Encryption of existing data after password enabling

I bought a pair of WD My Book Essential 2TB drives.  I’ve been using them without any problems.  Recently, I read on this forum about possible random passwords appearing and crippling some drives.  So, I decided to go ahead and enable passwords on both drives.

I understand that this may start the data being encrypted (though one poster states that they use encryption all the time).  

Anyway, my question is simple.  I’ve been storing records on the drives.  So, my question is whether or not the data that was there has now been hardware encrypted with that password/key?  It seems to me that if that were so, that the drive would need quite a bit of time to do the encryption of the 1 TB or so of data that was already there.

I would appreciate any thoughts you might have about this.



The encryption used by SmartWare applies to the drive, not to the data itself.  As soon as you enter your password the drive is unlocked and you will have access to all data.


Thanks for your prompt reply.  But, what I’m interested in knowing is about the encryption on the disk, itself.  It is my understanding that the data on the disk is encrypted and that it can only be accessed after entering a password, if the disk has passwords enabled.

That is, in my case, if I have quite a bit of data on the disk, and then I enable password protection, which is what I’ve done, then I assume that all data is encrypted - new data and the data I put on earlier.

Thus, if I lost the password I’d be unable to access any of the data.  Even if I had the drive pulled, the data would be inaccessible because of its encryption, and that this would be true of both the old data and the new data.  Is this correct?

If this is correct, and I think it is, then it must be that the drive is encrypting data all the time, even before I enabled password protection.  This seems to be true because when I enabled password protection with Smartware, the drive did not become active, or seem to be doing anything special.  But, if enabling the password had triggered it to encrypt all the data, then it should have taken a long time to do so.

So, I’m back to the question of whether all the data on the drive is encrypted as it is written to the disk, or whether only the password is encrypted on the disk.  If it is only the latter, then my drive can be pulled and the data read off of it.


Dave Harris

the drive is encrypted…

the software is just triggering the encryption

therefore if the drive is removed from the enclosure the data can not be accessed