HOWTO open the Western Digital 500GB MyBook Premium Edition chassis

Model: WD5000D032-000 (Dual-interface, FW & USB 2.0)
Many thanks to and Rich Andrews for their wonderful tutorials. I thought I’d supplement with my own pictures from the process, and I think you’ll find most of them self-explanatory. As usual you should never play with electronics without the proper care. Remove the power adapter from the unit and hold the on-button in for 10 seconds to remove any remaining current. And since we’re going to be opening this chassis..
Warranty void if seal is broken
First of all I should probably explain why I’m doing this. Well, let’s just say that this WD500GB was a replacement for a previous 320GB model that faulted the same way as this one. One day when I came into the office it just wouldn’t turn on. There had been no prior warnings, no clicks-of-death, so I suspected that the error was in the Western Digital chassis firmware/chip and not the hard disk itself. Looking around the net seemed to confirm my suspicion. In addition, there was an important "temporary" backup of my own stuff on it that I held very dearly.

Thinking about it I don’t know why I still use this kind of chassis. A simple HDD USB or FW adapter seems to be the way to go, considering both the pricing and the data safety aspect of it. Being that this HDD contained sensitive information as well, I couldn’t risk handing it over to some doofus who’d just re-partition it and sell it as is. But that’s enough of the personal opinions. You can click the pics for a 1024×768 version, all thanks to my cousin Kekepower! Here we go.

WD500GB   Remove the rubber band
With your flat-head screwdriver remove the rubber band that runs around the chassis edges

Rubber removed   Carefully pry the case open
When done start prying the case open carefully. There are 13 or so plastic hinges:

Placement of plastic hinges
Placement of plastic hinges

With the cover removed
Despite what I had read in other tutorials, the round power button at the front was not attached (or at least not stuck) to the little green LED/power up controller.

With the cover removed 2
Alas, it was only a 3.5" HDD after all.. This is the shielded top-side.

With the cover removed 3   How the connectors connect
There’s a protective tape covering the connectors. Be careful when removing it. If your drive is an IDE (as I thought this was) and not a SATA drive, then you should be careful not to damage the pins.

Piece by piece you just unscrew every screw you come over. It doesn’t matter whether you like it or not, only screwing will get you your data back. In the end it turned out to be a 3.5" SATA Western Digital hard disk drive. There’s a photo of it here still lying in the protective container. I also shot a snap of the Western Digital 500GB Premium Edition motherboard so to speak, for those who take an interest in that kind of stuff. If you’ve thought ahead, just slip the newly free’d drive into an adapter or a stationary PC.

The end result
This is my WD500GB disk in its new home. And guess what? Everything was intact!
Chkdsk returned no errors whatsoever. It was simply a six-month chassis failure..

All the contents of the WD500GB Premium Edition
Here’s an overview of the gutted Western Digital 500GB Premium Edition

So for me this was a success story. Not only did I save face to those eff-heads at the computer store who told me it was no way there was any other option than replacing it under the warranty. Well, guess what, mr. retailer. The hardware is not the important thing here. It’s the pr0n, I mean the data, that matters the most.

And that was the other thing. I saved myself and a lot of other people half a year of work at least. As a "temporary solution" I’d put my whole /home/ dir in there a while before it collapsed. If you have any questions about the details or comments about this post, please use the comment form. I appreciate the feedback that I get. You should also check out the two links in the intro for details about other MyBook models.

90 thoughts on “HOWTO open the Western Digital 500GB MyBook Premium Edition chassis

  1. Wow!! Good job! I don’t have the guts to open up my electronics. Betcha, I’ll accidentally destroy a wire or chip off the motherboard.

  2. Ah, it’s simple enough. Most people are often just too afraid to do it (without any rational reason except for the warranty). But then I do things like this for a living. And for the porn.

  3. I have the same drive with the same problem and I want to save the data… can I use this technique to hook it up as an internal drive?

  4. reply to CHKDSK: YES you can use it as a internal drive.

    my question is… is it mandatory to remove the rubberband?

  5. You could probably get around it on some other models where the screws are visible, but I had to remove the band to be able to pry the thing open (and see the hinges that were holding back).

    chkdsk: like I write in the post, the data is most certainly fine. It’s just a problem with the chip or PSU (more likely) of the "chassis".

