Question about Western Digital My Passport Essential (WDBAAA5000ASL) 500 GB USB Hard Drive

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How can I retrieve the data in my portable hard drive. It says I have to format the drive.

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You didn't give much detail as to what happened, but I will suggest what I can. It sounds like you have a corrupted partition which may give you a chance to pull that data off the drive. After your data is saved delete the partition and reformat.
>First, if you have a USB cable connection, exchange the USB cable for another; I have seen bad cables do this.
>The second thing to try is to access your drive from outside Windows; use the link HERE to download Reatogo. Reatogo is a program that loads from your DVD drive and by-passes Windows and loads into memory. You can then "see" your hard drive and attempt to access your data. It has a Windows XP screen so it is easy to navigate around in. So, do this:
>Download from the above link
>Double-click the file and burn to a CD
>Make sure your BIOS is set to CD=1st Boot Device (the BIOS checks the cd for bootable files before loading Windows).
>Reboot with the CD in the DVD drive; this takes a long time to load so be patient. You may think the load has stalled, but it hasn't. When finished loading, you will see a duplicate of the Windows XP desktop, and your hard drive will be listed. Click on it, and if the hard drive is still working you will see your C:\ directory. Plug in a flash drive, locate your data, and drag & drop it onto the flash drive..
If that doesn't work, post back for additional things to try.
Wish you the best!

Posted on Oct 13, 2013

Testimonial: "I tried the new cable, that didn't do anything different. Then I did your second solution, and after following all the steps, and opening the external hard drive folder(the one with problem) in the CD-ROM BIOS boot, it still says the drive is not formatted and will not open the file. And sorry about the lack of details. I've used this drive, the WD My Passport 500gb WDBAAA500ASl-00) for a while now, but just recently after unplugging and moving the computer to a different location, the external hard drive no longer worked. The computer recognizes the drive is there with an assigned drive number and all, but I cannot open the file, and every time I try it says it is not formatted and asks to format it now. I've tried the drive on other computers, and the same thing keeps happening. I am not for certain if all the data is still there, I'm not sure why it would all be gone. But this drive has lots of important data, and I need to get it if at all possible!"

  • ranchhand Oct 13, 2013

    Sorry about the link, but I have been having a lot of trouble with this website lately posting links. Here it is:



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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: External Hard Drive will not show up. Tells me to format it.

I have a Western External Hard Drive 320 and when I plug it in the computer will recognize it and allow me to access my files but after a short while if I go to click on a file t open it the WD 320 will click off for a minute and then reappear in the auto run mode.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009

  • 192 Answers

SOURCE: Western Digital hard drive

If this is an external hard drive, what has happened is the USB interface has actually malfunctioned. I had a similar problem with a Seagate one.

If your computer is SATA capable with your present hard drive, what you have to do is actually remove the casing of the external hard drive until you come to the physical drive. It is a SATA hard drive. I removed the casing off mine because the USB interface all of a sudden died.

When I did this and plugged it into my computer, it recognized it immediately and had all of my files there. As long as none of the folders were encrypted, this goes on without a hitch.

Just take your time in removing the casing and you will be fine.

Posted on Jul 27, 2009

  • 109 Answers

SOURCE: My WD hard drive shows up on windows explorer but

I had the same problems with mine. It got to the point that the drive wouldn't even spin up all the time. I got lucky one day, and it did spin up & I was able to get my data off the drive. Counting this unit, it is my fourth WD HDD failure! Needless to say, there are no more WD drives in my house!! Are you plugged into a "native" USB port? Try that if you are using a hub. Also try unplugging the USB cord into the unit and plugging it back in again alternating with turning it on and off using the big button on the front. It isn't just a HDD in a case. There is a weird electronics board inside that connects and controls the drive. NOT a regular IDE or SATA connection, so you can't just take it out and hook it up using an IDE to USB and power supply to get your data off. Do other USB accessories run OK on your USB ports? Sometimes THEY get strange and won't work or won't work correctly. Disconnect the "My Book" USB cord, shut your computer off, pull the power cord completely out of your computer, press the start button on your computer for 5 seconds. Put the power cord back in, start your computer and reconnect the USB to the My Book. Doing the above will usually fix the USB ports that have gotten corrupted for whatever the reason. You might also try running it on another computer and see if you get the same results. Hope any of this will help. Let me know if it does, and please rate me accordingly. Good luck....I know all too well what it is like to loose data.

Posted on Jan 15, 2010

SOURCE: Data recovery from Portable Hard Disk

There are tools that will undelete & unformat you drive.
look here for free one.
and here for a selection.
finally this one is great but costs.

Posted on Feb 07, 2010

SOURCE: hard drive wont spin circuit board is fried

I would not play around with it yourself. Even if you match the size, model etc; there is a chip called U-12 which is the ROM bios chip for the drive. That chip contains special startup and initialization information for the drive. Also, if you have defects on the G-list or P-0list you need a recovery company to write that. Sometimes, you get lucky; but, if you need to make sure it s right call an expert usually these types of issues are resolved for $500-$700. Logical issues ... If the drive has to be opened then, you can consider it will run into the thousand area.

Posted on Jul 23, 2010

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Did you find a resolution for this? I am having the same problem. None of my PCs can recognize the drive. Formatting seems to be the only choice but I need to recover my old data first.

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