WD 2 TB My Book Essential Product Review

I just bought a Western Digital My Book Essential 2 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive to back up a number of Macs I'm upgrading, and then to use as additional storage for my Mac mini media center, miniwood. It ships with an NTFS partition and some drive management software called WD SmartWare that ships on a separate partition that mounts as a read-only CD. Unfortunately, many of the Mac tools I want to use, like SuperDuper and Time Machine, require a Mac partition. The WD SmartWare tools support backup and recovery, as well as letting you tweak some of the drive settings, lock the drive, and so on. I don't want to use a proprietary backup solution when I've got two good free options (Time Machine and SuperDuper) that just require a Mac partition.

At first, I tried to erase the main NTFS partition in Disk Utility, but I couldn't create a Mac partition on the Erase tab. as I got an "undefined Erase error". Oddly, I could Instead, I had to select the hard drive and then use the Partition tab to create a Mac partition. This worked, but I still have the somewhat irritating WD SmartWare partition chewing up 220 MB of perfectly good disk space. [Note: UltraNEO points out in the comments, below, that the WD SmartWare partition is actually embedded in the proprietary controller card, so it doesn't take up any disk space, and of course can't be deleted either.]

So, although I'm a big fan of Western Digital drives, this model is not ideal for uses that require a Mac partition, such as SuperDuper backups. If you don't mind working a little harder in Disk Utility to prepare a Mac partition, however, you can use most of the drive for a Mac volume.

If you've been able to remove the WD SmartWare partition on your WD My Book Essential, let me know.


Anonymous said…
Impossible. WD is completely insane for putting what is essentially a root kit on all of their new drives. The software has impeded itself in my Mac's hard drive now and I can't erase several files now that I've deleted their software. Just return the hard drive and get a Seagate.
UltraNEO* said…
The WD SmartWare tools ain't physically residing on the actual hard-drive as you suggested; thus not actually consuming 200MB of the drive because it's embedded on it's propriety controller card.
Neil Johnson said…
Well, that certainly explains why I couldn't delete the tools partition! Thanks for the clarification.

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