Can HW encryption be completely disabled on new My Book series?

This is a simple question that I need someone from WD to officially answer with either Yes or No.

Question: Does the new version of My Book series (WDBBGB0040HBK-NESN) still suffer from the “Hardware encryption is always on” problem/bug? I’m a long-time WD customer but have no interest in HW encryption and am not willing to purchase an external hard drive that isn’t recoverable in the situation where just the enclosure fails. I demand the ability to completely disable it.

So, a Yes reply means that the user has been given the capability of completely disabling all HW encryption, and a No reply means that WD has chosen to not address the problem outlined in the post below.

WD still sells non-encrypted drives.

I was asking (WD) about the WDBBGB0040HBK-NESN, which is a 4tb drive carrying a 3 yr warranty. Is the drive you’re referring to its equivalent?

OK, I’ll take no reply from WD as a “No” answer.

Can you tell me then how hardware encryption not being disabled when there’s no password defined is good for the customer in any way? Doesn’t seem like it’d help protect their data… What does it accomplish besides making data loss much more likely?

crickets…

These WD guys are unbelievable…completely agnostic of the problem. They seem to just really not get, how much of a problem this is for their customers. The least thing they could do is to give straightforward and honest answers here in this forum (and not just one liners, that completely ignore or miss the topic). It baffles me, how something so simple and long existing, like a hard drive can be completely messed up.

WD’s marketing and advertisings could be way more honest and clear. Unfortunately someone at WD decided, that the convenience of quickly setting up a password, instead of having to wait for the drive to actually start with the encryption (or maybe even having to take data off, switch mode, copy back on) is better than to let some of the users disable encryption entirely. So, if they decided that this is a great “feature”, why not talk about it in BOLD letters in the advertisings for these products ? That would have stopped me from buying. But, as WD obviously thinks this is a killer feature…why not advertise this like crazy, so that everyone knows right away ?

From marketing blabla, and even the manuals it is certainly not clear, that encryption can’t be disabled with these drives. I don’t bother, as long as I can disable encryption…everyone can have it, but for me…I certainly don’t want additional risk of loosing data. Unfortunately I just ordered a My book duo with 16TB…an realized too late, that a once great product (I had the My Book Studios without encryption before) was crippled and cannot be used for it’s purpose anymore (I Backup my orignal disks to a RAID1(mirrored) and archive to Tape…even with all this in place, I don’t want an encrypted RAID1(mirrored) in my setup. It’s way too risky, I’d rather just skip RAID1 entirely, than relying on a single controller in some cheap housing, that encrypts my data so that it can’t even be easily recovered with recovery software. No WD that’s not how it should be done. I’m eager to learn what your ideas are behind such a feature for a consumer RAID1 drive. Don’t you think the average consumer should be way more concerned about not loosing his data, than about someone else looking at his data ? For certain businesses, yes true, encryption might really be important…but for average consumer/graphic designer joe for whom these drives are made for, usually has much higher interest in not loosing any data, than in encrypting, and password protect his data. Unfortunately most of these guys don’t really care about technical details and they will find out later the hard way.
From my experience, this “feature” will lead to a lot of hard working people loosing a lot of their work, family memories, scripts, videos etc… This is actually quite serious ! You, engineers at WD, not good! Really, really bad job this time ! Go back to your labs and work on a solution (firmware update), and if this is not possible: make a clear statement about this and start working on a new generation of devices. Maybe, your customers will return.

I had quite an experience with the WD support. Performed various test, got more information.

Fact is: you can NOT take drive out of WD My Book duo OR WD My Book Pro (RAID1 mirrored) and read it in a standard computer ! Stay away from these drives, if you want maximum guaranteed access to your data in case of a problem !

(It’s not even necessarily drive encryption which prevents this, its just something the controller does, according to the support)

If you’re interested: here I posted some more details about my findings with the support: