brick the drive. But, I noticed some info on a “hacking the WD Mybook World Edition” wiki (where they seem to be using custom firmware), that implies you can reflash via linux, if the normal firmware update software doesn’t work. Not sure if this true. I ‘plan to do some more research to find out.

    The questions that come to mind are:
    1) does that WD firmware VCD utility work for other people ?
    2) if it fails, what can be done to recover (other than send the drive in for warranty ?
    3) if you remove the drive from the enclosure, will it function like a standard drive ?
    is the VCD part of the usb enclosure’s hardware function, and not the drive itself ?

    I’d like to have the option, in the future, of removing the drive from the enclosure, and installing it in a laptop. The VCD is a real pain for portable use, but it would likely kill any chance of using it in a laptop as a normal boot drive.

  15. Reply Robert

    further to using the bare drive in a laptop….

    Some people have said they have installed them in some unibody macs, that accept 12.5mm drives.
    I’d like to find out how they dealt with the VCD problem.

  16. Reply Kyle

    I would like to confrim that the VCD manager DOES work for this drive. After a couple attempts to erase/reformat the drive with no luck on finding the partition with the Smartware on it, it seems as though the VCD manager gets installed on that partition and prevents the VCD from mounting. For those on here who were wishing to use their drive simply as a storage deivce, install the VCD manager and reformat the drive however you may see appropriate; be aware that depending on the size of the drive, reformatting directly in the operating system may take some time. I used on of the partitioning utilities from the Ultimate Boot CD 4 Windows to reformat and in about 5 min, my 320 Gb drive was done and is still to this day [knock on wood] being recognized by all my machines as simply an external storage device much like that of a thumb drive. I’m glad WD finally stepped up to the plate!

  17. Reply Markus

    @Robert
    I just update my drive’s firmware with the WD tools using Windows 7 running in Parallels and after that used the vcd tool to remove the annoyance successfully. I had it mac-formated for time-machine before that process, an it seems that the actual data-partition is still fine.

  18. Reply Robert

    Thanks for the update Markus and Kyle !

    I “just” purchased a 1TB Passport Essential SE, and successfully updated the firmware, via WIndows XP running on Virtualbox, on OSX Leopard.
    I used the instructions from the Western Digital site linked in the other post.

    I then partitioned it in Disk Utility… mostly HFS+ with a small fat 32 partition for backing up my wife’s work laptop.

    All is working fine… both windows and osx see the drive as a standard usb drive.

    Re: using the new passport drive as an internal drive

    I have confirmed that the 1TB passport drive uses a non standard connector inside the case.
    Unfortunately, that prevents using it as a normal internal drive (as people have done with the older passport models)

    In regards to the connector that some people have complained about…. I find it works just as well as the mini usb on my old passport drive.

    A thought… I wonder if eventually there will be some way to make a custom VCD… a linux based rescue disk for example… maybe the bootland website has some advice…. hmmmm

    Cheers !
    Robert

  19. Reply DatVader

    OK, I think I’ve figured it out. I’m running on Mac Leopard and wanted to disable the WD Smartware so the hard drive would work like any ol’ drag and drop hard drive. WD released the info for disabling it for Windows but not for Mac: http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/updates/?family=wdsmartwareutilities

    So what I did was run the hard drive from a windows machine (actually XP running through my VMware) and from their ran WD’s softare to disable their VCD. I then reformatted the hard drive from my Mac OS and it seems to be working like a hard drive should.

    DatVader

  20. Reply Matt

    I had the same annoyance with this software as everyone else. I tried running the update and now that i have done that my windows xp pc won’t recognise the hard drive and neither does my mac running snow leopard. What’s the best thing to do? Please help this is really stressing me out.

  21. Reply Robert

    Matt..

    I’d contact WD and see if they have a suggestion.

