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WD My Passport not recognized by Windows 10

johnjohn320

Diamond Member
Jan 9, 2001
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Hi All,

New laptop with Windows 10 on it. I plugged in my WD My Passport External drive; Windows makes it's expected "chiming" noise, and then...nothing. It doesn't show up under Explorer or anywhere else. It is listed under Device Manger; tried updating drivers, etc. Nothing works. I googled around saw that lots of people have the same problem, but with no solution. Any ideas?
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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Is it one that gets all its power directly from the USB port? If that's the case, maybe the laptop is not providing enough power to it for it to actually work.

You can try it with your laptop plugged into the wall, and see if that increases the power the USB port puts out.

However, without knowing the model of laptop or the external drive, those are just initial guesses.
 

johnjohn320

Diamond Member
Jan 9, 2001
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Yeah, the power comes from the USB. There were a lot of power suggestions out there, but that doesn't seem to be the issue. The disk fires up and "spins," and it shows up under Device Manager. Just not actually usable. Seems like a software issue, maybe?

Edit-oh, and to answer your question about the laptop: It's a Lenovo, and the external drive as I said is a WD My Passport.
 
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UsandThem

Elite Member
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May 4, 2000
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Not sure why it would be a software issue. Windows should recognize it, assign a drive letter, and let you use it. You say you can see it device manager, try going into disk management and manually assign a drive letter to it (or mark it active, depending on what it shows there).

I have seen people using external USB hard drives and having problems because although there is enough power for it show up in Windows, there wasn't enough power for it to actually work properly.

What size is your external hard drive? Is it one of the larger ones?
 

johnjohn320

Diamond Member
Jan 9, 2001
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Well that's weird...it shows up under device manager, but under disk management it doesn't....

It's only 1TB.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
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Have you tried plugging it to other USB ports on the laptop, and you have your laptop plugged into the wall, right?

WD suggests trying this if it does not show up in disk management:

https://support.wdc.com/knowledgebase/answer.aspx?h=p1&ID=14925&lang=en&p=218

Disk Management - No Drive Letter Assigned
  • Access Disk Management. For assistance doing so, please see Answer ID 1284: How to access Disk Management in Windows to manage hard drives
  • Check if the external drive is seen in Disk Management without a drive letter assigned
    • If a drive letter is not assigned, automount may be disabled
  • Set automount to enabled
    • Click on Start (Windows logo) at the bottom-left of the screen
    • Type cmd, but don't press Enter
    • Command Prompt will display. Right-click on it
    • Click Run as Administrator
    • A Windows Console will open. Type the following commands
      • Type: diskpart
      • Type: automount
      • Type: automount enable
      • Type: exit
  • Restart the computer
And it that doesn't work:

If the alternate computer can see and access the drive, the primary or other computers USB port may not provide enough power for the external drive.

  • Since power from USB ports can vary, the use of a Power Booster cable may be needed. A Power Booster cable is a Y-shaped cable, with an extra connector, that allows for connecting a USB device to two USB ports on a computer. This provides the drive with additional power

  • For (My Book) connect the power adapter directly in to a wall socket if available
 
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johnjohn320

Diamond Member
Jan 9, 2001
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Yep, it's plugged into the wall. Tried all the USB ports. Followed what it says here to make sure automount is enabled, etc. Still no dice. Maybe it is a power issue after all, which is very strange on such a new machine.

Thanks for your suggestions, I'll keep plugging away at this...
 
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johnjohn320

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I should add that when I plug in the HD, I very briefly get a "Installing new software for your WD..." window, that simply disappears after a couple seconds.
 

UsandThem

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Yeah, there is no standard power with USB ports, as they can all differ depending on the build. Some motherboards even state they have ones that provide "fast USB charging" like Asus and Gigabyte offer on some models:

http://www.gigabyte.com/MicroSite/185/on-off-charge.htm

http://event.asus.com/mb/2010/ai_charger/

I'd just order one of those 'Y' power cables they talked about in their faq section. If you can plug the hard drive into to a different computer and it works properly, that would be what my guess on what the problem is. You could always try to contact the laptop manufacturer and see if they will provide what amount of power their USB ports provide, but I think it would be easier to just try a 'Y' cable.
 

UsandThem

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I should add that when I plug in the HD, I very briefly get a "Installing new software for your WD..." window, that simply disappears after a couple seconds.
If it works on another computer, it isn't getting enough power to properly work on your laptop. This is not entirely uncommon, and is why I came in informing you about what the possible issue was. Even better yet, try it on another desktop computer and if it works, then you will be 99.9% sure your laptop isn't providing enough power on just one USB port.

There was another post within the last 2 weeks where a guy was using an external enclosure, and bought a new hard drive. The computer would see it, but it wouldn't work. It turned out the enclosure wasn't providing enough power. I can't find the post right now, but I'll look later and link to it.
 
