Formatting a Western Digital Passport without the VCD or 'Smartware'

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I'm working on this while I write so I will be posting updates as I progress.  I would appreciate input or advice along the way as my last few attempts have been unsuccessful.

I just recently purchased two WD 750GB (690GB) drives (one for a Mac the other for a PC) and found that they contain WD 'smartware' built into the firmware.  I would like to reformat them to stop WD junkware loading in Windows and to get my data back.

I thought it would be simple and loaded GParted, but it didn't detect the drive.  

I managed to quick format the drive by booting to a WinXP cd on my laptop, which identified the WD Passport as it's C:\ and proceeded to format it successfully.  I then loaded Partition Magic (or Pro... ) and it came up with an MBR error for the drive.  I got an error when I tried to rebuild the partition, and when I clicked, 'activate' or something (I wasn't keeping notes) the firware was reloaded and both the VCD and Passport appears in Windows.

I'm running another format via the WinXP cd and it should complete within the next hour or 90 minutes.  After that, I will try using GParted to partition the drive.

Does anyone have any ideas should this fail?
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These guys had exact the same problems and solved them:
Read LINK and description in last two comments.


Thanks Labsy,

WD may have since updated their firmware or 'smartware' software as some of the options to disable the software (as listed on the WD site) weren't available to me.  Or, (more likely) I rushed through it.

If my current reformat and GParted battle is lost then I'll give it another shot.



Hey leew, sorry about that.

Unfortunately, my method failed and I'm now going to follow the tips in the link above.  

Thanks for your advice, Labsy.

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