How to: Recover a firmware bricked drive

This is a short how to to get your files off a WD white light 2TB and restore it back to working condition. There are still a couple of issues i’m trying to work out, hopefully someone can help me out finish this guide off.

How to: Recover your files

Step 1. Get Linux

You have two options here.

  • The easy way: Boot from a live distro (Knoppix, Suse, Live Ubuntu, etc) (essentially whatever floats your boat)

  • Or just install it. In my case I used the disk management tool to shrink my storage partition on my desktop by 20GBs; more than enough to install linux and installed openSuse 11.3 on it.

Step 2. Mount the raid volume

  • Open terminal/console

  • Login as root:

    su root

  • If your distro doesn’t come with mdadm then install it.

    apt -get mdadm

  • use this command to assemble the raid array:

    mdadm --assemble --scan

  • Your array should now be mounted with 4 partitions; the last partition which uses XFS as its file system is the data partition. From this point you can use any file browser (Dolphin in my case) to browse the drive.

From here you should be able to read and write as you wish. Either map a network drive and copy the files or attach another external drive and copy the files over.

How to: Recover your bricked drive (In progress)

After my drive got bricked I contacted WD support and they sent me a “new” unit via advanced RMA. So I decided to create an image off the RMA unit and restore my bricked device.

I created full raw images of the drives with dd and restored them to the old bricked drives. Each of them is about 1.5 GB.

to backup

dd if=/dev/hda conv=sync,noerror bs=64K | gzip -c > /mnt/sda1/hda.img.gz

ro restore:

gunzip -c /mnt/sda1/hda.img.gz | dd of=/dev/hda bs=64K

Using this method my old bricked unit was ressurected to working order, however there is one issue I have not been to solve.

The original drive I had came with advanced 4k sized sectors. The “new” warranty replacement is using older refurbished 512 byte sector drives. This means when I restore the image from the 512byte drive to the 4k drive I get partion misalignment which can result in degraded performace.

I’m no linux expert here so if anyone can help out it would be much appreciated; there are two possible solutions here: 1) Find a way to align the partions after imaging.

2) Someone here who has a working unit with 4k sectors to make the image and share it.

In the mean time I’m looking for a host to upload my disk images.

1 Like

How are you mounting the WD disk? By ripping it out of the case and attaching it to your linux machine? Doesn’t this void your warranty ?

Yes and no.

Can you please elaborate - I’m currently under the impression that if you open the unit your warranty is void. Or am I missing something here?> * * *
MDKv4 wrote:

Yes and no.

The drives are user replacebale. No one (in their right state of mind) would/should ever buy a NAS/Backup drive with non user replacable drives. There is even instructions in the manual on how to do it…

MDKv4 wrote: The drives are user replacebale.

Right - that’s true only for MBWE 2TB :slight_smile:

Update; I’ve been able to successfully align the first partition on the 4k drive. Waiting for the drives to resync which takes 6 hours after each try…

If this works I’ll align the storage partition and that will be the end of it. However if anyone can provide the MBR and partition table of a working 2TB white light that will gurantee a 1 to 1 match with the original shipped unit.

I have the same problem with a 1TB unit where the drive is not user replaceable.  The unit came with the latest firmware, i.e. I did not upgarde it.  the NAS worked for a day and then… Any ideas on how to recover it?