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.