WD My Book Duo 12TB (Year 2016) - Enclosure Cannot Power-Up; How to Retrieve / Access Data in the HDDs

Dear all,

Unit Detail

  • Unit: WD My Book Duo 12TB (i.e. 2 x 6TB HDDs)
  • Year purchase: 2016
  • Configuration: RAID 1 (mirrored to capacity of 6 TB)
  • Password: None set
  • Product Number: WDBLWE012xxxx-00
  • Running on OS: Windows 10 (64 bit)
  • Warranty: WD has agreed to replace the unit but will not recover the data (hence replacing the unit will mean losing all the data)

Problem Faced

  • Unit was working fine where I store most of my family picture and videos (using about 2.5TB)
  • One day the Enclosure did not power up (i.e. cannot switch on – no LED lights)
  • I have checked the power adapter for the unit and its working fine, hence it’s not the power adapter issue
  • With the spoilt Enclosure, I am now unable to access my stored files in the unit’s HDDs
  • I believe my 2 HDDs (in the Enclosure) are working perfectly fine as they had no prior issues
  • From recent readings I understand WD will hardware encrypt all the files; a technician had directly connected one of the HDD to a PC and the PC asked for initialization of the HDD, which he did not perform and unplugged it from the PC
  • The data recovery services providers’ charges are expensive and they did not give assurance on the ability to recover any, in part or the full data in the HDDs

Resolution / Assistance Sought

  • A) How to access / retrieve the data in the HDDs?

  • B) And can I purchase a similar (WD My Book Duo) Enclosure and plug in my 2 HDD to access the files? If yes, (i) must it have similar Product Number (or what product numbers are comparable); and (ii) Same Storage Capacity (of 12TB)? [PS: I am currently seeking information on a 4TB Enclosure – no details on Product Number yet]

Any assistance is very much appreciated, and thank you in advance.

Warmest regards

I’ve been testing this lately while troubleshooting another issue, and here’s what I’ve found.

If your drives are still good, you can put them in another similar WDBLW enclosure and read them. The capacity of the enclosure shouldn’t matter; a 4TB (2x2TB) vs a 12TB (2x6TB) should be the same enclosure with different size disks installed.

Normally, I’d recommend putting in one drive at a time to isolate any problems, but after doing that on my WDBLW 2x2TB, it wouldn’t rebuild the array or let me get my data with both drives in. Either drive reads fine by itself, but both together are now unreadable.

You can’t just connect one of the drives to a USB adapter and read it due to the built in encryption.

Here’s a link to a compatibility matrix:

Hi Maxlcon,

Thanks for the prompt reply; based on what you said:

  1. I have to find a used Enclosure with similar Product Number - ie WDBLW. This may be difficult considering the product is no longer in production, but will certainly try.

  2. Noted that

  • the size of capacity of the HDDs that used to reside in the Enclosure does not matter
  • will try to extract information with one HDD first as you have mentioned. In fact, if I can access the files with just one HDD I will immediately copy over all the files into a separate external HDD
  • yup, as tested by a technician, directly connecting the HDD to a PC does not work due to the encryption.
  1. On the link you sent, I read this online as well, but I noted that my Product Number WDBLW is not stated on the table. Not sure if this has any relevance to my case, or whether my HDDs will run on another Enclosure with similar Product Number.

Now it appears the next challenge is to find an Enclosure with a similar number.

Anyone having such an Enclosure if is willing let go of it please feel free to let me know.

Also if there are other advise from anyone, please feel free to share. Much appreciated.

Thanks again and best regards

I see that the link doesn’t include WDBLW drives, but it worked on mine. I have 2 WDBLW drives at my desk, and am troubleshooting a different problem, so switched drives between the two enclosures. Both sets of drives worked in both enclosures.

Here’s a link for an empty 16TB Mybook Duo enclosure that looks like the correct one, but you’d want to verify the WDPN with the vendor. They have warnings that it won’t work with drives below 6TB, so you should be OK. I’ve only used 2TB and 3TB drives in mine, but it might be worth a try.

