My Book not recognized on different computer

The Short


My workstation does not recognize one of the two WD 1.5TB My Book drives that were originally configured out of the box on my laptop.

The Detail


I have one laptop and one workstation that both run Windows 7. The laptop used to be my primary computer and I configured 2 new 1.5TB My Book drives with it. I then connected other external drives to my laptop, transferred all of my image and video files to My Book (1), and then transferred everything from My Book (1) to a second My Book drive: My Book (2).

I now have My Book (1) connected to my workstation, which is now my primary computer, and have been saving all of my image and video files to it. It is now time to backup My Book (1) to My Book (2) but strangely, when I connect My Book (2) to the workstation, it does not show up in the Start | Computer window. The workstation does not recognize it as being a valid drive. When I go to Windows 7 ‘Disk Management’, I can see the drive, but it lists the file format as  ‘UDF’. For some reason, the workstation does not recognize the NTFS partition on My Book (2).

I thought that maybe I had just imagined that I had configured My Book (2) and had used it to backup My Book (1). I was 30 senconds from reformatting My Book (2) when I realized I had initially used my laptop to configure both My Book (1) and My Book (2). I connected My Book (2) to my laptop and - lo and behold - it’s recognized by the laptop and I can see all of the files on it.

Why does my workstation recognize My Book (1) but not My Book (2)? They were both configured according to WD recommendations. I would really like to fix this, otherwise, I’ll have to move all of my files from the workstation to the laptop, and use the laptop to backup all the files to My Book (1), and then backup My Book (1) to My Book (2).

That would be very inconvenient.    

Thanks in advance…


Sorry but your computer wont recognize 2 hard drives the exact same type and capacity connected simultaneously  to your computer. Windows will think they are the same drive. they must be a different model or size.

Thanks for your reply, but then why do both of the drives work simultaneously on my laptop? I have always used multiples of the same drive: type and size and I’ve never had a problem. 

Im just actually refering to the microsoft website and what is they said on there forum. also I have had plenty of people tell me the same and have troubleshooted with  them inorder to see the same results. the computer will not recognize 2 drives connected unless there is a slite differance. Let me find that article for you

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Thanks. Been reading some of the articles and it only seems to affect WD drives. There are poor people all over the world reformatting their hard drives, reinstalling OSs, and, get this, replacing their motherboards!

I think I’ll just connect my drives to my laptop and use it as the backup station. What a mess…

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Well here you go

**The issue seems to be a conflict of IDs assigned to each (ED) when we connect an (ED), then when we connect a 2nd (ED), then the 2nd (ED) is trying to use an ID that has already been assigned to the 1st (ED), therefore, the 2nd (ED) stays “offline” to avoid a conflict with the 1st (ED).

The technical term is “The disk is offline because it has a signature collision with another disk that is online”

To make the 2nd and 3rd, and 4th (ED) to be online, then you have to go to:

  • Computer Management
  • Disk Management
  • Scroll down so you can see your external drives
  • You will notice that the 1st (ED) is “Online”
  • You will notice that the other (EDs) are “Offline”
  • Right-Click on “Offline” and a shortcut menu will give the option to turn (ED) “Online”
  • Wait for a few seconds and now that (ED) will become available to be used.**
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Ok on the computer you are having trouble with both drives connected with go into disk management. Find the drive It may need a new letter or one assigned check and see if it is offline if so change it to online. That usually fixes it.


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Hello Lawrence.

Thank you for that very thoughtful response. I appreciate your follow up. Although I can follow the directions to a point, I think I have an extra level of difficulty.  While I can see the unrecognized drive in  ‘Disk Management’, it is not showing as Online or Offline because Windows 7 recognizes the drive as a CD-ROM, due to, I believe, the WD Smartware installed on the drive. 

So, backing up, while Windows does not recognize the drive in ‘Start | Computer: Hard Disk Drives’, it does recognize the drive as a CD-ROM in ‘Devices and Removable Storage’.

I am guessing WD has placed the Smartware software in a separate partition than where my image files are stored because I cannot see that partition even when I try to unhide it using show all files. I think I need to delete this partition and the WD Smartware software so Windows sees a hard drive - not a virtual CD-ROM.

In reference to 'changing the drive letter ', I’ve tried that several times and it doesn’t work for me. It changes the drive letter of the CD-ROM, which Windows recognizes, but doesn’t reveal the partition I want to see, which windows will not recognize as long as I have another external drive connected…  

Have you applied a password to the drive?  If so, you will need to run the “unlocker” application within the SmartWare VCD to see the contents of the drive.

I have not applied a password to the drive because I don’t use, and have no use, for the Smartware software.  The drive is not locked.

From my observation, when a WD external with Smartware is plugged in to a computer there are always two drives detected in Disk Management, a hard drive and a CD Rom which is actually the Virtual CD that the WD system installs as part of the way the WD system works.  How many CD’s do you see in Disk Management?  If you have only two…one is a real hardware CD installed on your system and the other is a virtual WD CD that the WD system installs…then your computer is really seeing only one of your WD externals.  If you see three CD drives then perhaps it sees the VCD but is not seeing the actual hard drive behind it.

I have been troubleshooting a WD Elite with Smartware.  My system only sees the VCD and not the hard drive behind it because I suspect the bridge board has a failed component on it.   This is how I know.  Not saying you have the same problem I do, but giving some insight on the difference between the drives you see in Disk Management.

After reading uncounted posts in this forum researching my WD Elite problem, I would say that there are two components with WD Externals at work…unskilled users trying to install things incorrectly or follow instructions they do not fully understand and very buggy WD software and poor hardware design/quality.  This is a lethal combination and a receipe for disaster…