Help with 2 TB WD drive

My problem concerns a 2 TB Western Digital external hard drive.  I believe it’s a My Book Essential, but I don’t have the box or manual with me so I’m not totally sure.

A week ago I noticed that the USB cable had come unplugged from the hard drive itself; when I attempted to plug the cable back into the drive, there was no port, just a hole.  Moving the drive around in my hands, I could hear something moving around inside of it.

I decided to take the drive apart and attempt to reconnect the loose part.  Upon removing the plastic shell, I found the loose part, which was indeed the drive’s USB port.  There was no way for me to reattach it, however, as it appeared to have snapped off of the board.

At that point, I decided to purchase a cable kit to use to connect the drive to my Macbook.  (It’s a SATA/PATA/IDE to USB Converter kit.)  In order to attach the cables, however, I had to unscrew and remove the part of the motherboard on which the USB port was located; this board was itself plugged into the hard drive.  (If my description here isn’t making sense, please ask and I’ll try to do a better job explaining it.)

Anyway, i attached the cables to the drive and plugged them in.  My computer, however, came up with a dialog saying that the drive was unreadable, and when I opened Disk Utility, it didn’t give me any options short of reformatting and/or erasing the data on the drive.

The drive had been using WD Smartware, which required me to enter a password to access the drive.  I had assumed that it would function the same way when connected via cable kit, but apparently not.

At this point, I’m not really sure what to do.  I’ve considered taking the drive to a computer repair store, although I’m wondering if sending it to WD isn’t a better option.

Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.


I hate to be the bearer of bad news there is more than one thing. When you opened the drive you voided the warranty. Drives with Smartware have hardware encryption provided by the board with the USB port. Any data removed without that board will be encrypted and useless. You sat a password and that complicated matter. There are about only 2 things to try. One is getting a new port soldered back on by an electronics repair person who knows what they are doing. The second is professional data recovery. Possibly they can take off the components from your board and build another one. That won’t be cheap.


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Have you resolved this problem?  I too have a drive where the usb port tore off?  (my fault though)  We atempted to resolder and no luck as the pins are really tiny.  I also asked the best buy geek squad and they suggested an external enclousure which did not work and i also tried some usb to firewire adapters which didn;t work.  As a last resort I have ordered a new control board from some guy in Hong Kong off of ebay.  I got the board number and googled it.

It will be a couple weeks until i get it.  If that won’tt work then I will have to find someone with a Mac witrh Firewire and buy a new drive and try to copy it over.  I dont recall that my drive has any password protection either.  good luck

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The board with the USB port handles encryption and any data recovered without it will be encrypted and useless. If you did not use a password then another board might work. If you sat a password you’re probably out of luck.  Professional data recovery service may be able to take toe old board and new one and change the needed parts for the password.


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i’m really hoping to not buy another hard drive until I get one that has an apple thunderbolt port on it

I am quite shocked to see that there have been SO MANY others that have had the EXACT SAME PROBLEM that I have had!! 

Fortunately, I had not yet made the mistake of opening the case but, I too can hear the port rattling around in the HD.  I too had consulted w/ the Geek Squad @ Best Buy and like they had advised another poster on this topic, they suggested that I get an external enclosure at a cost of approx. $80.  I wasn’t too keen on paying $80 for JUST AN ENCLOSURE when that was almost as much as the cost to replace the Hard Drive.  

I am still under warranty, however when I contacted WD, I was advised that All that they would do would be to replace the HD itself but they couldn’t do anything about the 400+GB that I have on the HD currently.  

In July the HD on my mom’s MacBook Pro died and the remnants of her 320GB HD (which cost us $900 to retrieve) are on our WD Hard Drive!!  In addition to that I have another 150 GB of data that I took off of the HD of my other MacBook Pro to free up space on that HD.  

What really troubles me is that the person that I spoke to at WD Customer Service last Friday was trying to tell me that they didn’t have any procedures in place to handle a customer’s data in the event of a situation like this where one of their drives (that’s under warranty) fails & requires a replacement under the warranty contract!!

Does anyone have any ideas as to what I can do??

I purchased a new external HD (NOT a WD after this experience!!) but when I went to get their GeekSquad to transfer the Data from my WD HD to the new one, they said that there would be a $100 DATA TRANSFER CHARGE!!!  And the total cost of the new HD was only $99.99!!  

How much sense does it make to pay the SAME AMOUNT to get the data transferred as you pay for the HD in the first place!!!



I just got an email from WD stating that they would as a one time exception to their warranty policy that they would send my drive to a data recovery service, but I am still bothered by the fact that they S.O.P. is not to take the customer’s data into account when there is a warranty claim on one of their HD products.

I’m curious, how was it that your USB port tore off??  I’m curious if your situation is similar to what happened to my HD.

What’s a Apple Thunderbolt Port??  I’ve been using Apple / Macs for 30years (since Apple IIe) and I haven’t heard anything about a new port of any type.  I would think that it wouldn’t be in Apple’s best intrest to use a port that isn’t being used by other computer manufacturers (i.e. USB & Firewire that are used by ALL computer manufacters).

Couple of your points that I can put in perspective;

  1. There are no consumer grade hard drive manufacturers that warranty your data.  Electronic components sometimes fail more quickly than expected and the manufacturers know that.  All of these external systems come with a disclaimer that you should have more than one backup of your important data and periodically test to see if the backup is functional.

  2. The $100 fee to migrate your data is a Geek Squad nuisance charge.  They don’t want to be responsible for you data either so the charge is artificially high to discourage use of that service.  Besides, in most cases, the data will either be incomplete of corrupt sincel your migrating from a broken  device and even if they do everything correctlly, the customer won’t be satisfied.