There are also units available on ebay. Always a bit of a gamble…

Hi MaxIcon,

This is good information, thanks.

Will try to search for comparable Enclosures in the market. I checked, my WD My Book Duo uses Red NAS HDDs, which I believe is what the sellers have stated as well.

Best regards

HI MaxIcon,

May I know if you are on RAID 1 configuration? Thanks.


Yes, I’m on Raid1 on both enclosures, using 2 x 2TB WD Reds in each.

Hi MaxIcon,

Sorry missed your message, just saw it.

Anyway, good news; thanks to your advise, I manage to buy a used WD Enclosure (with the same Product Number (P/N)) and access my original 2 HDDs in the normal way. All files are successfully back-up into a new (non-encrypted) HDD!!! Thanks.

Details as follows:

  • Found on the web an exact WD My Book Duo 12TB Enclosure (without HDDs) for sale. I made sure it has the same Product Number (P/N) as my faulty Enclosure
  • Before buying I tested my HDDs on the used Enclosure and it worked; i.e. the laptop read the files in the normal way (just for information - I am on RAID 1 too)
  • Albeit unlike your case, inserting only 1 HDD (I used only HDD #2 on slot #2 - maybe that’s the problem) I was not able to access the files; but inserting both HDDs into the used Enclosure, I was able to read the files in the usual way. With the successful test (3 times I did it), I purchased the used Enclosure.
  • Subsequently, all the files from my original HDDs were transferred to another new HDD that is on “plug and play” basis (i.e. without encryption) using another new HDD Bay (“New 3rd HDD”)
  • Also noted the LED light on the used Enclosure for HDD #2 was red (but files were still readable from the Enclosure); on consultation with WD Support, was told that this is likely due to software fault on the HDD #2, and was told to reformat HDD #2 and insert it back into the Enclosure for auto duplication
  • Unfortunately, I had earlier decided to reformat both the 2 HDDs (should not have done this on hindsight), and had to copy back all the files from the New 3rd HDD into the 2 original HDDs via the used Enclosure
  • The faulty Enclosure has been sent to WD for RMA replacement under warranty (they said they will provide me with one with the same Product Number (P/N))
  • So issue resolved

As for my current back-up system, originally, I wanted to use 2 HDDs on the new HDD Bay and carry out manual duplication and not use the WD Enclosure due to the concern with the encryption issue. But as I will have 2 WD My Book Enclosures with the same P/N (I hope) and excess HDD capacity (with the addition of the New 3rd HDD), I decided for the mean time to use 3 HDDs for back up, i.e. the New 3rd HDD in the new HDD Bay (non-encrypted) plus 2 HDDs in the WD Enclosure (unfortunately auto encrypted, and under RAID 1 configuration). This means I have to manually duplicate files between the New 3rd HDD and the 2 HDDs (in the WD Enclosure). But still trying to figure out the best way to set up the new back-up system.

Another thing just for sharing, I am not sure how true this is but it make sense to me; whilst scouting for data recovery services, one of the service providers advise me if possible not to use more than 2TB HDDs (each) for back-up system, as data recovery on larger HDDs may be more tedious and the risk of data loss may be more critical due to the larger number of files that may be stored in the HDD.

Hope this will help anyone having similar issues.

Thanks again

Best regards

Thanks for the update - lots of good info. It’s good you got your data back!

I’ve got a handful of different WD RAID solutions, local and networked, and this has me a bit worried about the risk of losing data if an enclosure goes out and I can’t get another close enough to it.

I believe I’ll start migrating into other, non-encrypted enclosures where the HDs can be read on a standard USB/SATA adapter, just to avoid future headaches.

Hi MaxIcon


Please feel free to share if you do find a good solution for a back-up system that is not encrypted (which can be “plugged and play” on any USB/SATA connection) and that can automatically duplicate files into (at least) 2 HDDs simultaneously.

Warmest regards