to commonly asked questions.

Why won't my Western Digital drive work?

I am having trouble mounting my external drive. It is an older Western Digital My Book, and I am running Catalina on an iMac. I contacted support for Western Digital, after much troubleshooting and downloading updated software, it still did not work. They said I could try to run it on a computer with a lower version (He thought Catalina could be the issue), which I do not have. I really just want to get the photos and videos off of this external drive. Actually, I’m not 100% sure what, if anything, is on it but I need to find out for sure.

This is why I don't like Western Digital drives specifically. Sorry to hear of the issue you're having. The ability to access data on this external drive should be irrelevant to what OS your computer (given that it was formatted for the Mac in the begging) is using. Also, I strongly urge no one use the "WD" software that comes with the drive. It's crap frankly. If you are using the drive as a backup drive, just use time Machine software that comes on every Mac. If you are using it as a media storage drive for pictures or videos for example, then in the future make sure the media drive is being included in the Time Machine backup (which would be running on a separate external drive.

Moving on to the actual question, in my experience with Western Digitals, it's usually the plastic enclosure that dies before the hard drive. So if your main goal is to get the data so you can transfer it to a different drive, it may require opening up the enclosure to get the drive in hopes of circumventing the plastic. If you did actually use the "WD" software (I'm really hoping you didn't) to encrypt your data, then all may be lost. But seeing this is rare among my clients.

So first step: open a program on your Mac called "Disk Utility". Located in the Applications/Utilities folder. (Or search for it with spotlight search-magnifying glass in the top right corner of your screen.). Once disk utility is open, can you see the hard drive (given that it is powered on) on the left column? If so, select it and try to use the mount button within that same window.

Side note: Have you heard any clicking coming from the drive. Like the sound of a very loud pencil tapping on a table? If so, the drive is basically toast and beyond my ability to assist. There are data recovery companies that handle physically broken drives but they are $$$$$.

Next step: I'd be happy to attempt to recover the data if you were not using the WD encryption software and it's not been clicking. Worth a shot. You can just schedule a pickup/dropoff. I would attempt the recovery and have it back to you usually the next day. Or at least be able to pronounce it dead if that were the case as well.
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