  6. im in the process of opening the hard and im please to announce.. that on the my book premium edition.. the rubber cud be removed by..prying it.. than pulling it out by hand

    but how much is a new chassis

  7. As far as I know you cannot buy a new WD chassis (they come with a new hdd of course). So go to some of your cheap computer stores (compUSA, Clas Ohlson etc.) and buy one with an AC adapter (empty). Insert the HDD you removed and there you go. These cheaper ones must be handled with a bit more care (safe remove and power down manually when disconnected). I used this one: picture.

    Alternatively you can look around for USB/FW disk similar to the WD with its own PSU/power management. I don’t know anyone at the top of my head but any comp store should have it (with or without fans). These are often a tad more expensive..

  8. I plugged it in to pc and it did not see it. The blue light does not come on but i hear the hard drive. So i took it aprt and disconnected hd plugged back in, lights came on. Is that a power supply problem (not enough current) or is the hd bad?

  9. puddles; there are various tools for checking the hard disk for errors. If you can identify the drive by brand (viz. can access it in Windows), download the corresponding drive fitness tool or get the Ultimate BootCD to test from there (it’s a very convenient live cd). From what you write it’s hard to tell whether you can access it or not. Can you see it in Disk Management (even though it’s not given drive letter)?

    If, and only if, there is reason to believe it is the chassis and not the harddisk there is something wrong with, I would follow my procedure. If the thing comes on (lights on) one time and another not (ligts off) then I’d suspect the PSU inside the chassis, which was what failed in my instance. Either way, I think your data is more important than a low-budget fancy chassis with an evil blue eye on it:)

    However as the article said, I’m not responsible for your choices. Any act of yours is your responsibility. If the disk sounds okay (that means no *clicks of death*) it is probably alright, and you would benefit from removing it from the WD chassis and putting it in another HDD adapter from where you’ll back it up. I hope this answers your question.

    I just do what you say and now i have the wd working in (like you said) in its new home working and kicking ass.
    I like to say that i have problem to take of the rubber band i open at with the plastic hinges and its work for me good.

  11. Happy to make you happy! :)
    I don’t see why WD hasn’t included a simple tutorial such as this in their manual in case of failure. Maybe because they rather want us to spend more money on them, and give a shit about our data:p

  12. My WD drive just failed too, I was becoming more and more depressed as I had no idea what to do about it. Pretty much everything I owned was on that drive. I became hopeful after seeing your guide, you pretty much described my problem exactly. I took it apart pretty easily, it took like ten minutes. But what can I connect it to now?

  13. Any suitable chassis.. There are many 3,5" HDD to USB2 adapters out there, and they’re pretty cheap. Just make sure you get one that suits your needs (fan or fanless) and your hardware (SATA or PATA/IDE).
    Please note: This post only shows how to open the chassis, not solve any of the chassis-related problems. Unfortunately, I had a dead disk (wouldn’t spin up) come in yesterday and there was nothing I could do. This has nothing to do with the chassis, however.
    Good luck!

  14. Thank you for letting me know how easy this fix is …
    PC / XP pro would not find the drive. The blue light came on and stayed on. I tried everything, hoping it was a driver problem…4 hours later, I took the leap and following your instructions and took the drive apart…installed internally…works fine. I have NEVER been good about backups…that has changed now.

  15. Thanks very much for the guide. Most of the other guides confused me more than help, since I got one of the earlier models that differed from them. Unfortunately my take apart couldnt go as smoothly as yours. For some reason my rubber band was super glued to the case and impossible to remove. After alot of prying and stretching finally got the stupid thing out. Fortunately it was as I suspected, a enclosure failure.

  16. I moved the pictures to my own server to avoid downtime. If the pictures are down, so is the page, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem:)
    Today I also received three Western Digital Element @ 1TB each. Let’s hope this series is sturdier.

  17. It just stopped working. There was no or not sufficient power going in. It was dead as dead can be. It = the chassis.
    But clicking indicates broken storage. I’ve had some luck using DEFT (Digital Evidence & Forensic Tools live linux) on disks like that but there are NO guarantees.
    It’s simply a live distro with dd_rescue. Took two weeks of consecutive imaging on a 60GB disk that sounded like a thunderstorm. Is your data worth it?

