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Many USB enclosures on the market has bad mechanical quality. Some have good mechanical quality but it is difficult to insert and extract harddrive drive from them. Below are recommendations based on personal experience.
There are two serious mechanical problems with this enclosure. Vantec NexStar SX NST-285U2-BK is strongly recommended as a replacement ($19 on Amazon the last time I checked). The latter is really excellent Vantec product...
First of all two front screws that hold plastic cap with electrical circuitry on it are really too short and taking into account that the holes have one side sliced open in no way they cannot hold the plastic cover securely. You can use tape to fix that or find longer screws so this is a fixable problem, but its pretty annoying oversight of the designers. IMHO screws should be at least 1/3 longer: that would give them more chances to fix the cover properly. They also might benefit from slightly larger diameter.
The second problem is that the drive is not mechanically fixed in the enclosure: it just connected eclectically: All of the circuitry is attached to one of the plastic cap and at the end has a connector that snaps right into the hard drive.
That's on for backup and recovery operation of C drive in case it was infected with malware. But this might lead to hard drive errors if for some reason this connection become loose or some conductor breaks due to mechanical stress. The electrical connection of hard drive is not designed to hold the drive mechanically. I think such design is simply dangerous if the enclosure is used while travelling. It's probably OK if the drive will sit at home connected to docking station. It also makes heat dissipation a problem and can lead to overheating.
Really excellent product.
Mechanical design is very good. You can fix drive with screws to metal frame which improves heat dissipation considerably.
That's very important for 7200 RPM drives.
kievite PermalinkThe manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
When you have dual drives your priority is reliability. ...,
August 5, 2016
This review is from: WD 4TB My Book Duo Desktop RAID External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBLWE0040JCH-NESN (Personal Computers)When you have dual drives your priority is reliability and using RAID 1 (mirroring) provided by this WD enclosure looks like a reasonable option. But in reality it is not.
Electronics of WD enclosures is not very reliable and you can lose all your data if it fails. In this case you can't just put a drive in a new enclosure or connect one of the drives to SATA interface on the computer and read the data (which are intact) and, essentially, lose all your data despite extra expense to preserve them. Paradoxically you added another "weak point" in addition to the possibility of hard drive failure -- the failure of the electronics of WD enclosure with its "hidden" encryption of the drive content.
See other reviews on the topic that cover difficulties of recovering data in case of enclosure electronics failure. If you see ""a USB device has malfunctioned" message you installed need to copy all the data off the WD enclosure -- the next time might be too late (if it is not too late already).
I consider the encryption the hard drives uses by default by WD to be a Trojan horse because this is not a requirement for this type of consumer products. They want to cater to enterprise promising fake security via encryption and you are the victim.
Avoid WD external drives at all cost. If the data on the drive are valuable you are playing with fire.
Posted on Aug 5, 2016 3:34:19 PM PDTWestern Digital Support says:
Hey There kievite,
Western Digital takes data storage and security very seriously. We regret hearing this encryption/Hardware Raid misinformation continues to live on these forums, however our customer's feedback is always appreciated. In the unfortunate event a My Book Duo enclosure should suffer from a malfunction, the existing data stored in the RAID set can readily be accessed via a replacement enclosure. Additionally, if security were set on the original enclosure/Raid set, and the user remembers the password, integration with the replacement enclosure can be accomplished by entering that password within the prompt upon adding the original drives into the replacement enclosure.
The My Book Duo utilizes Hardware Raid. It's important to understand the difference between Hardware and Software Raid, it that each individual hard drive can only be read from the Hardware Raid controller. Which differs from software Raid, assuming the array were utilizing redundancy, such as Raid1 (Mirror) or JBOD; a single drive can be read from another computer capable of reading the file system configured on that drive.
If you have further concerns not addressed above, or you need help with your My Book Duo, we would appreciate the opportunity to provide a positive solution. We can be reached via phone or Email below. Please be sure to mention this Amazon review within your initial contact as a point of reference.
Need Help? Please follow the link below for further assistance or contact us at 1(800) 275-4932.
kieviteIt is unclear from your reply whether you need exactly the same model of enclosure or not. For example if a customer like me has WD My Book Studio II - 2 TB (2 x 1 TB) USB 2.0/FireWire 800/eSATA Desktop External Hard Drive with failed electronics (out of warranty) configured as RAID 1 what are options to recover the information on the drives ?R.Consumer
Reliability of WD enclosures leaves much to be desired and after a couple of years some dual drive enclosures develop the problem when a customer starts getting system tray messages that "a USB device has malfunctioned".
