Portable HDD refuses to transfer files onto friends computer

So I own a “WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive” which I use as a backup drive to my computer. I have it hooked into my PC 24/7 and transfer stuff back and forth between them on a daily basis and have had absolutely no problems. It’s hooked up via USB 3.0 connection so it’s also pretty fast as well.

I took the drive over to a friends house to share some content and for some reason after plugging it into his computer I could see the files on it and explore the drive just fine, but the moment anything was transferred off it the upload/download would start at 30mbps and then immediately drop down to 0mbps and completely stop. Selecting different files or even moving one small thing at a time didn’t work as nothing on the computer, not even a 10kb text file could be transferred, and using different USB ports didn’t help at all, neither did multiple restarts. The weird thing being, I could transfer stuff off a 32GB flash drive I also brought just fine.

My friend told me the drive seemed to be dead or was in danger of dying but taking it home and replugging it into my computer the drive is working just fine and I can transfer stuff on and off it just like old times.

Anybody got a clue what’s wrong?

Did it come with an install disk? Perhaps you need to have a special driver for it.

This is just a guess but it might have to do with the file permissions. I don’t really know how this works exactly so hopefully there are some computer gurus here but the drive might not recognize the host machine so is refusing even read permission.

Again, this is also just a guess, but you might be able to go into the properties of the drive (rt click, properties) then the security tab and add the current user of the host machine to the list of authorized users. That’s probably something the host admin would have to do but presumably that’s also your friend.

If it is a compact external drive powered by the USB, then that might be the problem.

Some computer USB ports may not deliver enough power for an external drive.


Another possible issue is the formatting, especially if one of the computers is a Mac and one is Windows.

It’s a plug and play HDD, never had to install anything on my own PC to get it to work.

Next time I’m there I’ll check this out, thanks.

This might also be it, we were using a USB 3.0 port but on my own home PC there’s a couple of USB ports that don’t play nice with external HDD’s but will work with everything else.

These were both Windows 10 systems.

If it is a power issue, one of these Y cables may be what you need. It uses two USB ports instead of one to get enough power to make the drive work.


Your friend’s computer may have a defective USB 3 (“Super Speed”) port or chipset. Try plugging the drive into a USB 2 (“Hi-Speed”) port if the computer has one.

(Labels vary enormously, but USB 3 “Super Speed” ports are typically blue and/or have “SS” on their USB logo; USB 2 “Hi-Speed” ports are typically black and their USB logo has a “+” sign.)