My new WD external drive seems dead. 2 questions.

Discussion in 'macOS' started by MareLuce, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. MareLuce macrumors 6502a

    MareLuce

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    #1
    I purchased a Western Digital My Passport Ultra 4tb during a WD website summer sale. ($89 total)

    15 minutes into a time machine backup, the drive seemed to die.
    I can no longer access it from my MacBook Pro.


    === Given that I am not experienced with MacOS, 2 questions:

    1) How can I really really be sure the drive is dead based on what MacOS tells me?

    2) During that 15 minutes, a lot of personal data was transferred.

    If the drive is dead, how can I be sure that the personal data I transferred is inaccessible to someone really smart at hard drive data recovery?

    Before, on Windows, before I tossed old drives in laptops, I use SDEL (secure delete) set at military encryption level from the command line.

    === Just venting

    I've thought about NOT returning it and eating the $89 rather than leaving my personal data exposed, since I can't seem to access it to re-format it.

    But I've had too many WD drives die in the past 2-3 years. I want them to pay / refund my $.
    How much is "too many" ?
    At least 50% of the My Passport Ultras I've ordered online during their sales have died.
    Maybe the drives they put on sale are duds?

    Worst example:
    When RMA-ing the wireless My Passport drive, 2 replacement drives in a row were duds and flashed error codes within 10 min of usage.
    After the 2'nd dud, I pleaded to WD for my $ back. Nope. (Outside of 30 days)

    I asked for a regular (non-wireless) My Passport Ultra, NOT another wireless.
    But they would only give me one valued at $100 less than what I paid for the original My Passport Wireless drive
    I asked for a replacement of a different drive closer to the equal value I paid.
    "No."
     
  2. chscag macrumors 68040

    chscag

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #2
    I had the same problem with a WD drive. The RMA replacement they sent lasted one day. You're probably better off just destroying the drive with a hammer and eating the $89. And avoid buying WD drives from now on.
     
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #3
    If the drive has been used only for a TM backup, just erase it using Disk Utility, run the "first aid" function on it a few times.

    Does it come out with a good report?

    Then... try again.

    If it still won't work, then return it for a replacement.
     
  4. chown33 Moderator

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    bedlam
    #4
    This is the important part.

    I stopped after 2 failed drives in less than 3 years.

    I only use HGST drives now. Zero failures in many years.
     
  5. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #5
    Don't assume the drive is dead. Could be the enclosure's electronics have failed.

    I don't have one of those but I assume you'd have to crack it open (no screws) to find out (as well as get an $11 USB-C to SATA connector)...voiding the warranty, I'm sure.
     
  6. chscag macrumors 68040

    chscag

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #6
    I'm sure that with some failures you're correct. However, since my failed drive was still in warranty I sent it to WD for a RMA replacement. When that failed after only one day of use I got disgusted with it and threw it away. I probably should have done as you suggested.
     
  7. MareLuce thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MareLuce

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    #7
    100% agree. No more WD external hard drives like the MyPassport, or any other kind.


    But I hate hate hate letting them keep the $90 for a crap product.

    The error rate I've experienced with WD external drives like the My Passport Ultras in ~ the past 2 years (not before then) is so far out of the norm for hard drive reliability % that I question if they are knowingly shipping faulty drives or known rejects.

    If I take a hammer to it, would they still refund?
     
  8. chown33 Moderator

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    bedlam
    #8
    If you sent it back to them without doing anything to it, would you actually get a refund?

    I'm asking because I don't know what their policy is. Most cases I can think of, you won't get a refund, and all you could possibly get is a replacement unit.

    If you can't get a refund at all, then what do you really have to lose or gain?

    In one case you don't destroy the drive, send it back, and get a replacement, while also putting any data that might be recoverable at risk. What would you then do with the replacement, sell it? How much would you realistically get?

    In the other case, you destroy the drive and write it off as a lesson learned.
     
  9. MareLuce thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MareLuce

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    #9
    My apologies, I should have made that clear in my original post.

    YES.

    I called them on day 29 after purchasing. I specified a refund, not replacement. They agreed. They have already emailed me the return instructions.

    Not sure what my deadline is to actually ship it back.

    But I want to ensure my data is gone from that drive before I do.
     
  10. chown33 Moderator

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    bedlam
    #10
    Well, that's quite a puzzle, then.

    Other than removing the drive from the case (which may void the warranty and any possible refund) and connecting it to a SATA-to-USB adapter to erase it, I'm not sure anything else is possible. It's rather like some other Schrödinger's Cat problems, where you have to somehow communicate with something that's incommunicado.

    I'm sure a hammer or an electric drill would solve the "data is gone" part, but ensuring that you'll get a refund after that process is much less predictable.
     
  11. chscag macrumors 68040

    chscag

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    #11
    Do you have access to a strong magnet or a degaussing coil? I used to keep a degaussing coil handy when working on older CRT TVs. (The coil would remove magnetism from the screen.) Running a coil over the hard drive several times would likely wipe or scramble the data. A strong magnet will do the same thing.
     
  12. chown33 Moderator

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    bedlam
    #12
    Great idea!

    I have a VHS tape eraser around here somewhere. I haven't tried it on an HD, since my usual approach is to open old disks up and remove the magnets to make fridge magnets with.
     
  13. ty.nich macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2019
    #13
    Hi! There is actually a WD Drive utility that you can download from WD's website that can possibly help you repair it! I have been using that utility for a while now and it is actually really nice! Totally recommend! Just head to there website to download it!

    Hope that helps!
    ty.nich
     

Share This Page

12 July 19, 2019