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MacOS Mavericks and Western Digital Hard Drives Loosing Data

Jul 16 • General • 7451 Views • Comments Off on MacOS Mavericks and Western Digital Hard Drives Loosing Data

READ THIS POST:  Your Data Probably Is Not Lost

There have been a lot of reports online that people who are upgrading to MAC OS Mavericks are experiencing data loss on many Western Digital hard drives.

I have three 4TB Western Digital My Books connected to my Mac and I upgraded both my desktop and laptop the same day that Mavericks came out.

It wasn’t until the next day that I noticed that my External Hard Drives were missing….

Welcome to Hard Drive Hell!

At first I thought a cable was loose or something simple, but after further evaluation panic set in.

I went to the Disk Utility app that’s built into the OS and no luck.  It didn’t show the drive or any of my partitions.

When I went to System Information app, I could see that the hard drive was attached via firewire, but it wasn’t recognizing my partitions.  My main drive was no longer know as “Thor”, it was reading something generic.

I quickly loaded up Disk Rescue 3 to see if it could save my info that was on my drives….It saw the My Book and saw the Thor partition…..I started to feel optimistic.  I started what was known as a deep scan.

After a few google searches I soon realized this was going to be a long process taking up to 3 minutes per gig.

I let the scan run for days……Over 128 hours of scan time passed before I threw in the towel…I attempted to cancel the scan but it took another 10 hours before it released the hard drive and said it couldn’t find any data.

I googled a bunch of reports of similar things happening to people using Western Digital external hard drives and upgrading to Mac OS Mavericks.  Lots of people were having the same issues, and no one posted a solution.

Things were not looking good…and while I was still waiting for the scan to finish,  I saw that Western Digital had posted a warning on their Facebook Fan Page.  Unfortunately, at this point I thought the warning was a little too late for me.

“As a valued WD customer we want to make you aware of new reports of WD and other external hard drive products experiencing data loss when updating to Apple’s OS X Mavericks (10.9). WD is urgently investigating these reports and the possible connection to the WD Drive Manager, WD Raid Manager and WD SmartWare software applications. Until the issue is understood and the cause identified, WD strongly urges our customers to uninstall these software applications before updating to OS X Mavericks (10.9), or delay upgrading. If you have already upgraded to Mavericks, we recommend that you remove these applications and restart your computer.

The WD Drive Manager, WD Raid Manager, and WD SmartWare software applications are not new and have been available from WD for many years, however solely as a precaution WD has removed these applications from our website as we investigate this issue.”

My machine wasn’t using any of this WD software, now I really thought I was screwed.

I was angry at this point after thinking my data was lost and sitting around for over 100 hours on a scan to finish.   I posted my experience on the Facebook page and responded to a few posts….This was Friday night.

On Monday afternoon I was surprised to see that Western Digital had sent me a message and told me to contact support.

I quickly called their support line and got a hold of someone.  They initially told me if I removed the WD software the data might be accessible.  I informed him that I didn’t have this software installed.

The support operator’s next suggestion was to see if I could plug the hard drives into another computer.  I told him I had a desktop and laptop and both had been upgraded.   He said if I should find another computer and  plug the hard drive into it to see if it was accessible.

I said, “wait a sec….all I need to do is plug it in somewhere that isn’t using Mac OS Mavericks and my data should be sitting there?”    “Yup” he replied.

Immediately I came up with a few solution scenarios and ran them by him and he agreed that they all should show my data.

I came up with the following solution scenarios.

1. Go back to a previous version of the Mac OS or borrow someone else’s Mac that’s not upgraded and the data should show up.

2.  My mac is dual boot….Windows / Mac….Just boot up into Windows, plug in the drive and you’ll have access to the data.

3. Use VMware or Parallels to launch windows….plug in the drive….and the data should be there.

4.  Go to a PC, and install the trial of MacDrive from MediaFour and the data should be there.

The tech agreed that all of those scenarios should work.

I hung up the phone, booted up into Windows…..and there was “Thor” and all of my files.

I copied all of the data to another hard drive immediately.  According to the tech, once the data is safe….reformat the hard drive in Mac OS Mavericks and the problem is over.


Many of the reports I read, used terminology like the drives were “reset“, or data was “destroyed“, and someone said the data was recoverable but all of the file names were garbled.

It seems to me now that none of this is true and that Mavericks simply can’t read the disk.

Getting the data back using any of the 4 steps above seems pretty easy.

Is it an inconvenience?  YES   but is it easy, fast, and free to get my data back…..YES

I’m glad Western Digital reached out to me and suggested I call…..I was just going along with what I was reading on the internet and I should have know better.

If you are experiencing a similar problem, I hope this blog post helps.


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