  18. Thanks so much for the great pics and instructions. Just had a hard drive fail and I couldn’t figure out how to get the drive out for analysis. Appreciate the help.

  19. I have a 500 gb My Book Premium Edition WD5000N that wouldn’t show up and was continuously clicking every 1-2 seconds.
    I had to destroy the case to get it out as it differs from the one described here. First there are no screws. Pry of the metal grill. This is just glued on. Instead of a rubber gasket, my unit had vinyl that was part of the piece so you cannot peal off the gasket. Taking off the metal grill reveals 3 tabs on the bottom (these are covered up) and 3 tabs on the top. Press these down. On the long edge close to the connectors, pry outward with a screw driver since there are tabs here that prevent you from sliding the hard drive out. Then try to slide out the hard drive. This method is based on the disassembled unit since I have to just pry the whole plastic unit away from the metal front casing so if it doesn’t work, try brute force (just don’t hit the hard drive.
    One you get the plastic holder away from the metal frontpiece, take out every screw you can see. Be careful with the flat screw that holds the on/off switch. Take out the screws holding the unit to the plastic piece. This allows you to take out the metal holder where you take off the screws into this holder. Then pry off the silicone washers. This releases the hard drive which is covered with metal film. I carefully pried this off. Don’t damage the controller board.

    This revealed a wd5000ks caviar drive se16 which is a SATA drive April 22, 2006.

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM

    No jumpers were installed.

    I am going to now try it in my internal hard drive spot. I doubt it will work but….

  20. The hard drive works. Here is a complete description of my fix:

    I have a 500 gb My Book Premium Edition WD5000N that wouldn’t show up and was continuously clicking every 1-2 seconds. I discovered it as soon as it started to malfunction and tried several ways to get it to show up on the MAC Desktop by trying different cables/computers/USB versus Firewire/turning on and off multiple times/using DiskWarrior and Disk Utility/Applejjack to do repairs for about an hour or so. Nothing worked. The disk wouldn’t show up on the Desktop and continued to click.

    I then read about others who removed the hard drive from the external unit and mounted the drive internally so I decided to try this.

    Mine differed from these enclosures:

    It is closest to this one: but no rubber band – only glued on metal cover.

    I had to destroy the case to get the hard drive out as mine differed from the ones described above (and they are not built to take apart!!!!). First there are no external screws. Pry off the metal perforated grill that covers the back of the unit. This is just glued on. Instead of a rubber gasket, my unit had vinyl that was all part of one piece so I couldn’t peal off the gasket. Taking off the metal perforated grill reveals 3 tabs on the bottom (these were covered up) plus the readily apparent 3 tabs on the top. Press these down and hold them down by wedging something in the perforations. On the long edge close to the connectors, pry outward with a screw driver since there are tabs here that prevent you from sliding the hard drive out. Then try to slide out the hard drive away from the metal skin. This method is based on the disassembled unit. I had to pry the whole plastic unit away from the metal front casing so if the above method doesn’t work, try brute force (just don’t pry on the hard drive.

    One you get the plastic holder away from the metal front piece, take out every screw you can see. Be careful with the flat screw that holds the on/off switch (if your unit has one) since this is easy to strip. Take out the 4 screws holding the SATA circuitry to the hard drive and unplug the wires, the 3 screws holding the front switch, and the 4 screws holding the hard drive to the plastic piece. This allows you to remove the metal holder and the hard drive. Now take off the 4 screws that hold the hard drive in place. Then pry off the silicone washers. This releases the hard drive which is covered with a metal film. Carefully pry/peal this off. Don’t damage the controller board.

    This revealed a WD5000ks caviar drive se16 which is a SATA drive made April 22, 2006.

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM

    No jumpers were installed.

    I installed the drive into the internal slot of my PowerMac G5 and it now shows up on the desktop. I rebuilt the drive with Disk Warrior (it had minor errors) and checked it with SMARTReporter which reports that the drive passes the SMART tests.

    It’s has been up for 5 hours and works fine, no data loss.

    So, I think that the problem was with a defective SATA connector/circuit. If you catch the drive early when it begins clicking (don’t leave it on long with it clicking as this may mess up the hard drive heads), you can remove the drive and use the SATA circuits in your computer to mount the drive.

