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.
Thermaltake BlacX eSATA USB Docking Station
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.
Thanks for all this info. Do you know if I can take apart the WD My book for Mac 2TB and use it with the Thermaltake BlacX eSATA USB Docking Station?
I am sure the problem was a short circuit and that’s why it is not being read by my mac or pc.
Paula: Yes, it should work.
my daughter jammed the usb cord in upside down. can I replace the connection? How can I recover data?
If yours has another type of connector, use that access point. Mine has USB, firewire, and ESATA. Mine came with the USB and the Firewire cables. So if the USB is broken, use the Firewire, etc.
I have a Sata drive which I would like to use as an external drive, I have a good external drive but it is used for a pin configurated hard disk, all it needs is the back end assembly to be removed and a sata convertion plug ins or something like that to get it to work. Is there any such beast? Like we have a pin situation converted to USb is there some thing for converting the case to a sata case.
Any help is appreciated.
I recently converted a 32 pin printer situation to a USB conversion it worked because they had a conversion cable.
Thats what I am hoping to find if so where do I go ?
The pin configuration to which you are referring is IDE. There may be IDE to SATA adapters, but IDE is an obsolete standard and technology and hasn’t been used in several years. You’d be better off getting a new SATA enclosure as format converters can be unreliable. There are also USB cables that attach to both SATA and IDE drives, such as this Sabrent USB-DSC5 Serial ATA or IDE 2.5-/3.5-Inch to USB 2.0 Cable Converter Adapter with Power Supply.
Will this work with my firmware locked SATA 1TB Harddrive?
I have an Imac and have flipped out the hard drive for a 2TB drive and has been working great. I am interested in any one with any knowledge about using a 3TB Hitachi Drive. I have not been able to get it to show up with my seagate enclosure. It seems like a big waste of money not being able to get this drive to work. (The seagate gave me 801 GB).
3TB drives use Advanced Format (large sectors.) Some 2 TB drives do as well. Wouldn’t surprise me that they wouldn’t work with the enclosure. Only chance is if the drive has a jumper to enable some sort of small sector compatibility mode.
HI Carlton, my “WD My Book 1110 USB” 1 TB hard drive fell a distance of less than 2 feet (from top of the tower to the ground). WD Smartware shows it as “no writable WD SmartWare partition found” and 0.0 kb free.
Ive run HDD Regenerator and it tells me the entire drive has bad sectors (????? Impossible!!). Ive run a number of Data Recovery software. Presently Im running iCare Data Recovery, its been running 41 hours and has 1101 hours left!!!! (impossible).
Im running Windows XP. I don’t live in North America, so a Thermaltake BlacX eSATA USB Docking Station may not be readily available, any other suggestions you may have to recover over 800 GB of stuff would be highly appreciated.
Could I take out the drive and put it in a 2 TB “WD My Book 1140” case?
Thanx in advance
Andrew in Jamaica
I would remove the drive and see if you get the same results with the drive alone. If not then the enclosure is whats damaged and problem solved.
If you still have the same problem there are a few things that you can try.
One that you are already doing is try several different data recovery programs. They all behave differently and one may give you a better result than another.
As a last resort you can try one or more of the many partition/format management programs. Some are designed to find and repair lost partitions without losing data. Others are simply designed to allow you to modify existing partitions without losing data.
A good source for finding free versions of these programs is Hiren’s BootCD. Currently at version 14.0. If you look through the list of programs he’s included on it you may find a program specifically designed to solve your problem.
There are 4 utilities on Hirens bootCd that may help if your drive is actually damaged.
This is a link to the list of what’s on the cd:
Look in the Recovery tools and decide if any of these may be what you need:
DataRescue DD 1.0: DrDD is a disk imager intended for data recovery and backup of partially corrupted storage devices, the main advantages are Range Selection and Copy Backward Direction (Windows Freeware).
