Recovering data from a WD My Passport drive might seem challenging, but with the right instructions, it’s entirely achievable. This guide is here to help you through each step of the process. You’ll find that with a clear approach and the proper tools, retrieving your lost files from a WD Passport can be simpler than expected, often eliminating the need for professional help.

What is WD My Passport?

My Passport is a series of external hard drives manufactured by Western Digital, commonly known as WD. These hard drives are an ideal choice for everyday users. Many rely on WD as backup drives to store important data such as photos, videos, projects, and documents.

According to Backblaze, the average failure rate for hard drives in Q3 2023 was 1.47%

Is It Possible to Recover Data from WD My Passport?

Yes, it is possible to recover data from a WD My Passport in a variety of scenarios. Whether dealing with logical errors like accidental deletion on a healthy drive or addressing light damage with bad sectors, hard drive recovery tools like Disk Drill can be effective. However, for drives with significant physical damage, professional data recovery services are typically necessary.

Recover Deleted Files from a Healthy Western Digital Drive

Data loss can occur in various scenarios, such as accidental deletion or drive formatting, where the drive itself shows no signs of physical damage. In these cases, the data is often still recoverable because the loss is due to logical errors rather than physical issues with the drive.

WD External Hard Drive Recovery with Disk Drill

  1. Download and install Disk Drill on your Windows or Mac.
    Disk Drill
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  2. Connect the WD Passport external hard drive to your computer using a USB cable.
  3. Select your WD Passport hard drive. It’s recommended to check S.M.A.R.T. before initiating direct recovery.SMART monitoring for WD Passport in Disk Drill
  4. Click on the Search For Lost Data button in the right-hand corner to initiate the scanning process. Disk Drill will check your external hard drive for recoverable data. The scanning process might take some time, depending on the size of your hard drive.selecting Western Digital drive to scan with Disk Drill
  5. After completing the scan, click the Review found items button.reviewing found items on WD My Passport on Disk Drill
  6. Preview and select the files you want to recover and then click the Recover button.selecting files for recovery from WD disk
  7. Select the destination folder where you would like to save your recovered files.selecting recovery destination for files from WD disk

Restore Files from a WD Drive using Recuva

Recuva is an alternative tool you can use for recovering deleted files from a WD My Passport drive. While it’s a free option, it does have certain limitations, making it suitable for specific recovery scenarios.

Here’s how to recover data using Recuva:

  1. Launch Recuva. (Recuva often launches with a wizard that walks you through the process of recovering data; however, we don’t need it this time. Click the cancel button to dismiss the wizard.)
  2. Click the Scan button in the drop-down menu. Click the Scan contents option.scan window on recuva
  3. In the space next to the Search string, enter your text.
  4. By selecting the File mask option, you may limit the search to a certain kind of file. To scan only for Word documents, use “.doc” or “.docx” or “*.*” to search for all file formats.
  5. Select the Scan button.enter search string and start scan
  6. Select your files for recovery and click Recover. Specify the destination for saving your recovered files and click OK.selecting files for recovery in recuva

Data Recovery from a Lightly Damaged WD Drive

A Western Digital drive might exhibit signs of light damage, like bad sectors or slow performance, indicating early-stage hardware issues. These symptoms suggest the drive is still operational but may be heading towards failure, making data recovery a sensitive task.

WD Hard Drive Recovery Process

  1. Create a Byte-to-Byte Backup using a tool like Disk Drill before attempting any recovery, to preserve the current state of your data.Create WD Passport backup with Disk Drill
  2. In Disk Drill, attach the disk image you created as the source for recovery.Attach WD passport backup to disk drill
  3. Click on “Search for lost data” to scan the disk image for recoverable files. The duration of this scan depends on the size of the disk image.Start scan drive image in Disk Drill
  4. Review and Recover files by checking their integrity, then save the necessary ones to a secure location.preview and select files for recover from disk image

Recovery from a WD Drive with Substantial Physical Damage

In more extreme instances, drives can endure significant physical damage from factors like mechanical failure or external impacts. These drives typically exhibit instability, may not be recognized by computers, and can emit unusual sounds. This level of damage often renders the drive too compromised for standard recovery methods.

  • Evaluate the Drive’s Condition. If you notice substantial physical damage, it’s clear that attempting DIY recovery is not advisable.
  • Seek professional help by contacting a data recovery service for drives that are physically damaged beyond DIY recovery capabilities.


The methods mentioned above work well for various WD My Passport Recovery scenarios.  

However, adopting a prevention-oriented mindset is always better than finding the cure. Thus, paying attention to a few straightforward guidelines will help safeguard your data from being lost or erased in the future:

  • 💾 Always make a backup copy of the external hard drive data in an alternative location.
  • ⏏️ Avoid disconnecting your external hard drive during copy/pasting or other operations. 
  • 📁 Refrain from adding or writing any additional data to your external hard drive before using any data recovery software. Doing this would decrease the likelihood of 100% file recovery.
  • 🦠 Do not connect your external hard drive to a workstation infected with a virus or Trojan. The data on the hard drive will get corrupted and perhaps erased as well.


Joshua Solomon

Technology, SaaS, and digital marketing are Joshua's go-to niches. He understands the need for simple and easy-to-read articles on the internet. As technologies grow in complexity, guides and how-to pieces must remain com...

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Approved by
Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.