RAID encryption on WD PR4100?

Sorry for what seems to be a basic question, but I couldn’t find exact info, and I won’t be able to format the new HDD once I move the data, I am using JBOD. This is important for me since I don’t have another backup.

I have a WD PR4100, I got a new WD Red Pro 16 TB, which I am planning to move all the data from my 4 x 4 TB HDDs already installed in the system.

My question is regarding the encryption option when I first configure the new drive. What does it actually do, From what I read in the documentation, it is basically an option to ask me to write a password every time I reset the system, but what does it do beyond that?

  • Does it mean that I won’t be able to attach my disk and read data on another device at all?
  • If the PR4100 unit fails, would that mean that I would completely lose access to my data stored on the disk?
  • Is it possible to change this option after the initial formatting?
  • In the event of a disk failure, would I still be able to connect the disk to another device to recover the data? (this is different from the first question)
  • what advantage and disadvantage of this kind of encryption?

Basically, I would like to encrypt it if it means that the user will be able to access the data as long as they have the decryption/Password.

What I don’t want is to jeopardize my chances of recovering the data if the disk partially fails or the unit dies.

I understand that, unfortunately, at the moment, I could only afford to buy one 16 TB drive. Yet even with a backup, I would still like to know how does the encryption work exactly, I would really appreciate it if you could kindly answer me. Thank you

Did you get your answer?

No, not yet…I called WD customer support, and they told me that I could attach the HDD to a Linux machine and I would be able to read the files. Then, when I asked how I was supposed to decrypt the drive on Linux, they said that they don’t offer support for Linux… so basically I am left with more questions.
Also, @dswv42 said that WD encryption has a very bad reputation and people always lose their data because of it (they didn’t answer my questions, just made me more confused)… then they deleted their comment.

And now I am really totally lost…

Man, @dswv42 you are doing it again, you are just creating more confusion WITHOUT ACTUALLY ANSWERING my question.

and as for what I remember, what I mentioned in my reply, is exactly what you said, I never asked anything about backup

I wasn’t waiting to hear anything specifically, but your answers just create more confusion, I know you won’t understand, because you only hear what you want to hear.

Thank you for your contribution; it is greatly appreciated; please leave the thread to someone else that can actually respond!

Man, @dswv42 I don’t know you, I am not sure what your problem is, and I really don’t want to spend any more energy on this. I am just here to get help for my device, that’s all. Can we please stop now? This is becoming absurd, if not embarrassing, and is neither productive nor professional.

Just for anyone who is willing to kindly assist me, I am still looking for answers to my questions! All that has been offered thus far is completely off-topic! Thank you!

Ok. I think it’s safe to state that encrypting any volume on a PR4100 makes any data unrecoverable. No, you can’t encrypt an existing unencrypted volume/disk.

If you value your data, create a backup like I did and when my DL4100 died and two drives of the RAID5 array also died, from my backups I recovered everything that I wanted to keep. Yes, some data was lost, but I had already made the decision that the data that would be lost is was not important.

So you don’t jeopardize your chances of not being able to recover data, then do not encrypt any volume or any disk.

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Put me also in the camp of those who don’t really like hardware encryption. While encryption sounds cool, it

  • places an extra burden on processors when accessing files
  • leads people to ask questions about backups (like you are asking).

I would not encrypt a drive unless I was very clear on how to recover the data in the event of a box failure.


Firstly I’m no expert! My suggestion might be wrong for you.
Personally, I don’t encrypt drives. As WD rightly points out a backup should exist for any encrypted drives.

See: My Cloud: Encrypting a RAID Volume

I don’t believe you need to worry about how the drives are encrypted using my suggestions below, as that should be transparent to the process.

Firstly, do I assume you intend to replace the 4 drives with 1 of the same capacity in your PR4100? - That sounds a little risky (given a problem I’ve posted about here about new drive failure!)

If your using the new drive outside the PR4100 then maybe you could do this:

(The encryption is at PR4100 level so copying data to an external place from/to the PR4100 is possible.)

When I set up my PR4100 for the first time I used a program FileZilla (free, open source) to log into my PR4100 and move the files with FTP transfer. - it seemed the fastest option at the time. You have to set up FTP on the PR4100, but as a novice I didn’t find that to hard!

FTP transfer can be in either direction.
The new drive could be formatted to the type of your choice ( maybe that used by the PR4100 should you wish to substitute it for the 4 drives later?) Connecting the 16TB drive to a pc using eg a SATA to USB cable. Then use FileZilla to copy the 4 drives contents to it.
I also use a program called Goodsync ( there are free equivalents out there) to backup my two PR4100’s. You could alternatively use this to backup your PR4100 to an external source/cloud storage. Then reverse that if you intend to substitute the one drive for the four.

The result in either case would be an Unencrypted 16TB drive. I’d stay away from encryption unless you have reserve backup capacity!

Sorry to ramble on, I hope this makes sense and possibly helps!
Good luck


Thank you so much for your responses; they are greatly appreciated. Now I have a better idea about encryption. I believe it would only be advisable on RAID, not on JBOD, which is my case for the time being.

Regarding how I am going to move my data to the new drive, I am planning to use “freefilesync” I believe it is very similar to Goodsync.