DiskGenius 3.2: Restore deleted partition, Rebuild MBR, Rebuild partition table, Recover files, Restore formatted partition, Backup files by partition, Disk clone, Backup partition table, Create/Delete/Format Partitions etc (Windows Shareware).
Partition Find and Mount 2.31: Partition Find and Mount software is designed to find lost or deleted partitions (Windows Freeware).
Unstoppable Copier 5.2: Allows you to copy files from disks with problems such as bad sectors, scratches or that just give errors when reading data (Windows Freeware).
PS: You can also download either of these programs independently from their home sites.
I have a first generation WD Studio (for mac) 1TB external unit and i’d like to swap the faulty drive with a WD20EARS (2TB). Will it work, or can you recommend me some other WD 2 TB drives that are not advanced format?
Thanks a bunch.
Just reflecting on all of the posts here and wondering if there are *any* reliable external drives? 😉
I have a 3TB USB 3.0 WD Mybook Essential. The power button stopped working (does not turn disk on/off – stays on) but the drive works ok.
I took out the drive with your excellent instructions and placed the drive into a USB 3.0 dock, 2.0 dock, internal SATA direct connect and all methods fail to recognize the hard drive contents. I tried docs with different chipsets and all do not allow me to read my data.
Are all WD 3TB Mybooks “encrypted”? Is there a way to “decrypt” the data. The data is still present after I reassemble it back, however, I like my dock better for access. Win 7 PC asks for hard drive to be formatted or allocate sectors for formatting. I know if I do this, I will lose all my data. Is there another enclosure I can use to access my data on my Western Digital 3TB hard drive?
Thanks a million!!
The enclosure encrypts the drive. You have to either use the WD enclosure or copy the data off, remove the drive, reformat, and then copy data back to the drive.
Been having a problem with a WD My Book that is having mounting issues. Instead of buying the docking station would I be able to slip it into one of the bays in a Mac Pro I have?
Yes, you can install the drive in a Mac Pro as long as it’s not encrypted by the enclosure.
So Steve, or anyone for that matter….Can I delete/format my partitions on my WD MyBook Essential, then just recover my files? I know I have heard that in some file recovery formatting may delete a partial sector so some data may be overwritten and lost forever…I just sick of hassling with trying to remember my password…I swear its making me crazy…really. HELP!!!!
If your drive is encrypted, you won’t be able to recover any files after formatting. Only option is to enter password and copy files off.
my external just hit the floor and now it shows it is receiving power but when connected to the computer, the computer shows nothing.
need some help!
Carlton – I’m sure the answer to my question is in the 300+ comments… But I didn’t want to sort through them. I appreciate the information above- unfortunately I came across it too late and had already busted the casing… the SSusb jack in the back of my WD 1TB had broken off when I unplugged it. The Drive is still functional – I just don’t know how to hook it up to a new enclosure or convert it to an internal drive. Any suggestions?
The original post describe how to install the drive in an external dock.
Thanks for the info… i just wanted to make sure i didnt tear it to pieces.
Thank you very much for putting this on the web. My WD My Book crashed and like you said it was the enclosure that failed and not the actual HD unit. I purchased the Thermaltake BlacX docking station but got an error message that the drive was not formatted. So I downloaded the GetDataBack data recovery software trial version and ran it. It took about 12 hours to run the program but then guess what ….. there were all my files I thought were lost for good. The trial version does not let you copy the files from the recovery tree but will let you open them and then you can save them doing a “SAVE AS” command. I would have bought the program if I had a lot of files to copy but I only needed to recover about a dozen files so it did not make sense to purchase it. It is a good program, though, and so was your tutorial. Thank you very much. Data recovery from a data recovery service costs over one thousand dollars to start. Instead, I recovered the files I needed using your guide and the docking station that cost me about $34.
thanks Carlton for your awesome guide incl. screen-shots, everything worked as described with the 1TB USB only version.
