Western Digital Begs Me To Install Firmware Update That Bricks My Hard Drive

The software and firmware for Joe’s Western Digital portable hard drive needed updating. At least, that’s what it kept telling him. What Western Digital failed to explain to Joe was that they needed updating so that software and firmware update could wreck the hard drive. Well, that probably wasn’t the company’s original goal, but it was the end result. Now Joe doesn’t have a working hard drive, and the company isn’t about to replace it…even when they’re the ones who bricked it.

He posted the entire exchange with support on his Tumblr, because that’s what social media are for.

I kept getting beg screens that I needed to update my WDSmartWare software and firmware, so I went to their site, followed the instructions and when my Passport HD was supposed to come back to life after reboot it went kerplooey instead. The rest is documented below…

—— June 26, 2012 ——
New Case Created – Ref # : [redacted]

Thank you for your email. Our goal is to answer your email within one (1) business day. However, sometimes due to heavy volume it might take little longer to respond.

Case Ref Number : [redacted]
Case Details : Won’t Mount After Firmware Update

—— Jul 2, 2012 ——
Dear [Joe],

Thank you for contacting Western Digital Customer Service and Support. My name is [E].

I apologize for any inconveniences, I will be more than happy to help you. please allow me to ask you few questions, do you have any important data on your drive.

If you have any further questions, please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.

Sincerely,
[E]
Western Digital Service and Support
http://support.wdc.com

—- Tue, Jul 3, 2012 —-
Hello [E],

I moved all of my important data off the drive prior to updating the firmware.

Thanks,
Joe

—- Thu, Jul 5, 2012 —-
[E],

The WD RMA site currently will not let me create an RMA due to the error: “Please choose Asset/Product only IN WARRANTY”.

Please tell me the next step to restore my product to working condition.

Thank you,
Joe

—- Jul 24, 2012 —-
Dear [Joe],

Thank you for your reply.

I apologize for any inconveniences. I will be more than happy to help you. The reason why you could not create any RMA was because the unit is out of warranty , I saw warranty expiration was in 2011, but I saw it was a passport. Please provide me with the right serial number. One another steps recover your data from the drive and let us know, we will do a hard reset.

If you have any further questions, please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.

Sincerely,
[E]
Western Digital Service and Support
http://support.wdc.com

—- Aug 14, 2012 —-
S/N: [redacted]
—— Aug 28, 2012 ——
Dear Joseph Parrie,

Thank you for your reply.

I apologize for any inconveniences for the delay , the e-mail gotten to us untill a while
when we find out about that, that’s why we wrote you back. As I was saying this is exactly what it was, the dive you try to register to RMA , it is out of warranty. Maybe your serial number wrong, but if you are sure that’s the right serial number it is definitely out of warranty.

If you have any further questions, please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.

Sincerely,

[E]
Western Digital Service and Support
http://support.wdc.com

I think what that word salad means is “your hard drive is more than a year old, so you’re on your own, pal.”

Western Digital Update Bricks my Passport, they tell me I’m out of warranty and possibly S.O.L. [Ghost in the Machine]