Question about AES Hardware Encryption

I have been wanting to get a large capacity RAID setup for awhile. I currently backup all of my picture files (mainly RAW) to two separate WD 4 TB hard drives. Once I put the files on the primary, I manually back them up to the 2nd drive.

I am getting close to actually getting a RAID setup so I don’t have to manually backup files; however, yesterday, I read a comment about the WD My Book Duo that said that it uses AES Hardware Encryption. The comment stated that if the drives fail (notably, the USB connection), then you cannot recover the data. You have to reformat the drives to be able to use them again.

Is this true? What is the remedy? It almost sounds as if you have to have another separate storage system that mirrors what’s on those RAID drives in the My Book Duo.


If you have the unit setup on RAID 0 and one of the drives fails, the data will be lost since the data will be spread within the two drives. Now, if you have the drives on RAID 1 and one of the drives fails, you will be able to recover the data once you add a replacement drive on the unit.


I plan on using it in a RAID 1 configuration. I do understand that if one drive fails, then with RAID 1, I have the other drive to still read the data from.

The comment I saw elsewhere seemed to say that if the USB connection fails, or something in the hardware fails between the USB port and the actual drives, then you would not be able to access the data on either drive. The problem had to do with the AES hardware encryption. I don’t know where AES hardware encryption is actually used in this device…on each drive, or somewhere between the USB port and the I/O of the drives themselves. I don’t fully understand what he was pointing to, but other commenters seemed to agree with his assessment.

Is there a single point of failure in this device between the USB port and the drives themselves that could render both drives unreadable?


Hi Richard you are correct. The my book duo uses AES-256 bit hardware encryption. It cannot be turned off nor can the encryption key be found. So hypothetically if your raid controller fails in the enclosure you have two encrypted drives (raid 1) with no easy way to decrypt them.

WD is aware of this issue because they have given a few users the same solution when a support ticket is submitted. The solution is to give your drives to a data recovery company or purchase a data recovery software in order to salvage your data. Not cool.

My WD my book duo looks good holding down the paper on my desk because it is essentially an expensive paperweight until WD solves this issue.

I moved onto a better NAS/RAID. Purchased a Synology. Although Qnap I recommend as well.

Thanks for your information, Jake. I really appreciate it.

I have looked at the Synology NAS/RAID products. They look to be very good. They are expensive, but this problem with the WD setup is troubling. I don’t want to be in a position where I might have to send a WD drive in to have it read. I’ll also look into the Qnap products as well.

Thanks, again.