HELP! Constant issues between 2017 27" iMac and WD External HDDs

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Blazer5913, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. Blazer5913 macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2004
    For about the past 4-6 months, I’ve began having difficulties with my external hard drives - both are WD (1 is a 4TB MyBook and other is an 8TB EasyStore, both connected via USB and my 27” 2017 iMac. In short, I first noticed the issue when I would randomly get error messages saying that “Time Machine couldn’t back up to Time Machine.” When I click the details button, it really doesn’t give too much more information, just that “…unable to complete backup. An error occurred while creating the backup folder.” The drive itself still shows up in the finder as mounted and I can even click through my folders and view files. However, when I try to play a video file with an application like VLC, I get the error “The application ‘VLC’ can’t be opened. Error -36” Additionally, when I delete something from the hard drive and then try to empty the trash can, I get the error “operation can’t be completed because an unexpected error occurred (error code -50).”

    In other words, the drive shows up as mounted in the finder but is essentially useless, despite the fact that I can still see all my folders/files.

    Another complicating factor is the fact that I actually have TWO WD external hard drives connected (other one is an 8TB). This 8TB is partitioned into two portions - one that is cloned backup of my other 4TB HDD (using CarbonCopyCloner), and the other partition is the Time Machine backup. But when I get this error message of “Time Machine backup failed” that seems to be my indicator of the problem, neither drive works. The time machine won’t backup on one drive and I’m unable to play/open files on the other drive (again, despite the fact that I can still see everything through the finder).

    In terms of correcting the problem, the ONLY solution is disconnecting the external HDD or restarting the computer (which has “disconnecting” the drive as part of it). But I guess it is helpful to know that it doesn’t seem to require an actual computer restart and only needs the drive disconnected/reconnected. However, when I do try to drag the hard drive icon over the trash to eject it, I can an error saying it is currently in use and would I like to force eject it. I am able to force eject it, the icon goes off the desktop and the drive is ejected.

    The problem is that it’s only up and running/functional for about 2-3 days (sometimes more, sometimes less) and then I get that stupid Time Machine backup error. Then restart computer to lazily “fix” the problem instead of posting to this forum and trying to figure out the root cause of this problem! Should also be noted that this problem started on the last version of OSX and continues to plague me now with Mojave.

    So any ideas what could be going on or has anybody ever had this happen to them? Is there any utility or activity log or terminal function that I could utilize to get a “play by play” of exactly what’s going on to try and uncover this error whenever it happens?

    I’ll be following this thread very closely so if you need more information from me or have any questions, feel free to post and I’ll get back to you ASAP! Thank you in advance!
  2. josduc macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2010
    Have you got WD software running on your Mac? If so, remove every single trace from it. It’s buggy as hell and caused me a lot of problems.
  3. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    I have two external WD 1 TB "Black" drives on my 2017 iMac - USB connected. The first has been there for over a year and the second one for 4 months. Both have never skipped a beat. Use them for Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner backups. Do not have any WD software installed.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    As mentioned above, if you have never removed the proprietary WD software from the drives, you need to do it and then "start over" by erasing the drives and restoring what data was on them.

    Things will go much better that way.
  5. Blazer5913 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2004
    I actually DO have some WD software on my iMac! I never install these things onto my computers but I had some difficulties partitioning my external HDD so I was told to download that program to help fix it. It did fix it, but now I guess it MAY be the root of my troubles... we'll see, as it's all staying connected for about 24 hours now. Really crossing my fingers with this one, I would be so grateful to you guys!
  6. josduc macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2010
  7. Blazer5913 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2004
    THIS WORKED! I seriously can't thank you all enough. I guess most credit to @josduc as that was the first poster but really to everybody. I was getting seriously worried and going nuts. Having to restart my computer about every 1-2 days and worrying something serious was going on was terrible. Turns out, all it had to do with was that stupid buggy WD software. Never again haha. Thank you all! Consider this case closed (knock on wood), but hopefully other people can reference this trick if they are having any difficulties.
  8. josduc macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2010
    Great result! The sad part is I informed WD about this months ago and they don't seem to care. The support is absolutely rubbish and they come up with bogus solutions. I politely asked them to get me in contact with one of their software engineers to work this out and I'm willing to do some testing for them. Or at least put a warning on the website to inform people about limitations of the current software... they take no action at all.

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7 October 9, 2018