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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussions including the Apple Watch.

Vanished without a trace - WD 3TB USB 3.0

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Member Since: Jan 06, 2012
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I've been scouring the internet, this website included, and have found hundreds upon hundreds of people calling out to the tech gods, "My drive won't mount!" But every thread I read just doesn't quite fit the bill. There's always something a little different from my problem. Here goes...

I'm using a Western Digital My Book Essential 3TB USB 3.0 external hard drive on my 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with OS X 10.6.8. The drive boasts a "Next Generation," "Superspeed" USB 3.0, but promises that it's 100% compatible with USB 2.0. And it has been. I've never had a problem with the interface. In fact, it seemed to deliver as promised and was pretty fast.

Last night, I go to turn on my computer. It sits there, its white screen frozen in a staring match it was bound to win. So, I unplug all the goodies from my computer and try again. Everything's fine. So, I start plugging everything back in, one by one, to find the problem. Turns out, it's the WD drive.

Here's the problem I haven't been able to find an answer to on other threads. It's not just that it won't mount, but that it vanished completely. Disk Utility AND Disk Warrior can't see it. Like it's not even there. I plug in the power and the light comes on, but when I plug it into the computer, nobody's home. No error messages. It's like I never plugged anything in at all. And the computer will not start up if it's plugged in.

I read a few things that suggested I try different chords or different ports on the computer and the drive. Only one of those three I can do. The USB 3.0 port on the drive is unique. Like someone took a regular, wide, USB plug and crimped it in the middle. No other chords to try, no other ports on the drive. I'd hate to spend a ton of money to have someone tell me, "Ya'lls needs tuh redo the plugger on the shiny box it what dun come in." (Don't ask me why the Apple repair person is a stereotypical movie hick, that's just how I envision my hard earned money getting flushed away.)

So, there it is. I'll answer whatever questions I can. I really need this fixed though. I've got a little over 2 TB of footage that I'm trying to salvage. Thanks for the help!
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It's very likely the electronics on the drive died. Which hopefully means your data is there but the drive can not be accessed through its dead interface.

Depending on how important the data is, you can try extracting the data or getting the drive up and working temporarily. Before you do this I'll warn you that it will void your WD warranty. So proceed at your own risk...

The drive has a USB 3 interface built in to the case. You can try removing the case and separate the drive from it. Should not be that difficult. Then, buy an external carrier or adapter and hook the bare drive to it and attach it to your Mac. Make sure you get the correct carrier - probably a USB SATA carrier.

Another caveat here.... If the drive itself (platters) are damaged then there is no way that you will be able to get that drive up and running again and will have to resort to a very expensive data extraction service.
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I've had this exact problem on my G-Drive mobile. Luckily my interface was also firewire 400 and 800 and usb. the usb part died on the interface and would not mount to save anyones life. I also have a feeling that its your usb interface board inside the drive. I always make sure to get a drive with multiple interfaces JUST in case.

My .02

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