Hard Drive Recovery Profile: Western Digital

Hard drive recovery profile: Western Digital. Every now and then we are going to profile products from the major hard drive manufacturers. This is the first in the series of a closer look at Western Digital. I have to throw in a disclaimer that we are not endorsing any hard disk over another. The fact is no matter who you choose to buy a hard drive from, they will all fail. Learn more about “Why Hard Drives Fail“. Keep in mind that it is important to back up your data and avoid hard drive recovery.

While it is true that we offer a discount to Western Digital hard drive customers on WD hard drive repair that is because they authorized our data recovery lab as worthy enough to open their drives without voiding the warranty. You can see our company on the Western Digital Authorized Data Recovery Companies page.

If we take a look at the amount of hard drives that are sent to us for data recovery, no one company has more failures than any other. Companies like Maxtor and Western Digital (Seagate now owns Maxtor) have a similar market share. That being said we get in about an equal amount of both. Cnet lists the most popular drives here:


Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 – hard drive – 80 GB – ATA-100


Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 500GB External Hard Drive


Western Digital Caviar SE SATA 80 MB/s 120 GB Hard Drive


Western Digital Caviar Special Edition 250 GB hard drive

As you can see Western Digital has 3 out of the 4 most popular hard drives being sold on cnet’s website right now. The best being the My Book 500GB. This is a great drive all around and is perfect for use as a primary backup device to prevent data recovery services.

Product Features

  • Easy to set up, easy to use — This drive is all about simplicity. Plug it into your computer’s USB 2.0 port and start saving.
  • Intelligent drive management features — The My Book drive turns itself on and off with your computer.
  • Smart design — The elegant case, iconic of a book, takes up less space on your desk, stacks horizontally, and allows two or more drives to stand neatly together like volumes on a shelf.
  • High quality hard drive — Inside the case is an exceptionally fast, ultra quiet, cool-running hard drive from Western Digital.
  • Free Google™ software — Search your drive, manage your photos, and simplify Web searches with included Google software.  Note:Google software is compatible with Windows 2000 and XP only.

These are just some of the features. Here is a link to the 3D Tour of the drive.

It is pretty cool looking as well as being functional and it looks real good next to my husbands X-Box. We just got ours today and so far it works great! I transfered about 300GB of compressed FLAC files over to the drive, then decompressed them.  The drive performed admirably and never slowed down. If you are looking for a solid back up solution, the My Book Essential is a great way to eliminate the high cost of hard drive recovery!

Next on the list is the Essential II which holds 1TB and is less than $600.00!


  1. Just a followup question. Is there any inherent reason that I cannot run DART and then, if I am less-than-satisfied with the results, run RIA afterwards? And then, if I prefer the results I got with DART, buy and recover using DART (or, if I prefer the RIA results, buy and recover with RIA?)? Thanks.

    • Robert,

      Other than taxing your drive with a bunch of scanning, no you can scan your drive with both programs, just save the scans so you don’t have to do it over again. RIA is best for hard drives that have bad sectors and DART is faster and easier to use. We do offer full support on all software so feel free to give us a call if you have questions 727-345-9665 and either ask for software support or hit the option for software tech support if you call after hours

  2. Just wanted to share that my first WD My Book Premium 500gb has failed after 3 years with the “6 clicks of death.” I’ll try to recover the data, but I’m not too worried about it, which brings me to my next point…

    To those people that swear and curse the WD My Books for failing because they had important data “backed up” on them – you’re missing the point of “backing up” your data. I’m not worried about my drive failing because all the data that was on it is replicated, i.e. “backed up,” on two other drives. Putting all your data on one drive is not the same as backing it up.

    If you have what you consider important data, the risk of you losing it decreases exponentially as you replicate it in physically separate locations. With storage prices being what they are (I just picked up a WD 500gb Passport for $100), there’s no reason not to have your important data truly backed up.

  3. I was wondering how you can convert pictures that get stored on this product back to your computer. I added .jpg pictures on it and it automatically added a .dmc extension on it. I reformatted my computer HD and now I can’t view the pics off of the external drive with the .dmc extension. How do I fix that?

  4. christie says:

    I have the WD Passport Essential which was working fine until last week. Now my computer will not even recognize the drive. I have tried uninstalling and scanning for hardware updates, plugging it into different USB ports and different computers. The blue light still comes on and the drive spins when plugged in but the computer will not recognize it. Is there any way to recover my files? Unfortunately they are not backed up and I’m nervous to find out how much it would cost to get them recovered.

  5. Christie,

    Did you take it out of the case and hook it up as a slave? If you are not hearing any clicking or other strange noises, you may be lucky and be able to slave the drive.

    Here is a link to our slave a hard drive tutorial

  6. christie says:

    Unfortunately we did try that but the computer is still not detecting the drive. It doesn’t make any noises. Any other suggestions?