    Hope this helps. Again, my advice is the minute you hear the clicking sounds, try fixing via usual techniques but if these don’t work, take the hard drive out of the enclosure (sooner rather than later) and try it internally. This will void your warranty but might allow you to save your data (and maybe even the hard drive).

  21. Nice that you got it working. I have tried the same procedure for other variants of the same series and it seems to work every time.
    I’ve had 1 disk that was actually failed, but in most cases it is the chassis.
    WD should see this page and fix up their series.

    I’ve used the Elements series for a while now, 1 TB each, and they seem a lot more stable. I’m keeping them mirrored just in case, though.

  22. What type of HDD is it in the Elements? If you have opened them of course. I am interested in one (or two) and would like to know which type of HDD it is inside it before buying.

  23. I haven’t opened the Elements, because they seem a whole lot more stable than the *Books series. Hopefully they’ll stay that way. Being that they are both manufactured by Western Digital, it’s quite obvious they’d use WD hdds:)
    But thanks for the info and good luck!

  24. this helped out a lot on a 750GB that i had and wanted to install internally in my tower instead. thanks sigg3, i REALLY appreciate the time you took to make this. :)

  25. For those who have been running the HDD internally, has there been any problems since installing it? I was fortunate enough to remove all of my data before the proverbial shit hit the fan, and with no risk of losing data, I just want to know if the drive itself is reliable.

    Of course, I hesitate with this kind of stuff because the last time I tried to install a hard drive, I ended up frying the motherboard and had to buy a whole new computer. :(

    Perhaps I should try it in my friend’s computer first. :D

  26. Lucky for you you didn’t have any data on it. Put it in and run a SMART check. Preferably with the right diagnostic tool. Check google for Ultimate Boot CD, they have a lot of vendor specific SMART tools.

    What this post is about is when the _chassis_ fails but the disk is alright. This doesn’t mean that your disk ain’t without faults. Check it!

  27. It appears I need some SATA cables. I’ll have to wait before I have the chance to install the HDD.

    Thanks for the UBCD tip. I found an ISO to burn, so as soon as I get the cables, I’ll be good to go. Only thing is, most of the how-to’s are for Linux and I’m running Windows. The site I downloaded the ISO from said it’s compatible, so I’ll give it a shot.

  28. SATA cables? What’s the model number of this chassis? All I have seen so far were IDE/PATA.

    The Ultimate Boot CD is a LiveCD meaning that it runs its small operative system (linux or pcdos, not sure) fully from the CD without installing anything.

    Just make sure that you can boot from CD in the BIOS boot order, or hit the correct button for displaying boot list (On Dell machines that’s F12) while the BIOS logo appears. That aside, keep the CD in the drive and start your computer.

  29. i have had the 500gb my book pro for like 3 years and it just went out on me. i have the clicking sound so changing the enclosure probably wont help but i am going to give it a try. thanks for the tutorial, i just took the hdd out with no problem.

  30. I have a WD 500 My Book model E032 and it stopped working suddenly on my Mac. Will your pictorial apply as well. This is the silver model with a plastic band all around it. WD will send me a new one under warranty but I need my data! Any comments appreciated.

  31. Thanks for the instructions. You gave me the confidence to attempt this myself. Salvaged my drive and, more importantly, my data.

  32. Wanted to add: I used a Rocketfish SATA enclosure that I found at Best Buy. Very simple installation. I, too, had to destroy the WD enclosure to get the drive out. My drive was making the dreaded clicking sound before I switched enclosures, but has given me no problems since.

  33. Brad, if you heard the Clicks of Death, I would urge you to back it up immediately and find a replacement!

    That is to say, it could be the PSU unit delivered too little power to the disk, but clicks from a hard disk is always wrong.

  34. Hi Sigg, I have a MyBook Premium 500GB, the Light goes on, but the driver does not read. It was making clicking noises couple days before stoped working. I sent it to WD asking for the warranty, and I got an stimated of $2,400 to recover my photos. That’s insane!!…. I’m going to try tomorrow to follow your steps, and your bloggers, I let you know what happen! thanks for the tip!

  35. Jorgito: the clicking sounds are disk-related. The light indicates that the MyBook chassis works as intended, but the sound tells you that the disk (is about to) fail.

