Issues with my WD MyBook 1170 USB HDD

The system :

  • AMD Phenom II X6 1055T
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Plextor 128GB SSD (boot, internal)
  • WD Blue 640GB HDD (storage, internal)
  • AMD R9 280X Graphics
  • Windows 8.1 Pro x64, UEFI Boot
  • ASROCK 970 Pro3 R2.0 Mainboard
  • WD MyBook 1170 2TB Connected via USB3.0 / USB2.0 - issue independent of USB version

Additional Info :

  • My OneDrive, Steam and Pictures library directions all point to the MyBook HDD
  • (Thus, it would be unfortunate if the hard drive content was to be lost, however I would only use a couple of gigs of RAW photos, and sadly a few dozen vacational videos, most other critical personal data is stored in the cloud)
  • I am not running any of the additional WD tools, drivers are Plug’n’Play Windows ones

The issues :

  • I once wanted to access a directory in OneDrive, upon double clicking the folder icon the Explorer froze and shortly thereafter the PC crashed (i.e. rebooted without further errors)
  • After this crashes increased, and I first thought of it to be a configurational problem - ignoring it as most of the time everything was working fine.
  • When the crashes became more frequent (5 minute intervals), I saw myself forced to troubleshoot the issues : the result was that the system was running stable when the MyBook was unplugged.
  • Shortly thereafter I wanted to boot the Computer after another crash, however I found that the system would hang pre-POST when the MyBook was plugged in.
  • This confuses me, as a USB device shouldn’t be able to interrupt POST (?!)
  • Now, the MyBook is not recognized by Windows, even though the PC is running fine with it plugged in - it is not “mounted” though - I can only find it in Storage management, and there is no drive letter assigned to it.

Finally, the questions :

  • Is there any way to restore functionality through a firmware update/driver swap?
  • If not, do I need to file a warranty claim with Amazon (where I bough it) or with WD?
  • Also, can anyone qualitatively better external drives than the MyBook series? I have trusted WD for many years, and a single faulty product will not disrupt that, however I want to know my files are (relatively) secure and I do not want to spend the time to switch drives and suffer from data loss again. Is it advisable to get a couple of WD Reds for a NAS instead of another USB HDD?

Hello CptPicard, sorry to hear you loss access to some of your files. 

1- First try running a DLG test to rule out any possible hardware damage. If the test fails the hard drive needs to be replaced

How to test a drive for problems using Data Lifeguard Diagnostics for Windows

2- If you purchased the drive less than a month ago, I recommend you to contact Amazon to replace it. If it has been more than one month check the link below for the steps to create your RMA number.

How to get an RMA, (Return Merchandise Authorization) or replace a defective product under warranty 

3- Note that there are many variables that can result in a failed drive, such as power outages, accidental physical damage, internal component failure, and computer viruses, just to name a few. It is advisable to ensure you always have at a minimum, two copies of your important digital data at all times, to avoid potential data loss, by running regular backups.

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Thank you for the reply, I finally found the time to run the tool yesterday and to my suprise it has  not found any issues  with the drive.

Sadly, it will still  not  show up in the explorer, so there’s that.

I have now thought about removing the drive from the case and mounting it via SATA, however I suspect that will void any varranty options I might have - even though the product is already a “lost cause”.

Hi again, I don’t advise you to open the case yourself since that can damage the hard drive even more, and as you mentioned it will also void the warranty. If the drive is still recognized, you should be able to download a data recovery program and scan the drive, using Google you can find several options. The drive should also show up on the Disk Management window, from here you can try to add a drive letter manually. Check the link below for the steps. 

How to change the drive letter assignment in Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2000

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Hey, thanks for your suggestions, but I have already tried mounting the drive under a drive letter, which just leads to the PC crashing and rebooting immediately afterwards.

Do you happen to know any fix for this rare problem? I’ve never encountered anything like this.