I have a 2 TB WD Elements hard drive. It was lost during a file transfer on Mac. It is not recognized on Mac or Windows, either USB2 or 3. It is not shown on device manager on Windows. The same happen on USB2 on Linux but surprisingly It works perfectly on USB3 on Linux. So far I have done a lot of tests:

  • Tested on different systems and Operating Systems. Even tested it on two different Linux system and on both the hard worked only on USB3.
  • Tested with different cables. Same results.
  • Read and Wright works perfectly on USB3 in Linux. Smart test is OK.
  • I have Formated the hard drive after I made a backup of my files. Again the hard only works on USB3 Linux. So I Formatted it in different file systems. NTFS, FAT and even ext4. Same results and no success.
  • After plugging hard drive I can hear the disk cycling.
  • Nothing in lsusb and dmesg on Linux when I connect my hard drive on USB2 in Linux.
  • I suspected that because a USB3 port can transfer more power than USB2, maybe the problem is power. After plugging the hard in USB3, sudo lsusb -v |grep 'Bus\|MaxPower' for my hard drive gives me 224mA. I concluded that the problem is not power because my USB2 port gives 500mA for my IPod Classic so it can support 224mA.

Any help would be appreciated.


It is worth noting that MaxPower isn't always accurate. The hardware can report back to software any number it pleases, and still skimp on the actual power to run more economically.

To be honest, I wouldn't rule out a power issue, but it's easy to test: Connect your drive via a USB hub with external power. This way you know for sure that the drive gets all the power it needs, regardless of your computers ability. I did this once to connect a power-hungry drive to a USB port that simply wasn't able to deliver enough juice, even tho the USB3 standard dictated that it should be able to.


Instead of formatting the drive try writing zeros to it in order to clear any and all possible data and partitions that could prevent it from being recognized. You can do that with WD Data Lifeguard Diagnostic.

Trying a powered USB hub is also a very good idea.

Check if the drive is showing up in the BIOS and then see if it is anywhere to be found in Device Manager.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.