Well, you have just bought a new WD external drive.
Or you’re thinking about buying one. And spotted this software that comes with the drive.
What is this WD Discovery stuff? Do you need to install it? What about on your Mac?
You’ll find this and other questions answered in this blog post when you read on.
What Is WD Discovery And Do I Need It?
WD Discovery is an executable program file. It’s Western Digital’s disk management software. It’s loaded on many Western Digital external hard drives. And you’ll find it loaded on some of their external SSD’s (Solid State Drives) too.
The software ships on many WD drives ready for you to install on your computer. There are versions for Windows PC and Mac computers.
After you load the WD Discovery software on your computer you get a dashboard. A graphical user interface, where you can see your external drive’s model number. Your external drive’s SMART attributes (more on that later).
And install firmware updates.
You can also use the dashboard to install. And update other Western Digital drive software. WD Security, WD Drive Utilities. And WD Backup. But note that WD backup is now retired. Replaced by Acronis True Image for Western Digital.
WD Discovery and WD Smartware lets you connect to your social media accounts. Like Facebook and Instagram and download your digital assets.
Like your photos in social media to keep a copy of and store on your Western Digital external drive.
And you can connect to Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive cloud storage services. And download those files to your locally attached external drive.
You can use the links in the interface to access documentation and licenses. And feedback forms on the Western Digital Corporation site.
What Is WD Discovery For My Passport?
It is a graphical user interface from Western Digital Technologies. You install it from your WD Passport drive and run it on your computer.
The software has software tools to manage your My Passport portable hard drive. And allows you to download other WD software. Like WD Drive Utilities, WD Security and Acronis True Image for Western Digital. (The Acronis software now replaces WD backup).
The software on a WD My Passport is compatible with Windows. The Discovery software that comes with a WD My Passport for Mac is compatible with Mac.
If you’ve deleted Discovery from your drive. You can download both versions of the software direct from WD’s site.
Do I Need WD Discovery Software?
Depends on if you want to use the services the software provides. And you have no other preferred software you want to use.
You’d need the software to check for and install firmware updates for your external hard drive, or SSD. You’ll find recorded your drive’s model number. And serial number on the outside of your external drive’s case. So, there’s no need to use the software to show you that information.
You’d use the WD Discovery software for SMART drive information. SMART is (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology).
You can check on that information in the software. And ease your concerns about the health of your external drive. SMART attributes help to predict imminent external drive failure.
You could use the WD Discovery application to download your social media assets. It will download from Facebook and Instagram to your hard disk drive. Plus you can download your files from cloud storage in Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive. Although there are other ways of downloading that data.
What Is WD Discovery For Mac?
WD Discovery For Mac is a .DMG file. A .DMG is executable software made to run on a Mac computer. After you run it on your Mac you’ve installed WD Discovery. Western Digital’s graphical user interface for its external hard drives. And SSD’s (solid state drives).
In WD Discovery’s dashboard you can check on your WD drive’s SMART attributes. See your drive’s model number and serial number. Install firmware updates for your external drive.
Download other WD Software like WD Security. Acronis True Image for Western Digital to do backups. And WD Drive Utility. Plus, it lets you to check for software updates to those pieces of software and keep them updated.
You can use WD Discovery and WD Smartware to download your files from social media. Facebook and Instagram. And cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive.
The software lets you access Western Digital documentation. WD feedback forms and licenses from links in the software.
It ships for free on the WD drives made to run on a Mac computer. Like WD My Passport for Mac and WD My Passport Ultra for Mac.
You can also download WD Discovery for Mac. You’ll find it in the external drive support section of Western Digital’s site.
What Is WD Discovery For Mac On WD Hard Drive?
It is software ready loaded on a WD external hard drive. It’s a .DMG executable file. That when you run it on your Mac it installs Western Digital’s graphical user interface. A software dashboard that you can use to manage your external hard drive on your Mac computer.
What Is Install WD Discovery For Mac WD?
It’s a .DMG executable file on your WD external drive. You run it on your Mac computer and it installs the WD Discovery software. And that software allows you to manage your WD external drive.
Plus, download other WD software. Like WD Security, WD Drive Utilities, Acronis True Image for Western Digital. (Acronis is a replacement for WD Backup). And software applications from other WD partners.
Do I Need WD Discovery For Mac?
And the related question. Should I install WD Discovery for Mac? The answer.
Unlikely. In my experience most of the issues experienced by Mac users. When using Western Digital external drives have stemmed from using this software.
The software may clash with other software you run on your Mac. And when you update your Mac operating system. You can cause software features of WD Discovery and its associated software to break.
Resulting in a wait for the release of compatible software. Or delivery of bug fixes.
Much of the software services provided in WD Discovery is part of the Mac’s operating system. In fact, in some areas Western Digital recommends using the inbuilt Mac software. Instead of its software.
All that said. You could use WD Discovery on a Mac to check for and install firmware updates for your external drive. Or you can check for firmware updates directly in Western Digital’s support area.
You could use WD Discovery to check on your external drive’s SMART attributes. And see if they threaten drive failure.
There are other services and ways to download your social media files from Facebook. Or from Instagram. And all the cloud services allow you to download your files to local storage. Including your external WD drive.
You’d use Google’s, Dropbox, or the other services own cloud app interface to do it. Rather than the Discovery software.
For the external drives that have 256-bit AES hardware encryption. You’d switch on and set a password for the hardware encryption on your drive using WD Security. You download this software through WD Discovery.
Mac OS also lets you encrypt your data on your external drive. And when you update Mac OS. There’s no worry about whether your WD security software is still compatible. Or wait for a new version for your MacOS.
WD drive utilities – software downloaded through the WD Discovery application. Checks on and lets you run software to format and check on your drive’s health.
Mac OS has these services inbuilt into Disk Utility. You run Disk Utility to format your Mac drive. Reformat your external drive and run First Aid to repair bad sectors on your drive.
For backup Western Digital recommended Time Machine on a Mac rather than WD backup. But with them now shipping Acronis True Image for Western Digital. Some Mac users may find value in using that software.
A few things to bear in mind. Acronis True Image software comes with a 5 year software license. After that? Who knows?
Plus, there is still the need to check the version you run. Is it compatible with your Mac operating system? Or when you upgrade do you have to wait for a version for your new Mac OS.
Personally, I think, when my backup depends on it, I prefer to run software I know will run and work on my Mac drive. Like Time Machine.
Is WD Discovery Necessary?
And a very similar question. Do I have to use their WD discovery software?
No. It’s not software you have to use on a Mac or on a Windows PC. There are plenty of alternatives and competing software solutions. And some of the software features Discover has are part of the operating system on a Mac. And on a Windows PC.
That said, some will like the software interface provided by Western Digital. You might like to try it out and see if you like it.
Just be sure to follow their directions for uninstalling the software thoroughly. If you decide you no longer want to use it.
Users have experienced software issues. With left behind pieces of the Discovery software.
And now you know much more about the WD Discovery software. And you can decide now if you want to install it on your computer.
While you’re here why not check out the other hard disk related articles on the site?
About Paul Gregory
I’ve been a system administrator for various corporates for 15 years. And as admin I’ve helped many with their Mac’s and there many Apple devices.
I’m excited by watching users, armed with a little knowledge take control of their Mac’s and their files. And why not?
When I’m not at work or working on the site I like to chill with few beers. And watch a bit of car racing. From Formula 1 to stock car racing. The competition is my thing.