    With most hardware, if a firmware update fails, the hardware is dead and the firmware EPROM needs to be reprogrammed by the manufacturer.
    But,again…. I would contact Western Digital and see if they have a procedure to recover from a firmware update failure

  22. Reply Cookie J

    Okay, I have a Mac and I have a WD passport and I got rid of that smartware virtual cd crap in Windows and OS 10. Here’s the deal, get a pin Handy. =)

    OKAY GET READY…. Set Go!

    First, wipe the drive clean, format to Fat32.

    Go here… http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/updates/?family=wdsmartwareutilities
    Run this software on Windows and let it do its job to disable the firmware and rewrite it. Run the other application to disable to virtual cd crap.

    Next reboot into windows, format to Fat 32 (again) making a new partition for the entire drive. Then eject the drive, attach it to your MAC. Erase the drive completely in disc utility and create 1 partition as Mac, Journaled extended. Then eject and reinstall the drive. It should work in Windows and Mac and never mount that stupid CD ever again. It has worked for me and it has yet to come back, Ever!

    If you need to ask specific questions if you foul it up, feel free to email me at rwfassbinder@excite.com

    I love you guys. Hope my instructions above are accurate enough.

    Cheers

    =)

  23. Reply Cookie J

    PS I forgot to add, I have mounted the drive in Snow Leopard, Windows XP, And Leopard 10.5. 8. It mounts perfectly and is recognized each time no problems so far in all of those OS.

    It has been used with a HP, 1.4 Macbook pro, 1.5 Powerbook 12 and Powermac G4 933
    No problems.

    I think the key is to wipe the drive clean before installing the new firmware and then clean it again. ??

    • Reply acletras

      Thanks for the update beepy. I can’t perform the update myself until I get access to another external drive to backup my data. WD’s instructions don’t explicitly state whether or not the drive will be formatted when using these utilities. What was your experience with this? As always, backup, have a backup of your backup, and keep an offsite copy of that backup before doing messing with the drive.

      Has anyone performed these updates on a drive that has two or more partitions?

      Tommy, I’m glad it went well for you, but think about giving WD another try when you go to make your next purchase. If you’ve been happy with them in the past stick with them. This SmartWare debacle was a huge mistake on their part, but they were relatively quick to reverse their decision and provide tools for both Windows and OS X to correct the mistake, so I give them major kudos for that.

  24. Reply Tommy

    Thanks for the info. I too was unhappy with WD putting their unwanted software on the drive, and upset with it being in a persistent virtual CD format. I followed the WD support site instructions to disable the startup of the VCD. Took a couple minutes. (WD 1TB Essential, MacBook, Snow Leopard). This is my 4th WD drive purchase, next time I will look at other vendors.

  25. Reply Roland

    Thanks for this blog entry – I just bought one of these today and was most miffed to find it mounted the smartware software, and even more miffed that I couldn’t just unmount it (it comes back).

    I’m hugely fortunate that they just released the OS X tools, I ran them, upgraded the firmware (2 minutes) and then disabled the partition (20 seconds). Of course it’s still there, but I don’t have to look at the stupid thing anymore.

  26. Reply acletras

    I can finally answer my own question. I just ran both the firmware update and the VCD Manager on my drive, following WD’s instructions and it worked flawlessly.

    My 1TB MyBook Essential is GUID formatted into two HFS Journaled volumes: 600GB for Time Machine and 400GB for storage. I performed the updates on a 2.4GHz Unibody MacBook (MacBook5,1) running OS X 10.6.2.

    I did not encounter any complications with the disk having two partitions. I did not lose any data, and did not have to reformat or re-partition my drive.

    Thanks to Western Digital for hearing all of our complaints and creating a removal tool for the two most popular consumer OSes.

  27. Reply Dan

    After having removed WD Smartware I wonder whether there is any way to configure my Elite’s e-label? Any ideas?

  28. Reply Chris

    Alas, I ran the 1005 firmware updated on my Mac, and then the 1003 VCD manager (on Mac). Sure enough the VCD doesn’t mount. So far so good. But the stupid drive is still mounted as MS-DOS (FAT). I *want* Mac OS Extended (Journaled)!! Disk Utilities continues to fail when this reformat is attempted.

