Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Reformat external hard drive with cd partition

Last response: in Storage
Share
October 24, 2011 3:50:02 PM

I have two western digital external hard drives with a partition that comes up as a CD w/WD Smartware. i have tried to reformat the drives to remove the smartware partition but cannot. I have changed the drive letter on the partition to "z" so the hard drive will connect as "e" where my backup software is supposed to copy to, however every time I connect e WD drives they revert to "e" for the Smartware portion and "f" for my ext drive and my backup fails on 2 days if I don't reset the drive letter manually. I rotate 5 drives daily for back up and 3 segate drives work fine. I would like to have only 1 partition on the external drive or always have the drive letter set as "e". Any suggestions on how to accomplish this.

I have machines on the network runnin windows xp, windows 7 and e server software windows 2003

Thanks.

Betsy.
a c 85 G Storage
October 24, 2011 4:27:52 PM

You can seek some help here:

http://community.wdc.com/t5/My-Passport-for-PC/How-to-r...

However, the feature that you want to change is built into the drive's firmware. At best, you can disable the password function from what I have seen with this thread:

http://community.wdc.com/t5/My-Passport-for-PC/Remove-t...

I have a similar drive that I use when travelling to keep data safe should I lose (or have stolen) the drive. Given this type of feature (built-in security) I would argue this is not a suitable drive for how you are using it.

I would suggest you return (if possible) for more "generic" external HDDs. Good luck!
a c 271 G Storage
October 25, 2011 1:05:16 AM

SmartWare lives in a reserved 700MB area at the end of the drive, beyond the visible user area. The USB-SATA bridge chip inside the USB enclosure presents this SmartWare area as a Virtual CD (VCD). The remainder of the drive is presented as a normal USB HDD.

In short, since your OS cannot see the SmartWare area, then no software will be able to reclaim it.
Related resources
March 1, 2012 11:38:12 PM

I have had a couple of these drives for a few years and am now in the process of building a home server. From what I understand the drives inside are nice, but that partition drives me batty. My plan is to:

1. Migrate the data on the externals to new drives on the server.
2. Take apart the enclosures and remove the USB-SATA bridge.
3. Put the drives in the [Windows Home 2011] Server and reformat or attempt to reformat in W7 Home Premium while directly connected or in another enclosure.
4. Put the drives into the server.

Any chance of this process working or would this be a waste of time? Thanks in advance.
a c 271 G Storage
March 3, 2012 5:50:26 AM

Your plan should work if the drives are 3.5" models.

Otherwise, be aware that certain 2.5" models integrate the USB-SATA bridge on the drive's own PCB rather than on a separate bridge board.
March 20, 2012 3:33:13 PM

Batty1 said:
I have had a couple of these drives for a few years and am now in the process of building a home server. From what I understand the drives inside are nice, but that partition drives me batty. My plan is to:

1. Migrate the data on the externals to new drives on the server.
2. Take apart the enclosures and remove the USB-SATA bridge.
3. Put the drives in the [Windows Home 2011] Server and reformat or attempt to reformat in W7 Home Premium while directly connected or in another enclosure.
4. Put the drives into the server.

Any chance of this process working or would this be a waste of time? Thanks in advance.


Do LOTS :bounce:  of research first. I had an 80GB external drive that I took apart. Turns out the drive inside wasn't what I thought it would be. :o 

Icy Dock makes a nice 2.5 to 3.5 adapter. It's $10 at Amazon. They often runs rebates so check their website.

I just rebuilt my system and reorganized the drives. The two drives I was using for a RAID 1 array both had that small reserved partition. Now it shows up in my drive display. Annoying, but since I screwed up the system changing SATA modes I'm going to leave them alone.

700 MB isn't much, but it would be nice to have it back.
March 22, 2012 2:51:13 AM

Thanks to everyone for their feedback. I may have gotten lucky on this one...

It turns out that there was a 1 TB green drive in one and a 2 TB green drive in the other.

I used the Windows 7 diskpart commands to remove the partitions and get them going again.

