To follow-up to the long thread I started with the same subject:
All of you that said the USB cable was at fault were right. With the serial cable, my VP2 and WD are living happily ever after with each other. I have not had a single problem with WD since swapping out cables several weeks ago. Thanks to everyone in the forum for your suggestions.
Actually, administrator, the first person to suggest the USB connection was the problem was a colleague of mine at work - many months before my original post. I should’ve listened to him. But…you were the first on the forum (and I should’ve listened to you at first also)!