Disable Hardware Encryption

While searching for information about something else, I stumbled across the following Youtube video which shows how to modify a MyBook USB to SATA controller card to allow hard drives from other manufacturers to be used within the enclosure.

The video clearly shows a Winbond 25X20CLV1G flash memory chip, which likely contains custom firmware written by WD. The author of the video removes pin 8 of the chip to allow hard drives from different manufacturers to be used, but doesn’t go into much detail.

This peaked my curiosity, so I located the specifications sheet for the Winbond 25X20CLV1G flash memory chip to see exactly what function pin 8 performs. As it turns out, pin 8 is VCC. In other words, pin 8 provides power to the entire chip, and removing power effictively renders the chip inoperative.

Afterwards, the video shows an ASMedia ASMT 2115 USB device being detected by Windows, which appears to be an off-the-shelf USB controller chip. And this is where things get interesting…

If removing power to the Winbond 25X20CLV1G flash memory chip allows hard drives from different manufacturers to be used within the enclosure, does it also disable hardware encryption?

I’d test it myself, but I haven’t owned a MyBook drive since losing all my data due to a failed controller card and secret hardware encryption. Regardless, testing it would be fairly simple, but doing so would certainly void the warranty.

  1. Modify the controller card as shown in the video.
  2. Format a drive using the controller card.
  3. Write some data to the drive using the controller card.
  4. Remove the controller card and attach the drive directly to a computer.
  5. See if the data can be read.

Hi,

This process will certainly void the warranty on the drive.

Let’s see if any of the users can share some information about it.

If it fails for whatever reason, buy a hdd dock, just make sure it has a spin down function so as to not run the drive constantly. You can get a dual bay dock with offline clone function and 2x8tb capability for around US$40. Single bay docks aren’t much cheaper.

Well yeah, but he is trying to remove the proprietary issue where the case will only work with its brand of hdd so he can use a different brand hdd in it. So the hardware encryption would be irrelevant.

So I am saying that IF HE STUFFS IT UP he can get a good dual (or larger) hdd dock cheap. I would say he is better with a hdd dock and if he has stuff on his drive just move it first.

One would also think anyone attempting this would back up the drive first.

With all these proprietary issues I will never buy a hhd in an external case again unless the drive is cheaper that way, like a Duo 16tb and then I would buy a third party dock and sell or ditch the original case.

Removing the hardware encryption is part of the purpose of the exersize!

well bully for you

was looking for this thing! Finally was able to test it and determined that it does seem to disable hardware encryption.

So first, pulled out the drive which I had a 8tb white label. Stuck in a old seagate 320GB and removed pin 8 from the winbond chip. Put in back into enclosure with the controller and computer read the disk fine and added a movie. Then, removed the seagate, pulled off the controller and stuck the bare drive into my desktop. Read and played the movie just fine.

Now to double check, i stuck the white label back in, no reformatting, and put a few movies on there. Removed the drive, had to tape the 3.3v pin. Stuck the bare drive into the desktop and voila! Movies played and ran just fine.

So, in conclusion, seems like the above mod disables hardware encryption so I can safely use the enclosure for my needs as i dont have a NAS yet.

I’m extremely late to this conversation obviously. I hope this isn’t off-topic but have had a few catastrophic WD My Book failures (one was kicked over while in operation, physically destroying the internal platters; another I just stepped on the USB connection, breaking off the mobo/controller port but was able to clothes-pin/clamp it back on w/out soldering & transfer all data to different drive). I bought TWO 8tb My Books in 2017 w/one being used daily for backup and the other I’ve yet to even take out of the box (and BestBuy won’t allow me to return/refund it as no longer carry the model) but do you think it would be safe to extract internal drive from enclosure, REFORMAT it in disk management & use with docking station as storage? I’m just finding out - the excruciatingly hard way - about the sneaky self-encryption.