    Bad Bad Bad Western Digital.

  29. Reply Chris

    OK. I might have gotten past the format thing. Reading more carefully above, in Disk Utilities do the following:
    (1) Choose Partition Tab
    (2) Set Volume Scheme = 1 Partition
    (3) Format = Mac OS Extended (journaled)
    (4)
    (5) Options button… –> Choose “GUID Partition Table”
    (6) Hit the Apply button.

    Success.

  30. Reply BC

    I just bought a WD My Book Studio Edition for Mac drive and was surprised to find WD’s annoying CrapWare and VCD on the drive. The instructions on WD’s page to remove the VCD for Mac OS X doesn’t work: http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/updates/?family=wdsmartwareutilitiesmac

    the download link for the firmware installer gets “EssentialEliteFirmwareUpdater_v1005” which doesn’t seem to recognize my Studio Edition drive – I get an error message that says it can’t find an Essential or Elite drive on the USB bus. and if I try to run the “Virtual_CD_Manager_v1003” I get an error saying I must update the firmware on my drive first.

    anybody else here have a Studio edition drive with this CrapWare? is there a proper firmware updater for the Studio edition drive somewhere? I couldn’t find one.

    again, I need to do this under Mac OS X. thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    and a thousand curses to WD for annoying paying customers with this ridiculous crap, for what should be a simple plug and play hard drive.

  31. Reply springvirus ~ youngblood

    Man ! This WD Crappy software sucks bigtime ! I have managed to “disable” it … but i wonder weather it would show up if i plug it into another computer ? any one any answers for this aswell ? ….

    i’ll never ever buy a WD ever !

  32. Reply Soffien

    You can avoid having to do point 4 and 5 on Poles list:

    Re: Pole
    Pole
    Nov 23, 2009 at 11:41 am

    1. Install WD Smartware and update it.
    2. Run Virtual CD (VCD) Manager at http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/updates/?family=wdsmartwareutilities
    to remove the virtual CD drive.
    3. Use Control Panel add/remove programs to uninstall WD Smartware.
    4. Everytime When you plug the hard drive in Windows will come up with the look for drivers window hit ‘Cancel’
    5. Now use it as an ordinary hard drive!

    I have had the same problem as you guys, was ripping my hair out because of this. I had already backed up my stuff to this external drive (my passport essential) and when i realised smartware was using a lot of resources i decided to just remove it using the “add remove programs”. The drive then stopped being recognised and windows basically told me it was broken. After a terrifying hour or so i realised it was the terrible usb cable that was acting up. Anyways if you want to remove the VCD and also the have smartware removed from your computer without having to always press cancel when you insert the disk you can:

    Before using VCD manager to remove the image smartware mount (if you have already done this you can change it back using the same VCD manager), insert the drive and when smartware drive pops up choose “browse files”, browse to “extras” and find the folder named “WD SES Device Driver”. Copy this folder to your computer. After this follow steps 1-3 on the above post (by Pole), when windows prompts you to install new hardware you can point it to the drivers on your computer (normally it will find the folder “WD SES Device Driver” automatically, i did not have to tell windows where my folder was). This way the driver is installed from your computer and windows will not keep running the “found new software” each time you plug in your WD harddrive.

    In effect this will lead to the VCD not coming up, smartware being removed from the computer and windows will not keep looking for drivers everytime you plug it in. At last it is turned in to a normal external harddrive (except for the crappy usb connection).

    Note: I have not tried this with several usb ports, i am not sure wether the “found new harddrive” will pop up once i change the port but now that its working on this one usb port i dont want to fint it out either…

  33. Reply uros

    Just wondering guys – how much space on the drive does this smartware use? If I bought a 1TB drive (*931GB), I wouldn’t have the whole 931GB to use, right?

  34. Reply James

    for BC:

    I bought a 1TB MyBook Studio II (FW800) for use under Snow Leopard. Same problem – the firmware update doesn’t seem to be for this model. Very annoying that there is no direct fix for this model, as it’s a great drive in other respects.

