Problem with my external WD 1TB My Passport hard disk

By gsb
Jan 11, 2012
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  1. Dear frnds,

    I have been using my external hard disk(WD My Passport Essential SE) 1 Tb, since last 6 months, but after a recent virus scan, my laptop is not showing the external hard disk, i have tried using My computer, Manage and Disk management.

    I am unable to find external hard disk even in Disk management i.e. it is not showing.
    So please can anyone help me in this concern......
    I would really appreciate and thanks in advance
  2. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    First, try accessing it from another computer to be sure it can be accessed elsewhere. The Western Digital Passport Essential has had a pretty high failure rate as seen in our shop... so the unavailable external hard disk may not have anything to do with the virus scan may have nothing to do with the problem.

    In other cases, I would attempt to reinstall the Passport drive. You do not usually cause any damage to the data on the drive when you do this.
  3. gsb

    gsb Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thank you for the reply,

    I had tried to reinstall the drive but nothing is happening, i have tried all the software available in the WD website, i have even tried to format the hard disk, with the quick format software provided by them, Their is a software by name PP4R2-1-4-2, i have not tried it. I have tried the disk management system also, i dont want to format my hard, i have somany important files in it.....so please let me know if their is any other way to solve my problem.....and if format only is the option, i have tried to connect hard disk in other systems also, their was no use.
  4. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    In our experience at our shop, there is a very high failure rate with that hard drive model. You might want to have a tech experienced with the passports assist you in recovering the data to another drive or to DVD drives, then attempt a reformat to see if there is any chance it can be rescued.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,489   +292

    Why would you try to format if you don't want to format???


    Anyway, the enclosure or the drive (or both) is dead. Your options are to (1) pay someone a boatload of money to recover your files, (2) open the enclosure and take out the drive and connect it to another computer internally or via a dock, or (3) send the drive in for replacement (if its under warranty).

    1 and 2 might get your data back, 3 won't. 2 will void the warranty if you do that. The choice is yours.
    misor likes this.
  6. BellyBob

    BellyBob Newcomer, in training

    Do you have power supplied to the external disk?
    Did it come with a power cable?
    What about an alternate cable?
    Is it a USB or Firewire cable or external SATA cable?
    Not familiar with the drive but it probably uses a cable.
    Has anyone changed BIOS settings?
    Were you able to use it with this laptop before the trouble or just a desktop computer?
  7. gsb

    gsb Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I have tried all the option, and i think now i am left with the only option as stated by my frnd i.e. the three options, though the 3rd option is not an option for me as it is not in the warranty period and i dont want to loose my data, so i will try the 2nd option mostly.

    Regarding the cable, as u have suspected it works with a cable, though it is not a SATA cable....and i have not tried any other cables, as i can see that my power supply is working well with the cable, as the hard disk has a LED, which blinks as normally as it used to.

    I have used the hard disk in my laptop(DELL VOSTRO) before, and i recently removed vista from it and installed windows 7 though not genuine. Is this may be a problem? Though i would not think so, as it had worked in the 7 OS for about 2 days.


    Recently the hard disk is giving some sounds from it.
  8. BellyBob

    BellyBob Newcomer, in training

    You removed Vista from where and installed Windows 7 where?
  9. gsb

    gsb Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I have removed Vista from my laptop and have installed Windows 7 and Ubuntu in it......as their was a problem occuring while using Ubuntu in Vista....
  10. Moccasin

    Moccasin Newcomer, in training

    Here I am with the same problem as original poster. My problem happened today. Only, for about a week, I heard little clicking whirring sounds coming from the Passport. I began to copy my photos from the drive to my C drive. The Passport was also my backup drive, and had the Windows image on this drive as well.

    So I'm thinking about the options listed for recovery of the personal documents. It is not in warranty. I tried a new cable, I tried a new USB port, I tried connecting to a different computer. No luck. I connected a different/new Passport to the computer (Windows 7 Pro OS) and I got a message that it had installed the software and the drive was ready to run. I'm reluctant to use any Passport now, once burned is enough for me. I recently purchased a 4TB WD MyBook to connect to the router for network backup, but now I have NO/ZERO confidence in Western Digital products. I may return it still in the box, and opt for an offsite cloud backup for all family computers.

    What exactly is a USB drive "caddy" someone mentioned? Or, would it be best to take it intact to a place like Staples and get my files salvaged? Better than personally dismantling the drive and inserting the guts in a caddy? This failure happened today. What a bummer! I won't be choosing a cloud backup service using WD products!