If I understand correctly WD practice what can be called a vendor lock-in. For RAID 1 (mirroring) there is no need to modify the hard drive structure and disks should be perfectly readable if taken from enclosure and connected to the computer SATA controller directly. Of course this is not the case with RAID 0, where striping is used and this information about it needs to be stored somehow.
If RAID 1 does not work this way this is not a consumer friendly product and it should be avoided at all costs. You are better off using two generic USB enclosures and using rsync or similar utility for resynchronization of the content of those drives. WD should be avoided like plague. End of the story.
See also https://community.wd.com/t/wd-my-book-duo
== quote ==
This is a huge issue and needs to be addressed.
I have spoken with a data recovery company, they have said that if your WD My Book Duo which has the "AES 256 Hardware encryption" feature, if the drive enclosure dies that your data will NOT be accessible even if your hard drives are in perfect working order.
Your data may be fine and dandy on your hard drives but you can not access it. Even if you are able to find and purchase another exact WD My Book Duo and put the drives in that, it will NOT work. This is because the hardware encryption is ALWAYS used, even if you never attempt to use the WD Security app to enable "password" protection. This fact is NEVER made clear in ANY WD documentation anywhere!
I hope Western Digital can provide a way in firmware updates to either DISABLE the always on hardware encryption, or to at least give us the ability to EXPORT/SAVE the encryption KEY that the device is using to encrypt the data, and provide for us a SOFTWARE utility which will enable us to use that KEY to read our hard drives even if the "Enclosure" stops working.
Here is a similar related post that has not been responded to:
It does not help that some well respected "REVIEW" sites have done really pathetic reviews of this product which are more like infomercials saying that they observed no performance drop with encryption enabled or disabled, and of course they did not because they did not know that "encryption" was/is ALWAYS on regardless of whether they enable "security password key" or not. They assumed like most reasonable users would that encryption is enabled only when a password/key is set not that its ALWAYS encrypted whether you enable password or not.
Apparently the "password" you set has nothing to do with the encryption, it is not used for anything other than some firmware locking. This means in reality that Western Digital will be perfectly capable to decrypt ANY WD My Book and access your data even when YOU yourself will not be able to. Yes you can be locked out of your own data but the manufacturer and whoever else they may share their "Decryption KEY/s" with can access your data.
So the whole thing about if you forget your password your data can't be accessed is a joke, its not true. Well its true that "YOU" can't access your data but they easily could. They just won't do it for you but if they needed/wanted they can easily bypass the firmware password and also decrypt the hardware encryption. In fact some data recovery firms can do that for you, apparently WD even officially "endorses" some of them, makes you wonder if there's any profit sharing. It seems that perhaps WD has shared certain "knowledge" with these firms that enables them to supposedly retrieve the "Encryption Key" from the WD My Book Duo and give you back access to your data for some BIG $$$.
So again, I am asking for WD to please be upfront about these very IMPORTANT issues since there is no clear information anywhere, in fact all the documentation seems to imply that your data is only locked once you've set a password not all the time and with an Encryption Key that only WD has access to instead of us the users.
There is a solution to all this as I have already mentioned, either allow through a firmware update the possibility to DISABLE the hardware encryption, and/or provide us a way to Export/Save the encryption pass/key so that we can access our data even if the WD My Book enclosure dies for any reason.
Encryption is great and even better when Hardware accelerated for higher performance, but we should be the owners of the decryption Pass/Key for "our" data.
== end of quote ===
BTW this post never got a reasonable reply from WD customer support. That's tells you something. All WD customer support stated was
== quote ==
We appreciate your feedback on this matter. Note that there are WD external hard drives that do not have hardware encryption like the WD elements, the My Book is for customers that want to have the added security to their data and this is why it has the hardware encryption enabled.
== end of quote ==
But the problem is that customers like me never wanted to have added security. We were just taken for a ride by the manufacturer.
== quote ===
I have just bought a MY BOOK DUO 12 TB. Previously I have opened a case asking this issue. This is incredible but WD also told me that there is no encryption and that you can take a disk (RAID 1) and directly connect it to the computer.
