WD My Book Duo data forever lost if Drive Enclosure Dies!

This is a huge issue and needs to be addressed.

I have spoken with a data recovery company, they have said that if your WD My Book Duo which has the “AES 256 Hardware encryption” feature, if the drive enclosure dies that your data will NOT be accessible even if your hard drives are in perfect working order.

Your data may be fine and dandy on your hard drives but you can not access it. Even if you are able to find and purchase another exact WD My Book Duo and put the drives in that, it will NOT work. This is because the hardware encryption is ALWAYS used, even if you never attempt to use the WD Security app to enable “password” protection. This fact is NEVER made clear in ANY WD documentation anywhere!

I hope Western Digital can provide a way in firmware updates to either DISABLE the always on hardware encryption, or to at least give us the ability to EXPORT/SAVE the encryption KEY that the device is using to encrypt the data, and provide for us a SOFTWARE utility which will enable us to use that KEY to read our hard drives even if the “Enclosure” stops working.

Here is a similar related post that has not been responded to:


It does not help that some well respected “REVIEW” sites have done really pathetic reviews of this product which are more like infomercials saying that they observed no performance drop with encryption enabled or disabled, and of course they did not because they did not know that “encryption” was/is ALWAYS on regardless of whether they enable “security password key” or not. They assumed like most reasonable users would that encryption is enabled only when a password/key is set not that its ALWAYS encrypted whether you enable password or not.

Apparently the “password” you set has nothing to do with the encryption, it is not used for anything other than some firmware locking. This means in reality that Western Digital will be perfectly capable to decrypt ANY WD My Book and access your data even when YOU yourself will not be able to. Yes you can be locked out of your own data but the manufacturer and whoever else they may share their “Decryption KEY/s” with can access your data.

So the whole thing about if you forget your password your data can’t be accessed is a joke, its not true. Well its true that “YOU” can’t access your data but they easily could. They just won’t do it for you but if they needed/wanted they can easily bypass the firmware password and also decrypt the hardware encryption. In fact some data recovery firms can do that for you, apparently WD even officially “endorses” some of them, makes you wonder if there’s any profit sharing. It seems that perhaps WD has shared certain “knowledge” with these firms that enables them to supposedly retrieve the “Encryption Key” from the WD My Book Duo and give you back access to your data for some BIG $$$.

So again, I am asking for WD to please be upfront about these very IMPORTANT issues since there is no clear information anywhere, in fact all the documentation seems to imply that your data is only locked once you’ve set a password not all the time and with an Encryption Key that only WD has access to instead of us the users.

There is a solution to all this as I have already mentioned, either allow through a firmware update the possibility to DISABLE the hardware encryption, and/or provide us a way to Export/Save the encryption pass/key so that we can access our data even if the WD My Book enclosure dies for any reason.

Encryption is great and even better when Hardware accelerated for higher performance, but we should be the owners of the decryption Pass/Key for “our” data.


Hi there and welcome to the WD community.

We appreciate your feedback on this matter. Note that there are WD external hard drives   that do not have hardware encryption like the WD elements, the My Book is for customers that want to have the added security to their data and this is why it has the hardware encryption enabled.


Thank you for the reply but I am definitely exactly one of those more Enterprise customers and my point is that your implementation is flawed and should be fixed because of course one of the reasons I bought the WD My Book Duo is because of encryption, but I want to own my encryption key and be able to decrypt my own data not have it hijacked.

So I’m a little bit confused by your answer, is the official WD response that it acknowledges the worrysome problems I outlined but that there will be no plan to fix these issues? I am an IT consultant myself making recommendations for clients especially dealing with security. How can I recommend to “anyone” to use a product that seems to not care about preventing unnecessary data loss. It is not impossible nor even difficult for WD to fix this problem, to allow customers to access their own data off of their hard drives in case their “drive enclosure” develops problems or ‘dies’.

As I have already outlined, there are at least two ways or more that WD can fix this:

  1. Allow enabling or disabling of the Encryption.


  1. Allow Exporting/Saving of the Encryption Key which we can then use with software to decrypt our hard drives in case of problems arising with our drive enclosure.

Ideally the solution should include method #2 listed above so that we can enjoy the Encryption feature for which we purchased your products with assurance that we will NOT be locked out of our data for no good reason.

I hope WD will consider taking a close look at this issue since it may at some point find itself with a lot of very angry customers when their WD My Book duos or other similar encrypted “drive enclosures” fail and people end up with perfectly functioning hard drives with data on them that they won’t be able to access. Looking forward to a solution.


On this case it would be good to post this as a suggestion on our ideas board, you can look to see if this idea has already been posted you can vote it up.

Here is the link to the ideas board so you can do this:

jtech wrote:

This is because the hardware encryption is ALWAYS used, even if you never attempt to use the WD Security app to enable “password” protection. This fact is NEVER made clear in ANY WD documentation anywhere!

Thanks for your post. I was shopping and wanted drive encryption, but not data loss. Your post is one reason why I did not go with the My Book Duo (even though I wanted encryption).

