WD My Book 5TB 3.5" Ext HD (WDBFJK0050HBK-NESN) encryption/enclosure failure

I purchased this drive for storage only and I don’t intend to create a password for the drive or install the Backup/Security Software that came on the drive. After reading about “if the drive enclosure fails” and not being able to recover your files due to both enclosure and drive having the encryption key, plus info if another same enclosure was attempted, so I decided to cut to the chase and send an email to WD Support and find out what was true.

I asked:
If the enclosure fails and the drive is ok, would I have access to my files if I connected my drive to a SATA/IDE Adapter if I didn’t and what if I did install the Backup/Security Software and create a password for the drive.

Below are 2 WD replies to my case. I tried to get more information from Support a 2nd time but the 2nd reply sounds like WD is answering part of my question, saying that data is not recoverable because encryption is on both the Software and the enclosure board when you install the Security Software. I had to read the 2nd reply a few times to understand what they were saying. I don’t understand why this is so difficult to answer. Oh well.

1st reply From Western Digital Customer Service and Support
For warranty purposes, the drive itself is encrypted to work only on that enclosure. However the access to the files you may have on the unit is not encrypted, unless you download the application WD Security and create a password for the drive. If you only install the backup software this feature will not be enable since it uses the other application mentioned. Hope this information helps you, please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.

2nd reply From Western Digital Customer Service and Support
In the event that the enclosure fails, and you don’t have the files on another location, we will recommend a data recovery service to extract the files, since if the drive is connected using SATA or another adapter it will not be accessible due to the hardware encryption or if it has the software encryption. As well this will void the warranty provided to the unit.

It looks like encryption is only on when you install the Security Software and create a password for the drive. Also the encryption would not be on the drive if you only downloaded the Backup Software.

1 Like

The encryption is already on the hard drive. It will not activate until you use the WD security software to turn it on. If you encrypt your drive with a password and hook the drive to the PC/MAC using the SATA port. It is still encrypt. It seems like WD really want to help customer to protect consumer their data on the drive if lost or stolen.

I agree that the encryption is on the drive and works off a chip on the enclosure board. I’m lead to believe that if I don’t install the Security Software and don’t create a password for the drive I will have access to my files if the enclosure dies and the HD is ok if I connected the HD to a store bought USB to SATA/IDE Adapter. If I’m wrong, please advise so I can return the drive.

BTW, if someone broke into my house and stole My Book enclosure with the HD inside, then it will work on their PC. The enclosure does the encryption. There is no protection from your files if they have the enclosure.

If your My Book is password enable. Then no one can access your files from any computer that they use Windows/OSX/Linux without the password. If you forget the password, your files in the drive are toast. There is no way to recover the files without the password. You can still use the drive but have to reformat first.

Ah, Right, I forgot about the passwod.
Anyhow, I spoke with WD Support yesterday and confirmed that the HD encryption isn’t enabled unless you install the Security Software and create a password for the drive. That being said, installing the drive into another adapter will give you access to your files if the enclosure fails and the drive is good. Thanks for the confirmation WD. :slight_smile:

I have a 3TB My Book (no software installed, no password, no encryption set)

… and from everything i’ve read, if i remove the HDD from the enclosure and plug into a generic enclosure i won’t have access to my files … because the hardware encryption is always “on” …whether you want it or not.

hmmmm … i might crack open the case this weekend and test (have all the data backed up on a 3TB WD Elements)

I will get back to you on this … because i’m very curious myself


I tested my 3TB My Book tonight …

Background First…
Bought the 3TB My Book from Aussie Retailer “OfficeWorks” as it was “On Special”

I only needed “Basic Storage” so after unpacking the HDD i did a quick format (deleting any software or files that WD put on these things)

So to clarify
i have NEVER installed ANY Security Software or Created a Password for this drive

Lets Begin … (photos) “click and zoom on the image”


The Drive and it’s contents are NOT readable in Windows Explorer

The Drive is only recognized in Disk Management … to which the only option is to “Initialize” the disk … thus formatting it and wiping any data.

Again … from reading many posts … the HDD Encrpytion is on the USB Logic Board Connector, and it’s Always “Active”

Don’t believe me ? do actually what i did above and see if you have access to your Data.

P.S. Put the 3TB drive back in the My Book enclosure … and the data appears in Windows Explorer again :slight_smile:

1 Like

So your screwed if the enclosure board fails. Maybe it’s Model No. dependent. Mines a 5TB unit. Call WD and ask and see what they say. They called me. Maybe WD and others can chime in and put this baby to rest. I know that if encryption isn’t on you can copy a file onto a stick and read it on other PC and open it. I haven’t used my HDD yet so if this is the case then I’ll be returning it. I want NO Encryption.

Interesting http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-1972732/mybook-essentials-hardware-encrypted.html

You should have bought a WD Elements then
(they are Basic Storage with NO Hardware Encryption)

5TB : Model WDBWLG0050HBK

1 Like

I solved it. I returned the drive for a refund.

1 Like

I hope you’ll consider purchasing a WD Elements HDD with your refund

I’m very happy with, and only purchase WD HDD’s … but not the “My Books” range again

(learn’t my lesson on that one … if the worst [enclosure failure] happens)

1 Like

It’s too bad cause I got the drive for $139.50 not including the tax. The online inventory system wasn’t working correctly so when I complained about why my order was canceled, Bestbuy gave me 10% additional off plus I had a coupon besides the $200 off sale. So I’m back on the hunt. Thx for confirming your test on the My Book Joey. It finalized my decision whether to keep it or not.

Well, i only used external WD drives until now (Except for a MAXTOR somewhere down the line, that proved to be a total failure!). A DOZEN i have/had during the years, NO failures whatsoever…

The problem is, recently, after i read about the Advanced Format, and i came across a few posts on the net that state there are some EXTERNAL ENCLOSURES that have logic of their own (not the hard drive firmware). So, like in this case, when removed out of the case, the data (or at least the partition) becomes inaccessible…

Bottom line: I think in the future i will do exactly as i do with 2.5" disks: i buy the DISK and a nice high-speed enclosure. That’s it! You know what you buy, no funky plastic cases that we cannot reuse and we don’t even know WHAT disk is inside! (it’s a roulette… i’ve seen WD Green, Purple and Black inside WD Elements enclosures!)