Damaged USB connection? Repairable?

I have a 1TB WD Mybook External Hard drive, which I had just backed up my laptop to(laptop hard drive died). I went to plug the usb cable into the hard drive and the connection snapped inside the hard drive.

I took it to my usual IT guys to see if they could fix it and they said it was best to send it off to WD, but they would back it up for me before I sent it off.
I got a phone call from my IT guys saying that the Hard Drive is empty. It had nearly 900Gb of stuff (photos,movies,music etc). They said they have run some Data recovery software but it is completely empty.
I have now found out that WD have some kind of Auto encryption. I have heard that you can buy an identical drive and connect the two together.

Will it have a different “encryption key” or something? It can’t be as simple as plugging two different things together can it?

This is a terrible design flaw, I have been told the same thing as other people in this community, take it to a data recovery place and spend $850 and we will send you a new one. Absolutely ridiculous!


About the only hope is to find an electronics guy that could solder port back on. The boards aren’t interchangable. Good luck there is no real work around. Never trust important data to just one drive internal or external no matter who makes it.


1 Like

Usually I wouldn’t have everything on the one hard drive, but it was only because my laptops hard drive was had just died that I had everything backed up on the external.

So it is possible to possibly solder the usb port/connection back on? It is completely snapped off.

It may be possible but you would need an electronics tech that really knew what they were doing on the soldering part. They might also be able to solder on wires and then connect a port that way. I think fzabkar guided somebody thru that a while ago. Look through some of his posts or send him a PM. He is about the only one here with any real understanding of those boards. That’s about all I can think of . You’re really hosed if anything goes wrong with that little board. I won’t buy anymore drives that are password encrypted I’ll do a lot more searching next time and I’d never buy a USB powered drive either.


1 Like

I’ve been informed by a data recovery professional that you can simply swap the USB-SATA bridge PCB in WD’s 500GB My Book Essential,P/N WDBAAF5000EBK. Therefore, I expect that any external WD product where the bridge IC is on a separate board will be similarly recoverable.

The difficulty arises when the bridge IC is integrated onto the drive’s own PCB. In this case you will need to transfer the serial flash IC at location U12. This IC contains the drive’s unique “adaptive” data.

Interestingly, an owner of an HP SimpleDrive, model sd320a, has been able to flash its firmware so that it now identifies as a WD Passport:

The firmware in the above case is written to the flash chip that is attached to the Initio bridge IC. The VCD and Smartware data are stored in a reserved section of the platters.

The OP in the abovementioned thread has done some excellent detective work that should illuminate the structure of these SmartWare drives. Furthermore, his results and methods suggest that anyone who has experienced the “Initio default controller” problem after a failed firmware update should be able to recover by simply reflashing the drive. In his case he actually lifted the clock pin on the flash chip. This made the Initio controller believe that no flash was present, causing it to power up as a “default Initio controller”. He then applied the update after reconnecting the clock pin.