    Here’s something you can try out:
    1) Download a Linux LiveCD, like Ubuntu’s desktop distro, burn a bootable disk
    2) Pop it in your machine and restart
    3) Fetch dd_rescue from the web
    4) With some luck you can run dd_rescue on the failing drive (I have done this myself)
    5) In steps 1-4 you’ve created a digital image of the failing drive. If it can’t be mounted as a drive in Linux, you can try to run PhotoRec/TestDisk on it.

    If the failing process has gone too far though, it is to no avail. Check out the market for digital recovery and you’ll see that it ain’t cheap. This is because they do the recovery in a dust free lab environment. Expensive. But some of the better labs have major discounts for single-drive Windows cases to reach a larger audience.

    In any case, it sounds like your drive is failing. Just taking it out of the MyBook chassis will not stop it from failing.

  36. OK need some assistance here. My 1TB WD External drive became non-functional during file transfers to it. The Blue light was on solid, I turned it off, restarted nothing, No light now. Checked the power with multimeter it was 12vdc,OK. So I assume it is the controller crap built into the case. I tore it apart like above, mounted it internally and the drive shows up in Disk Management as Unknown Partition with 4 partitions. How do I assign a drive letter to this thing so I can get my data? The drive is not making any noises so I assume it is fine, and I also ran the WD Smart check software which tested OK. Any help with getting this drive mounted would be appreciated! OH and I tried using KNOPPIX but the drive does not show up either. Thanks.

  37. Great info!
    Mine too quit without any warnings or clicking noise. Could not afford to lose a few years worth of data, I seached the web for a Data Recovery shop. After a few hours of searching, I came across this page. It looked easy enough and I was convinced that the problem was with the PSU, not the drive itself. I removed the chassis, took out the drive and popped it into my Black Widow USB Docking Station ….. Voila! my data are all there!

  38. I also have a WD MyBook Premium (the one with a 500GB drive, 1 USB port and 2 firewire ports) that I think was the same model as this one (pics all look the same). However, mine was much easier to open using the following step:

    If you look at the picture above that shows the inside of the “book cover” piece (the part that covers the spine and the front/back of the book) you’ll see two tabs that are on the top/bottom of the book. If you press these in a bit by poking a screwdrive between the holes you can slide the cover off by simpply pulling it firmly away from the inside part of the case. I did this slowly but it worked fine. The main resistance is due to the rubber ring around the edge, but this approach. All of those hinges that are highlighted in the picture above simply side in a groove of the cover. Then the rest of the steps are essentially the same (unscrew everything so you can get the drive out).

    This approach was very easy and avoided any damage to the case, which was my primary goal since I was hoping to re-use the case because I assumed the drive itself had died. Unfortunatley (or fortunately I guess), I tested the drive in my BlacX drive dock and the drive tested out fine which leads me to conclude that the MyBook drive case failed.

    I could always try puting another drive in the case to confirm that it was the case that was bad, but it simply isn’t worth the effort because if the case is bad, I’ll have to spend more time taking it apart again.

  39. I have the WD 500GB MyBook D032. About 2 weeks ago I heard the clicking sound. I’m on a Mac running 10.4.11. I tried to get the disk image to come up several times to no avail. The drive would start to power up and then the dreaded clicking sound. I am about to make the attempt to remove the drive tomorrow and look for another external chassis to install it in. Any suggestions what I can buy at retail, IE. Best Buy or Fry’s? I have nearly 10 years of data on that drive. So I will take extra care with every step. If anyone has any suggestions please post. Thanks for all the info!

  40. Clicking sounds = bad sounds.
    You can give dd_rescue a try though. Boot up an Ubuntu live cd (if you don’t have linux already) and fetch dd_rescue.
    Then simply run a
    dd_rescue if=/dev/yourWD of=/home/username/desktop/diskimage.img -v

    to read data from /dev/yourWD into an image diskimage.img in verbose mode. Please note that dd_rescue continues where dd fails (on unhealthy drives). I once ran dd_rescue over two weeks on a client’s 2.5" laptop disk from an Ubuntu livedisk and wrote to the local hard disk drive. Then I backed up the image, mounted it and retrieved the files.

    Please read dd_rescue documentation thoroughly. There’s a reason its nickname is data destroyer.

  41. Thanks Sigg3! I got my Rocketfish enclosure yesterday and will commence the process today. I will do the rebuild first, then attempt to mount the drive–Is this the best first step before running dd_rescue. Also can I run these apps on the Mac? thanks again for your help.

