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I've seen a lot of bad press on WD SmartWare (I think it comes on most WD backup devices now, such as their MyBook product line), mostly related to how it's impossible to remove properly or replace. There are allegations (I couldn't tell how true they were) that it has/is a rootkit, as well. Most of the articles are a couple of years old, so I'm wondering if SmartWare is still just as problematic as it was. Does it still have a nasty rootkit reputation and should I just stick with the Windows 7 built-in backup system, or is the current SmartWare generation improved and better behaved?

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The WD Community thread Software Update - WD SmartWare Windows Version 1.5.1.6 (8/16/11) about the latest version contains very many posts, almost none of them positive (!). Here are some of them :

Still killing my system by using all of my CPU. Memory usage is still high, currently 1.2GB.

in my experience, this version lots better than 1.5.0.17 ... but WDFME been working nicely (WDFME.exe hovering around 18mb, WDRulesEngine.exe 9mb) ... smartware loading faster too ... so far free space issue seems fixed too, well maybe i need more time to make sure it really fixed

Heh... no improvement here, memory chomped 3GB!!! Renders my system useless. SmartWare huh? Not so Smart.... how bout HogWare

After using the software for a few days now, here's my report:

  1. It does run much better than before... NOT GOOD yet, but better (which means the older version was REALLY bad). The new software will still completely take over my computer from time to time, but its "better" than before. Still not acceptable as far as I'm concerned.

  2. This software does not delete the database files it creates in windows\temp. Those keep building up, at the rate of 8 new files each time you boot. This is not good, and I consider this a major bug. Your software needs to delete these temp files it creates. The more files that are there, the slower disk access will be, not to mention wasted disk space.

  3. Speaking of temp files... one of them is 64Mb long, and the other is 10Mb long. No wonder the software is so slow, and banging away at my hard drive. What on earth are you storing in these files? The only thing you should ever have to store, is pathname and date/time of last modification, of the files/folders I've selected for backup. I can't imagine that data consuming this much disk space. I almost think you should be able to do that in memory. I would hope you're not using these files, to store "data" that is about to be copied, and I would hope you're not wasting time tracking path/dat/time information for files and folders I'm not even backing up.

Conclusion: SmartWare still has problems.

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Thanks, this is rather revealing. I somehow missed that post in my last search (or maybe I didn't realize it was that current?). I'm goint to wait a couple more days to see if anyone has anything else to add, but I'm also going to start digging for that receipt... –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Nov 16 '11 at 15:21
    
WD drives are quite good even without SmartWare ... –  harrymc Nov 16 '11 at 15:30
    
So as long as I remove the SmwartWare even from the MyBook (I suppose I could just format the whole thing) and use some other backup tool, I guess I'm ok. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Nov 16 '11 at 15:32
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@FrustratedWithFormsDesigner: You should take better care of your bounties. –  harrymc Nov 24 '11 at 7:43
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Cobian Backup is free and easy to use, for more options/features then you're probably looking at a paid solution then Backup Exec is good, but i've not used it for years (since it was owned by Symantec) –  HaydnWVN Nov 24 '11 at 9:30

I haven't used it much, but it was on a recent drive that I bought for my aunt, to back up her Electronic Auctioneer data. It didn't give me too much trouble, and she hasn't called bugging me with any problems that she's had with it.

On the other hand, if you know and love Windows 7 backup (as I do), you could go ahead and remove the smartware. This question has steps to remove the smartware from the drive by updating the firmware, and I was successful in removing it from my drive (last year) using these steps.

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