Hi, with big interest I read your articles about the WD my book , I myself own the pro edition II 2TB-version. Now I come to the question – I want to upgrade the case with 2 x 2 TB or 2 x 3 TB hard disks. Do your or somebody you know have experience on this? Is this possible? BR
Steve, I don’t have experience with this but you could have issues if you use Advanced Format drives with that enclosure. Since it’s very difficult to find the Western Digital EARS (non-Advanced Format) drives anymore, your best bet would be 2 of the 2TB EADS drives with the jumper set to “compatibility mode” to make them behave like a non-advanced format drives (details in the instructions that come with the drive or on via a Google search.) Good luck and report back!
Thanks Carlton! Do you only recommend to try this with 2×2 or can I go directly for 2x3TB?
Any drive larger than 2TB has to be addressed as an Advanced Format drive; you can’t go bigger than 2TB otherwise. So since the enclosure may not be Advanced Format compatible, go with 2TB drives in compatibility mode.
Excellent. Thanks for posting. I was about to drop some cash at Best Buy for a housing (at 4x the eBay cost) to get my HD issue settled this weekend. My MyBook 750GB uses a SATA drive, so I am good to go. Moving files!
Hi, I currently have 4 WD MyBook drives and I wanted to replace this with a Drobo…could I remove the casing of each and insert into the Drobo or do I need to buy 4 other drives that will fit it? I’m not sure if they are different so any help would be much appreciated!
Yes, these are standard SATA drives and can be installed in a Drobo.
I have a WD MyBook Essential that fell about 6 inches – it has EVERYTHING on it. I am not a techie at all, but, finding this and other sites, I took apart the HDD and removed the drive. It didn’t look anything like the HD’s in any videos I found online including this one. I installed the WD Sata HD with my lost data on it into a rocketfish case. It receives power and I can hear the drives spinning, but My Computer sees two data storage devices, and when I click on them, it asks me to insert a disk. I am willing to buy the items you’ve listed above as a possible solution – but it seems that your solution above must be outdated, since there is a second circuit board (with smut from heat on it!) that I can’t remove from the HD, because it has tiny star screws for which I have not drivers. I have also read on some forums that this HDD has not only software encryption but mechanical encryption and this is why the solutions you give don’t always work. Can you help me?
Not sure I can help. A different enclosure won’t make any difference. The circuit board attached to the drive is part of the drive, don’t remove it.
There is no type of “mechanical encryption” used by these drives; I think you received bad information. If the rocketfish enclosure didn’t work, your only chance would be to try a new Western Digital Elements enclosure (remove the drive that comes in it) and see if it works. If not, the drive is probably damaged.
first thank you for this article
i know the my book external hdd series use western digital green internal hdd
but green is 5400rpm and caviar black is 7200 rpm
can i buy “mybook wd ” and open it and replace the hdd with western digital caviar black internal hdd?
will i have problem with it ?
because i need fast external hdd and western dont have this product 🙁
this is very very important for me and im thank you if you help me.
please call me on my email address to chek your answer
Yes, any sata drive should work.
Alex, you didn’t mention if your enclosure has USB 3.0 (or eSATA) or only USB 2.0 interface. If you only have USB 2.0, a 5400 rpm drive is already much faster than the USB 2.0 interface, so you will not gain anything in performance. If you have a USB 3.0 or eSATA interface you should get a nice performance gain.
I am currently in the following situation. I’ve taken the 2TB drive out of my WD Elements Desktop model an placed it into the Time Capsule. no problems there. 🙂
The problem I have is trying to use the WD Black Cavalier 1TB in the old WD Elements external exclosure. I cannot figure out how to short the memory and allow the board to use this drive. Please help if at all possible.
What i have tried is to place this HD in a black duet system and it works brilliant, just doesn’t not work when connected through the WD Elements external case.