  42. Hi Sigg3, I mounted the drive in the Rocketfish enclosure… and … still have the clicking sound, although the power up sounds cleaner. So, am I now to resort to utility recovery methods? Might require some help here :-)

  43. Download dd_rescue from:

    Go to the dir where you downloaded the tarball. Build the source code using regular build commands:
    sudo make install

    You should then be able to execute dd_resuce from terminal. The syntax is very simple:
    dd_rescue -v if=/path/to/input of=/path/to/input
    but dd_rescue has several additional parameters when compared to dd. To read more check the manpage using:
    man dd_rescue

    You’ll have to find out the right paths of course. Try running dmesg right after you’ve inserted the USB adapter. If you reverse inputfile and outputfile you are thoroughly lost, to put it mildly. In essence what you want to do is read data from the usb disk to an image file on the local disk, which has to be mounted prior to the above. For instance, if you have windows installed on the local disk (say it’s called sda1), then you can put it in
    which is equal to C:rescue

    Make sure to double-check before you hit enter.

  44. To make an image simply put .img on the end of the outputfile, e.g.

    Then you can try to restore part tables using testdisk from cgi (just google it) on the image. That is the point with dd_rescue; make an image so that you can safely put away the damaged drive for later.

  45. Thanks for the photos. The controller on my drive would stop responding after an undetermined period of time and cause Finder (Mac OS X) to hang indefinitely until I manually shut down the drive. I am going to put the drive into another enclosure because I think the HD itself is still in good shape (no noises or clicks).

  46. Thank you SO MUCH! This totally saved my precious files. Unfortunately, very few places on the net lay out this solution to my problem. My My Book Premium was frequently cutting out, not loading up, turning on with no light, etc. Everywhere else said to spend 1k on data recovery, but I knew it had to be something simple like this!

  47. Thanks for the great info – I feel really lucky that I found this post. My My Book was doing the solid blue light, no response thing. Popped it out and threw it in a friend’s Blacx docking station – data is fine.
    I was wondering though, how are you doing with the elements? It’s been over a year as far as I can tell. Any better luck?

  48. Hi jen, thanks for the feedback!

    Well, I was a complete douche and formatted them to NTFS for large-file support, but NTFS on removable drives is equal to data loss.

    When I have completed copying the 1000s of files I will open one of them up (I have 3 now, each a duplicate of the first, which failed) and put pictures on der webz. Stay tuned!

  49. Hey Sigg3! Thanks soooo much for this guide. I have the SAME problem as puddles, when I turn my computer on, my MyBook Premium 500gb (like yours) turns on (there is a buzz) but the blue LED does NOT turn on, and the connection to the computer does not happen. I tried unplugging from the mains (it clicks and turns off), then I plug it back in and still no light, even though the humming starts up again. Funny thing is when I unplug it from the HD at the back and plug it back in, this time the LED turns on but no hum/buzz, and still no computer detection.
    At first unplugging it worked everytime I would plug it back in (the LED would turn on and the computer would detect it), but now it just does not do anything except hum/buzz.
    So I am definitely thinking of following your instructions, however I was wondering if your new box’s power port is the same as the the MyBook’s? Do you think that if I get a chassis with a different port (like mini-DIN) it will be a problem? Otherwise, are there any specs that I should know about the new chassis before buying it?

  50. Hi Theo!
    You must establish whether your series of the MyBook 500GB is IDE/PATA or SATA before buying a chassis. You can scour the webz for the info (use full model number on the label), contact support or simply open up the case and find out. I did the latter, given I had nothing to lose..

    The cheap chassis are usually USB types (with 1 cable for power and another for file transfer), and I would not buy anything costly for this kind of hack job. Your goal is simply to access the data, back it up to another drive/location, and use it until it fails. I haven’t heard much about Mini-DIN so I’d expect it’s more expensive. But you’re free to do whatever you want of course..

    It’s imperative that you check whether the disk IS recognized as a disk by the operating system (though not a “disk drive”). If that is the case then it’s more likely that the partition table is wiped. See this article:

    Don’t use NTFS on removable drives. Go for FAT32, ext3 or the BSD equivalent (if you use Mac).

    Do you use Windows?

