WD Passport 120GB external HDD - can't access files

By PureLife
May 17, 2011
Post New Reply
  1. My old computer finally gave up the ghost and I didn't feel like trying to salvage it, so I built a new one. All of my most important files (photos, music) were on the external hdd already, so I quickly backed up some other files and was good to go.

    However, when I tried moving the files from the external hdd, I immediately ran into problems. When I plug in the drive in the USB port, it gets detected just fine. However, when I try exploring the drive, it takes a loooooong time for my computer to... detect the files, I guess?

    When I double-click on the drive location, it opens up the first page of folders just fine. But then I click on a sub-folder, and it takes a full minute or two for all of the folders (about a dozen or so) within that folder to be populated onto the list.

    Then, the fun really starts. Each time I click on a folder in any way, the window freezes for ~30 seconds. It doesn't freeze my computer; just that explorer window. Then I can -sometimes- double-click on the folder, but depending on which folder it is, I get a different error message.

    It seems like the older folders are more likely to open; I was able to successfully copy and paste one folder into my new computer. Then there is one folder full of pictures that opens, but only some of the pictures can be copied over -- the others give me an error message saying "Cannot copy file: Cannot read from the source file or disk."

    The newest folder on the drive, when I try to open it, gives me an error message saying that the drive needs to be formatted. Uh, no, thanks.

    I've tried the drive on 3 computers: My new desktop running Windows 7, my netbook running Windows XP, and an old desktop that runs XP. Same behavior on all of them.

    I've tried using the program DataRecovery to see if it worked on the external hdd, but it gave me the error "Data error (cyclic redundancy check)"

    What should I do? Thanks in advance. Sorry if I've left out anything important.
  2. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,284   +153

    All the stuff we learn after the fact .. :(

    in the future, in my opinion, don't trust your backup files on portable, bus-powered USB drives. Get a external USB drive that 1) has its own power cable - these are "self-powered" not bus-powered and 2) is going to sit on your desk and not be constantly moved, stirred and shaken!

    That said, self-powered USB drives (especially those WD passport) can only draw power over the USB port and sometimes require more power from the usb port then they should (which can cause problems).

    You can try connecting to a self-powered hub (one that can supply power from its own AC adapter) or try a USB Y cable that can provide extra power to the drive by using 2 ports. (something like THIS)

    Hopefully, your problem will be solved by providing extra power to the drive. tho of course sometimes the drive itself is just failing. best of luck

    /* EDIT */
    OH. The 2nd bit of important advice re: backups... Remember that ANYTHING (even reliable hardware) can fail. Always keep 2 copies of important files backed up on physically separate media
  3. PureLife

    PureLife Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Noted. :) I'll try the USB suggestions. Failing that, do you think if I formatted the drive that it might work and I could use a data recovery tool to restore some of the files? Or possibly even remove the hdd from its case and hook it up internally?
  4. Code Butcher

    Code Butcher TechSpot Member Posts: 84

    Try connecting it to the USB ports in the back of the PC than the front. I had a similar problem with a Hitachi drive. It worked better when connected to the ports on the back of the machine than the front, and was intermittent especially when connected to a latop.
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,284   +153

    You can also try recovery tools (or different ports as suggested) but whatever you do don't reformat the drive! Reformatting would only rewrite and overwrite your disk including might remain of your data.

    Removing the disk from the case is also worth a shot if you can
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,029   +222

    if your default Folder View option is Icons, then the explorer will attempt to form a graphic for every file in the folder.
    Instead, change your folder view option to Details and apply to all folders.
    Then the stats of the files are acquire instead of cranking about forming graphics.


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.