My New Western Digital Passport Ultra: Delightful hardware, hideous software


About the size of a pack of poker cards. Lightweight and functional, stores 1 Terabyte of data; I can back up my entire hard drive and that of my wife onto one little box.

Unfortunately, the WD SmartWare (which should be called something more obscene and less family-friendly) is the abomination of desolation.

The thing refuses to back up my large files, despite upgrading to the latest version (2.4.6); worse than that, there are processes running in the background – specifically WDBackupEngine.exe, but others as well – that will not die, can’t be killed, and consume so many resources that my greased-lightning core i7 box slows down to the speed of London traffic.

resources from WD

The WD forums are full of complaints about this issue going back to 2011. Western Digital has not provided a workable solution, and the fact that their latest software has not solved the issue points to the fact that they are either insouciant or incompetent.

I understand the need for background monitoring for a system that backs up changes on the fly and provides a dynamic mirror of the source disk or portions thereof, but the process should not bring the rest of the system to a screeching halt.

I have reluctantly removed WDSmartWare from my system and will have to use the device as a manual backup, which is still a lot better than having to use multiple devices. Again, I like the box itself, but the management software has no business existing.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

2 responses to “My New Western Digital Passport Ultra: Delightful hardware, hideous software

  1. Haha I also bought a 1TB hard disk a bit recently. Howeer, I didn’t go for WD. My cousin already had a 500GB Seagate drive, and it pleased me, so I decided I’d get a Seagate too. So far, it has been magnificent, the only drawback being its USB cable. The wire is a bit flimsy, and gets bent into different shapes fast. Other than that, I love it.

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