How to Update Firmware of WD External Storage Drives

I have been using Western Digital hard disks for many many years as they are both cost effective and reliable when it comes to your data storage needs. Even though I have two 750 GB internal hard disks in my two desktop computers, my notebook computer came with only a 250 GB hard disk (Toshiba). So I ended up buying a new WD My Passport external storage drive with a capacity of 2 TB. It worked flawlessly in Windows and Mac computers, but showed a little sluggishness when I attached it to my Linux computer. As suggested by a friend of mine, when I updated the firmware of the hard disk, it started to work much better.

The firmware of a hard disk drive is a little program that makes the actual hardware work and exposes it to the external interface so that you computer can access the data. It controls how the data is stored and retrieved from the hard disk. By updating the firmware of your WD external storage devices, you can improve their performance and remove any previous bugs that existed in the older firmware.

Here is how you can update the firmware of the WD external storage disk drives (they are sold under the label “My Passport” or “My Book”):

  1. First of all, create a backup of all the data stored on your external hard disk for which you want to update the firmware.
  2. Connect the target WD external drive to your computer using the USB data cable and attach the power cable.
  3. Remove all of the USB device from your PC except the mouse and keyboard.
  4. Download WD Firmware Updater utility from This is a small program to be used on a Windows PC.
  5. Extract the contents of the downloaded ZIP archive to Windows desktop and launch WDFirmwareUpdater.exe from there. Click on the Continue button to proceed.WD Firmware Updater
  6. After accepting the license agreement, you may can see your connected WD disk drive in the window. But if you do not see it, then you should check thoroughly if there are any other USB devices attached to PC, re-connect the WD external storage and then click on the Rescan button.WD Firmware Updater
  7. Once the WD external storage is visible in the firmware updater utility, you can click on the Update Firmware button to proceed and start the update.WD Firmware Updater
  8. In a few minutes, the firmware shall be updated after which you can click on the Exit button and close the firmware updater utility. Wait 10 seconds, detach the USB data cable and the power cable from the WD disk drive. Wait 10 seconds, and re-attach the cables back.

Conclusion: Updating the firmware of your WD external storage disk drives can make them perform better and can take care of some of the known bugs. But you should not attempt to update the firmware if the disk drive is already performing good.


  1. And how are we supposed to upgrade the firmware if we don’t have a Windows machine?!?!?!
    Seriously, why don’t these companies support or even care about the millions of people who use Linux?
    Am I supposed to go buy a copy of Window$$$ and waste hours installing it just so I can update the firmware on one drive?

  2. How are we to accomplish a backup of external drive when we can’t access it? With a warning like this, it makes me believe I’ll be looking at an empty drive afterwards if I don’t somehow backup again. I’ve already lost 3/4 of my music to a MP3 player that didn’t work right. That’s why I was going to the backup-don’t want to lose it too.

    1. I added the backup step just to be on the safe side. If “something” happens you will still have all of your important data. I am sure WD’s firmware upgrade is designed to handle all possible situations and you won’t have any problems. But still… it is better to be safe now than sorry later.

      1. So, in my case, I just have to bite the big one because I don’t have anything running an older Windows OS to back it up with? And hope the firmware update will make the two simpatico?

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