"Error occurred while creating the backup folder"

Where does one get this mythical WD Drive Utilities app?

Found it, but it only works with OSX 10.8 and above:

My Mom is having issues on an older OS. Can I adjust the settings with this drive connected to my newer mac… and will the settings stick when we put the drive back on her computer?

There are a few different theories rolling around this thread:

  1. That the issue happens when the Mac computer is asleep
  2. That the issue happens when the WD Drive goes to sleep
  3. That the issue happens when OS X Power Nap is either on or off

Does anyone know why different people are getting results with various solutions?

I would try changing the settings on your newer Mac and then (re-)connecting to your Mom’s. I don’t think it could hurt – just may not help.

Can’t say for sure why different people are having different results. I do know that the Mac has been known to have waking-up problems with all kinds of drives, including SD cards. My guess is, that problem is exacerbated by WD’s default Sleep Timer setting of 30 minutes. So, the Mac might try to wake up but the drive, in the meantime, has gone to sleep because of WD’s setting, regardless of the Mac’s setting(s) to not let the drive sleep. The drive will sleep if the WD utils setting tells it to, by default. That’s my guess.

It’s been a month since I changed that setting in the WD Utils and I haven’t had any recurrence of the problem. All Time Machine backups have run without fail or error.

Hope this helps!

I purchased a My Passport for Mac 2TB a couple of weeks ago and had the same exact problem. The drive connects very easily to Time Machine and a few to several hourly backups work fine and then the error message pops up. WD tech support advised me to erase the drive and reformat it, I’m not sure what good that did as the box said it was Mac ready and compatible with Time Machine but whatever.

It made no difference, the error came back later that day. I exchanged it at Best Buy for another new one and it had the same issue so I returned it a for a refund. There are over 850 reviews on Best Buy for this drive and about 98% of them are 4 and 5 stars so this must be working fine for most people.

After talking to WD on the phone, they sent a follow up e-mail with a link to this forum. It was here that I found I wasn’t the only one having this problem. I mentioned to the support tech on a second call that this was a topic of concern on their own forum but she seemed completely unaware of it.

I ended up purchasing a 1TB G-Drive from the Apple Store and it has been working fine for about 6 days now, I’ll feel better after 6 months with no problems but so far so good. I was surprised to find after opening the box that G-Drive is owned by WD.

Like so many others, this was the error message for the My Passport backup.

Edit: I forgot to mention, High Sierra 10.13.4


This is rubbish. Exact same problem. Reboot Mac and works fine. Sleep off on drive settings. Still get the above. Is there really no way to counteract this???

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Hi all. Same problem but with G Drives. As far as I can tell it only happens when the drive is connected via Firewire but works fine over USB (in my case USB2).

Originally wanted to connect 2 drives to the single firewire port so daisy chained both drives. Had the error and failed Time Machine backup. Thought it was because of the daisy chaining but have now had the problem with just one of the drives. Connected it via USB and problem gone.

Frustrating as firewire 800 is 3/4 times faster than my USB2 and so far haven’t found a solution.

May not be any help to anyone but thought I would mention.

I initially had the same issue, so I followed the advice of removing the password from the HD. I then restarted the computer and have had no issues with auto-backups since. I hope this works for you! Good luck.

I turned off Power Nap after noticing that the My Book failed overnight and would not back up manually this morning. I also had to just pull out the USB cable from my iMac because it wouldn’t eject. I got a message that the My Book was being used. Pulled it anyway since I was disgusted. This was the second My Book; I returned the first. Soon as I turned off power nap in System Preferences, I could back up.

One would think …surely … that with all of this correspondence going on about their crummy product, that someone from the company would finally have something to say!
But No … And So … shall we say “Never Again”

Returning the My Book to Best Buy after I erase it. I just hate getting a La Cie from Apple because they always break.

This issue is not specific to WD external drives. I’ve experienced it using my WD external drive and Synology NAS Time Machine Backup drive. This is an Apple issue. Try the following solution which worked for me.

I have the exact same problem. Using Porsche Design external drive, Firewire, Mac O/S 10.12.6

I believe I found a possible solution that may help a future searcher.
If you use your hard disk for both mac and PC, you shall know that it must be partitioned in a special format for each. and time machine did not work when I tried to backup (mistakingly I guess) to the volume allotted for PC. Please look up partition formats and make sure you are backing up to the one for Mac (Or make sure the format is right to begin with for Mac.) Best of luck.

