I recently needed to removed the drive from a Western Digital My Book External USB/eSATA drive enclosure. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an obvious process and this excellent article by Scott Cramer didn’t apply to the newer version (1 TB drive) enclosure I have. So here you go, the steps required to disassemble a new-style Western Digital My Book drive enclosure.
1. Locate the two rubber pads on the bottom of the enclosure near the front, curved surface. Remove these two pads. Depress the two tabs below using a small flat-head screwdriver.
1a. With a couple of credit cards, pry the back edge of the casing apart and hold them open with the credit cards. There are some locking mechanisms there that need to be held apart. You can now slide the plastic casings apart. Note that it is easier to lift the round corners of the case and pop it out of the retainers than it is to slide it off due to the very tight fit of the sliding components.
2. Slide the clear plastic LED front panel conduit forward and remove.
3. Rotate the hard drive/carrier assembly sideways and then lift away from the case
4. Remove the two screws holding the metal connector casing. Slide it upwards and remove it
5. Slide the circuit board upwards (away from the drive), just like you did for the metal casing.
6. Remove the 4 screws holding the hard drive to the metal carrier. You’ll see that it is a standard 3.5″ desktop SATA drive.
Repeat the steps in reverse order to re-assemble the enclosure.
Getting Your Data Off of the Drive
In most cases, the circuit board inside the enclosure is the cause of the failure and the drive itself is fine. The drive is a standard 3.5-inch SATA drive and easiest way to get your data off is to use a SATA-to-USB adapter dock, such as this Thermaltake Dock at Amazon.com.
In many cases, all you need to do is connect the drive to a computer using a new dock and your data is immediately available. If it’s not, here are some suggestions:
- Test the drive using the Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic tool
- Use data recovery software:
- Use TestDisk to repair damaged partition tables.
- Purchase the Runtime.org GetDataBack data recovery software (free demo available)
- If you’re a Linux guru and have an empty spare drive on which to copy data, you can try using the SystemRescue bootable Linux CD and Antonio Diaz’s ddrescue command line program.
- Send the drive a professional data recovery specialist, such as DTI.
Video showing How to Opening the Case
Protect your data with offsite backups:
If you are looking for an even more robust backup solution, I highly recommend using an online backup service. If your hard drive fails, or in case of a catastrophic event (fire, theft), there is still a secure copy of your data. I’ve had great experiences with CrashPlan.com Offsite Backup, which allows you to backup files between your own computers for free, and gives unlimited unlimited offsite storage on their servers for $3.00/Month.
To Install a Different SATA Drive in the Original Western Digital Enclosure:
In many cases, the enclosure is probably what is failed. But if you’re sure it,s working, you can replace the original drive with a different drive. For example, I replaced the 1TB drive with a 200GB drive. I didn’t have to do anything special, I just put the new drive in the enclosure, plugged everything in, and it worked.
However, a few people have had with the enclosure recognizing the new drive. If you do, try this:
(thanks Fisslefink) The onboard chipset memory of the MyBook Studio needed to be reset. When you remove the metal shielding, you see the circuit board and all of the different components. One of them is two metal prongs, an empty jumper (J6, may be different on your board), sticking out of the circuit board, near the DC power input. By shorting those jumper pins together with a metal screwdriver for 2 seconds (with the drive OFF and the power cord REMOVED!), the board will reset so it can recognize the new drive.
For what it’s worth, if your drive supports slower SATA operation, you can use a traditional jumper shunt (those darn little black things that get lost all the time!) to connect the jumpers at OPT1 on the 250GB drive itself. This switches it from the faster “SATA 2″ 3.0GB/s transfer rate to the slower 1.5GB/s rate, with which the enclosure chipset may be more compatible.