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Thread: WD -My Passport - Highway to Hell more like

  1. #1
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    Default WD -My Passport - Highway to Hell more like

    I was recently given a Western Digital “My Passport” Welcome to Western Digital US Online Store external hard drive to get some files off.

    Mmmm Nice! Shiney! Small! - Rubbish!!

    When I plugged it in I was presented with a pseudo CD drive to force me to install WD's Smartware software, to allow me to access the contents of the drive, being a M$ formatted drive, it is a M$ executionable, with a MAC version available, but nothing for Linux.

    There was no way to access the contents of the hard drive, the only thing which showed up was the contents of the pseudo cd.

    A quick trip around the lighthouse with Mr Google revealed hundreds of blogs/posts complaining about this from M$, Mac and Linux users. Turns out that this software, its installation and usage is hard wired into a control chip in the drive, and cannot be deleated. The drive cannot be accessed to reformat to get rid of this dross, you are stuck with it and as a consequence, under Linux the drive is useless.

    Even if you could reformat / use the drive it cannot be accessed through Linux initially, so, as in my case, I was not in a position to try and make the drive work as it wasn't mine, all I wanted to do was mount it so I could access the files.

    One commentator suggested (though this may be a tad paranoid) that the inclusion of this software is tied in with DRM.

    I am not asking for help with this as I really do not care if a manufacturer is so short sighted as to try and manipulate their customers in such a blatant way that they finish up ostracising a big chuck of their potential market. I am merely making people aware and suggesting that, apart from the reason of no Linux drivers/software, people should avoid these WD products like the plague they are.

    Even U3 on cruser flashdrives can be removed to use the drive as a straighforward flashdrive. This WD dross cannot be removed, so no M$ or Mac no useage, no Linux useage, no using the drive as just a hard drive without WD 's stupid software.




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    It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: WD -My Passport - Highway to Hell more like

    On Sun, 04 Jul 2010 02:36:02 +0000, Dwarfer99 wrote:

    > Even U3 on cruser flashdrives can be removed to use the drive as a
    > straighforward flashdrive. This WD dross cannot be removed, so no M$
    > or Mac no useage, no Linux useage, no using the drive as just a hard
    > drive without WD 's stupid software.


    I just picked up a replacement MyBook drive (the old one died on me) and
    it has the virtual CD on it as well, but I am able to access the drive
    itself.

    Seems to be something specific to the passport drives.

    Jim



    --
    Jim Henderson
    openSUSE Forums Administrator

  3. #3
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    Default Re: WD -My Passport - Highway to Hell more like

    Dwarfer,
    Thanks! I was considering buying one of those next week. You saved me $120.00 USD!
    We are what we think.
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    Default Re: WD -My Passport - Highway to Hell more like

    The WD passport drive should show up under yast when attached and although you can't remove the software pre-installed, it should be mountable as a windows volume NTFS which will allow access with the ntfs-3g driver. Which passport model? As I have in the past been able to mount passport drives by just bypassing the software thingy. If they have in fact made the drive proprietary for this model they are shooting themselves in the foot and would be deserving of some brickbats. WD touts itself as being a real back-up solution advertising that their passport drive is excellent for moving files safely from home to work and back again.

    Personally, I opted for a 1.5TB prodrive cause it's only half the price of the WD passport models of significant lower storage. Transfers to and from the prodrive are much slower than with other externals if you leave it as one huge partition. Making several smaller partitions does speed the transfers with the prodrive up significantly (25 to 50% faster at 3x 500GB partitions).
    When your up to your a** in Alligators it's pretty hard to remember you intended to drain the swamp (author unknown)

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    Default Re: WD -My Passport - Highway to Hell more like

    I don't have the drive to recheck, but I did check it in yast and it came up as a single drive, which was full and only the size of the pseudo cd. The 'main' drive didn't appear at all in the hour or so I had to play with it. My main point is that if I buy a drive I should be able to manipulate it or set it up they way I want rather than have a proprietary 'storage device' which is locked.
    It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: WD -My Passport - Highway to Hell more like

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwarfer99 View Post
    I don't have the drive to recheck, but I did check it in yast and it came up as a single drive, which was full and only the size of the pseudo cd. The 'main' drive didn't appear at all in the hour or so I had to play with it. My main point is that if I buy a drive I should be able to manipulate it or set it up they way I want rather than have a proprietary 'storage device' which is locked.
    Too bad you didn't mention the model so it can be noted as proprietary and to be avoided. I suspect it is using a sort of ontrack style drive manager which installs a special driver like large disk volumes had in the days of DOS which couldn't see huge storage without the special driver. It would seem this is a substantial step backward!
    When your up to your a** in Alligators it's pretty hard to remember you intended to drain the swamp (author unknown)

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    Default Re: WD -My Passport - Highway to Hell more like

    I'll be seeing the person who owns the drive later in the week and will get the model number then and post it.
    You are right about it being a step backwards, funny thing is most of the complaints about this drive have come from M$ users, and they can actually use it. So it is more about locking what is a pretty basic item, a hard drive, to proprietary software, which is getting people annoyed.
    It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: WD -My Passport - Highway to Hell more like

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwarfer99 View Post
    So it is more about locking what is a pretty basic item, a hard drive, to proprietary software, which is getting people annoyed.
    This has been fairly common with USB devices the last few years. In most cases, there is a special method for removing the software, but I have heard of other cases as the one you describe (Seagate has done this on occasion). Remember to read the details carefully.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: WD -My Passport - Highway to Hell more like

    Quote Originally Posted by chief_sealth View Post
    This has been fairly common with USB devices the last few years. In most cases, there is a special method for removing the software, but I have heard of other cases as the one you describe (Seagate has done this on occasion). Remember to read the details carefully.
    It is quite likely to do with the big issue of USB3 in which hdd developers, videostream developers, mp3 developers are all trying the sway the industry to use their next best standards approach. Pure cr** if you ask me. Everybody claiming proprietary rights to a certain method and vying to have all the others pay them royalties to the winning bidder.

    Off topic but ... I remember years ago when PC's were quite infant, each printer mfg had their own method of controlling the printer then IBM and Epson published how their printers could be controlled. A short time later, almost all printers came out with one of IBM's 6 styles or Epsons 2 styles. No royalties no hassle (to my knowledge). But with USB, each device has it's own hidden operating structure. USB may be faster but I long for the days when mfg were adults not children hording their little corner of knowledge. And that's the way I see it ... this the 4th day of July 2010.
    When your up to your a** in Alligators it's pretty hard to remember you intended to drain the swamp (author unknown)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: WD -My Passport - Highway to Hell more like

    USB is just a data and command conduit. You can have the same proprietary issues anywhere, with RS232 interfaces, Ethernet interfaces, video interfaces, etc. So don't scapegoat USB.

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