It can be devastating when you can’t find or access the data on your Western Digital (WD) external hard drive, especially when the lost data are those precious photos and computer backups.
There are many causes for WD hard drive data loss, from accidental deletion, and disk formatting, to device corruption/damage, etc. Fortunately, it’s still possible to recover your lost data.
In this guide, we break down all WD data loss situations into nine different chapters and show you the best resources and solutions to help you recover those deleted or lost files.
Note: this guide applies to most Western Digital hard drives including Essentials, My Passport, My Book, etc. that you use for backing up data on a PC or Mac. Some solutions may not work well with Solid-state Drives (SSDs).
- Chapter 1: Restore Files Deleted From WD Drive
- Chapter 2: Recover Formatted WD Hard Drive
- Chapter 3: WD Drive is Corrupted Or Shows Errors
- Chapter 4: Folders in WD Drive Became Shortcuts
- Chapter 5: WD Drive Not Detected By A Computer
- Chapter 6: Data Recovery from Dead, Broken or Damaged WD Drive
- Chapter 7: Forgot Password To Unlock WD Drive
- Chapter 8: WD Data Recovery Software
- Chapter 9: WD Data Recovery Services
Chapter 1: Restore Files Deleted From WD Drive
If you’ve accidentally deleted some files off your drive, stop using the device immediately. Do not save more items to the drive. Because the erased files are still recoverable provided that they are not written over.
The best way to get them back is to try third-party data recovery software.
- Best Data Recovery Software for Windows
- Best Data Recovery Software for Mac
- How to Guarantee Data is Truly Gone Before Recycling Old Drives
Chapter 2: Recover Formatted WD Hard Drive
Similar to deletion, a quick reformat won’t get rid of the data stored in your external drive right away. Instead, the space your lost data took is now marked as available to be re-used. You can often retrieve the data before they are overwritten.
Note: if it’s a low-level format, you won’t be able to recover the data.
Chapter 3: WD Drive is Corrupted Or Shows Errors
If you connect your external drive to a computer, it says “the disk is not formatted”, “Device not accessible” or “I/O parameter error”, etc; probably your device has corrupted or crashed. Follow the step by step in these resources to fix it or recover your data.
- Fix USB Not Formatted Error (It Applies to External HDD Too)
- How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up — YouTube Video
- External Hard Drive Is Not Accessible Access Denied — Microsoft Answers
Chapter 4: Folders in WD Drive Became Shortcuts
If you open your WD external drive after connecting it to your PC, and you see all the files and folders in it become shortcuts. You try to click on them, and they are all unable to be opened.
Then your PC has infected a virus or malware, which hides your real data by turning all items into shortcuts with only a few KBs in size.
- How to Fix File Folders Become Shortcuts Issue
- WD Community: Folders converted to shortcuts on my 1TB MyBook
- Fix Hard Drive Folders Have Turned to Shortcuts (Video)
Chapter 5: WD Drive Not Detected By A Computer
If your disk can’t be recognized by your computer, for example, it doesn’t show up under “My Computer” or “This PC” (under Windows OS) or Finder on Mac OS X, there could be some device driver, or file system issues; Refer to the resources below to find relevant solutions.
- WD External Drive is Not Recognized or Detected in Windows XP
- WD My Passport Ultra is not detected in Windows 10
Chapter 6: Data Recovery from Dead, Broken or Damaged WD Drive
If your hard drive has totally failed or suffered water damage or physical damage because you dropped it onto the ground; Navigate to the following resources to do further diagnosis or fix your device.
- How to Repair a Dead Hard Drive to Recover Data
- How to Fix a Physically Broken Hard Drive
- Hard Drive Got Wet? How to Repair Hard Drive Water Damage
Chapter 7: Forgot Password To Unlock WD Drive
If you can’t remember the password to unlock your hard drive or want to recover or reset the password, here’s a list of helpful resources to help you out. Warning: do this only when you own the WD device as you may need to wipe the drive completely.
- How to Reset Password on WD My Book
- How to Remove Password Lock on WD MyBook 1TB
- WD Support: How to Password Protect Data on a WD External Drive
Chapter 8: WD Data Recovery Software
For most data loss scenarios, a recovery program may help salvage your data without sending your device for expensive data recovery services. However, software only helps when your WD drive can be recognized by a computer, and your lost data are not overwritten.
Here’re some great recovery applications you can try. Note: you’ll need to first connect your device to a computer.
For Windows PCs:
- Stellar Windows Data Recovery
- R-Studio for Windows
- Wondershare Recoverit
For Mac machines (MacBook, iMac, etc.):
- EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac
- R-Studio Data Recovery for Mac
- Prosoft Data Rescue Mac
Chapter 9: WD Data Recovery Services
If none of the above methods work to recover your data, your last resort is to send your device to a data recovery center.
Please note: do this only if you’ve super important data to be recovered as data recovery services are very expensive, and it’s not guaranteed that you’ll be able to get all your data back. Also, be aware of data recovery scams.
- Tech Advisor: Can You Trust Data Recovery Service Providers?
- Recovery Services Recommended by Western Digital Support
- Data Recovery Services from Gillware based in Madison
- The Data Rescue Center (Livermore, California)
- Flashback Data Services (Austin Texas)
That wraps up this guide. Any questions or tips about WD data recovery? Leave a comment below.