    However, I followed the instructions yakkoj suggested, using vifs to edit /etc/fstab, and it worked brilliantly. Just make sure you know how to insert, save and quit with vi…

    Cheers,

    James

  35. Reply pp.f.

    And linux users? this fking firmware! we are not supported at all by WD… and this wd mybook essential is a present! fking wd!

    I’ll have to wait two years befor trying to make of my terabook (!) a usb-live hardened linux os on the fly! hate to these propertary shits.

    Who knows someone hacking on it from/for linux? Some triks? (i don’t want to make vcd disappear, but detroyed: i have to use mbr and don’t want nothing else interfere)

    thanks

  36. Reply Al

    Am considering getting a 1TB or 1.5TB MyBook fo rmy Windows 7 system. The above posts are the most detailed resources I have found for helping one convert it into a straight-forward external NTFS drive (no crapware, no virtual CD). But there seems to be so many WD-induced ifs ands and buts that can result in problems if one misinterprets the otherwise excellent instructions, or gets the steps out of order when trying to patch them together from the different posts.

    Would it be possible for someone to provide a complete summary of the process that does not refer to someone else’s post?

  37. Reply Lawrence

    I have the 2tb elite hooked up to a Mac Pro. Firmware updated and am using the newsest smartware. I can not for the life of me get the label on the drive to change. I go into settings in smartware and type in a label and save but the label never does.

    The smartware program also runs like molasses and freezes all the time. I am going to use this drive with Time Machine so I am not interested in any of the features of smartware. i just want to change the label from Pictures 09 (which it shipped with) to “Backup”.

    Anybody else having a problem.

    Running 10.6.2 Snow Leopard

  38. Reply dreXeL

    omg…thank all of you for this enormous page of complaints, rants and fixes. Could not get smartware to either run or leave my desktop for more than 1/2 a second and it would pop right back. every time I tried to OPEN it it would just crash. my plan was to return my MyBook today and never ever EVER buy another WD product. The LaCie I had the last few years has been perfect for me. but my favorite nerdy friend came over last night and found this blogpost here and all the hacks and solutions. i wasn’t even paying attention to what he did exactly, but he fixed it.

    And just a little side note because I’m pissed off about this and really hoping WD reads this page at some point, One of the things Mac users take extreme pride in is the simplicity of both the hardware and software…the simplicity of use…the way you plug in something and it just works, and everything doesn’t need you to install drivers and perform 19 steps to get it going. WD should be embarrassed they put “for Mac” on their box. There is nothing “for Mac” about it. My LaCie didn’t say “for Mac” and worked just fine by just plugging it in. This MyBook is just a lie, and an un-simple piece of hardware. I feel duped.

  39. Reply josh

    Hi all.

    I managed to get rid of any trace of the vcd, but unfortunately before I could copy the smartware software or install it. The only reason I need the software is to change the e-label. Can anyone send me the contenets of the vcd?

    by the way, I got it off by entering this one line in terminal and then formatting using diskutil:

    sudo sh -c “echo UUID=`diskutil info /Volumes/WD\ SmartWare/ | grep ‘UUID’ | awk ‘{print $NF}’` none hfs rw,noauto 0 0 >> /etc/fstab”

  40. Reply Ed

    Last week I bought the WD My Book Essential (50GB). I set it up on my MacBook Pro and everything appeared to be working OK. I ignored the VCD and the SmartWare backup software. I was not interested in auto backups or security locks. I just opened the drive by clicking on it’s icon on my desktop. I dragged and dropped many GBs of data over o the the My Book. The little stack of lights on the front of the My Book seemed to indicate that it was about 50% full when I was finished. I checked out the drive again to make sure the files were there. I even opened a few of them to make sure everything was working. Everything looked completely normal (just like my other WD drive that I have had for about 4 years). So I had no reason to think everything was about to go wrong.

    The whole point of the new drive was to free up space on my MacBook Pro, so with my data now stored on the My Book, I deleted the files from my laptop.

