Files appear to have vanished, but folders still remain on WD 3TB Elements Drive

Hello, hoping someone can help. I have already submitted a report to WD, but thought I’d try her as well.

So as in the subject, I have a 3TB WD Elements drive. Have had it for ages. This is the FIRST WD drive I’ve EVER had in my life to “fail” on me.

I have no problem accessing the drive. it makes no [unusual] noises. All folder show as any other normally functioning drive would.

it’s just that almost ALL of my files seemed to have disappeared

I’ve never had a problem before and it’s just a backup drive for all digital photos, scanned documents, you know, the usual stuff…

I a hoping someone can help me “recover” the files. I would prefer something free because I lost my 25 year old company to the pandemic like millions of others and honestly have ZERO funds to send it out or buy software.

Thank you in advance to anyone who can help.


Hi @SpielbergRules,

Have you opened a Support Case? If not opened, for more information, please contact the WD Technical Support team for the best assistance and troubleshooting:

I surely did. :slight_smile: I even replied to the previous email with the requested screenshots and answered questions. :slight_smile: Thanks!


I’m really sorry to hear about what you’re going through. Losing important files can be super frustrating, especially during tough times. But don’t worry, we’ll do our best to help you recover those files

First things first, to prevent any more potential data loss, it’s a good idea to make a copy of the entire hard drive on another storage device. That way, we can work on the recovery process without risking any further damage.

Now, for the recovery process, there are some great free data recovery software options you can try out:

  1. Recuva: It’s a popular and user-friendly data recovery tool that’s known to work wonders in many cases of accidental file deletions. It might just be the key to getting back your missing files.

  2. Stellar Data Recovery: This software can help you to recover 1 GB of data for free.

  3. MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free Edition: This one offers a free version with some limitations, but it could still be enough for your needs.

Remember, when you’re installing the data recovery software, put it on a different drive than the one you want to recover from. That way, we can avoid accidentally overwriting any data.

Just follow the instructions provided by the software, and it’ll guide you through the recovery process. Keep in mind that the success of data recovery depends on a few factors, like the condition of the drive and how long ago the data was lost.

I want to be honest with you—data recovery isn’t always a guaranteed success, especially if there’s physical damage to the drive. If that’s the case, it might be worth reaching out to data recovery professionals, but I totally understand that might not be an option for you right now.

No matter what happens, the most important thing is to avoid writing any new data to the WD drive until we’ve completed the recovery attempts. We wouldn’t want to make the recovery process any trickier!

I’m really hoping we can get back those important files for you successfully. If you have any questions or need more help, just let me know. Wishing you the best of luck!

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Sometimes, the files might be hidden or not visible due to file system issues. Open File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac), and ensure that hidden files and folders are visible. Remember, data recovery is not always successful, especially if the data has been overwritten or the drive has physical issues. However, you can try recovery software like, Stellar or Recoverit.

Occasionally, files may be concealed or inaccessible due to file system glitches. Use File Explorer on Windows or Finder on Mac to confirm the visibility of hidden files and folders. Keep in mind that data recovery may not always be effective, particularly if the data has been overwritten or if the drive is experiencing physical problems.
You can try using free data recovery software like Stellar data recovery, Recuva or TestDisk to scan the drive and recover deleted files. These tools can often find lost data even if it appears the drive is empty.