Mavericks (10.9) Western Digital Data Loss (UPDATED)

We’ve been hearing reports of data loss with certain external hard drives after an upgrade to the latest Mac operating system Mavericks. The blame seems to fall to the disk management software that Western Digital bundle with their external hard drives. In response WD has removed WD Drive Manager, WD Raid Manager, and WD SmartWare from their website until they figure out the problem.

We have already had first-hand data recovery enquiries for such disks, so it remains to be seen if these issues can be resolved, or if the data is permanently damaged. One notable case involved a 6TB RAID with two 3TB drives in a mirrored array. After the update to Mavericks, the volume appeared as an empty 3TB drive.

It’s worth noting that even if you use a Western Digital RAID drive set as a mirror, this problem can still cause data loss. Both disks in the mirror are susceptible to the same problem. Remember that RAIDs need to be backed up even more than single disks!

More info and links at MacRumours

Update – 8-11-2013

We’ve now completed the recovery process for one of these hard drives. It appears that the drive we received had been formatted to an empty MyBook volume. The way the Mac filesystem stores data means although most of the files can be recovered, it is not possible to restore the original file and folder structure. This causes issues for files like InDesign which link to external files by name when you add graphics to the document.

We’ve not yet seen enough of these disks to know if this is a common outcome for all affected disks.

2 Replies to “Mavericks (10.9) Western Digital Data Loss (UPDATED)”

  1. Im a victim of the western Digital / mavericks disaster. It has happened to just one of my many external rugged lacie’s . I must recover it. I haven’t done anything to it since it suddenly appeared as ‘MyBook’ without any data on. I have all my iPhoto files on it – the actual iPhoto Libraries. From what i have read, and I have removed the offending WD drivers, I get the impression i can recover files but as individuals and not the actual iPhoto structures etc. What do you know and how can you help. PLEASE PLEASE. Danny

    1. Hi Danny. You are correct about not ever getting the structures back. There is a good chance that all or most of your photos can be recovered, just without the original structure. Luckily photos are one of the best filetypes for a successful recovery.

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