I am a beginner in Ubuntu. And I have just installed Ubuntu 11.10 in my Dell laptop. When I plugged my WD external hard drive in, it read the first time, but since I have a unlock.exe file (password for the hard drive). So I installed Wine to read it. But it gives me an error. I restart the machine, and plugged the hard drive in again. And it is not recognized anymore. Can anybody help me, please?

Thank you!

  • do you know the format of the hard drive – Ringtail Mar 27 '12 at 18:16
  • Is the password protection on a partition level? I.e., is the partition encrypted? If so, I believe you need the cryptsetup package. – SirCharlo Mar 27 '12 at 18:59
  • 2
    .exe files are typically Windows executable files and cannot be run on Linux (or other non-Windows) OSs. – kyleN Mar 27 '12 at 20:59
  • @kyleN: it can be, using wine, check winehq.org – hkoosha Mar 27 '12 at 21:38

According to http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1672368&page=2

WD Passport needs to be unlocked using Windows or Mac before they can be used. Take the drive to a Mac or PC and run the Unlock application or the WD Smartware Utilities to enable access to the writable partition, then format it. If the drive is missing the unlocking apps, you can download the software kit for Mac and PC from WD's support pages.

In an extreme situation you can use http://www.hdd-tools.com/products/rrs/howto/ I don't know if they can be trusted. As you can see HDDs could be simply unlocked using these tools, so to be safe encrypt your data yourself before storing it on your drive.


I just asked people at WD, they said there is no way you can unlock from any Linux distribution, including Ubuntu, not even wine can do that.


First you have to disable the unlock.exe while you're in windows. Use the WD smartware program (you can dl it from their website), go to settings, enter your passoword, choose "remove security," and then update settings. Now it doesn't have a password anymore, so you should at least be able to mount and access it in linux.


As far as it concerns a pure ubuntu solution, there is an interesting how to for removing the security functionality of WD MyPassport hard drive on ubuntu using hdparm and the master password 'WDCWDCWDCWDCWDCWDCWDCWDCWDCWDCW', which could differ for various models.

However, it is recommended to use up-to-date SmartWare on Windows, since it is intended this way.

Following the instructions of this nice article, i got my external WD HDD mounted and running on ubuntu like every other USB-Storage.
In essence you do the following steps:

  1. Mount the drive on Windows
  2. Update WD Smartware and Disk Firmware
  3. Disable the virtual CD and remove password under settings in WD SmartWare
  4. Using palimpsest on ubuntu
    1. Delete all partition and create a new Master Boot Record
    2. Create an empty partition
    3. format it using an linux/bsd file system.

Is is possible to reformat it to any FS you want, afterwards.

  • 2
    Would be nice if you could include the gist of the solution here. – jobin Nov 11 '13 at 17:31

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