As the post states, I’m not sure shorting the jump is necessary or does anything. I’m not sure why you can’t get it to work.
hi i’m alex ( go to before this post )
is this problem about my work ?
i dont understand he have problem with caviar black and external hdd ?
please help .
i want to to input the caviar black into the western digital external hdd .
hi thanks for your answer.
for example if i buy a new HDD external ( western DIGITAL USB3 1 tera)
and i have internal hdd ( western digital 1 tera sata II 32mb buffer )
i know western digital external use CAviar Green with 5400 RPM )
i want to remove caviar green (in the external hdd ) and replac my -== internal caviar black =-.
note : caviar black 1 tera sata II is 7200 RPM and this is very good for me.
now ! i want to know if i removed original hdd (means caviar green 5400 RPM ) and replace with my Caviar black Hdd ( with 32 mb buffer and 7200 rpm )
the External HDD can work with new HDD or not ?
thnaks if you help me becaouse hdd is very expensive and i want to know i’m winner or not !
very thank you .
i already try exactly as your question 1tb green to 1tb cav black
& i regret that can’t replace by wd other product just green-eco only
oh yes ! i’m very thank you !!!!! very thank you !!
this is best results !
thanks very thanks.
Thanks a lot for the tips. Pushing the plastic locks down was difficult. One broke, so I decided to just force a small screw driver into the grooves on the side to pry it open. Using the credit cards to help keep it open worked.
You do not need to purchase an adapter if you’re willing to just open up a desktop computer and plug a SATA cable from a DVD/CD Rom drive into the SATA connection on the hard drive. That allowed me to recover the data. In all, it took about 20 minutes.
question is the hardrive inside usable in a pc when removed with harddrive prices were they are now i wanted to take my 1 tb external and use in the new system i am building?
Yes, they are standard SATA hard drives and can be used inside a desktop computer.
Thank you for your time and expertise, Carlton. I have My Book Essentials 3.0 and the 3.0 doesn’t work. Other Q&A have called for case replacement. Now, the computer sometimes recognizes the drive, sometimes it does not. I have three 1TB drives all the same, backup photo image data but the primary has my retouch files. I switch drives and the other ones work. Can you recommend a case for this so I may just change out the case and or do you recommend transferring the data to new external? WD was said to have encryption in the chip in the case. Second question: Does the encryption only effect the data through the case ports or is the data on the drive encrypted, and does this affect the success of the process of changing cases or transferring the data? Thanks for your help.
Thanks very much for very good instructions and video.
I was able to open MyBookWorld in white enclosure with ease the first time around.
Thanks for the information. Mine had to be pried open like a flat tire, but it came open. All the data is safe, but I don’t really need it as this was my backup drive and all I need to do is make a new backup. Unfortunately, the problem was the case. I would have liked to salvage that. It had E-Sata, Firewire and USB connectors.
Anyway, thanks again. It was interesting anyway and the 500 is okay.
My question is. Is there any other enclosure that’s compatible with the WD. My enclosure failed on me so i am trying to see if they have one available.
II would be very grateful if anyone can help me here. I work in Afghanistan for US military and here we do not always have immediate access to computer hardware so often we have to be creative…
I need to put a 3T Seagate SATA HDD (the only 3T available here) into existing MyBook Essential enclosure (origonally 2T WD SATA HDD).
I opened the case and was able to re-attach the board to my new drive. My Computer (DELL workstation Win 7 Ultimate)recognized the drive but cannot initialize (the error message sez that the drive is write-protected). DiskPart attribite however sees no readonly attributes. There is no pins on the board that could be something like J6 jumper that was mentioned here as possible on-board memory reset.
Thanks in advance for any help.
Alex, I suggest opening your workstation and connecting the drive directly to the motherboard using an SATA and power cable. There should be extra power cables inside; you may need to get an SATA cable to attach between the motherboard and the drive (just like with the main hard drive already installed.)
Hmmm… But I need this drive to be removable. Certainly it will work as an internal drive, its not the question. The trick is to make it work as a USB removable drive.
Thank you – exactly what I needed.
