Is there "Hardware Encryption" in WD My Book External Hard Drives for PCs?

Is there “Hardware Encryption” in WD My Book External Hard Drives for PCs?

I have been given very conflicting answers to that Question.

1st - that if I do NOT set up a Password on the drive using WD Security, then my files will not be encrypted.

2nd - Even if I do NOT set up a Password, the “Hardware Encryption” will still encrypt the files. Then, if the enclosure gets damaged, I will NOT be able to access my files because of that “Hardware Encryption”.


A link to a definitive answer with explanation would be greatly appreciated.

This is correct Steven_Caldwell. The “hardware encryption” is on by default and cannot be turned off nor can you find the encryption key. So if the circuit board in the enclosure fails you lose the encryption key and the likelihood of being able to recover your data. Removing the drives and placing them in a working enclosure of the same model will not work either.

I just found out about this issue an hour ago after owning my my book duo for 2 months. I can’t return it now and I am worried that I can loose my data, which defeats the purpose of a RAID 1 setup. I would submit a support case on ( and tell them your aggravation with this and maybe if we make enough noise they will solve the issue. A simple firmware update can solve this.

Also, below is another thread about the issue

The second one is correct.

WD “swears” that no encryption exists unless you elect it.
Here is their response to my Question to them about that.
If you do not set up a password on the device using WD Security, then your files will not be encrypted.

I also found this on the WD website at
(Under “Overview” at the bottom right corner (the bolding is mine):

Use WD Security to set password protection and hardware encryption.

Steven it depends on what model you have. The My Book Duo’s do not have any option to disable hardware encryption nor find the encryption key meanwhile other models may have that capability.

As the hardware encryption is of concern to me I’ve proposed a testing methodology:

My proposed testing method

As I may end up executing this test, feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Dear all:
I have just bought a MY BOOK DUO 12 TB. Previously I have opened a case asking this issue. This is incredible but WD also told me that there is no encryption and that you can take a disk (RAID 1) and directly connect it to the computer.
I have tested (Raid 1, no encryption, copied files, turn off, extract a disk, connect to Windows 7 with an external device) and Windows do not map the unite, although the disk administrator is able to see the Disk. That means that there is no way to access your data. Incredible how Western Digital really cheats us. They told me that there were no problem to access the disk outside the unite… I have it written.
Well I can send back the unite, but I have loose my time.
What a firm!! They are not even able to properly inform buyers… This is really annoying.

Windows 7 doesn’t include support for the Ext4 file format. Did you install a ext4 driver? Without the driver, Windows 7 won’t see the file structure.