  51. Hi Sigg,
    I’m not sure I formulated my question properly, see the original WD casing has a DC Connector, which looks like this whereas most of the chassis I’ve seen on websites have a mini-DIN connector which looks like this

    So my question is, which of these two connectors does your new hard drive chassis have? Does it make a difference if I get a chassis with mini-DIN when the original WD chassis uses a DC connector? I can’t seem to find voltage, ampere or power info on the retail websites like TigerDirect or newegg, so yeah; does it matter if I buy any cheap chassis or should I be looking for some specific stuff before buying it?

  52. Ah, sorry, didn’t follow ya!

    If you open up the WD you’ll find that it’s a normal 3.5″ IDE/PATA or SATA disk. The point of this article is to retrieve the disk, buy a 3.5″ HDD adapter/enclosure to fit, check whether it’s PATA or SATA first. The disk will be powered by the enclosure through the PATA or SATA connector, which can have any adapter available on market (USB, FW, eSATA etc.) but the cheapest are the USB ones. Not all USB connectors deliver enough power, however, so I recommend using enclosures that comes with separate power adapters included and doesn’t rely on power from the USB connector. Hope that clarifies the case. You’ll be circumventing the problem you’re describing:)

  53. Hi Sigg,

    I followed your instructions (thank you) to remove the chassis. I took it out and connected it to a SATA USB bridge (model ISU-III-PC) tried on both XP & Win 7, both with same results.

    Every partion is healthy but unknown
    24mb unallocated
    2.80 GB Healthy (Primary)
    102 MB Healthy (Primary)
    965MB Healthy (Primary)
    461.89 GB Healthy (Primary)

    but I’m unable to map the drive. I had about 70GB free on the drive.

    Should I try and buy a USB-SATA specific chassis?

    Anything else that I can try. Is the MBR damaged? Before the drive failed I was getting read permission errors (XP) and a domain controller error on Win 7. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Rich

  54. @Noonsy: Hi! Provided you have sufficient free storage on another disk drive, here’s what I recommend (using GNU/Linux live or installed):
    1) Create an image of the entire disk (not just partitions) using your tool of choice (dd, dd_rescue, clonezilla etc).
    2) Create a work copy of this image and run testdisk from on it to see if it recognizes the right paritions.
    3) Write the partition data to the image, mount it as a loop device and see whether you can access the data.
    5) When/if you get the partitions right, make a backup of your data from the image, then perform the same operation that worked on the actual drive.

    This is the paranoid version. You should never do stuff like this on the actual disk. If testdisk can find the right partition data it will be back to normal. See my other post on this:

    You can also run Testdisk in Windows, but it should always be done on an image of the disk not the disk itself.

  55. Thanks Sigg,

    So far recovered over 300 GB of data – doing it at a folder level via list files using TestDisk (using Win). Thank you very much for your help! Everything I wanted to keep I’ve managed to rescue :)

    Best Regards


  56. Well thanks for the info. I was given a WD-500BG that was working great. After a few months I noticed I had problems “Safely Removing” it from windows (Vista). Sometimes it would take hours to get approved to disconnect, sometime not at all. I also noticed it would start Freezing up after several hours of being on. I believe it was getting too hot.
    My current problem was that it wouldn’t “Disconnect”, so I just unplugged it. (Bad I know, I didn’t have another four hours waiting for it) I’ve done this before with not much problem. Now it would turn on, but all data was “Unreadable”. I DL’d Test_Disk software from above link and ran that. It came across that 75% was Read Error. I now did a Properties Check of the HD. ALL DATA is lost! HD is completely empty!
    I will try to use a Data Recovery Software, but believe my 200 GB of music is all gone!

  57. @Noonsy: Congratulations! I’m glad to hear it. I’m working on an especially difficult case on one of my own drives I had not backed up (STUPID ME!) and it’s been over a year. But I’ve still got plenty of hope that everything’s still there, and the creator of TestDisk is helping me out over e-mail. Will post a report when I’m done!

    @Mharsh: Usually this would be caused by indexing services or anti-virus programs hogging your external disk so you can’t Safely Remove it.

    The HDD is not empty, but the partition table is wiped. You need to run TestDisk to restore the partition table (Not Photorec which carves files in destroyed filesystems). Like I said in a comment previously here, please make an image of the disk (read-only) and experiment on that. I’m sure we can find your data again unless you’ve already overwritten it.