  7. I have the My Book 250 GB. Tonight I recieved a “Disk in the F drive is not formatted”. Have I lost all my photos?

  8. dci minitry says:

    i formated my external drive and it is not working fine again. it use to work like A SYNCHRONIZE to the other drives but it is not working fine like that again

  9. lakshman says:

    My WD External hard drive is not opening, When i hook up to my computer it is detecting as local Drive E previously it detected WD…… drive.

    When i used some data recovery tools it gave me error like
    read error encountered at sector 72638 on the disk

    So how to recover the file and fix the sectors.

    • Lakshman,

      This could be an issue of just a few bad sectors in really important area OS the drive.. ie the MBR or Boot Sector. I could get a better idea by remoting in to take a look around. On a side note bad sectors can not be “fixed” you can do a FULL format of the drive and windows will write out the bad sectors but it is highly likely they will continue to grow since there was such a sudden onset of the problem. Also do not format until you get the data off!

  10. I bought a 320GB My Book about a year ago…everything has been working fine with it until today, when I hooked it up to my computer and it was recognized as “Local Disk” rather than by its usual title of “My Book” and when I tried to open the drive, it continued to tell me that the drive had not been formatted and “Did I want to format it now?” I’m pretty sure that reformatting the drive would permanently delete all of the data that I had stored on it, if it hasn’t already been lost, so I’m trying to avoid that. I have been storing ALL of my pictures, videos, music, and word documents on it while I was waiting to get a laptop for college, because my parents computer was far to old to handle it all, so I don’t have much of anything backed-up anywhere else! There is a lot of data on the drive which I absolutely can not lose and I’m really hoping it can be salvaged somehow! I don’t think the drive is under warranty any longer…but either way my main concern is restoring all of my lost data, and I could care less what happens to the actual drive. Like I mentioned before, this is the first and only problem I’ve had with My Book…there’s never been any clicking or anything which is why I wasn’t to concerned with the possibility of the drive crashing. Is there anything I can do to save my data? Is there software that I can download or do I need to send the drive somewhere? Please Help!!!

  11. hi bought a wd 1tb external hard drive my book essential edition on 26/12/08 from comets which should still under warranty what a piece of crap i have this 100times i put the power lead in than put in the usb lead into the pc port the metal touch the usb port than there a electric short noise now my book wont come on like the powers gone please i just want2retrive my data especially my,my family&friends pics do u think it might be power problem with the unit&the hard drive might be ok?if not is data recovery expensive here in the uk which have association with WD never again will i buy from them after this i think i can return it get a replacement or refund that really doesnt bother me just the stuff in there please help many thx4ur time

  12. i have this WD hard drive which my pc or any pc recognises. when i plug in i hear the motor rotating and it gives clicking noise for12-13 times and it dies down. the pc doesn’t see the hard drive but when i try to disconnect the usb it shows that there is wd hard disk and i can even see it in device manager.

    Any help please

    • Rodder, a clicking hard drive is bad news. If it is still seen in Windows, then you should clone it as soon as you can before it dies all the way! You can get our cloning tool here: Speed Clone This will make an exact copy of your drive so you can run data recovery software on it and recover your data.

  13. I’ve used my Western Digital MY Essential 500 GB for almost a year. Always had a lot of confidence in WD. Yesterday I noticed that the LED light on the front which is usually stationary was blinking. When I accessed the shortcut for it, got that dreaded generic message that the drive could not be found. I immediately went to MY COMPUTER and it wasn’t there either.

    I’ve spent half the day trying to find a solution and after reading most of the post here I’m thinking WD is now using defaulty hard drives.

    I like so many others am out of warranty. I had all my PSP things tubes, scrap Kits, plug-ins, also classes’s I’ve attended saved there thinking they would be safe. Some of the stuff on there is irreplaceable to me. I lost pictures, my granddaughter’s wedding, family outings. I’m so sad I think I’ll just give up computing for awhile. It looks like it doesn’t make sense to go out and buy another WD External Hard as there are so many of them failing I’d probably get another one and it’d do the same thing.

    Knoxville, TN

  14. what would I need to do to send my failed hard drive to you Also, once the information is transfered is the failed hard drive junk?

    Also, how would I slave the bad hard drive to a laptop?

  15. I have a 500 GB Western Digital External Harddrive. I had it hooked up via USB to a computer running Vista. I deframented the hard drive (internal) to the computer system that this drive was hooked too. Everything seemed to work out with no problems. After turning the computer off and back on I noticed that the WD external drive was not noticed by my computer. So the drive was not physically moved or anything, but now I get the beeps when connecting the drive to both computers, but the drive is not recognized. The drive just boots like normal for about 10 seconds, I get the buzz of rotation from the drive and three clicks as if it’s trying to boot – followed by three more clicks and then the steady blue rounded lights. Any ideas on how to just get the drive to registar on my computer. I have a couple of nice programs that would like to take the whole drive to diner.

    Can You Help?

