WD Elements firmware problem

Some of our customers have had issues with WD Elements external HDD after formatting the drive in an IMPEX station. The WD Elements drive could no longer be seen in Microsoft Windows after formatting. SYSCTL purchased a WD Elements device to investigate the problem and has managed to reproduce the issue.

The issue seems to be that the firmware shipped with the drives cannot handle a file system created by someone else. This seems to have been fixed by Wester Digital in a later firmware version.

SYSCTL was able to find a solution to rescue the drive by using a software from Western Digital called Western Digital Dashboard. The software can be used to update the built in firmware from the factory to a newer version.

After the firmware upgrade it was possible to use the disk with Microsoft Windows again without any further problems.

How to upgrade the WD Elements firmware

The guideline requires a computer with Microsoft Windows installed. The computer also needs internet access to download firmware. Administrator privileges are needed to perform the installation.

  1. Download WD Dashboard from Western Digital.
  2. Install Western Digital Dashboard by following the instructions from Western Digital.
  3. Update the firmware by going to the Western Digital support site and select the Update Firmware instructions link.
  4. After the firmware update the external harddrive will work as expected.

The complete manual for WD Dashboard can be downloaded as a pdf.