  58. Well Sigg3, you are correct. I ran the TestDisc and went step by step. I am a novice, which means I’m a Retard with a Gun, but can lock and load it. I clicked on “Create”, Picked the External Drive, selected “Intel” Partition, clicked on “Analyse”, Then pops up one partition. 1 * NPFS – NTFS 0 1 1 60800 254 63 976768002, Enter, quick search, Partition (Dreen) listed, Press “P”, get all my files listed. (Yeah!)
    —This is where I am lost! Press enter… Have done deeper search and write. When I do a “Write”, I get a message about rebooting right after. OK? I did this. Starting back up, No new partition shows up? Doing a deeper search comes up with nothing? I believe I have just one partition, and it’s screwed. Any ideas? I am clueless…

  59. Actually, I don’t remember. I re-learn it each time. Testdisk’s interface is somewhat cryptic if you expect a normal Windooze-ish logic. The point is to follow the instructions very carefully, and deliberate carefully over your choices. (I’ve messed up a recovery because of this. Impatience is your enemy!)

    The thing is, if you found the partition with the quick search, I’m not sure that you’d have to go any farther. The deeper search is for deep analysis of partitions NOT discovered by the quick search. So if you found all your files listed (with P) with the quick search, you should be able to write and exit.

    Have you seen this step-by-step doc by Testdisk creator?

    And also:

    This is an external drive? (WD500?) It must be safely powered off then on again for partition writes to come in effect.

  60. Thanks Sigg3, I am learning new stuff everyday. The strangest thing happened…. My WD500 was plugged in, and I started my computer this morning. My computer “Freaked out”, and identified the External imediately, and the missing partition. Vista actually fixed it? Saved all my data. My next move is to find another HD and transfer the data. WD has been a headache…
    Thank you for your help.

  61. Congratulations Mharsh!
    I would guess that the write you did on the drive finally came into effect (the NT boot sector must sometimes be altered for this to happen, especially if you have booted with the drive inserted before).

    I’m glad things worked out for you!
    Remember that external disks are less reliable than optical media. Keep your most important files on CDs and DVDs also, and store them safely away from the disks.

  62. I have a WD Premium II 1TB, nothing is wrong with it except I was wondering if I could open it and replace it with a 2TB green drive. Does anyone know if it will fit in the same case.

  63. In the WD products I have seen then yes, you could. But you would damage the case in so doing and sort of render the process futile.. WD does not WANT you to open it, so they sometimes glue stuff together. Prying it open will leave marks, and then I’m left to wonder why you would do such a thing.

    It’s a regular computer hard disk drive. Buy a big one and put it in your computer instead.. (Unless you have a laptop of course.)
    And warranty will be void, of course.

  64. I just upgraded my 320GB Mybook Premium to 1 TB with a HDD.

    Putting the enclosure back together is just as easy as taking it apart, as long as you put the rubber band back on the _inner_ part of the enclosure before you slide the outer case back on. At least that wasn’t obvious to me at first.

    Thanks for the great pics!

  65. Can I just say “Thank you”. I managed to extract the drive and add to my PC as another internal drive and all my Data is saved!

  66. I know this is from a long time ago, but your post saved me years’ worth of irreplaceable data. The WD MyBook Premium would no mount on any computer, and I heard clicking sounds from the hard drive. I feared the worst! But then I found your page, took apart the casing, and plugged in the bare drive via a USB adapter and VOILA – all of my data, safe and sound. Amazing. Thanks for giving me the courage to do it!

  67. Thank you so much.

    My drive stopped being recognized and I couldn’t figure out how to get the darn thing open. Like yours, it was just a failed chassis, thankfully.

    1. Glad I could help. This post is ancient though, so your model is probably a lot newer than the one in the photos:)

  68. What Sata revision is your drive? I have a similar drive that is failing and I’m debating if I should buy a usb 3 or usb 2 enclosure. Not sure if I should splurge on the usb 3 if it wont read at those speeds.

    1. If you’re going to open it up anyway, you can read it on the label (or google the exact HDD model #).. The one I had was dismantled in 2008 so it probably won’t help you very much:P

      However, you don’t need any in-between if you’ve got a stationary PC. Just plug the harddrive in the PC and transfer your data directly to a new disk.

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