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Western Digital Passport Troubleshooting

Updated July 20, 2017

Western Digital Passport external hard drives are compact, portable and USB powered, with plenty of storage capability: up to 500 GB. What makes the Western Digital Passport line of external hard drives even more attractive is the on-board backup software that allows you to back up your data as it is being written, ensuring the integrity of your work regardless of your location. Western Digital Passport external hard drives are not without their share of problems, however, so it is essential to understand some basic troubleshooting tips.

Passport Partition Problem

When copying files larger than 4 GB on your Western Digital Passport, you may receive an error that reads "not enough space" on the Western Digital Passport. The root cause may be that your Western Digital Passport partition may be formatted in the FAT32 partition format. While the FAT32 partition format allows compatibility for MAC and Windows systems, there are some limitations, including file transfers of over 4 GB in size.

To fix this problem on a Windows system, move all of the current data from your Western Digital Passport hard drive to a temporary space on a different drive, for example your C: drive. Once your data is safely moved, click on "Start." Click on "My Computer" or "Computer" in Windows Vista.

Find the Western Digital Passport hard drive and right-click on the drive. Click "Format" from the selection box. You will be given a formatting menu with some selections to make. You may keep all of the default settings except for File System. Change the File System to "NTFS" and then click "Start." It will take some time to format your hard drive, but when the formatting is complete you will be able to write files of any size to your Western Digital Passport.

Passport Driver Problem

You may experience a driver problem after initially trying to set up your Western Digital Passport. Windows may report that there is no driver discovered for your device.

The root cause may not be your hard drive but rather that Windows does not have the correct USB driver and reports the USB port as an unknown device. Remove your Western Digital Passport from its current USB port and plug it into another USB port where Windows may discover your device.

If the second USB port does not work, try unplugging all peripheral devices and then rebooting your system. When the system comes back up, plug your Western Digital Passport into each USB port one at a time until Windows recognises your drive.

If the Passport driver problem continues, try connecting the Western Digital Passport to another computer. If the new computer recognises your Western Digital Passport, then you know you have a driver problem on the original computer, and you will need to acquire drivers from the computer manufacturer's website. If the new computer does not recognise the Western Digital Passport, you may have a cable problem. Return to the store where you purchased the hard drive and ask them to replace the cable for you.

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About the Author

Kenny Soward writes for various online publications, covering topics from physical fitness to religion. He has also published several short stories. Soward holds a B.A. in communications.