    Yesterday I need to access one of the files I had moved to the My Book so I pluged in the usb cable and was surprised when only the VCD icon appeared… no drive icon. I looked under the Mac disk utility and sure enough the VCD was listed, but the drive itself was grayed out. So I looked at the stupid SmartWare software and it was telling me that the MyBook was empty!

    I noticed at this point that the lights on the front of the My Book still indicated that the drive was about 50% full, so I was not in a panic yet. I know certain that I the data is on the drive.

    So I rebooted everything but it still, only the VCD would mount. I wrote a description of my problem to WD’s email assistance and I’m pretty sure that the response from “Carlos” was an automatically generated response as it suggested I try all the things I had already tried and answered none of my questions.

    I noticed that the SmartWare software has an update software button, but that just said it was up to date. So I was surprised when I visited the WD web site and saw that there was not only a software update, but a firmware update as well. I downloaded and installed the Mac versions of the updates and followed all the instructions. I ran the utility to by pass the VCD.

    So now, just like they said, when I plug in the My Book, the VCD does not mount, so at least that is out of the way. But the drive itself is still not mounting.

    This morning I opened the Mac Disk Utility again. I selected the “465.1 GB WD MY Book 111 Media” and clicked on “Verify Disk”. It came back with this:

    Invalid B-tree node size
    Volume check failed

    Does anyone have any ideas what I can do next?
    Is my data gone?
    Do I need to just take this drive to a data recovery service?

    Any suggestions, advice, or sympathy are greatly appreciated.
    Thanks

  41. Reply acletras

    Ed,

    In disk utility, have you tried repairing the WD disk that was reporting invalid b-tree node size? It can be found under the first aid tab. I would reccommend doing this from your OS X install disc (boot from the CD, then run disk utility from there). Sounds like maybe a bad partition.

    You could also try to boot from a live Linux CD, such as ubuntu and see if it’s able to read the contents of the drive.

    I’ve also received a reply from Carlos, the lone Western Digital support representative, so you’re probably right in saying he’s automated.

    Lastly, if you have access to another external drive the same size or larger that your problematic WD drive, I would suggest using something like Carbon Copy Cloner (bombich.com) to make a clone of your WD drive before you go any further.

    Good luck.

  42. Reply Ed

    acletras,

    Thanks for the suggestions, much appreciated!
    According to my notes (it’s been a long couple of days), I tried Repair Disk and at that time I got the same error message about “Invalid B-tree node size”. I did not do it from the boot disk.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have another larger or equal capacity drive, but perhaps I can get access to one through a friend. Making a clone sounds like a great idea. So this Carbon Copy Cloner would have some way of accessing the unmounted drive?

    I have a friend who says he can come over with a his copy of a data recovery program that saved his photo library.

    I’ll admit that I am pretty nervous about trying to recover the data myself. My biggest fear is doing anything to make the situation worse.

    Whatever I try, I will post a message saying how it turned out.

    Best of luck to everyone struggling to rescue their data… it’s stressful!

  43. Reply Ed

    Here’s an update… I continue to get what seem like robotic responses from Carlos at WD. Whatever. Meanwhile a friend who has been through this before kindly came over with his Mac. Just to be absolutely sure, we tried the My Book drive on his laptop and we got the same results; the drive will not mount. Then we ran a demo version of DataRecovery. The quick scan didn’t find anything and I felt like it was hopeless, but the thorough scan found them! All 80+ GB’s worth. So I dashed out and bought another external drive. This one is the Verbatim 1 TB drive (and it just so happened that the external drives were on sale this weekend… too bad I hadn’t waited until today in the first place!).

    The new Verbatim drive spun up and mounted no problem. I dropped a few jpg files on it and shut it down, then started it up again and opened the files. Everything seems fine.

    So the next step is to buy a license for DataRecovery and (fingers crossed) transfer my recovered files to the new drive. I hope my next post will be to say that the files have been recovered and are sitting on the new drive.

    I am curious when I get this done, should I attempt to reformat the My Book and see if it works? Or should I not even bother and just see if they will take it back? Any thoughts?

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