What a great idea to log on to a user forum and tell everyone that the product they all have is no good and fails, and you lost all your pictures, and you would never buy it again, even though you have had four in the past.
First, all hard drives fail, eventually. I only use WD now as I have found them far more reliable than other brands in the past. Yes, I have had failures, but they have been manageable, without losing data.
Second, portable hard drives need to be treated carefully, or they will fail earlier than static hard drives. Make sure they are powered down properly, and the hard drive read heads are docking before moving the drive. Don’t use them in high vibration situations. Don’t bump, drop, or even move them when they are reading or writing to the drive.
Third, you should have had a backup of your precious pictures. If you only have one copy, or have two copies on separate drives that you use regularly, you don’t have a backup. This is yoour fault, not WD’s.
Fourth, almost all data is recoverable from failed hard drives, if you really want that data. It can be relatively easy and cheap, or very hard and expensive. You obviously didn’t find the right IT help. You need to find a Data Recovery company. There are quite a few around. Recovery may cost $2,000 to $3,000 though. What are your pictures worth? Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to have a proper backup?!
Fifth, in addition to a good backup routine, you should look in to using Hard Drive Sentinal to check and manage your hard drives, and predict when they are likely to fail, or at least tell you when the drive starts to have problems. When a drive does start to have problems you should immediately move your precious data to another safe storage unit. You should not use a hard drive once it has started to show problems, such as occassional failed reads or writes, making excessive or unusual noise, or taking a long time to start up and be available to browse. But you didn’t keep using your drive after it started doing any of that, did you? Did you? I’ll bet you did, or you simply took no notice of the signs on an imminent drive failure. Have you ever heard of SMART?
So, thanks for coming on to the WD forum and telling us the products we selected are no good, based on your two bad experiences and lack of foresight. You have really helped.