Why did this happen?

Question: I plugged a brand-new My Passport drive into a USB port of my new MacBook Air. I did NOT get the anticipated popup screen. The drive started blinking, but the device did not show up in Finder. Clicking on the Time Machine icon did not help. So, I called WD tech support. They told me to unplug the drive and plug it into a different USB port. I did as instructed – Time Machine started right up and the backup then worked fine.
. . . Here’s my question: Why would it work when connected to one USB port but not another? Is there something the matter with my new Mac, or is there some other explanation?

Hi there and welcome to the WD  community.

In some cases USB ports do not give enough power to spin up, i wont say this is what happened but its a possibility, Have you tried re plugging the drive on the same port that did not work at first?.

Thanks for your note. I had a Chat session with Apple Support last night. He had me do some kind of total restart of the system. Then I plugged the WD drive into the port that had not recognized the drive, and this time it did. So I’m hoping the problem is solved–though I don’t still don’t understand what caused it. The tech guy said something about maybe corrupted port, but that doesn’t really make sense to me. Plugging in the WD drive was the first device plugged in there.