Problems With a WD External Hard Drive

by Tyler Lacoma

WD stands for Western Digital, a company that makes a variety of electrical devices, including external hard drive. These hard drives function in similar ways to the hard drives installed in computer systems, but with a few key differences. They are self-contained modules that can be easily moved from system to system, usually accessing computers with a USB cable or similar method. While these devices are simple, there are certain problems WD drives can develop.

Power Down Modes

All WD external hard drives have a cycle that requires them to spin down after several minutes of inactivity. This can be annoying to users who are compiling lists to download or upload from their computer, and now have to wait for the hard drive to come back on. This power down feature is designed to save power, but can be a hassle. To fix the problem, WD has software that allows users to disable the feature, but this only works on some compatible models.

Power Problems

Sometimes the external hard drive can quit working entirely. When this happens, the problem is most likely with the power adapter or power cord. Sometimes the power adapter is faulty, or is not designed to work with the particular WD model it is being used with. If the hard drive has no power cable it receives power from the USB cable, which means there is a problem with the cable connection to the computer.

Drive Problems

Drive problems occur when the external hard drive is turned on, but is not showing up on the computer itself. Users can tell the hard drive is working if the indicator lights are on or if it is making noise, a sign that the problem is with the drivers and not the power. Sometimes drivers fail and need to be replaced. Sometimes new drivers need to be downloaded for an updated operating system.

SMART Failure

SMART is a type of protocol (Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) that quickly scans the external hard drive for any problems as the hard drive is starting. If the SMART process fails, this indicates that the hard drive itself may soon fail, or possibly that the operating system is compatible with an older version of SMART (an increasingly rare problem).

About the Author

Tyler Lacoma has worked as a writer and editor for several years after graduating from George Fox University with a degree in business management and writing/literature. He works on business and technology topics for clients such as Obsessable, EBSCO,, The TAC Group, Anaxos, Dynamic Page Solutions and others, specializing in ecology, marketing and modern trends.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera external drive image by Albert Lozano from