WD utility formats external drive without user input

I have 2 external drives which WD utility has apparently formatted without my input. One is a 4TB WD Elements and the other is a Hitachi 1 TB in an exterrnal enclosure. Both were connected via USB. System is MacPro 1,1 running El Capitan 11.6.

System up and running and 3 Firewire drives connected and operational. When I connected my 4TB WD Elements with USB connector the disk briefly appeared on the Desktop as the way it did (with the volume name I had given it) when it was last accessed, but then quickly switched to being displayed as “MyBook” with no folders or files listed and practically the entire 4TB of the drive free, when in the last accessed state it had only about 38GB available. I need to be able to access the files, they are backups for my main computers.

Similar occurrence occurred about 2 months ago with the Hitachi 1TB drive in its external enclosure. Ran Stellar Data Recovery on it and was able to recover some of the files, but not all.

Thanks for any help.

It’s possible that your computer is having trouble recognizing the file system on the WD Elements drive, which is why it’s showing up as “MyBook” with no files or folders listed. Here are a few troubleshooting steps you can try:

  1. Check the Disk Utility: Open the Disk Utility application (found in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder), and see if the WD Elements drive appears there. If it does, select it and click the “First Aid” button to check and repair any errors on the drive.

  2. Try a different USB port or cable: Sometimes USB ports or cables can become damaged or have connectivity issues, so try connecting the WD Elements drive to a different USB port on your computer, or try using a different USB cable.

  3. Use a different computer: If you have another computer available, try connecting the WD Elements drive to it and see if you can access the files.

  4. Use data recovery software: If none of the above steps work, it’s possible that the file system on the WD Elements drive is corrupted or damaged. You can try using reliable data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery Professional to recover the files.

If you’re still having trouble accessing your files, it may be worth contacting Western Digital customer support for further assistance.


Thanks for the response but what occurred was that the WD utilities actually reformatted the hard drive, without my instructing it to do so.
1 Already ran OSX disk utility’s first aid. It showed drive as OK, but with the MyBook volume name and practically all of the disk available for writing.
2 Cable/USB port not an issue.
3 Drives read as MyBook on other computers (running High Sierra and Catalina).
4 Have used and am using data recovery software but it’s a long and tedious process. Takes days to read a 4 TB drive.

I had previously used both drives on OSX Lion with no issues. The issue is the incompatibility of WD utilities with El Capitan. I have removed all WD utilities from my El Capitan boot drive. Seems to me that WD needs to advise their user base of this fatal flaw.

I will attempt to contact WD customer support.


Terry Briggs

Same Issue here, I had an external drive plugged into an USB port of my Mycloud EX2, and it have been re-partitioned and formatted without asking for it, and what is worse everything on that external drive is lost.

Now I have two EXT3 partition, a linux swap partition and the rest of the disk formatted on NTFS but empty.

Sorry to hear it happened to you, too. I got no relief whatever from WD with my issues so I imagine you are on your own with this as I was.

I had to buy disk recovery software on my own to salvage some of the files, but the recovery software couldn’t recover many of them so they are gone forever. It would identify the files (mostly .mp4s) as the correct file type but when I tried to play them after recovery no player was able to do it. I guess I’m done with WD products after decades of their being my preferred vendor. Bought a Seagate 4TB external to recover the lost files and it does fine, no issues, and a Samsung 500GB SSD external for my Windows11 machine to run FSX from. Good luck.

Terry Briggs

Thank you Terry,

In my case I´ve been able to recover plenty of the files with a linux tool named ntfs.undelete, but with no name and unsorted, it is now a full-life job to re-sort and rename every file. And I will never know what I have lost. So I have a full-life job to hate WD every time I’ll try to put some order in all the mess I have now.