Is Failure of These External Drives A Common Occurrence?

It’s very concerning that the very first thing I see when I come to the “My Book for PC” forum here is an FAQ outlining why the drive may not be showing up on my network.  And that one of the top answers is, basically “The drive is broken.”  

If these drives are so unreliable that this discussion point makes the top of the page… that tells me that this is pretty common.  Am I correct?  

My next question would be:

Do the marketing department and senior management know that the call centre reps’ advice, when calling about this problem is “Oh, you shouldn’t use our external drives as a backup.  Use a DVD for that.” ?

And my third question (for now) is:

Why does WD only have two data recovery centres in Canada (given that this is such a common problem) and both of them are located in and around Toronto?

Oh, sorry, one more question:  Where do I send the bill for the local data recovery company that I’ll probably have to use to recover the various family photos, important work documents, etc. that I foolishly entrusted to the WD  drive?

Unless you have a problem you probably never would have came here. Go to Seagate forum and most of the posts are problems too. This is simply a users forum. Some of us that had problems try to help others if possible.  As far as professional data recovery you have to pay. Many people don’t seem to know a backup means at least 2 copies. The forums are full of posts from people who moved everything to their external (only copy) and thought that was a backup. Maybe if you describe the problem in detail somebody may be able to help.


Data loss is stressfull, inconvenient and a waste of money (to have to pay for data recovery). I’m afraid all hard drives can fail (any brand). WD and Seagate drives are among the best on the market but most hard drives fail due to shock/impact or overheating. If you want use an external hard drive, remember it’s not a ‘mobile’ or ‘portable’ drive even though it is normally used for this purpose. If you use a WD MyBook and WD Passport drive, leave it on a desk (that is never bumped, moved or shaken) and never moved around -it will probably last for many years without any problems. I have many hard drives and never had one fail on me as it’s always treated as ‘very, very fragile’.

It’s true, external hard drives should not be used as the only copy of any data, in fact any type of hard drive. You should always keep at least 2 copies of your data on a hard drive and keep any crtical data someplace else (e.g DVD, flash drive, hardcopy, online backup…etc). SSD is not perfect either and has it’s own pitfalls, as long as you have at least 2 copies of your data - if there is a fire, theft, hard drive failure or other data loss for any reason (e.g virus damage), it won’t cost you money paying a data recovery company - just go to your other copy. There are lots of ‘file sync’ programs around that will ‘sync’ the files on your 2 copies of your data to make things a little easier to manage.

Data loss is a pain in the [Deleted] and everybody likes to blame the hard drive manufacturer but 9 out of 10 times, it’s ‘user error’ that damages a hard drive. WD hard drives are great. I repair them for a living (for data recovery purposes only) but i also sell them as they are great value for money and as good quality as you can get.

I hope you never have a hard drive failuer again, best of luck in future.

Send me a private message if you have any questions. 

“Unless you have a problem you probably never would have came here” 

True.  But “a problem” is one thing.  That implies the potential of some sort of solution.

The complete failure of the product within days of buying it is another thing all together.

Support from staff and other consumers would be great, in theory.  But the message we seem to be getting from all sources is “WD products (or this one at least) really aren’t very good.  Don’t expect much.”

Here’s my situation:

We had a computer that we would no longer be able to use (it had to be returned to someone else).  In order to save the files on this computer, we purchased a WD external drive.  We thought this would be a convenient way to transfer the files and a good option as a backup, holding large older files, etc.

We moved the files to the drive, cleaned off the old computer and returned it.

Foolishly, thinking that a piece of hardware like an external hard drive could last a few days, we didn’t immediately move all the files over to our new computer.   Silly us.  I guess I should have read this forum first to read all the stories of people who lost their data because these drives DO, in fact, tend to fail very quickly.  

Now, computers do not recognize the drive.  We’ve taken it to a family member who is a very experienced IT professional (he runs the networking and data security for a major international firm).  We’ve taken it back to the retailer.  We’ve sat on the phone with tech support at WD for hours.  Nobody can determine any sign that the device is actually fixable or usable.

Fine, people shouldn’t use this as a sole backup. Our mistake.  We’re terrible people for thinking that a piece of technology could do it’s job reliable.  But we were hardly trusting this unit as our primary storage device for years, or even months, of data.  

Beyond this, though, I’d appreciate actual answers to my original questions, which were:

  1. How common are these failures?  Based on the two replies received so far, the FAQ I mentioned in my original post, and the feedback from WD call center staff, the answer seems to be “Very”.  Nobody seems to be indicating that this is an unusual occurrence or one that might have various solutions to try.  Basically, it sound like these devices often stop working without warning.

  2. Do the marketing department and senior management know that the “advice” given for the use of their products is basically “Don’t rely on these products”?   Not only the call centre staff, but now the members of this forum seem to be saying that it’s not worth using these machines.   Perhaps if all the marketing material, packaging, etc. didn’t implicitly AND explicitly state what a wonderful backup option WD drives are, I could accept this.  I work in marketing and I would be incredibly upset if I knew that my frontline staff (or anyone else) was not fulfilling my company’s brand and product promises.  

3. Why does WD only have two data recovery centres in Canada and both of them are located in and around Toronto?  It’s a big country.  As mentioned in #1 above, failure of these drives seems to be an everyday occurrence.  Maybe, just maybe, it would be a worthwhile customer service initiative to enable customers to find a service centre of some sort within, say, a thousand miles of their home.  I assume other countries experience similar lack of coverage.

  1. Where do I send the bill for data recovery?  It’s absolutley disgusting, frankly, that a company would sell a product that they know is shoddy (see #1 above) with misleading messages (see #2) and not have their own resources or partners available to minimize the effect of these issues (see #3).  It’s only fair that the company compensate consumers who are out of pocket just because they put a little bit of trust in that company.