A friend brought me one of these drives with the poorly-installed, poorly soldered, USB connector.
Upon reading other replies that the SATA port booted fine, I carefully inspected the USB port connector at my microminiature soldering station. Just like any kid's favorite electronic toy, the USB connector had broken solder connections from the abuse of living with humans banging a poorly-mounted connector.
The solder joints from the factory are all "cold solder joints"...dull in appearance, grainy (not smooth) and the solder job was so poor the solder didn't flow to the PC board. A little bump and it simply fell apart. Somebody in Thailand needs to be educated in how to setup solder flow machines properly.
Pop apart the plastic case after unplugging the USB cable. Be careful not to lose the rubber bumpers the drive is mounted in just by the pressure of the plastic. You need a VERY FINE, temperature controlled, soldering iron under a big magnifying glass light to make these joints. On the bottom of the USB connector, on the opposite side of the main PC board, you'll see 4 tiny solder dots where the connector makes with the multilayer board. Very carefully, with a tiny tip iron...not the big wood burning iron...melt these 4 solder connections while applying a little bit of 60/40 fine solder, melting the factory's screwup. Do not heat more than 4 seconds. Problem solved.
Plug in the USB cable and test before reassembly of case. Drive restored, no data lost.
WD, please inspect your drive's USB connectors for cold solder joint and faulty workmanship....thanks.
Hmm....wonder how many of these drives were tossed?? I could use a few more TB of free storage...(c;]