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Western Digital External Hard Drive Recovery

Home > HowTos > File Recovery Tips Updated by Nancy on June 28, 2024 | Approved by William

Western Digital (WD) external hard drives are popular for storing large amounts of data. However, no matter how reliable these devices are, data loss can sometimes occur. Knowing how to perform the Western Digital external hard drive recovery quickly and effectively becomes essential when this happens. In this blog post, we'll cover everything you need to know. Keep reading!

Common Reasons for Data Loss on WD Drive

This can happen for several reasons. Understanding these risks can help you take preemptive measures to protect your data.

  • 💢 Human Error
  • Accidental deletion or formatting is an all-too-common reason for data loss. Whether it's an unintended mouse click or a mistaken command, important files stored on your Western Digital external hard drive will be gone.
  • ⚠️ WD Hard Drive Failure
  • This may cause your files to become corrupted or even not appear on your computer, as well as access errors and more, which may cause you to lose access to your data.
  • 🦠 Malware and Viruses
  • They and other forms of malware can corrupt or delete files, rendering your data inaccessible.
  • 🧩 Physical Damage
  • It is portable, which makes them prone to physical damage. Drops, spills, and other accidents can lead to hardware failure, making it difficult to access stored data.

Regardless of the cause, act quickly and follow best practices to recover data from a Western Digital external hard drive.

Necessary Steps Before Starting Recovery

Once you realize that your data has been lost, follow these tips to maximize your chances of WD external hard disk recovery.

  1. Stop Using this disk Immediately

    Continuing to use the WD external hard drive after data loss can cause data to be overwritten. Once that's happened, recovering your lost files becomes difficult, if not impossible.

  2. Check Connections

    Make sure it is properly connected to your computer. Sometimes, a loose connection may cause unexpected interruptions in retrieval, resulting in damage to recoverable files or even worse problems.

  3. Prepare Another Drive to Save Recoverable Files

    This ensures that the recovery process does not inadvertently alter or corrupt the remaining data on the affected drive.

5 Methods of Western Digital External Hard Drive Data Recovery

Once everything is ready, let's explore different ways to get back your valuable files.

Option 1: Use Data Recovery Software

This is the easiest way to retrieve deleted or lost files from a WD external hard drive, which works for most situations. This section offers 3 popular options.

I. iBeesoft Data Recovery (Windows and Mac)

Your Best WD Hard Drive Recovery Software

(Trust Score 4.7 by 1695 Users)
  • Its user-friendly interface lets you effortlessly perform recovery tasks; no technical expertise is required.
  • The best disk recovery software supports multiple data types and is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.
  • It supports all series of Western Digital storage devices such as My Passport, My Book, Elements, Ultrastar, and more.
Download for Windows Download for macOS

Step-by-Step Guide for Western Digital External Hard Drive Recovery:

  1. Download and install iBeesoft Data Recovery.
  2. Open it and select the WD external hard disk from the list of available drives.
  3. Click on the "Scan" button to initiate a thorough scan of the selected drive.

  4. Once the progress is complete, preview the recovered files to ensure they are intact.

  5. Select the target files and click the "Recover" button to save them.

II. Microsoft File Recovery (Windows Only)

It is a command-line utility provided by Microsoft that helps you undelete permanently deleted files in Windows 10 and 11 (including WD external hard drives). Here is a guide:

  1. Open the Microsoft Store and search for "Windows File Recovery."
  2. Click the install button to download and install the utility on your computer.
  3. After opening it, type "winfr F: E: /x /y:PNG,MP4,DOCX" and Enter.

      Replace "F" with your WD external hard drive.
      Change "E" to the drive where the recovery is saved.
      "PNG, MP4, DOCX" are the files you want to retrieve.
  4. After completing the progress, go to drive 'E' to view the lost files.

III. Exif Untrasher (Mac Only)

This lightweight utility is easy to use and effective in dealing with file loss issues.

Here are steps to recover data from the WD external hard drive on Mac:

  1. Download and install this application.
  2. Navigate to the Applications folder and double-click it.
  3. Select the source drive. Here is your Western Digital hard drive.
  4. Choose the destination folder. This is where the file is saved.
  5. Click the "Start" button to begin the recovery process.

  6. Once the scan is complete, navigate to the destination folder specified earlier to review the recovered files.

Option 2: Your Backup

Both Windows and macOS have built-in backup solutions. If you have a backup, then you can easily recover a Western Digital external hard drive. Here's how to use these tools:

For Windows

  1. Connect the drive where your File History backups are stored.
  2. Go to "Control Panel" > "System and Security" > "File History."
  3. Click "Restore personal files" and browse the backed-up files.

  4. Select the needed files and click "Restore" to save them to their original location.

For Mac

  1. Connect the backup disk to your Mac.
  2. Open Time Machine and navigate the snapshots to find the needed files.
  3. Select them and click "Restore."

Option 3: Service Providers working with Western Digital

If the above methods don't work for WD My Passport recovery, then you may need to seek help from a data recovery service partnered with Western Digital. Here's more information about it.

When to Consider:

  1. The WD hard drive is physically damaged.
  2. Windows or Mac data recovery software does not work.
  3. The data is extremely valuable or irreplaceable.

How to Repair a Corrupted Western Digital External Hard Disk by WD Drive Utilities

Losing important files due to WD hard drive failure is also one of the common problems, but you are in luck for users of other brands. You can use the diagnostic tools - WD Drive Utilities developed by Western Digital to ensure your drive is running at peak performance and troubleshoot any potential issues.

Here's how to use this WD external hard drive repair tool:

  1. Download and install WD Drive Utilities on your system.
  2. Click "Diagnostics" to start the process after running it.

      Quick Drive Test: This test checks for major issues and completes quickly.
      Complete Drive Test: This thorough scan checks the entire drive for errors but takes longer.

Tip: Here is more information about WD Drive Utilities. If this tool can't help you fix the error, you can also go here to see more ways to repair an external mobile hard drive.

Tips for Preventing Future Data Loss

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some best practices to help you avoid data loss in the future:


Data loss can be a stressful experience, but with the right approach and tools, you can efficiently perform Western Digital external hard drive recovery in Windows 10/11 and Mac. By understanding the causes of data loss, preparing adequately, and using the appropriate recovery methods, you can increase your chances of success. Remember, the best way to deal with data loss is to prevent it in the first place through regular backups and robust security measures.


  • First, try using another port, cable, or computer. If the drive is still unrecognized, update your computer's drivers or disk management settings. If all else fails, go here to learn more about how to fix USB not showing up in Windows 11, 10, and Mac.

  • Yes, you can. When files are deleted, they're not immediately removed from the storage medium. Instead, the space they occupied is marked as available for new data. iBeesoft Data Recovery can help you retrieve these files before they are overwritten.

  • Yes, but it can be challenging. If the disk has suffered physical damage, it's best to consult a professional data recovery service. Do not attempt to open the drive yourself, as this can lead to further damage and potential data loss.

  • You can use recovery software designed to handle corrupted drives, like iBeesoft Data Recovery and R-Studio.

  • Although all items stored on WD hard drive will be gone after formatting. However, if you have not continued using it, you can use iBeesoft Data Recovery to perform formatted drive recovery.

  • Some popular free data recovery software include iBeesoft Free Data Recovery, TestDisk, and Recuva. While they may not have all the features of paid versions, they can be effective for basic WD Passport file recovery tasks.