[Solved]: How To Fix A Slow WD External Hard Drive Without Data Loss?

Summary: Data loss can happen to anyone. WD external hard drives are sturdy but can fail. How to fix a slow WD external hard drive without data loss? How to recover data from WD hard drive? We have all the solutions at Stellar Data Recovery. Read on to know more.

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WD external hard drives are a type of storage device made by Western Digital. These external hard drives are designed to be connected to computers, laptops, or other devices using a USB cable.

My Passport and Elements are the main types of WD external hard drives. They come in various storage capacities, up to many terabytes.

WD My Passport not showing up Mac

If your WD external hard drive has slow transfer rates there is no need to be concerned. We have all the tips and tricks about how to fix a slow WD external hard drive without data loss.

In this article, we shall cover:

What Do You Mean By Slow WD External Hard Drive?

After some months of use, you will find your WD external hard drive has slowed down. It takes time to open documents as PDF files. It also takes a lot of time to transfer movies and other large media files to it.

This can be due to:

  • Physical Damage: External hard drives are sensitive to physical shocks and impacts. Falling from a height can damage it.
  • Fragmentation: As you save and delete files on the external hard drive, data can become fragmented. This occurs when parts of a file are scattered in different locations on the hard drive.
  • Software Issues: Compatibility issues with the computer’s operating system or outdated drivers may cause the external hard drive to slow down.
  • Hardware Issues: The motor or read-write head might be working slower than usual. USB connections can also cause a lag.

What Are The Problems Faced Due To A Slow WD External Hard Drive?

The normal speed of transfer is about 400 MB/second if using a USB 2.0 connection. This goes up to 4.5 GB/second if one uses USB 3.0

When the WD external hard drive has slow transfer rate it can take hours to transfer a small 200 MB file from the laptop to the WD external hard drive. So, it becomes impossible to use it as usual.

Additional Reading: Fix WD My Passport Hard Drive Not Detected, But LED is Blinking

Best Methods To Fix Slow WD External Hard Drive

It is not normal at all for a hard disk to slow down. It is manufactured to read and transfer data at a constant speed throughout its lifetime.

Any drop that you notice indicates that some mechanical part is nearing the end of its life.

Although under ideal conditions they are manufactured to work for ~10,000 hours that number changes based on external factors.

Although not usual. a WD external hard drive can fail in as little as two years.

If the slowing drive fails completely it is difficult to retrieve the data and media it contains.

However, there are several options you can explore to try to resolve the issue:

  1. Check Connections: First, ensure that the external hard drive is correctly connected to your computer. Try using a different USB port or cable to see if that resolves the problem.
  2. Reformatting: If the external hard drive is recognized but has corrupted files reformatting the drive might fix the issue. But there is a risk of data loss unless it is done carefully.
  3. Data Recovery Software: If the WD external hard drive is recognized by the computer but you cannot access your data, you can use data recovery software.
  4. Professional Data Recovery Services: This is your best and safest option. If a new USB cable or a different USB port doesn’t work, consider seeking professional data recovery services.

Stellar Data Recovery – The #1 Option

First things first. If you suspect your WD external hard drive is not working as it should, first eject it from the System Tray and disconnect it. Then read on. This prevents any further damage.

Stellar Data Recovery Software

Stellar Data Recovery Software, is a robust solution for recovering lost or inaccessible files across diverse drives and operating systems.

We are committed to our clients. Our data recovery software offers a user-friendly interface, as well as swift and thorough scans.


  1. Recover data from a wide array of storage devices. This includes hard drives, USB drives, and other attached storage media.
  2. Retrieve data from formatted, corrupted, encrypted, or damaged partitions.
  3. Support for various file systems, such as NTFS, FAT, exFAT, HFS+, APFS, and more.
  4. Ability to recover data from different scenarios like accidental deletion, virus attacks, power failures, system crashes, and more.
  5. Capability to recover various types of data, including photos, videos, music, documents, emails, and more.
  6. Provides a preview feature that allows users to view recoverable files before performing the actual recovery process.
  7. We offer a free version of Stellar Data Recovery Software, which allows users to scan and preview their lost data. However, to save the recovered files, a license key for the software must be purchased.

Stellar Data Recovery Services

Stellar Data Recovery Software is excellent. But there are situations where it cannot help. Such as if the printed circuit board of the WD external hard drive malfunctions or if the read-write head is broken.

You then need the assistance of our in-lab services. Our engineers would disassemble the WD external hard drive and locate the fault.

Stellar data recovery service

At Stellar Data Recovery Services, we take pride in our track record of successfully retrieving data for thousands of satisfied customers. We attend to 40,000 customers every year and have an exceptional success rate.

Why Choose Us?

  1. Our team of highly skilled and experienced data recovery specialists is equipped to handle a wide range of data loss situations.
  2. In case of accidental file deletion, hardware failure, virus attacks, or any other data loss event, our team would retrieve the data safely.
  3. Our state-of-the-art lab is equipped with advanced tools and technologies. The “Class 100 Clean Room” environment that ensures a dust-free and contamination-free atmosphere.
  4. We follow ISO 9001 & ISO 27001 standards for quality management and information security management.
  5. Stellar Data Recovery was established in 1993 and has over 3 million customers in more than 190 countries.

If you are facing data loss issues or require professional data recovery services, we are here to lend a helping hand. You do not need to worry about how to fix a slow WD external hard drive without data loss at all.

FAQs and Tips

1. How long do Western Digital external hard drives last?

The lifespan of a WD external hard drive can vary significantly based on various factors:

  • Usage patterns
  • Operating conditions
  • Care and maintenance.

Though WD external hard drives are of very high quality, it’s important to note that they are mechanical devices with moving parts. They are subject to wear and tear, high temperature, and moisture.

2. Do WD external hard drives need firmware? 

Yes, they do require firmware. The firmware in an external hard drive plays a critical role in:

  • Managing data transfers
  • Handling error correction
  • Managing power consumption
  • Implementing security features

and of course, interacting with the computer’s operating system.

However, being a USB device, a WD external hard drive can work perfectly with the drivers that are already installed alongside the Windows and macOS operating system.

3. How can I prolong the life of my WD external hard drive?

To prolong its life, consider the following best practices:

  1. Avoid dropping, jolting, or subjecting the external hard drive to physical shocks.
  2. Keep the external hard drive in a cool and dry environment.
  3. Always eject the external hard drive properly from your computer or device before disconnecting it.
  4. Periodically clean the drive’s surface and vents with a soft, dry cloth.
  5. Regularly backup your important data to another storage device or cloud-based service.
  6. Check for firmware updates from Western Digital and install them as needed.
  7. Use built-in disk utility tools (e.g., CHKDSK on Windows or Disk Utility on macOS) to perform periodic disk checks.

We understand the urgency of data recovery, especially in critical situations. Call us today.

Additional Reading: External Hard Disk I/O Device Errors

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