Formatting WD 'My Passport' Backup

Trying to format new ‘My Passport’ backup on iMac Desktop running Sierra Ver. 10.12.
Am following ‘Welcome to WD Support’ website directions and get to step 4, erasing files, but it is not clear whether one or all files are to be erased, and when attempt to erase the first (Mac OS Extended Journaled) just keep getting response ‘Erase process has failed. Click Done to continue’. On clicking Done just get returned to the former Erase screen in step 4. This is whether I retain ‘My Passport’ or enter new name in Name field.

Can someone clarify process for me.

You have to select the drive that needs to be formatted, in this case it would be the My Passport drive, on the left side of the panel. After the drive has be chosen, you go to ‘Erase’ to select the Mac format and then proceed to format, or erase, the drive. Click on the link below for more information:

Thanks for your reply, jpeng.

The Support Notes seem virtually the same as the ones I have been working with.

It still is not clear whether the drive to be selected in Disk Utility is WD My Passport, (which is the left-most) or My Passport. My Passport seems to have been selected in the example but that’s inset slightly to the right.

Also do the Mac files get erased one at time, and is a new name required for each file that is erased?

Thanks again for your assistance.


Try this

Thanks for this further information.

I’m not that familiar with Partitions and Drives.
Is the Drive reference the ‘WD My Passport’ listing in Disk Utility?

As mentioned below, when I come to erase the Mac files do I have to allocate a new name for each file and then erase them one by one? And is there some name convention I should use or doesn’t it matter?


I have now successfully formatted ‘My Passport’ backup.

With some local technical guidance I was able to determine which Drive to select and which Mac Journal to erase.

have now successfully formatted ‘My Passport’ backup.

With some local technical guidance I was able to determine which Drive to select and which Mac Journal to erase.

I have a similar question: Dying to know which Mac Journal to erase format)?? The Left most or the indented one? The directions are sketchy about that.

Second question: did the format erase the software and if so where did you find the software to re-install?

and one more question if I may: Does the software have a cloning feature? I would like to make a bootable copy of my iMac and integral (wrong word probably) copies of new and changed files.

Hi LilBang,

The drive that I selected was the left-most (WD My Passport …)
And the journal was Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

The person assisting me suggested we opt for the encrypted version, (requiring a password), but you may not want this.
Formatting didn’t erase any software to my knowledge, so you shouldn’t need to re-instal.

Not sure about a cloning feature - however there’s a lot of information on the net about this.
If you search under "WD external hard drive software cloning” you’ll find multiple listings.


Hi Robert

I think I’m experiencing the same. My Passport for Mac is full with Time Machine backups. I’d like to clear it so I can keep recent back ups. I’m getting the same message ‘Erase process has failed.’

I have selected the drive WD My Passport on the left side of Disk Utility as recommended in help. The operation still fails.

Please can you suggest a solution?

Kind regards,


Hi Jo,

Your issue I think is somewhat different from mine, in that I was trying to format a new, blank WD backup drive, rather than erase already backed up data.
Backing up ‘Time Machine’ will of course fill your drive very quickly, as everything on your computer is backed up to ‘Time Machine’.

What journal name options are you getting in the ‘files to be erased’ slot, in the Disk Utilities window?

I’ve had a quick look, and there is a lot of information on the Internet, and if you’re specific with your search enquiry you might just find the answer you want.
(It seems there’s an option to re-format the complete WD drive but I don’t know if this is what you would want to do.

Hope this helps.

Doesn’t work for me. Very unhappy with WD. Disk Utility wont take any actions on the 4TB MyBook

Can understand your frustration - I had to enlist the help of a more technically minded person to complete the formatting for my WD Passport.

Can’t remember the exact steps now except, as described below, it’s necessary to delete the existing files and substitute them with new names.

Below are screen-prints of what my WD Backup looks like now. (Double-click to enlarge.)