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The WD-My Book 500GB is recognized as a local disc in my system(Windows 7), but it's drivers fail to install successfully when connected via USB cable with computer. Then when I try to open it(explore), it slows down the PC, and after some minutes it displayes the message: 'F:\ is not accessible'. And after some time it shows another message asking me to format it. I really do have important data I wanna get from it, so I can't format it.

Till now I have tried the following, none of them succeed: - using a scanning\fixing thing from Hiren CD, - accessing from a suse(Linux)live CD, - accessing the hard drive from safe mode of my PC, - tried on a PC running Vista OS, - googled for a solution, nothing relevant found, just stories, no solution

Is there any fix for it? Somewhere I can get the drivers?

Any way that does not include formatting it, is highly appreciated. The fact that Windows recognizes the drive as Local Disk, isn't this a sign that the drive is not dead?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

TFM's right. Specifically, here are your troubleshooting steps:

  1. Remove any extension cables and use a short, known-good USB cable.
  2. Try it in every USB port on the machine.
  3. Try on another computer, in every USB port.
  4. Try with a Linux LiveCD.
  5. Open the USB enclosure case, disconnect the drive, and connect it internally to a testbed PC (or one that you can use as such). I recommend booting the testbed PC with a Linux LiveCD to check the harddrive.

Try to do any mounts or filesystem checks in a read-only mode first.

Step 5 will void your warranty, but at this point warranty service will only get you a working drive; it will not recover your data. If your data is that important, voiding the warranty isn't a real concern.

  • If step 5 shows the drive is good -- that is, it is recognized by the testbed BIOS, and the Linux LiveCD can read and mount the partition -- then you've got a dead enclosure.

    You can probably stick the drive in any new USB enclosure and have a working external drive again; alternately, you can back up the data to another drive, verify the backup, and return the drive+enclosure to Western Digital for warranty service (hey, they might not go for it, but it won't hurt to ask).

  • If the testbed BIOS can't recognize the drive, you've got a dead drive -- take it to a professional and prepare yourself for a large bill.

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the Linux Live CD did not give any results, it shows the drive as mounted and when trying to explore it, it frezees the system, then nothing works anymore, i should force a shutdown of the pc. I'll try the fifth step, I really hope it can solve the problem, if the drive isn't dead :(((( –  kipsitdown Jan 20 '10 at 13:16
the fact that windows recognizes the drive as Local Disk, isn't this a sign that the drive is not dead? –  kipsitdown Jan 20 '10 at 13:39
It's probably not completely dead, but my guess it has some bad sectors. Can you try using ddrescue to read the data off the drive? You will need another 500GB+ disk to write the data too. ddrescue makes a mirror of the drive (like dd) but handles reading around errors. It may be on your live CD or download System Rescue CD –  shf301 Jan 20 '10 at 13:56
thnx :), finally smth to hope again. I'll try this too –  kipsitdown Jan 20 '10 at 13:58
@kipsitdown: i concur, that's a good sign it isn't completely dead. i expect you'll get better results pulling the drive from the enclosure (and connecting it to a PC internally), but as long as you're careful you can try it first on the USB interface and pull the drive later if it's not working over USB. –  quack quixote Jan 20 '10 at 14:08

There's obviously a hardware problem. Either the cable, or the hard drive is damaged. Otherwise a modern OS like Windows 7 shouldn't fail loading USB drivers for a drive.

Start with changing the USB cable. If it doesn't help, you could try changing the casing, but I doubt that the inner electronics of the casing is the problem.

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Have you tried useing the power button to turn off and then back on? I had a simular problem where I could not access the drive. It would appear in Eject External Devices, but not show up in Explorer. I turned it off, then back on, and there it was.

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