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UsandThem

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Confirmed, the drive works fine on other computers. I'll order a Y cable and report back...thanks!
Good luck.

It all comes down to 4 things on external storage:

1. Does it work on another computer?
2. Driver installation (or software)
3. Disk Management to manually assign drive letter or mark as active (if needed)
4. Sufficient power

You checked the first three, so it has to be the 4th item.
 
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Paperdoc

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Aug 17, 2006
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I would bet the issue IS power, and it has nothing to do with plugging the LAPTOP into the wall, or odd USB ports.

The WD My Passport unit is sold as a USB3 external drive, said also to be "compatible with USB2". Now, the 5 VDC supply of power from a USB2 port is limited to 0.5 amps max, but USB3 increased that limit to 0.9 amps. Almost all Laptop Hard Drives require more than 0.5 amps, but not more than 0.9. So, these USB3 units DO work just fine when plugged into a USB3 port using a USB3 cable. But no matter what cable you use, the do NOT get enough power from a USB2 port to operate properly. What typically happens in that case is just about exactly what you describe. The unit appears to be working and spins up, but then it generates so many errors and read failures that the OS cannot recognize it. In a few cases it even seems to work OK, but that can be a risky situation. Usually what it really does is read AND WRITE with many errors, possibly corrupting your drive unit's data.

I bet if you check the USB ports on your Lenovo laptop, they are USB2, and that the other computers where the drive works OK have USB3 ports.

So, what about the "compatible with USB2" claim? Well, IF you can provide the power it needs, it WILL work with a USB2 port, although only at the slower data transfer rate for that older standard.

How to provide power? I know of two ways, one of them already suggested above. The portable hard drives sold previously for use with USB2 ports came with a special cable that had TWO USB2 connectors on one end. You had to plug BOTH of these into separate USB2 ports to provide the unit with enough power. Newer USB3 units do not need this IF you use them with USB3 ports and cables, so those two-headed older ones are no longer included. But if you get one, it should work for you.

The other method I know of I have done and it works. You buy a separate USB3 Hub, BUT it must come with its own power brick unit that can supply the power required. That is, 5 VDC at up to 0.9 amps PER PORT. Now, there can be confusion because often the power bricks of these items put out 12 VDC, and the Hub changes it down. So the item to match is WATTS. 5VDC at 1 amp amounts to 5 Watts PER PORT, or 20 Watts minimum for a 4-port USB3 Hub. That is what the unit's power brick needs to provide.You plug the Hub into the wall with its power brick. Then connect the Laptop Drive to the USB3 Hub using the USB3 cable supplied with it. Finally, you connect the Hub to a USB2 or 3 port on the computer. In this configuration, the POWER for the drive is coming from the Hub which conforms to the USB3 specs, and not from a computer port. The communication rate depends on the complete system. If all the components (including all the cables and the host computer's port) are USB3, the data transfer rate with be the new fast rate. If any component (for example, the port of your Lenovo laptop) is USB2, then the slower older rate will apply.
 

johnjohn320

Diamond Member
Jan 9, 2001
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Well, unfortunately, the Y-cable (power booster) has not made any difference. Same result, the drive lights up and spins, but not recognized by Windows. :(
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
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Well, unfortunately, the Y-cable (power booster) has not made any difference. Same result, the drive lights up and spins, but not recognized by Windows. :(
That's really odd. The WD user guide section says that Windows should automatically detect and install drivers needed, and that's what has always happened any time I have ever used an external USB hard drive.

But further on in their support section, it states if that doesn't happen to download and run 'WD Drive Utilities' for Windows:

https://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?DL
 

johnjohn320

Diamond Member
Jan 9, 2001
7,575
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76
That's really odd. The WD user guide section says that Windows should automatically detect and install drivers needed, and that's what has always happened any time I have ever used an external USB hard drive.

But further on in their support section, it states if that doesn't happen to download and run 'WD Drive Utilities' for Windows:

https://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?DL
Hmm, the plot thickens...I downloaded that WD Drive for Utilities. That program finds the drive no problem, I even ran the "scans" on the drive. Still not found by Windows, though. I made sure automount is enabled, as you listed above. When I head into disk management, though, there are 6 (!) drives listed that have no letter. Edit: One of those drives is 931 GB, that must be the one...I should just assign that a letter somehow, perhaps? Disk Management won't let me (the option to "Change Drive Letter and Path" is grayed out).
 

UsandThem

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To the left of where it shows the greyed out 931GB space (the box where it says Disk 0, Disk 1, etc), right click on it and it should give you the option to mark it as 'Active' or 'Online'. After that, you should be able to assign a drive letter.
 

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