Western Digital Confirms OS X Mavericks Can Wipe External Hard Drive Data

The issue affects other drive manufacturers, but Apple remains silent

Western Digital (WD), one of the largest hard drive manufacturers in the world, has warned its customers that upgrading to OS X Mavericks (10.9) can lose all the data they have stored on external hard drives.

The company is “urgently investigating” reports of drive corruption and the connection to WD disk management software. “Until the issue is understood and the cause identified, WD strongly urges our customers to uninstall these software applications before updating to OS X Mavericks (10.9), or delay upgrading,” said Western Digital in an email.

Users previously reported Mavericks driver issues relating to Thunderbolt storage, RAID configurations and eSATA cards.

The external hard drive problem was still being reported at the time of publication.

Backup for your backup

Since last week, Apple Support Communities forum has been receiving hundreds of complaints that upgrading to Mavericks causes some external hard drives to be displayed as empty. The situation was made worse by the fact that many users rely on external hard drives for their Time Machine backup – so it is impossible to roll back the changes.

wd_elite_passport_1Western Digital has sent a mass email to alert its customers to the issue. The company previously suspected its software – WD Drive Manager, WD Raid Manager and WD SmartWare – was at fault. It instructed the users who had already upgraded to Mavericks to uninstall those applications, and even went as far as to temporarily pull all of them from its website.

However, it turned out that Mavericks users who have never installed any of the WD software also suffer from the same problem.

According to Tom’s Hardware, the data is not completely gone from the drives, but they were incorrectly configured under the new OS and can’t display their contents. Many software solutions for data recovery are available online, although forum users report that not all of them are equally effective.

Apple had not issued a statement at the time of publication.

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