    Any help going forward is appreciated.
  11. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Some skilled techs have figured out ways to access the drive long enough to retrieve data. I would not mess with your driver further, if you really need that data, unwil you find one of the experts.
    We have had good luck by replacing the electronics on the board attached to the hard drive... but it is not the sam on all Passports. They apparently used drives of different brands. At least on the Passports I have seen, they used drives from a variety of manufacturers.
    We support the recommendations of others on this list.... if you really need the data, look online for the companies that rescue data... Some charge as much as $400, while others will do it for $85, after a $50 lab analysis fee.
     
  12. Moccasin

    Moccasin Newcomer, in training

    Raybay, thanks for the quick reply. I managed to move some files off there a week ago, when it first began clacking sounds. But it did not want to move massive blocks of them. I have about 40g of photos and papers on the drive to rescue,about 10 years worth of personal pictures including documentation for insurance losses from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Don't need the old backups since new backup is running now. But will see what I can find.

    Have you heard whether the cost of salvage is proportionate to the quality of results....the bigger the charge, the better the results? Just curious if anyone has gone this route?
    Thank you all.
  13. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    The costs are high, but they vary a lot... some recovery technicians list by brand and model of drive what they will charge... But in our experience, they can recover most of the data on the drive once they start... But you have to agree to a certain fee because once they start, they do not stop until done... Part of the reason is that they have to do the recovery the first time they get access... there are few second chances...

    There are technician shops that give their prices by brand of hard drive they are to work on... with Western Digital being best value... But those drives that come unlabled in an external bay can be from an unknown manufacturer... and they can be more expensive.

    We do this work in our repair shops, but find the specialty shops are better and faster than what we can do. They will charge us about $55 to evaluate the drive and then contact us for an estimate for the recovery... Often he companies that do this will finish the job for us for $140... but I have seen a lot of outfits (focused mainly on company hard drives that start at $400.)

    If you can figger out who made the drive, you can contact the manufacturer who has a list of recommended independent technicians. Those independent technicians can often tell you whether the drive is a good candidate for recoverying files.

    Very often, it is the system board on the back of the drive that is bad, and once they replace it, the recover is simple and quick.

    What you want is an expert who works with a certain set of brands and models of hard drives that are found sealed in an enclosure. Just like anything else, if you find the folks who are familiar with the drive, and you are not a big corporation, and can give them three weeks to get it done, the cost can be very low..

    Some drives are darned difficult, as the only way to get access is to remove the platters and that gets expensive to synchronise those platters.
  14. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,615   +82

    Remove the WD Passport and place the device into a freezer zip lock bag. Also take out one paper towel and fold it into the the shape of the device. Now place both ino the bag. Seal and place that into your freezer for 24 hours. After that point take it out and let it get back room temp. Then try using it again. WD Passports have this issue always. I still buy them because the issue is easy to be fixed. WD Elements had this issue also.
  15. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Rarely works, in our experience. But we always try it because of the stories that circulate. We have seen it be helpful oly a couple of times out of 50. The trick does work with regular failed hard drives, such as WD, Seagate, Toshiba... but not likely in the no-name Passport drives...
  16. Moccasin

    Moccasin Newcomer, in training

    "...no-name Passport...." boy that really inspires confidence in WD! Wish I'd know that early on.

    Until I hear back from a couple of sources, I won't be chilling it out or going inside it or plugging it in. I have the original box and the drive has some writing on back of it. Perhaps I can find a clue to its birthplace. Thanks for the clues.
  17. Moccasin

    Moccasin Newcomer, in training

    Just a quick question about going forward from here with a new external USB hard drive. I have the WD 3tb MY BOOK which I hope will be reliable for backup ONLY. I won't put my new photos on it, nor my documents, just use the drive for backup.

    Is it too a "no-name" external drive? Or is WD doing the manufacturing with it?
  18. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    You should be fine.... No name drives have no easily identifiable brand name when you open up the case... You might have to go online to thePassport folks (or other manufacturer) to find out how they identify the drive. a named drive would be Western Digital, Seagate, Hitachi, HMDI, Toshiba, etc.... where the drive has a stickeer, serial number, product ID, etc. Many, but not all, of the Psssport units have Passpor on the case, etc, but when you open it up, there is no identificaiton on the hard drive.


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