Lights are on but the hard drives are not recognized

A couple of months ago, I plugged one of my WD external hard drives (320GB My Passport essential) into the USB port (computer runs Vista). Never had any issues with any of my external hard drives before. Although the little white light turned on as soon I plugged it, the drive did not get detected. Shortly after that, I plugged another WD external drive (500GB Passport Studio, I think) and exactly the same thing happened. The white light was on but the drive was not detected. I then plugged a third external hard drive (Toshiba) and it worked without any issues. I tried a fourth hard drive (WD but with a fire-wire connection) and that worked just fine as well.

My initial reaction was that this was due to the known issue with WD drives and the USB cables. Tried different USB cables, no luck. Called WD technical support, they sent me double USB cables – that did not help either. Of course, they suggested that I send the drives to a data recovery service and they would then send me new drives as part of the warranty. Quite an expensive proposition…:manmad:

I bought a docking station, removed the hard drives from the enclosure kits and connected the drives. Same thing – the drives were not detected. Then I thought that the drives were affected by some electric circuit issue, even though my computer is connected through a UPS station (I had noticed some issue with the power at home the day before).

In any case, the issues with the two drives seem to be identical, except for the following minor differences:

  • one of the drives is detected only as a “WD” with a red “X” (or maybe it was an arrow, can’t recall) under disk management.  Disk management indicates that the device is working properly, yet  none of its properties can be seen. This same drive makes a quiet “rrrrrr” noise for about 3-4 seconds, but this does not sound like the “clicking noise of death”.
  • the other drive does not make any noise and does not get detected at all by the computer.
    Note that I have tried connecting the drives to different computers (desktops with Vista and laptops with Windows 7).

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you very much in advance!

Hi there, If the drive is not  physically damaged, you can try to recover the data using a Data Recovery Software.


You were able to solve this issue?

I am having the same issues with my external hard drive as well. Is data recovery my only option, other than sending it in under warranty and paying a ridiculous amount of money for the data recovery send out? And if so, can someone recommend a free or cheap data recovery? I am a stay at home mom and the last 6 years worth of my children’s pictures are stored on my WD external hard drive.

I’m also having the same problem. One slight difference is that when my problem began, occasionally when my drive was plugged in, it would recognize it and begin to search for drivers for a few seconds and then drop it before it could finish. But that seems to have stopped now. The power light flashes when it’s plugged in and I can’t remember if it did that before.

The Data Recovery Software idea doesn’t pan out, because if my computer doesn’t see the drive then the program doesn’t either. I hope somebody smarter than I am figures this problem out. I was so excited that my drive was under warranty and they would exchange it, until I realized they want to hold onto a stupid amount of money until they get my drive back.