After over a year of using this drive, the on-board circuit quit maintaining the USB connection. Nothing wrong with the drive. Western Digital is willing to replace the unit – but I told them I need to retrieve the data and reformat the drive prior to returning it. They offered that they will destroy it – but I insisted that I need the data and wipe the drive prior to retuning it.
They gave me permission to crack the case and remove the drive so I can copy the backup data and then wipe the drive before returning it on an RMA. Their support on my registered product has been excellent.
Loved your comment about “off-site” backup for redundancy. I invested in a Netgear NAS server for that purpose….
I use Ghost – an excellent backup utility (for Windows)
Anyway – Thanks
Hello, I have a 2x1TB WD MyBook and the circuit board is dead, considering that the drives are in RAID, what would be the best course of action for salvaging the data?
I was thinking of simply connecting the drives to my desktop PC, but I dont know if the drives will be properly paired that way and the data accessible, any suggestions?
Hi, I have a 500GB WD Mybook and ever since my husband accidentally knock it over it hasn’t been in the very best condition. It has been working on and off the past weeks but this morning when I turn it on it just wouldn’t recognize. I see the power light on and the lock light on, but the USB isn’t in lock. Sometimes I can hear the USB running but the hard drive won’t show up on my laptop. How can I solve this? And if I were to open it up and do as the video show, will I lose all of my stuff that I save in the USB? Please help, I have alot of important stuff on my usb and I can’t afford to lose it.
I have a Western Digital 2 TB My Book Live Personal Cloud External Drive that fails to boot after a power failure (permanent red LED). I was able to remove the drive from its case and have connected it to my Dell XPS L702X (Windows 7 64-bit) via a Thermaltake BlacX (model ST0005U) using instructions. I can hear the MBL drive spinning at first and there is a blue LED with a flashing red LED initially, then a solitary blue LED on the Thermaltake. The computer will not detect the external drive in device mgr, disk mgmt, or bios. I have tried using the USB and the eSATA cords, but no luck. Am I missing something?
Thank you for your help,
For the users with RAID issues, i had a similar experience with my Buffalo NAS 8Tb – one drive started to fail and then the software RAID collapsed! The data was there but inaccessible.
Spent ages with all different software trying to recover, in the end 2x 2xPort USB docking stations and UFS Explorer (http://www.ufsexplorer.com/download_pro.php) did the job with no messing, rebuilt the RAID and a right click on save recovered the data with no fuss at all!! Even with the failing drive. It’s not cheap at $199 but three years of data, movies, pics etc it was definitley worth it.
I had ridiculous prices quoted, upto £15000, where do these guys get their costings from??
Need help getting my information off a failed 1TB western digital external hard drive. I have it out of its enclosure, however I do believe the board that is connected is the reason for the failure. Please help me with the most cost affected way to retrieve this information.
I’m not sure if it is the right place or not, but I used this site while opening the case, why not after that?
My WD External HDD (My Book Home Edition 1 TB) recently stopped working properly. It spins up when you plug in the AC adapter. If you have a chance it starts normally, otherwise you unplug and plug the AC adapter until it starts. After a while (after I saw your website) I decided to open up its case to find out if the drive is ok or not. So, I checked the drive with the guidance of your site (thanks for the tip!) and I found out that it is ok. But, I need to repair the adapter to use it with older drives. I bring it to a pro and I predicted that there are transistors burned up. They can be replaced.
But, the pro said they were glued to the board. Is it the same case for everyone else here?
Also, the pro said that there were missing parts here below the chip. http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/1378/missing140612.jpg
Could you say something about this?
Anyone who has a firm opinion and experience like you Carlton, please respond this!…
Hi, I have the 3TB My Book Essential 1140 drive that kept going on and off line constantly and now has finally stopped altogether. Do you know of any differences between it and the smaller or older drives that would prevent me from getting the drive out, hooking it up to sata port and getting the data off? I really appreciate you being here helping!