Funny thing now is that they did not behave well in the server that I tried to put them into. Things got a little strange with previously installed drives not being recogognized and 'disappearing' as I added the green drives to the MB. I'm still early in the trouble shooting stages on that project, so I won't dwell on the details.

The Hitachi drives I had arround seemed to work well in the server and now reside there. One of the green drives is a second hard drive in my primary desktop and the other now sits in an external case with a fan that used to hold something else. Perhaps I'll spring for an additional Hitachi or two once the prices come down a bit and complete task of migrating my data, etc.

All is well for now... .. two less externals and will never have to see that anoying extra letter appear whenever I plug one in.

March 22, 2012 11:25:45 AM

Please forgive me. This one is too good to pass up. And my sarcasm needs to be exercised at least once a day.

Batty1, what we have here is another example of Green Technology NOT being the answer to our problems.

OK, that's enough. I've got to get back to yard work, Spring cleaning and reorganizing my home network. Actually Batty1 some of what I've learned after I screwed up my HTPC/NAS/Home Server might shed light on your situation.

In researching whether to go back to a RAID 1 configuration for storage a couple of people made comments along the lines of, "Make sure the hard drive is RAID certified."

Apparently WD has drives designed to be used in RAID configurations, and their other drives are designed with specific usages in mind. When I was buying my drives 3 years ago I was choosing between Black, Blue and Green. At that time most people were still saying "Don't use the Green for a variety of reasons." So I chose Black eventhough it was supposed to be a bit noisier than the Blue.

My point. Maybe the Green drives don't like being spun up all the time which they would be in a server type environment. They probably like to take a rest regularly and probably want the system to do the same.

Your answer probably lies deep in the technospeak of the hardware involved.

But I have a simple answer: Gremlins. I've believed in them most of the 30+ years I've been intimately involved with computers. A couple of days ago I was having some weird problems with my kids' ipods. Next day, poof, everything is back to normal. Gremlins.

Good luck on solving your "Green Technology" problem. But I'm guessing the problem is with the Green part, not the Black Gold, Texas Tea. Y'all come back now you hear.

(OK, I'm going to have to explain that last line to the vast majority of you who have never watched the Beverly Hillbillies. Black Gold is oil. And like it or not, oil is what will make the world run for many years to come. ... Better go now before the moderator moderates me off the board for being political."
March 22, 2012 11:29:37 AM

Thanks for the heads up on this. I just plugged in one that I bought a while back for someone else but they never used it. I was wondering if I should reformat the drive or just use the built in software for my back ups. I'm still doing research but will probably just go with the flow instead of recovering 700MB I'll never use.

Thanks to you too fzabkar. Your input will save me some trouble.
a c 271 G Storage
March 22, 2012 7:43:25 PM

You can reclaim the SmartWare area if you remove the drive from its enclosure and write zeros to the end of the drive. When the drive is attached directly to a SATA port on your motherboard, the SmartWare area is exposed to your software. A full format or zero-fill will get rid of it.

That said, when you reinstall the drive in its enclosure, the bridge IC will encrypt and decrypt any data passing through it, so your formatting will appear as gibberish, ie your drive will appear as uninitialised. You will then need to repartition and reformat your drive in the enclosure. I believe the full capacity of the drive will now be available to you, but I'm not completely certain.

BTW, if your drive is a 2.5" model, then it is quite likely that the bridge IC is integrated into the drive rather than on a separate, detachable board. This means that you won't be able to connect the HDD to a SATA port.
March 22, 2012 9:10:17 PM

fzabkar said:
BTW, if your drive is a 2.5" model, then it is quite likely that the bridge IC is integrated into the drive rather than on a separate, detachable board. This means that you won't be able to connect the HDD to a SATA port.


Maybe that's why the 80GB drive I have has a weird connector. I'll have to revisit it when I have time. It wouldn't connect to any of the systems I have. I'm guessing the drive is dead but there is a possibility that there are other issues.
!