Using Elements external HD with Windows XP

Is there a way to make the Elements USB external hard drive work with Windows XP? It used to but recently purchased drives now specify Windows 7 and up. Anyone know of a firmware fix?

I have this same question, and it has been quite hard to find an answer.
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That link to the WD support does NOT address this question.
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The link is for when WD elements is “not recognized or detected in Windows XP after installation and usage” – but the question from Ross, and myself also, is with a NEW Elements which has never been used.
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On the WD web page, the information for new WD elements HD clearly states “compatible with windows XP” (and there is no mention of any reformatting that might be required) (Sept. 2016)
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– So I am wondering: DO ALL ELEMENTS, now, no longer work on Windows XP?
– Some people have told me that they do not, others tell me they do, the WD store web page says that they do, there are mixed messages about this.
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So, my question is:
Currently (Sept. 2016) is a WD Elements 1TB drive compatible with windows XP without any re-formatting by the user? – YES or NO?
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Can a WD Authority give an answer to this?
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If the answer is “NO” – Then I have been told that it is possible to RE-FORMAT - the WD Elements so that it will work on Windows XP (But I have not tried this yet, as I’m still not sure of this entire question)
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If the WD elements DO need to be reformated to be used on Windows xp – I wonder if someone could write a full description of the entire process for Re-formatting a new (never been used) WD Elements so that it is compatible with Windows xp – (and I am hoping, that this Re-format - will ALSO make to WD elements ALSO STILL compatible with Windows 7 and above.
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From what I understand - there may be many steps in this process…

  • writing Zeros to the drive
  • initializing the drive
  • formatting the drive
    (but I am a beginner - I’m just trying to learn about these details)
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    I would volunteer to write this guide – but I would like some feedback and assistance from some of the WD experts first (to be sure that I am not totally confused).
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    ADVICE please…

NO

It needs to be MBR Partitioned for XP 32-Bit Compatibility
(There is 3rd Party Software that will convert GPT to MBR without Reformatting [no data loss] )
If you don’t care about losing your data then using Windows tools, Reformat and Re-Partition to MBR)

no it doesn’t

Oh! THANKS for your reply, but on the WD Elements store advertisement it DOES say it IS compatible with windows XP – I’m looking at the 1TB drive
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Here is the page

http://store.wdc.com/store/wdus/en_US/DisplayProductDetailsPage/ThemeID.40718400/categoryID.64062500/subCategory.64062700/parid.13092300/catid.13093000/WD_Elements_Portable

The WD Store needs updating then :open_mouth:

I’ll contact WD and let them know.

Oh … that is the WD elements DESKTOP that is pictured above (by Joey)… but I have been writing about the WD Elements Portable – so that is one difference.
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also the portable I’m considering is only 1 TB

Thanks! that is a step in the right direction!

Yeah, i just discovered that now … sorry, you OP did’nt specify Desktop or Portable (but i should have looked at the thread topic … my mistake)

Anyways … “Formatted” and “Partitioned” are 2 different things

eg.
Formatted NTFS and MBR Partitioned = XP 32-64 Bit Compatible
Formatted NTFS and GPT Partitioned = Non XP 32-Bit Compatible (but will work with XP 64 Bit)

P.S. personally i was happy using XP for ages … but because of this limitation i upgraded to Win 7 (which i’m happy to stay with until the next compatibility issue arrives)

Joey - you’re Great!
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You’ve offered the best information so far.
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OK… I have winxp 32 bit… and also Win7 – I want to use these drives on both.

and hopefully they will be usable on other versions of windows 7 - 10 etc.
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Could you give your opinion of this process.

  1. a WD advisor told me that I should first “Write Zeros” to the HD

WD answer 1211


2) Initialize – should the drive be initialized first? Is this a separate step? (I don’t have the WD answer for this process just now… still looking)


3) format and partition instructions given at WD answer 207

that is how I understand the process, currently.
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Do you think this will create a drive that is usable on WinXp 32, as well as win

Joey - you’re Great!
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You’ve offered the best information so far.
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OK… I have winxp 32 bit… and also Win7 – I want to use these drives on both.

and hopefully they will be usable on other versions of windows 7 - 10 etc.
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Could you give your opinion of this process.

  1. a WD advisor told me that I should first “Write Zeros” to the HD

WD answer 1211


2) Initialize – should the drive be initialized first? Is this a separate step? (I don’t have the WD answer for this process just now… still looking)


3) format and partition instructions given at WD answer 207

that is how I understand the process, currently.
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Do you think this will create a drive that is usable on WinXp 32, as well as win

personally i wouldn’t bother writing zero’s cus that’s gonna take a LONG time !

(the only time i do a Zero Fill is, if there are Bad Sectors)

if you have no data on the 1TB, … just reformat it NTFS and select MBR partition and then you’re done … WinXP 32-Bit and WIn7 compatible :slight_smile:

For these kind of cases, no matter the size of the drive, you can use WD Quick Formatter tool and it will format the drive in MBR, even if its larger than 2TB. This software is also good when the TV doesn’t detect the drive. So far I know it can even format a My Book 8TB in MBR in one single 8TB volume. Of course backup your data first before using it.

Yes, that can be done if the drive uses Advanced Format eg. 4096 Bytes per Sector

But if the drive uses 512 Bytes per Sector … then MBR Partition supports Max 2TB

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Hi JoeySmyth, I red all what you wrote, you seems very wise about this subject. I bought a wd element 1 tb model wdbuzg0010bbk-0b and I only could use it on a windows 10 laptop and an android tv box but couldn’t with a windows xp sp 3 desktop computer neither a LG Led TV. So I just followed this method descripted on this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFpS_ywHI70&t=318s (convert to mbr) and the external hard drive could be use ir on the tv but surprisly not on the windows xp sp 3 desktop computer! I went to the disk manager and indicate new letter drive but still can’t view the drive on my explorer so I can’t use it on my desktop computer… Could you help me, please? Thank you so much!!

My suggestion would be to not use Windows built in Disk Management Tools and use 3rd Party Software instead.

Personally, i’ve found them to do a much better job.

Try either Aomei Partition Assistant or EaseUS Partition Master both of which have Free Versions

Needless to say, make sure you backup all you data before using either of these, as they will completely erase / format and partition your hdd.

If after using them and Windows XP SP3 refuses to recognize them … then it might be time to think of upgrading the OS. Or, if you really NEED to run Windows XP then Windows XP 64-Bit Edition does support GPT.