  16. I stumbled across this website today with the hope that I could resolve a year and half old problem–retrieving the information saved on My Book (500GB) External drive!!! I was, both, alarmed and, ironically, comforted to know that I was NOT alone! regarding the retrieval problems I have with the My Book!
    Simply put, when plugged in for the second time, to retrieve the information saved, the My Book does not power up (NO Blue Light come on!), No Sound, No Nothing!!! I used other power outlets to ensure it was not the power source…the SAME results! NOTHING!!! All I want is to retrieve the information that I had saved on the drive, thereafter, it’s going into the recycle bin!!! ANYTHING advice that has worked to retrieve the information (if at all possible?) is gladly welcomed!!!
    Thanks, in advance!

  17. Gary Cauble says:

    I have 2 western digital 160g hard drives in a raid 1 configuration. It says 1 of them failed but I can see it. How do I erase the data from the raid failure so I can reuse it?

  18. Building Wire says:

    I really appreciate the author. I really enjoyed while reading the post… Thank you so much for sharing the post with all…

  19. Adam pendleton says:

    i had a western digital 500gb hard drive that just failed last week and i just put it in the computer about a month ago and all of the sudden when i was using my computer with the 500gb as the master drive my computer froze right when i opened firefox. so i do what i normally do when my computer freezes i shutdown the computer. so when i rebooted the computer my computer said their was no operating system found. so i tried that for the next three times and still no luck. so i opened up my desktop to take out the hard drive. with it still plug into the computer i turned the computer back on to feel the hard drive and i dont here any noise nor vibration on the hard drive. so i checked my bios to see if it can find the hard drive. but the hard drive wasn’t found so i called a local computer store to ask them a few questions about my hard drive. so i told them all of the things that the hard drive was doing to once i was done they told me that it sounds like i have a hard drive lockup. so since i had a few more hard dries in my room i put that one in instead. and it is way smaller than he 500gb one but instead it’s a 20gb hard drive. so i thing i will never buy another western digital hard drive again. and same with a few of my friend their parents hard drive had failed to and all of them were western digital. so NEVER BUY A WESTERN DIGITAL HARD DRIVE THEY WILL FAIL.

  20. Agree, I had a few (internal & external) WD drives that failed on me already. It’s rare (to me, at least) that WD drives don’t fail over time. I bought them because they were a little cheaper and now I paid a serious price for it. So everyone stay away from this brand unless you don’t mind losing your work.

    My experience tells me the worst drives you can buy are IBM, WD. Be warned.

    A frustrated WD user.

  21. I’ve used my WD 500 MyBook with absolutely no problem for the better part of 2 years; been backing up all of the household files (6 computers) and of course my mp3 files that I use to DJ with. About 8 months ago the USB cable got stuck in the hard drive casing; I couldn’t get it out, so with the fear of damaging it, I just left it in. Last week, suddenly the drive is not recognized no matter what laptop or desktop I plug it into. the drive would not “wind up” would not hear it spinning at all.

    I took it apart and attached the HD to an external HD adapter casing and sporadically got it to be recognized. The drive is not full, I’ve only used 187 Gigs; I find it ironic that I have to now think about backing up the back-up drive.

    I purchased a WD 1 Terrabyte drive this weekend and will use that going forward.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I have my book essential. This is my first one and run for 2 month and then for no reason the usb is not recognized.Never again.

  23. I’m having problems as well. MY WD harddrive failed about a week ago. It seems fine — no clicking and the computer does realise it’s there if I go into My Computer and then ‘manage’ — but I can’t get into it to see the data. Tried many ‘recommended’ free scanning data recovery programs, but they haven’t helped in the slightest.

    As a last resort I’ve stuck it in the freezer. Here’s hoping that works, if only for a few minutes, so that I can get all my old photos off.

    Never buying one of these again. Think I’ll stick to memory sticks.

    • Kapple,

      I warn you that the freezer thing can cause more damage to the data. If you live in a humid climate at all it will cause condensation when you take it out. Putting the drive in a bag will not help as your can not get all the air out.

  24. Hi,
    I have WD Passport Essential 1TB external hard drive. It was working good until last night and then stopped seeing on my computer when I insert into USB port. I tried all USB ports even my friends WD cable and laptop. But no success.

    Still the LED light is glowing but not blinking on startup.

    & it has some strange noise coming from, before it was operating silently.

    I have 1TB of data on it. can someone pls help me out there to recover my data? I’ll be very helpful.


    • Same happened to me. I just got another casing for it. Lost all my data. Drive converted to unallocated space after a small fall.

      • Jacqui Best says:

        Hard drives have moving parts and even just falling over can cause serious damage. I tell my customer to lay them down long way and make sure all cords are out of the way of pets and kids.

  25. I purched WD 500Gb external hard drive, two months ago. It has been working perfectly and suddenly my laptop cannot recognize it. The light shows and I hear the drive making 3-4 times click when I connect it to my laptop. Some one help me pls.

  26. hello need help if anyone can help i hope so i have a 1TB hard drive and it came up with configuring the other day and know its not showing up my WD start up is coming up but showing my drive as 0KB i have a mac too so im really stuck
    hope some one can help

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