Irreplaceable files just vanished from my (WD) passport . .

This is merely the most recent installment in a rather long, ongoing, series of similar accounts shared by others like myself. Although I’ll post my original comment again, here’s a link for another thread initiated in August within this forum involving the same issue:

Caveat Emptor!! . . . Can You Spell F-R-U-A-D-U-L-E-N-T Misrepresentation??

I’d been working with a recently purchased 1tb external hard drive quite successfully for a number of weeks until folders of irreplaceable content simply vanished from the device. Having worked with digital media for more than 15 years now, and in completing an online/phone session with Western Digital representatives, I’m incredulous that WD appears to be producing and marketing devices with critical operating defects!?!

Tragically for me, a fairly routine internet search suggests Western Digital has a rather illustrious history with this issue, and . . . apparently excuses their corporate complicity by maintaining, ‘all’s fair in love, war, and business’. Where’s the humanity?!? Honestly, where’s the humanity?!?

Not cool . . .

You will find similar threads on every hard drive manufacturers’ forums. Why? Because the average user has no idea how hard drives work and tend to blame the manufacturer as proximal cause.

What most users don’t know is that a hard drive has no clue what a file is. The most a hard drive knows is the construction of a “cluster” or “sector” or some other very basic data structure well short of a “file.”

So? If files are missing but remaining files are all fine, then some process running on the computer or the user themselves deleted them.

A hard drive malfunction would show itself as corrupted data, not just seemingly random “missing” files.

It’s like a brick wall. The builder (the operating system or user) creates a wall with a bunch of bricks stacked and mortared in a very particular arrangement. The individual brick (the sectors or clusters the drive is responsible for) knows nothing about the wall.

So if a brick cracks, yeah, that’s the brick’s problem: a drive failure. But if the whole wall “disappears,” then the builder did it.


The question to me is how did you put the PC files on the Passport drive. There are two ways:

  1. Use the WD Backup (or obsolete WD Smartware). Either way the Passport drive is a copy of the PC. Any file copied to it will remain there as long as the file is on the PC. BUT, if you delete the file from the PC then WD Backup will delete the file from the Passport!

  2. Use Windows or other transfer software to copy the file directly to the Passport drive. In this case, you can then delete the file from the PC and it should remain on the Passport. So the file is NOT backed up. It is archived. If is later is lost,then there is something wrong with the drive, the PC, or the user.


Well Tony, I certainly can’t determine from your posted comment what your actual level of technical acumen is with digital storage but will reflect back to you that what you’ve conveyed reads a bit like jumbled semantics to me.

My big lesson to this point as two digital reps (and I believe Clifford below) suggest, is that a digital project is probably best managed utilizing my personal device for file creation and an external hard drive to simply ‘back-up’ the storage of that content.


Thanks for your response Cliff . . .

Because I’m attempting to assess what caused something approaching 3 or 4 gigabytes of ‘archived’ content to visibly vanish from the WD hard drive (I’ve retrieved more than 5 Gb from another related drive path), I’m currently leaning toward the disrupted drive path scenario you appear to allude to in Question 2.

Thanks again.