Thursday, January 14, 2010

Enjoy your WD My Book 1TB Drive: No more WD SmartWare icon in Ubuntu!

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently picked up a Western Digital My Book Essential 1 TB external hard drive. Although it doesn't as yet display the same problems that my Simpletech hard drive was having, it does come with an annoying Virtual CD installed, literally in the unit's firmware, that contains Western Digital's SmartWare backup software. Of course the software is not linux compatible and wouldn't be something I would want to use anyway. The big question I had was: how do I get rid of it?

Well the problem has been well documented on the internet, with many people complaining about it. I found a helpful comment on a blog maintained by a mac admin. User 'yakkoj' suggests in his comment to make an entry in the /etc/fstab file on your mac that basically tells Mac OSX to ignore the Virtual CD so that it doesn't load and show up on your desktop. As Mac OSX is a relative of Linux, his comment was easily adaptable as a solution for my Ubuntu system too! Following is the line that I put in my /etc/fstab file and I can vouch that I now no longer see an icon for the WD Smartware Virtual CD on my desktop:

/dev/sr1 none udf rw,noauto 0 0

The Virtual CD always shows up as /dev/sr1, and I don't think there's any danger of other devices taking up that partition label. So, put the above line into your /etc/fstab file, and it will basically tell Linux that any time a device pops up and wants to inhabit the /dev/sr1 partition then it shouldn't be mounted at all. Then you will no longer have to stare at the dumb WD SmartWare icon on your linux desktop again! However, please note that this does not in fact rid the hard drive of the software, it just tells your computer to ignore it.


  1. hey inkhorn,

    i was trying to vote on your poll about your new look. for some reason, it won't let me. anyway, i just wanted to say that it looks great! nice work with the articles too.

    happy new year!
    j. from the chronic agnostic

  2. Yet another silliness on the part of Blogger. They give you a Poll widget for your blog that people can't use for some reason. Oh well!

  3. hi... i know how to get rid of that silly easy.. really easy in just one minute... my friend of mine just connect the sata hard disk ( of course u should remove it from the casing) to a strong magnetic field.. all gone...simple

  4. Gee nitin,

    If someone wants to *screw up their hard drive* then I'm sure they'd be happy to try your *disastrous* advice.

  5. Thanks Inkhorn, works great!

  6. This is a cleaner solution:

  7. Thanks very much for the info on Drives. Very useful

  8. To the commenter who suggested going to the western digital website:
    You do realize that the WD website says nothing about getting rid of the virtual CD in linux right? They only post solutions for windows and mac users. Hence my post :)

  9. I'm working with a My Book Elite. The icon in the corner doesn't bother me nearly as much as the fact that I can't read anything on the drive. (I'm assuming this is because it is password protected and that may require some sort of decryption.) Does anyone have any insight on how one might get around this?

  10. Works great! Thanks!

    For those as new to this as I am, a good way to edit the fstab file is to open a terminal ("Ctrl + Alt + T" is handy) and then type/paste in:

    gksudo gedit /etc/fstab

    That gets you in with the proper permissions to edit the file. Save an unmodifed copy somewhere while you're at it. Using the /dev/sr1 terminology instead of the UUID is slightly inelegant, since the other stuff in my fstab file is listed by UUID, but it IS easier and totally OK, since the damned crapware always does load as sr1...

  11. Face it, folks, the "double dip" is actually a DEPRESSION, when you have as much as 18% unemployed,
    with 9% having fallen off of he back end of Unemployment Support without finding a job!

    So, picking up WD 1TB green My Books for $40, HP d530 convertible mini-towers for $50 (2.66 GHz!), speed and power are CHEAP!

    In my Ubuntu 9.10, 10.04 and Linux Mint 9, I ran Gparted, formatted the entire drive to FAT32, wiping out all the WD DRM crap-ware.

    Time will tell about the so-called "4k sectors"! I am thinking that Gparted since Kernel 2.6 handles them just fine!

  12. so it works, thank you. but now i wonder how to actually access the files... suggestions or did i miss something?

  13. Here's my line in /etc/fstab that initializes the partition from the backup drive:

    UUID=49C1E27312FE1100 /media/backup ntfs nls=iso8859-1,_netdev,umask=000,users,owner,auto 0 0

    In your case you can change the UUID to your device's specific one, and change /media/backup to something more personalized for you, like /media/woopee.

    to find your device's UUID, go to your terminal, and type in "blkid", and then look for the partition corresponding to your drive. If you have no other drives connected, it will probably be the row beginning with "/dev/sdb1".


  14. ill try to be more specific, not very good with linux :( im running kubuntu 10.1. the drive im having problems with has that wd stupid on it, when i have the unedited fstab i can open the directory, but all i see is the exe files and some random folders.. so when i edit fstab, pc knows drive is plugged in but wont let me access anything. when i type blkid it only shows ext4 and swap..

  15. A little late to the party, but thanks... this worked!

  16. Dear Inkhorn: I'm also getting late to the party, but in my particular case, it didn't work. I followed the steps you've written, this is what I entered into the console:

    blkid /dev/sr1

    /dev/sr1: LABEL="WD Unlocker" TYPE="udf"

    gksudo gedit /etc/fstab


    /dev/sr1 none udf rw,noauto 0 0
    (did't tried with UUID)

    At last, saved changes and rebooted. But WD Unlocker still appearing each time I plug the device in... is there perhaps something I missed? Should I've to enter "/dev/sr1 none udf rw,noauto 0 0" with "#" opening the line?

    Really hope you can help me with this one... And sorry for my bad english!

  17. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

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