Question WD External Hard Drive not recognised but still spinning

Mar 14, 2020
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I was sorting out some media files on my laptop for a few hours. Every now and then, it disconnected while it wasn't actively in use and I thought nothing of it. It happened intermittenly until it stopped connecting altogether.

It's no longer recognised in the usual "This PC" page screen and it isn't showing up in disk management. I've tried updating the drivers and disabling some battery setting that was recommended on some troubleshooting site but to no avail. The laptop just doesn't seem to recognise it anymore. This has never happened before.

My laptop is an Acer and I'm on Windows 10. I've had the hard drive for about 2 years. I'm probably going to try and plug it into my friends computer some time and buy a new Hard Drive Cable.

Do the symptoms sound like the hard drive has failed or do you think that there is a chance that there could be a less expensive fix i.e, a new hard drive cable?
 

RealBeast

Titan
Moderator
Before spending time with that, download the Western Digital HDD test software from the Data LifeGuard Diagnostics, and run it.

If it passes, it probably just got powered down during a write and needs a cleaning and reformat. Does it show up if you open an elevated command prompt window (right click run as admin), then type dispart, then type list disk. Does it show up in the list?
 
Reactions: Bolobolobolo
Mar 14, 2020
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The advice is much appreciated. I downloaded the test software and unfortunately it didn't show up there. I'm only seeing my ssd.

I then tried the cmd thing and this came up. I'm guessing you meant diskpart? Nothing came up when I typed in dispart.

DISKPART> list disk

Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
-------- ------------- ------- ------- --- ---
Disk 0 Online 238 GB 10GB *

What does this mean?
 

RealBeast

Titan
Moderator
Most likely the USB interface or internals of the data cable connector (I've had a couple of them do that as they are poorly designed) have failed if you can still hear/feel it spinning.

If it is still under warranty go to WD support and file for an RMA.

If not, some drives can be shucked and used in a caddie, depending on the specific model.
 
May 14, 2020
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I was sorting out some media files on my laptop for a few hours. Every now and then, it disconnected while it wasn't actively in use and I thought nothing of it. It happened intermittenly until it stopped connecting altogether.

It's no longer recognised in the usual "This PC" page screen and it isn't showing up in disk management. I've tried updating the drivers and disabling some battery setting that was recommended on some troubleshooting site but to no avail. The laptop just doesn't seem to recognise it anymore. This has never happened before.

My laptop is an Acer and I'm on Windows 10. I've had the hard drive for about 2 years. I'm probably going to try and plug it into my friends computer some time and buy a new Hard Drive Cable.

Do the symptoms sound like the hard drive has failed or do you think that there is a chance that there could be a less expensive fix i.e, a new hard drive cable?
Did you figure anything out Bolobolobolo? I had the exact same thing happen YESTERDAY. I have a 1 TB WD Elements external that I rarely use. I pulled it from the drawer to sort through some photos and for the first time ever, it will not mount. I also think I did a windows update around the same time. That might have something to do with it. It is spinning, and light blinking, but won't mount. I called WD and they walked me through using the utility. Ultimately they directed me to and RMA for a replacement. But....I'd like to have the 300 gigs of data on it. Curious if you are having trouble with the same model. I purchased mine 2 years ago.
WD 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive - USB 3.0
 
Apr 28, 2020
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You can try the subsequent fixes which people have used to overcome the issue:

  1. Check whether the hard drive is getting enough power or not.
  2. Replace the data cable with the new one and turn on the drive. Now, if it does not make any noise, then the data cable might be faulty.
  3. In case the drive still makes noises, then there is a high possibility the drive is failing and needs to be replaced.
If your drive still in warranty then contact the customer support for replacement.
 

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