I was lucky I had lots already backed up (particularly mp3s).
I can recover a lot of files using DMDE and use the image and video metadata in Windows Explorer to reorganise my collections by date taken.
EDIT - If I hadn’t already opened my device or had a lot already backed up I’d be tempted to wait and see what comes of of the WD offer of data recovery and replacement devices before breaking open your MBL in case that voids whatever they may offer
So I thought I’d chip in where I am at in case my (limited) experiences are useful to others. After it became clear that there was a wider issue I powered down my MBL 2TB and have not powered it on since. I am somewhat fortunate in that I had all our music and photos up until April backed up on removable USB elsewhere so I didn’t have as much skin in the game as many of you so was happy to try stuff without waiting for a solution to settle out of WD or these forums.
I pulled the 2TB single disk out of the MBL and connected it into my desktop PC directly by borrowing the power and SATA cable from the CD ROM.
I downloaded DMDE and ran a full scan of the drive shown in the PC - note I did not try and explore it in Windows so that I wouldn’t get any prompts asking me to format or otherwise. I had about 1TB of data on there. The scan took about 6 hours.
It found 6 filesystem volumes and a lot of raw files and a few bits of directory structure. I need to open each volume and look through and see what is useful but mostly I’m just going to working from the raw results which group by file extension. The directory structure of the factory reset MBL is there as you would expect, but it has found some old folders with photos in and managed to preserve filenames. I don’t need any of these as they were items I had backed up elsewhere but they would be useful if I didn’t. The raw files found have around 200,000 images (my photo archive only had around 40,000) - some of this is images used on the MBL itself for web pages etc. some of it is multiple copies of the same image from where my photo archive structure was evolved over time i.e. the same photo copied from one location to another. I see the same for documents. I have multiple copies of the same document listed, generally with increasing file sizes which corresponds to all the versions that have been saved through time.
What next for me:
As I had backups to rely on I will probably be fine with the free version of DMDE which is limited to recovering - I think - 4000 files at a time. If I needed more I’d probably pay for the next version as it seems reasonable.
If I only target restoring file sizes between 400Kb and 20MB for images that will take out a lot of the thumbnails and corrupted files and that probably hits the average filesizes for our phones and DSLRs
All the filenames here are gone, however when restored a lot of the image data is still useable - i.e. In windows explorer → view → details If I add the data taken field to those shown (it is not by default) then I can sort all the photos by date and that will help me to fairly quickly find what I am missing. There are some that don’t have that information on but these appear to be either corrupted in some way (e.g. a 175MB file) or thumbnails created from an original image hopefully elsewhere.
Due to a fault in my backups I didn’t have a lot of home movies of the kids backed up so I’ll have to trawl through everything but these also mostly have the Media Created field populated so again I can sort by date to organise.
I didn’t have many documents stored on there which is fortunate as these will be the most painful to sort out, but did have some of the kids short stories that they had written. Luckily there are only a few hundred files to go through so I can do that in slower time.
So to those of you that are worried about the prospect of 10000s of files with random filenames, you might find that the file metadata gives you a quick way to reorganise your collections. For me I don’t care if my files are called DSC***.jpg or f****.jpg but I want to try and rebuild my folder structure which was largely organised around dates anyway and I can do that by sorting in explorer and dragging back a new dated folder.
I don’t need to sort my mp3s back again but if I did then similarly in Windows Explorer the artist, album and title fields are populated for my bought mp3s so I could use that to help rebuild my collection structure.