Western Digital (WD) has confirmed it is working with Apple [AAPL] to address a OS X Mavericks-related bug that's wiping out data stored on some external drives, telling me that: "the occurrence rate of this event has been very low". Read on for what else we now know about this strange bug.
In brief, WD has already warned customers that in some cases people who have WD software (WD Drive Manager, WD Raid Manager and/or WD SmartWare) installed on a Mac upgraded to OS X Mavericks can lose the data they have stored on their external drive.
The good news, according to the company, is that (in most cases): "Should this occur, the data on the product can likely be recovered with a third party software utility if the customer stops using the device immediately after the OS X Mavericks upgrade."
This could mean the problem is a little worse than I originally believed, as the subtext to what the company is saying is that if you are affected by this problem you will be forced to use third party recovery software, and this solution may fail.
Specific problem, few victims
The company says the problem comes only when specific conditions are met:
"WD has been tracking this issue closely through our WD Forum and through our Technical Support hotline and the occurrence rate of this event has been very low. A specific set of conditions and timing sequences between the OS and the WD software utilities has to occur to cause this issue."
In order to protect customers against this potential problem the company wants users to uninstall WD Drive Manager, WD Raid Manager and/or WD SmartWare from their Mac before they upgrade to the Mavericks. If you've already upgraded to Mavericks, then the company recommends users to remove these applications and restart your Mac even if you haven't been affected.
This -- presumably -- is to ensue the specific set of conditions and timing sequences aren't accidentally initiated at a future date -- so you'd best uninstall these apps if you are on Mavericks and haven't been affected by the bug.
"If you have already upgraded to Mavericks and are experiencing difficulty in accessing your external hard drive, please do not save anything to the drive, disconnect the drive from your computer, and contact Western Digital Customer Service at http://support.wdc.com/contact/, the company said.
Delete the software
WD is clearly highly concerned at the problems afflicting some of its customers. A company spokesperson told me: "It is important for WD to take a proactive response to helping customers resolve this issue."
The spokesperson also confirmed the company to be "working directly with Apple on this matter."
If you have been impacted by this problem, then I urge you to read this report that details some advice as to how to deal with the challenges here. If you have not been affected, please ensure WD's software is removed from your machine, pending a final fix.
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