Cannot Access WD My Passport External Hard Drive [Solution]

Jean updated on Jul 23, 2019 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles


This article exclusively solves WD My Passport external hard drive not accessible issue, and introduces EaseUS hard drive data recovery software to users, who cannot access WD My Passport external hard drive but desperately want to recover data.

WD My Passport Can't Access

"When I connected my 1TB WD My Passport external hard drive to my desktop, Windows 10 prompts me with an error message saying you need to format the disk before you can use it. I wouldn't do that because data is still there. I tried to eject the drive and reconnected it for the second time, but the error is still there. It seems that I can't access the WD external hard drive nor my data without formatting, can anyone help?"

If you're one of the Western Digital hard drive customers and happen to use the My Passport type, you must be interested in this post. A commonly seen issue with Western Digital My Passport hard drives is that sometimes, you cannot access the drive's data. The typical symptoms are, the power LED is on but the drive is not accessible. Meanwhile, you'll receive error messages like:

Besides the exact error messages, when you check the drive's status, you may see other different signs. For example:

  • In Disk Management, The disk 0 or disk 1 shows as unknown, not initialized, or the type of file system is RAW.
  • In the drive's properties, the hard drive shows 0 bytes used and 0 bytes free.

How to Access, View or Recover Data from Inaccessible WD External HDD

When WD My Passport shows you an error and you can't access the data, don't worry, as the files can be easily rescued. Just download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover the data from a corrupted or inaccessible drive. It's the top-ranking hard drive recovery software that reduces the worry and risk of losing your data when disk storage devices, such as WD drives, cannot be accessed or opened.

Step 1. Choose the WD hard drive to scan

  • Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Western Digital hard drive data recovery after installation.
  • Locate and right-click on your WD hard drive partition under the "Hard Disk Drives" list or under "External Devices" list if it's an external hard drive that is connected to your computer/laptop.
  • Click the Scan button.
select your WD hard drive and click scan

Step 2. Preview files in the scan results

You can choose to preview pictures, documents, videos or audio files the software has found by means of different view panes on the top right corner under the Search bar.

scan the lost data on the WD hard drive

Step 3. Select files and recover

Choose the wanted files you'd like to restore and click the Recover button in the below-left corner. Do not save the data to the original WD drive again. It's going to cause data overwriting.

select files and click recover

How to Repair Not Accessible WD My Passport External Hard Drive

As explained, you cannot access an external hard drive for many reasons, for most of the time, the consequence results from either a hard drive connection problem or hard drive self corruption.

So, when you cannot open a connected drive as usual in Windows 10/8.1/8/7, first look over the data cable, is it loose? Data cables can degrade over time from bending and flexing. The connectors can get bent or the internal pins may corrode from contact with contaminates. To check the data cable, you can:

  • Use a different data port
  • Use a different data cable
  • Use a different computer, if possible

Next, proceed with WD My Passport repair tools as recommended here if the data cable is perfectly intact.

What are the WD My Passport repair tools?

You can feel free to use many Windows inbuilt programs as perfect WD My Passport repair tools, including Windows Disk Management, Windows CHKDSK Comand Prompt, and Windows Troubleshooter. They are all supposed to tackle hardware device problems of not recognizing, not detecting, not working or not reading, etc. Make sure that you've extracted the data from the inaccessible drive with the help of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard before the repair process. This is the most guaranteed way to protect data from permanently gone.

1. Windows Disk Management

It's for performing a quick format, to solve most of the hard drive corruption problems, such as the file system is RAW. When a hard drive turns to RAW, it's not seen in the File Explorer, and it's a good idea to check if it's showing in the Disk Management. Otherwise, you need to convert the RAW external hard drive to NTFS or FAT32 so that Windows can read your WD My Passport normally. 

Step 1: In Windows 10/8.1/8/7, press Windows + R keys to bring up the Run box, type diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter.

open disk management in the Run box

Step 2: Right-click on the WD My Passport external hard drive, you'll see a context menu of many options, among which choose "Format".

Step 3: Follow the onscreen wizard. Choose a proper file system and complete the process of fixing a not accessible WD My Passport external hard drive with Disk Management.

format the corrupted wd my passport external hard drive that is not accessible

If the issue persists, try changing the drive letter by following the steps below and check again.

Step 1: Choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths..." this time.

Step 2: Among "Add, Change, and Remove", click the "Change" button, and then select a drive letter from the list. Click "OK" to assign a new drive letter to the WD My Passport.

2. Windows CHKDSK Command Prompt

When hard drive becomes inaccessible and access denied, it's because bad sectors grew. To check and repair bad sectors that prevent users from accessing hard drive data, the CHKDSK command is a good choice. If you want to check for errors or repair the hard drive, always try the below command.

Step 1: In Windows 10/8.1/8/7, press Windows + X keys to bring up a context menu, and choose Command Prompt (Admin).

open command prompt as admin

Step 2: Type chkdsk H: /f /r and hit enter. 

Click to copy

H represents the drive letter of your WD My Passport external hard drive. Replace it with the correct drive letter of your own drive.

3. Windows Troubleshooter

This troubleshooter checks for common issues and makes sure that any new device or hardware attached to your computer was installed correctly.

Step 1: In Windows 10/8.1/8/7, press Windows + R keys to bring up the Run box, and type control and hit Enter to open the Control Panel.

open control panel in the run box

Step 2: Find Troubleshooting and click in.

run troubleshooting in the control panel

Step 3: Click "View all" on the left pane.

click view all in the troubleshooting

Step 4: Find and run "Hardware and Devices". Follow the onscreen instruction to til the end.

run hardware and devices and fix the wd my passport installation problems


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

2. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

3. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

4. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

5. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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