I have tested (Raid 1, no encryption, copied files, turn off, extract a disk, connect to Windows 7 with an external device) and Windows do not map the unite, although the disk administrator is able to see the Disk. That means that there is no way to access your data. Incredible how Western Digital really cheats us. They told me that there were no problem to access the disk outside the unite... I have it written.
Well I can send back the unite, but I have loose my time.
What a firm!! They are not even able to properly inform buyers.... This is really annoying.
== end of quote ==
WD enclosure spoiled by enforced hardware encryption. December 8, 2014Capacity: 4TB | Style Name: Single Drive | Verified Purchase
UPDATE - 01/06/2015
This is an update on my impressions of the extracted WD Green HDD from the My Book. Even in my internal mount, the WD Green still exhibits the 5-second spin-up routine if left idle for too long. At this point, I can only conclude that this characteristic is the default for the WD Green and by extension, the My Book. Other external desktop hard drives I've used don't show this trait.
Hence, even if I can accept the automatic hardware encryption by the My Book, the default idling behavior of the HDD is not one I find desirable. I have thus written an addendum to the original review below to reflect my further thoughts post-review.
UPDATE - 01/01/2015
This is an update on my impressions of the WD My Book after performing a disassembly. Keep in mind however that any attempted disassembly will void the warranty on the product.
The build of the My Book enclosure is solid. The casing clips tightly to the mounting bracket while the internal HDD within is securely fitted to the bracket by rubber stoppers. Watching other YouTube videos on the My Book disassembly, it seems that different models of the My Book use slightly different mounting setups of the HDD to the bracket, though all of the setups appear to be equally secure.
Like many of the YouTube disassembly video uploaders, the HDD in my unit was a WD Green . I've no prior experience with the bare Greens, so I cannot comment much about its reliability nor speeds at this point.
However, upon fixing the WD Green into an internal mount, the drive was marked as unreadable and requiring a format. This suggests the presence of hardware encryption regardless of user preference set on the My Book. Due to this reason, HDD extraction from the My Book is definitely not recommended, especially if the unit still contains data desired to be retrieved. My opinion on this feature still stands; good security practices are fine, but make it explicitly known and make it optional.
Finally, is it worthwhile to purchase a My Book just for the HDD inside if the unit is cheaper than the price of the bare HDD itself? Unless the My Book at your desired capacity is significantly cheaper, I would have to say no. First, it takes considerable effort to extract the HDD from the enclosure. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to reassemble the enclosure after even after a partial disassembly of the unit. Coupled with the enforced hardware encryption mentioned above, any data stored will likely be forever lost should an extraction attempt fail. Moreover, the warranty of the My Book will be voided if disassembly is attempted; it is probably more worthwhile to just pay a little extra for the warranty coverage on the bare HDD itself.
Overall, my rating of the WD My Book remains unchanged and the original review can be viewed below.
(+) Reasonably priced for 4TB of external storage
(+) Well-ventilated enclosure design
(+) Rubber feet at bottom of enclosure for grip
(+) USB 3.0 capable
(-) Goes to standby if left idle after a while
(-) PC being unable to recognize the drive at times
(-) PC being unable to eject the drive at times
What's Downright Bizarre
(x) Enforced hardware encryption by the USB-SATA bridge in the enclosure
Caveats for International Consumers
(/) The included AC adapter I received is a US-style 2 pin type, a physical adapter may be needed for overseas use. A quick check on Amazon's page does not tell whether the drive can accept international voltages. Check with WD to ensure that the drive can be used in your country
Overall: Two stars. A good value package soured by enforced hardware encryption
Note: The review is based on the 4TB version
The WD My Book ticks most checkboxes of a standard desktop external HDD. Its size is comparable to other external desktop HDDs and depending on your setup, its design means you can place it vertically standing as in the illustrations or leave it lying horizontally with not much issue. The enclosure is also well ventilated with grilles on the upper and underside, allowing for effective cooling of the hard disk inside. I could not locate any dedicated on/off switch on the drive; the drive simply starts up when electricity is supplied. Very efficient I must say.
The WD My Book does come with a variety of backup software on the drive, including the SmartWare Pro software. I personally do not use any of the supplied software, preferring to drag and sort my backups manually. This drive is USB 3.0 capable and I usually get 60 - 80 MB/s for file transfers. The included USB 3.0 cable is of reasonable length for an external desktop HDD.
One minor annoyance that I've experienced with the My Book is that the drive will enter a standby mode if left idle after a while. The drive is still listed in the file explorer, but accessing it takes about 5 seconds as the drive spins up again. Fortunately, I have yet to experience the drive entering into standby while it's being actively used.
