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Repair and service information for Western Digital Elements external storage drives.

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WD External Hard drive isn't accesible

Help would be greatly appreciated! I have a 1tb Western Digital Elements External Hard Drive that is <1 year old, and up until two days ago, was working fine.

There was no physical damage it received. I had the drive plugged into my laptop, I attempted to open a folder on it after some time had passed: it froze, then closed out. I unplugged the drive and re-inserted it: my computer recognizes that something was plugged in, but I cannot access the files on the drive.

There is no clicking noise. It lights up fine, and I can hear the disk spinning smoothly. It shows up under Device Manager under its proper name, but not in Disk Management. When I open disk management, I get a message that says “you must initialize a disk before logical disk manager can access it”. It does not work when plugged into different computers, nor when switching the cables.

I am a computer novice, but my sleuthing leads me to believe that the issue is with the SATA connections. Though this seems to be an easy fix, Western Digital unfortunately has the sata connections integrated into the rest of the board. A video had suggested buying another identical hard drive and replacing the controller board with the old one, but others have said that is a bad idea. Please help me.

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The problem with these portable WD USB3 drives is they solder the USB port DIRECTLY ON THE DRIVE, so when it fails you can’t get a different enclosure* and get your data off. Don’t buy one of these again - get a new WD Black and a USB3 open market enclosure next time. The issue with these drives is often times you're forced to pay WD to do the recovery since you can't even get a donor enclosure for the PCB, or repair the existing one. At this point it seems like they do it on purpose much like how Seagate locks the diagnostic port to screw over 3rd party recovery companies.

*Massive caveat to 2010+ WD enclosures: the PCB MUST be repaired for recovery (don’t trust the original enclosure again) or a donor WD enclosure is required due to hardware level WD Ware - it is PERMANENTLY ENABLED.

Unless you can get to it how @jayeff described, this needs to go to a data recovery company if you need the data and can’t do the repairs yourself :(.

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Hi @csarb ,

I don't think that the solution "described in the question" in this post may overcome your problem but you may as well try it

WD my passport ultra 2TB is not showing up on explorer.

If yours does work this way as well at least once it is accessible you may be able to copy and save your data elsewhere.

If it comes to nothing apologies.

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if you see something like this:

Block Image

where it says the disk is not initialized, you can initialize it by right clicking on “not initialized” and click “initialize disk” as shown here:

Block Image

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That is what will ruin your chances of recovering the data AND it will probably still not work right. A lot of the 1st party WD externals use Green or Blue drives, which are known to be hot garbage. The newer ones are better, but I'm still leery of them.

Get the data before you erase it.

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I have a 2TB and a 1TB version of this drive. The 2TB has this problem but the 1TB is okay. Can I remove the controller board from the 1TB and use it to check the 2TB? Is it easy and safe to put the 1TB back together again? I don’t want to end up with two broken drives.

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Csarb さん、ありがとうございました!
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