Experience with broken usb connector on MyBook Essential


#1

13 months ago I purchased a My Book Essential (1 TB) to backup the mydocs folder of my wife’s computer.  We were buying a new computer and wanted to transfer some data between the two.  Luckily we did transfer the critical data!  About 2 months ago the MyBook fell off of her desk and broke the USB connector off of the board.  A coworker who does surface mount work tried to solder the connector back on.  Unfortunately it appears that the traces to the embedded layers of the board were damaged and the drive was not recognized by any of our computers (2 XP, 2 Win7).

I bought a generic SATA/USB external drive housing hoping to recover the remaining data.  The computer did not recognize the drive.  It listed it as unallocated.  A quick search of the internet found that this is a common problem.  Even though I had NOT enabled encription and password protection on this drive, WD, through its assinine judgement, had decided to encript the data on my drive!

I then tried several data recovery tools.  I could recover the contents of the much hated virtual CD, but the actual data was not there.

 Knowing it was a long shot, I purchased a replacement drive hoping to use the interface board on my old one.  I was careful to avoid the newer model (USB 2.0 and 3.0) and only buy the USB 2.0 version.  I was saddened to see the new drive had a different rev of board (rev a versus rev p1).  I plugged the old drive into the new board and the computer recognized it!  Unfortunately it only recognized the much hated virtual CD.  It did not recognize the actual drive where the data was stored.  Oh well. 

Lucky for me what I lost is not critical.  I did, however, learn a good lesson.  I will NEVER trust my data to anything other than a drive that stores my data in a standard format!  I now have two 1 TB WD drives.  I will NOT install either one in the working MyBook enclosure.  One will go in my computer (properly formatted and partitioned to behave like an upstanding citizen of the computer world) and the other will go in a generic SATA/USB enclosure, also reformatted as a standard drive.

I will NEVER buy another WD product.  Further, I manage several test labs.  We use external drives to move large datasets between test equipment and analysis machines.  I am updating our data security policy to explicitly exclude all Western Digital products. 

Luckily I learned this lesson on data that was not critical.


#2

I like this part.

“Lucky for me what I lost is not critical.  I did, however, learn a good lesson.  I will NEVER trust my data to anything other than a drive that stores my data in a standard format!  I now have two 1 TB WD drives.  I will NOT install either one in the working MyBook enclosure.  One will go in my computer (properly formatted and partitioned to behave like an upstanding citizen of the computer world) and the other will go in a generic SATA/USB enclosure, also reformatted as a standard drive.”

You’re lucky as you could use the bare drives in other useful manner. Some of us in this community are not so lucky. My Passport Essentials would go directly to waste basket if similar thing happened to them.


#3

@ chperry,

That’s the point of an encrypted drive.  To make a drive capable of being encrypted, at any time, you have to run hardware encryption all the time.  Unfortunately, that means that It cannot be read outside the case built for it, whether password protected or not.  However, that doesn’t mean that one of our data recovery partners couldn’t recover the data for you.  But since you don’t need the data, then it’s all moot. 


#4

Show me anywhere on the packaging that states that the drive always does hardware encryption and/or that the drive will be rendered unreadable should the usb connection fail.  It isn’t there. 

As for your data recovery partners: why should I have to pay them to recover data from a healthy disk?  It is your interface electronics that failed.  Give me the tools to recover my own data. 


#5

chperry wrote:

Show me anywhere on the packaging that states that the drive always does hardware encryption and/or that the drive will be rendered unreadable should the usb connection fail.  It isn’t there. 

 

As for your data recovery partners: why should I have to pay them to recover data from a healthy disk?  It is your interface electronics that failed.  Give me the tools to recover my own data. 

 

 

Our electronics interface did not fail.  The drive fell off your wife’s desk, as you said in your first post, “About 2 months ago the MyBook fell off of her desk and broke the USB connector off of the board.”  How can we be responsible for that?  I was just offering a possible option for recovering the data.  Besides, you’re assuming that only the USB port was broken.  Who knows what other damage was done to the drive inside the case.  Falling 30 inches to the floor can destroy a drive and make it unreadable.  So how can you assume you even have a healthy disk?

Also, and as matter of fact, all of our SmartWare drive boxes say that they are 256 bit hardware encrypted.  You can find it under the Drive Lock icon. 

Finally, as it says in our warranty policy, you are responsible for your own data.  You should have had a backup.  And before you say that was your backup, you need to understand that a backup is your data stored in a secondary location.  So, until you have data in two separate locations, you don’t have a backup.


#6

Since you manage several  test labs I hope you take care of their data better than you did your own. One copy is not a backup. You knocked the drive off the desk not WD. MarkTwain said  “The man who sets out to carry a cat by the tail learns something that will always be useful and which never will grow dim or doubtful.” Learn from your mistake instead of blaming everybody else.

Joe


#7

I’m incredibly surprised at the tone of this, especially if you are a Western Digital representative.   Regardless of whether I am responsible for my own data, it shoud not be that after 6 months of minimal use, and connecting very few times, that the USB connector breaks off into the drive–no abuse here, just a simple plugging in.   From what others have said, this is not uncommon in these external hard drives, espcially the My Book.  No, the data on my drive is not critcal either, but it was a lot of stuff that took me a long time to collect.  I figured it would be around longer than 6 months.

I’m disappointed that I have to pay for data recovery, and probably will  not since it looks like it’s going to cost more than the drive cost in the first place or than the data is worth.  Although, as you point out, WD is not responsible for my data, they should also carry the warning that “there is a liklihood that this is a shoddy product, so you should buy two of them for when one breaks.”  Of course, it can go on and on since it would require one to keep replacing the back up everytime one of these poorly manufactured devices breaks–which apparently can be quite frequently.  I shouldn’t have to by multilples of these just because they’re poorly made.

I really loved this drive from the moment I took it out of the box.  Plugged it in and no problem.  The capacity was huge, and I was able to take a ton of stuff off my PC to free up space. Since PC hardware is not my thing, I read and compared.  Western Digital seemed to have a good reputation.  I guess I should have come to the Web site instead to find out the real deal with the poor worksmanship and the attitude of the company toward its customers.

Both with the online support and now, with you, it’s unconscionable the attitude y’all are taking is “sorry, it’s your problem that you trusted one of our cheap drives, but if you want your data, you’re going to have to pay for it.”  Very sad indeed…


#8

hello ! The usb port of mine was also broken . It didn’t felt or violent usage .  One day it just broke up . Now i can’t use it , i opened the case and connect it with a SATA cable to my desktop , windows seemed to installed the driver but i still cant  access the drive .  Is there any software i can use to retrieve my data ?


#9

If it came with Smartware the data id encrypted whether you installed it or not. Even if you didn’t use a password it’s still encrypted. About the only hope see if a TV or electronics shop can solder on a new one. See this post http://community.wdc.com/t5/External-Drives-for-Mac/Broken-USB-connector/m-p/181374#M3027  fzabkar is about the only one who understands those boards.

Joe