Other annoyances I have encountered include the PC not being able to recognize or eject the drive. Usually, cycling the power for the My Book solves the recognition problem, but it's a little unsettling considering that large amounts of your data are stored on it and high reliability is definitely an important aspect. For the latter quirk, sometimes the PC will refuse to eject the drive even when there are no files being accessed from it and I have to resort to shutting down the computer so I can safely turn the drive off.
If the review were to end here, on balance, the WD My Book would earn a solid 4-star* rating, so why the measly 2-star score?
Enforced hardware encryption.
If you Google search "WD My Book Disable Encryption", you'll find a number of threads and posts on various sites that suggest that there exists enforced hardware encryption by the USB-SATA bridge on WD My Book devices. What this means is that as your data is copied over to the My Book, the USB port on the enclosure encrypts your data on the way in and decryption also occurs at the USB port as the files are accessed. All these occur even if you do not have a password set up to lock the WD My Book.
A thread on the WD Community forums titled "NOT using hardware encryption on "My Book Essential"" suggests that this hardware encryption function cannot be disabled. What this implies is that for you to access the files stored on the My Book, you need all parts of the device to be in working order; if the USB-SATA bridge ever fails, there's no way to do an enclosure replacement like you can with a standard external desktop HDD as the encryption keys reside in the original enclosure. Why introduce another point of catastrophic failure is really beyond me.
Good security practices are always welcomed, but it has to be made known explicitly to the end user with the option to disable it if so desired. The WD My Book already comes with software encryption tools on the drive for the security conscious, the enforced hardware encryption really does nothing of value for those who just want a plain desktop storage expansion solution.
Granted, some of the threads and posts on the enforced hardware encryption pertain to older My Book models and I have no way of finding out whether if this is still true for this particular My Book.
However, this is not the first instance I've discovered some sort of hardware lock on WD products; the WD My Passport Ultra ( WD My Passport Ultra 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Auto Backup - Black ), which I had also purchased and reviewed, also has similar hardware restrictions.
If there is official confirmation that the enforced hardware encryption has been scrapped for this particular WD My Book model, I'll be more than happy to revise this review and up the rating correspondingly.
Overall, if were it not for the enforced hardware encryption, this WD My Book will definitely be on my recommended purchase list, but the fact that there's no way to disable the hardware encryption means I cannot put my data in the drive with a peace of mind.
At this point, the only reason it receives more than a single star is because it's still fundamentally functional. I am going to continue using it, but I am going to have to do more shopping research for WD products in general and be on the lookout for replacements for this device. Such a shame really.
ADDENDUM - 01/06/2015
* I've since extracted the WD Green HDD from the My Book and fixed it into an internal mount. The 5-second spin-up behavior still persists. From my experience, it appears that this idling characteristic is the default for the HDD. Other external desktop hard drives I've used do not exhibit this behavior. Hence, even if I can accept the mandatory hardware encryption, I can no longer rate it at 4-stars; it'll probably earn a solid 3-stars at the very best.
A. Grussion August 30, 2014Beware USB AES Encryption on these WD Drives!!!
Capacity: 3TB|Style Name: Single Drive
Be advised, these Western Digital drives use AES HARDWARE encryption. If the USB fails on the device - you CANNOT recover your data. Of course, mine died on the fourth day I had it - and even Western Digital cannot recover the data for you (as the encryption key is IN the hardware of the USB. Had to take the drive out and format it (lost all data). I suggest getting a drive which has AES password encryption not on the hardware - this feature not only does not provide you with any more security - it provides a second point of failure for your device. Don't learn the hard way like I did...25 comments| 260 people found this helpful.
John Ebbert, I asked the guy at Microcenter today that same question. What he told me is that because this drive uses AES hardware encryption, it still encrypts the data, even if you do not use a password. I don't know 100% if he was correct in what he told me, but he sounded as if he knew what he was talking about; he sounded very confident of his answer. So, his answer implies that if you do not use a password, that does not make any difference, and if the AES hardware encryption fails, it will be almost impossible to recover data on the hard drive itself. What I understand is that it is not the actual hard drive itself which has the device (chip) to encrypt the data; it sounds as if that device is in the USB port in the drive enclosure. So, the only way that AES hardware encryption would really be effective is if a thief took the time to remove the drive itself from the enclosure, leaving that USB port and AES encryption behind....the data on that drive would be encrypted, but you would not have the AES hardware to decrypt it. That's the way I understand it.