EDIT: Nevermind, this only worked temporarily, it failed during sleep, I think.

Ok, So here’s what worked for me,
I’m running Mojave 10.14.3

I Set Sleep In Utilities to Off
I turned off Nap
Nothing so far,

I opened Time Machine
Unplugged the disk from the computer
Removed the disk from the selection on the Time Machine

Restarted my computer
Plugged the disk back in
It went through the “Use this Disk for Backup” process again

and now it’s working, hope this helps

Where on the mac do you find utilities?

You can download the WD Drive Utilities app from the WD website, open it, and select settings/ Sleep Timer OFF. However, my auto-backup failed even with the WD Sleep Timer off. It worked for a month, and then failed. At that point I had to unmount & unplug the drive, remount, give it the password again, and then it worked again. I’m hoping it works for a while before the next failure.


I had exactly the same problem - no matter how many times a I rebooted my Mac or reformatted my WD drive, the first Time Machine backup would succeed and any subsequent one would fail with “Error occurred while creating the backup folder”. It took 3 calls to Apple Support, but they have solved it for me. I had my first complete backup yesterday, and about 20 successful hourly backups since then.

My setup: A new (2019) MacBook Pro 15" running Mac OS Mohave (10.14.5) with a new 4TB WD My Passport.

Steps Apple Support took me through to fix this:

  1. Get into Repair mode by powering down your Mac, then immediately after pressing the Power button to turn it back on, press and hold Command-r (⌘+r) for a while, until the Mac does NOT show a booting scroll bar, but instead asks you a question or two like “Language?” Note you must power down, not just Restart, since you can’t do Command-r fast enough during a Restart.

  2. Once in Repair mode, you will be shown a list of 4 choices. Select Disk Utility. It looked to me like the same Disk Utility you could get at without Repair Mode but you have to be in Repair Mode.

  3. Select your primary disk (usually Macintosh HD) and click on First Aid. For me this took 4 minutes and ended with a green check mark that everything was fine. I don’t know what you should do if your results vary.

  4. Select the External WD disk you want to use for backup and click on Erase Disk (presuming you want to use the entire disk as your backup - if not you’ll need to call Apple for different directions). Pick a name and you want to format as “APFS” (not encrypted or case sensitive) with GUID Map. That was very quick.

  5. With the external WD drive still selected, click on First Aid and say OK to erase disk. This was also very quick and also ended in a green checkmark. Again, if your results differ, talk to Apple.

  6. Exit the Disk Utility and reboot.

  7. Start up Time Machine, remove your existing backup disk selection (especially if it is the disk you were just erasing), and re-select the external WD disk you just did First Aid on as your backup disk.

  8. Let the first backup complete. Wait for a while to confirm that subsequent backups have also completed successfully. I waited 24 hours and when I went into TimeMachine there were about 20 successful hourly backups waiting for me.

I asked why First Aid would solve the problem, and was told First Aid was not just a checking tool, it also silently fixes minor incompatibilities. Whatever the issue is that Apple + WD have do get fixed by First Aid. Note that we ran First Aid on both the Apple internal drive and the WD external drive to get them into the same state. Minor point of interest - my internal drive is encrypted, but my external drive is not. Before the First Aid fixes, I was getting a warning about this. I no longer do.

I hope this helps everyone else on this thread.
Mark Batten-Carew

Same issues. I tried everything, including turning off powernap, deleting all the software that came with the WD disk, reformatting the hard drives, running first aid, etc. Nothing was a durable fix.

I solved the problem with money. I bought 2 Seagate drives. No error messages, no problems with finder after the Mac sleeps. There is some incompatibility between WD and Mac. I have no idea what the problem is, but it has something to do with how OSx sleeps. It disconnects the drives from Finder. All good if you just reboot, but who wants to reboot every time you want to access the drive or do a backup? My two WD drives are paper weights now.

I’m sure they will get it sorted out eventually. It’s a mess now. Until then, I can’t deal with the uncertainty and hours of frustration.

It is now almost 3 weeks later, and my Time Machine connection to my WD My Passport is still working fine. My problem with "Error occurred while creating the backup folder” has not returned.