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WD Passport External Harddrive 320GB Not Recognized

by pacdave / April 21, 2009 2:34 PM PDT

I have a Western Digital Passport 320GB External Harddrive that is no longer recognized by the computer. It worked two days ago... now nothing.

I get a pop up when I plug it in that states: USB Device Not Recognized.

I checked Device Manager: Universal Serial Bus Controllers-Unknown Device.

It's not a drive letter issue. Windows XP SP3 does not recognize it all.

Its not a power issue. I've tried all of my USB ports and used different USB cables (including the one that came with it). The blue light comes on and the drive spins fine... no racket. I have another WD Passport (500GB) and it works fine. I've also tried the drive in several different computers (laptops and desktops) with the same error "USB Device Not Recognized".

Does anyone think it might be the SATA to USB2 adapter? I took apart the drive and reseated the adapter... no luck. I tried searching for an exact replacement on line but had no luck. I'm going to try WD support (when it's online again).

Anyone have any thoughts/suggestions? I don't have a lot of data on the drive and nothing that's irreplaceable. However, I would like to get it going again.

If you go to Youtube, you can see the drive disassembled. Great video and it talks about the USB adapter.

If anyone knows where to get an exact replacement adapter, please let me know. Thanks all! If I have any luck from WD on the part, I'll post an update.

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Why must the replacement be exact?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 21, 2009 10:05 PM PDT

For years I pull such drives and put them into other cases. Is there some reason it must be the same controller?

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WD Passport not recognised
by GrMiAl / November 1, 2009 11:29 AM PST

For the past 2 years I've used a WD 250 gig passport connected to my laptop.

It suffered a shock; comes off the cable and dropped to the floor.

The error msg reads: the USB device has malfunctioned and Windows is not recognize it.
The unit still powers up and I can feel the disc spinning in the housing.
I've tried using a different cable but the error msg persists.

It's got all my music and photos. Any suggestions on repair of file recovery?

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Try it in another case.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 1, 2009 11:47 AM PST

If you are lucky it will come back.

Given the fragile nature of these things, shouldn't we have a backup?

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Put the WD passport in another case.
by GrMiAl / November 1, 2009 12:14 PM PST

The case of the WD passport doesn't open normally. Do you mean break it open and take it out of the case? Does it matter what kind of case I put it in?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 1, 2009 9:06 PM PST

If I google HOW TO OPEN A WD PASSPORT I find out how.

Let's get down to it. It's your data. Either you want to try or not. If not, take it to They are great at this stuff.

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I had this exact same problem - worked for 3 months, then...
by griffin2000 / December 3, 2009 1:30 AM PST

...then it gave me "Unknown Device" on my Vista machine although it worked on my laptop.

Finally got to the bottom of it - insufficient power was coming through the hub to the drive. Apparently, the WD drive needs x milliamps to spin up to speed, and my hub was delivering x - some.

I plugged it into a different port - one which was directly connected to the computer, not via a hub, and it worked fine. I also tried many different cables, and ONE of them worked fine too through the hub...must have been super-low resistance!

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Same problem but now fixed
by iMagna / July 19, 2010 10:49 AM PDT

I had same problem with my 320gb WD password

Had given up.

I bought a dock for the hard drive, pulled the hard drive out of it casing plugged into dock then computer.

Still wasn't working but got a program called GETDATABACK it took 5 hours but I was able to access files and copy to another drive.

Hard drive is still dead but I got my data back!

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