I have been looking at a new hard drive system to upgrade my current system...I currently use 2 separate external Seagate 4 TB drives. One is the main drive, and the 2nd is a backup of the main drive....I manually copy files from the first to the 2nd, whenever I put new ones on the first. But, I'm running out of space, so I'm looking for something to upgrade to. I have been trying to figure out what this AES hardware and password protection really mean in terms of practicality. I am absolutely no expert, but from what I am gathering, from reading different things and talking with various people who seem to know what they are talking about, AES hardware encryption is kind of useless and actually works against the user rather than actually protecting his data. The reason for this is as follows: if you have one of these drives, with AES hardware encryption, if that entire drive is stolen (including the enclosure), even though that drive uses encryption, that drive can be hooked up to another computer, and the data on it can easily be read. The hardware that encrypts the data going into the box also decrypts it when the data comes out. It is decrypted in the drive itself before being read by the PC. I think, though, if you actually use a password, someone will not be able to access that data unless they determine the password (although I'm not 100% certain of that).
My belief is that hardware encryption is useless in a device like this because the only way it really would be helpful is if someone, while stealing your hard drive, decides to take the actual drive out of the enclosure, bypassing that AES hardware encryption, which sounds as if it is separate from the hard drive itself....sounds like it is in the hardware of the USB port in the enclosure. But why would a thief take the time to remove the hard drive from the enclosure? I hope this makes sense.
I've seen credible sources on various web sites say this; today I talked to someone at MicroCenter who seemed like he knew what he was talking about, and he told me the same thing. My belief is that in boxes like this, AES hardware encryption probably is just something which adds to the cost of the entire package and in most circumstances probably does not really protect your data from being stolen. And, it seems to me that AES hardware encryption, if I am understanding it correctly, adds another point of failure which might actually cause you to lose all of the data on that drive....
it would still be there, but if the hardware encryption part goes bad, then you could not decrypt that data. I might be wrong, but this is causing me to look at a different setup, maybe the internal WD red drives which I do not think use AES hardware encryption. They cost more, but I think the actual hard drive itself is better than what might be in these external drives. Any comments would be appreciated.
Very neat! Extremely versatile & USB 3.0 Speed!! May 31, 2012
Amazon Verified PurchaseRecently installed Windows 7 via Bootcamp to my Macbook Air which only had 128gb to begin with. I partitioned 50gb for Bootcamp, and when it was all said and done, I had 47gb to use. Once windows 7 and some programs were installed, I had about 25gb left. LOL. I had a 300gb 2.5" HD laying around pulled from a PS3. I wanted a case that was USB 3.0 and also be able to match my Macbook. So I was a little disappointed in the color of the case.
The description says Milky White, the pictures even looks white. But more accurately, the description should say, CLEAR FROSTED PLASTIC CASE. That's what they mean folks, when they say MILKY WHITE. My hard drive can be seen through the case clearly. Not enough frosting. For all all intents and purposes, it's basically a clear case.
Having said that, I love the function of this. Think of those plastic VHS tapes in the 80's. That's what it basically is. You put the hard drive inside along with the usb 3.0 module/sata connector. Then you shut the case. It snaps in place, no screws. Underneath the case is an opening for the usb cable. Extremely versatile if you have multiple bare 2.5" drives laying around the house like I do. It does the job. USB powered too, no need for power adapters or cables. As for longevity, who knows.
Previous review says you can probably connect a 3.5 hard drive since you don't really have to use the case. I was very doubtful because it takes a lot of power for those 3.5 drives and there were no power adapters or cables supplied. But for the curious cats, I tested it out, and the answer is NO. You cannot use 3.5 drives. It did not recognize the hard drive. I double checked by connecting the 3.5 again via my Apricorn Drivewire Universal HDD Adapter USB To 2.5IN & 3.5IN Sata & Pata which has the proper power adapters and my macbook recognized it fine. I don't know if it doesn't work due to the hardware itself or simply a power issue. If it's a power issue, you cannot simply add a power connecter either because once the Ineo module is connected to your 3.5 drive, it blocks/covers the power slot of the drive.
So there you go. There is no killing two birds with one stone. This is only for your 2.5" drives. Despite the color disappointment, I'm still giving it a 5 stars because it works and it's versatile.
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