WD easystore 2TB freezes PC at bootup

Hi, I’m new here.

I’m running Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) Service Pack 1 on a refurbished HP-Pavilion FK792AA-ABA a6600f with 2.20 gigahertz Intel Pentium Dual E2200CPU.

My brand new 2 TB easystore plug and play drive locks up my PC at boot-up on the HP splash screen and the PC becomes completely unresponsive. The only way I can boot up my PC is to first unplug the drive from the USB port, boot up the PC, and only then once Windows 7 is up and running, plug the drive back into the USB port. That’s not exactly what I had in mind when I bought a “plug and play” drive. :wink:

I looked in user manual that I found on the web at:

Under section 2: “Connecting the Drive and Getting Started,” in step 4. it says:

“The WD software installs the proper driver for your drive.”

In Section 3, under “Getting Started with the WD Software” it says:

“1. For Windows, run WD Discovery.exe to install WD software.”

I’ve done that and WD Discovery now appears in the systray at the lower right of my Windows 7 desktop. But if I leave the WD drive plugged in to a USB port on my PC after I shut it down, then the next time I turn on the PC, it freezes up at the HP splash screen again and I have to force a manual shut down, get down on the floor under my desk, unplug the drive, start the PC up again, wait for Windows to load, and the plug the drive back into the USB port.

I’d be grateful for some guidance in trying to troubleshoot this problem.

Will in Seattle
a.k.a. “Clueless”

P.S. Since posting the above message here, a contributor to a Seattle area BBS has suggested that the solution might be to update the BIOS of the PC (4/08/2018)

Hi CluelessInSeattle,

Did you check after the change of system file format of WD Easystore drive?

Hi asp73!

I’m not at all tech savvy so I have to confess I don’t understand what your question means.

I’m hoping that it might meanthat there’s an option for me to change the file format of my new easystore drive so that it won’t lock up my PC at boot up.

Am I in the ballpark?

Hi CluelessInSeattle,

You can change the system file format of your drive to check for this issue. Sometimes, issues may be caused due to system file format. You can refer below KBA to reformat drive.
Note: It’s a data destructive process and recommend to take a backup first before proceeding.

This afternoon I received an email from WD tech support:

In this case I recommend you to safely remove the WD drive before switching off the computer and plug it back once it’s done booting up as not doing that might corrupt the drive. So to avoid future data loss I highly recommend you to safely remove the WD drive.

When I bought this WD external drive, I thought I was buying an external drive that I could leave plugged into my PC all the time. My only previous experience with an external hard drive was with a Buffalo brand 300GB that I bought something like ten years ago. Right now, as I type this, that drive is plugged into my old hand-me-down PC and has been for the last four-and-a-half years. And before being plugged into this PC, it did yeoman service plugged into another hand-me-down PC for five or more years with nary a hiccup. The only time I unplugged it was to transfer the data from that PC to my current PC. So I just assumed that that’s how an external PC was supposed to work.

I’m an old guy and my memory is getting a bit spotty these days, so I don’t think I could ever get used to remembering to safely remove the WD external drive every single time I shut down my PC. So I packed up the WD drive in it’s box, grabbed the purchase receipt and was going to take it back to Best Buy, when I read on the receipt: “15-day return period.” Well, I’ve been trying to get this drive to work the way I expected it to work for the last 17 days. Argh!

I just got off the phone with Best Buy customer service where I was told that the general manager of the Best Buy store “might” accept it for return if I bring it in to the store tomorrow.

So, tell me: have I for all these years been laboring under under a delusion that it’s OK to leave an external USB HD plugged into a PC day after day and year after year? If so, then how come that trusty old workhorse (or should I say workBuffalo) external hard drive from a decade ago is still plugging along?

It really is how externals should work. Your case sounds really off to me as thats how every external drive Ive ever used works the way you think they do. Ontop of that, as far as I know theres no inherent reason any USB compliant device should cause your pc not to start correctly.

At no point should being plugged into your pc cause problems.

I think the above user thought you might’ve been hard resetting your computer rather than safely powering it down, which could lead to data loss or corruption, however, It seems you have a different issue entirely.

Now, it might be a pain, but have you tried perhaps using a different usb port in the computer. Im just trying to think of reasons the pc wouldn’t work as expected with the drive remaining attached.

Another thing Ive ran into in some older pcs, is that certain usb attached components would cause a similar effect. I never did confirm that, but let me confirm this for you. I have a few WD external drives, in no cases have I had issues doing what I think you very reasonably expect to do.

Thanks, SmartSpinningDisks, for confirming my expectation that a USB device should not lock-up my PC at bootup.

In the course of my troubleshooting experiments I did try plugging the WD external USB drive into different USB ports, but the problem persisted.

I’ve since returned the WD HD to to Best Buy, but they declined to give me a refund and would only agree to issue store credit, because I returned the drive 2 days beyond the 15 day return window. My plea that I had spent all of that time trying day after day to find some way to get the drive to function properly fell on deaf ears.

The guy at Best Buy who handled my return said he was on the Best Buy Geek Squad and he told me that Microsoft had introduced something like a new file system a few years ago, “at the tail end of Windows 7,” and that all current external hard drives require that system in order to function properly. He said the reason the WD drive was locking up my computer at bootup was that my older Windows 7 file system was incompatible with the drive. At least that’s what I understood him to say.

I’m an old guy and my memory is not so good these days, so I don’t recall the exact words he used. For example when I queried him about the “new file system,” he corrected me, saying it was not a file system per se, but something else I didn’t understand and now can’t remember. I think I’ll try emailing him to see if I could get a written explanation from him.

If I hear back from him I’ll post his explanation here.

Thanks again for your post,

Will in Seattle

a.k.a. “Clueless”

Hi again, SmartSpinningDisks,

I’ve received a reply from the Geek Squad guy at Best Buy and here’s what he had to say:

The technology we were discussing when we first spoke is Advanced Format hard drives (or disks). This is a technology that was developed to create more efficient and data-dense storage devices. By taking a traditional hard drive design using 512 byte sectors and transitioning to a technology that uses 4096 bytes instead (4k), we are able to save quite a bit of overhead.

Functionally, this helps new technology but hinders some older devices. In order to know how to read the information now an older device will require a piece of interface called an emulator. Some devices have this built in, but even an emulator can cause compatibility issues like what you have run into.

Long story short, Advanced Format drives are what have allowed some truly massive storage drives to be developed for personal use at an incredibly low physical size relative to the older technology.

If you’d like more information there’s quite a bit available on Wikipedia specifically regarding this topic:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Format

When I returned the drive to Best Buy he told me that all modern external hard drives use this type of formatting and that if I wanted to use a new drive and leave it plugged in all the time I would need to get a newer PC or laptop.

Will in Seattle
a.k.a. “Clueless”

I have a pretty new PC and have the same problem. Without more specifics I am going to call bullshit on that explanation. My PC stops booting during a countdown and will boot up if I disconnect the easystore and plug it back in again after the system has booted, or force stop the PC and boot in again within a minute or so. If the PC has been completely shut down it stops in the same part of the countdown to load the BIOS every time. This seems like a design flaw. The easystore doesn’t have the information available for the BIOS after it has been powered down and only powers up after the BIOS has gone through it’s check and found an error. Sometimes the system will boot up and I can see the drive but cannot access anything on it without removing and plugging it back into the USB again. This is not what I expected from Best Buy or Western Digital products. It’s a shitty design and a real hassle. I will look elsewhere when it’s time to replace this nonsense.