I instead bought the EX2 and was going to encrypt myself (software method).

But now I re-read your post. Is hardware encryption always used on the EX2 also???

The EX2 is advertized as having “Volume encryption.” But I’m a new user and can’t find the settings for it.


I’m not familar with the EX2, WD should be able to answer for us though if users have access to the security encryption pass-KEY used to encrypt data on the EX2. Even if the encryption on the EX2 is not ‘always on’ like on the WD My Book Duo (USB), its still possible you will be locked out of your data if the enclosure has any problems if you don’t have the actual “encryption key” used to encrypt the data.

And for example, that popular WD “locker/unlocker” that let’s users lock drives with a password, well that password is not even used for the actual encryption on the WD MyBookDuo. We are not given the actual/real encryption key used.

Please upvote my fix request at:



You are not comparing like with like when you propose an Elements solution compared to Duo

1st - I don’t think there is an Elements product that supports RAID 1

2nd - WD makes great play of the reliability of the individual drives in the Duo, it does not make the same claims for Elements products.

3rd - They don’t have the same capacity

I also fail to understand how not being able to put the drives in another enclosure adds to the security offered to the end user, other than what I suggest are somewhat rare circumstances where the enclosure is secured by locking cable and the thief has the intent, knowledge and time to open the enclosure and extract the drives.

It seems to me reasonable to make the default that the drives can be used in any other WD enclosure (even if this has to be of the same type) and allow the end user to override this should they wish.

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Thank you so much for the info. This is really sad and disappointing that WD is so reluctant to respond appropriately to this valid concern and is irresponsible to not notice the user about the negative consequences of the default and forced encryption. I have not opened mine. I will return it to Amazon right away. I was wondering if you, Jtech or ItwasNotMe, found an alternative 2-bay backup unit with Raid1 capability that does not have forced hardware encryption issue.

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Did WD find how to fix the issue ? I have a My Book Live Duo 8Tb (WDBVHT0080JCH-EESN) and read somewhere that I can use a “similar” controller to have access again to the the two HDs. Do anyone of you know how to access to the HDs again ?

Testing should be straight forward at this time:

  1. Buy two (2) of the product My Book Duo, henceforth referred to as MB-X & MB-Y
  2. Set the RAID type to MIRROR on MB-X
  3. Ensure that encryption is DISABLED for MB-X
  4. Copy data for testing to MB-X ensuring that original data is preserved in place for comparison; data can be practically any file type as long as it doesn’t change once copied.
  5. Repeat steps 2, 3 & 4 with MB-Y; an alternate data set can be used for comparison
  6. Swap both drives from MB-X with MB-Y
  7. Test the data against the sources

This is of great concern to me so I would appreciate any feedback on this methodology.


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.

Can I still confirm whether this is still an issue?

I’ve just ordered the My Book 6T from Amazon to arrive today and just seen this which really freaks me out. What is the point of setting something up in RAID1 format and then still risking losing everything if a single, mechanical item fails.

Just when I thought I’d found the perfect product for the job!!!

I’m experiencing a similar problem. My Book Essential 1TB started disconnecting spontaneously a few weeks ago, and I would have to unplug/replug the power connector to connect it again. I let the problem go while I worked on my taxes. Fortunately, I transferred critical personal files during those brief moments that it was connected, but left many other files, especially personal pictures, on the drive. A few days ago, I tried to get it to reconnect, but it appeared dead. I bought a My Book 3TB and tried its USB and power modules on the Essential, to no avail. I removed the Essential drive and put it in the new case with the new controller module. The light comes on and I can hear the drive hum, but nothing shows in Explorer. Device Manager and Disk Management DO show it, but without a drive letter, and with a status of “not initialized”. From what I’m reading hear, even if I had an EXACT same case and controller as Essential’s original, it would still not allow me access to the files. Is that correct? I don’t want to send off my drive to a data recovery company with sensitive information on it. I can recover most of my data with backups, but I know I’m going to lose some pictures, as my last backup was over a year ago. (It was suggested on another website to use a free data recovery software, but it couldn’t detect the drive.)

Ok, just so that I understand something.

First let me say that I have had two WD external drives fail so I am considering the Duo as a safer alternative to keep from losing data. I currently have a My Book Essential 3Tb drive that I can not access. My next step is to remove it from the case to see if I can access it. If I’m understanding correctly the data on this drive will be encrypted and will not be able to be accessed ‘outside’ of the enclosure even if the drive is good due to the drive being encrypted? It sounds like the drives in the Duo are the same way then, if one of the two drives fail or if the enclosure fails I will not be able to take the good drive/drives out of the enclosure to recover data? Thanks!

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I used Stellar Phoenix for Mac to recover ALL of the 1.2 million files on a Mybook 3GB for Mac. Yeah, it took nearly 3 days, but I got them all. When the drive is out of the MyBook case, it only formats to a maximum of 801 GB. I even tried using WD’s Quick Formatter under both Windows 7 and OS X, but the utility would not recognize the disk without the original WD USB/SATA board. HOW MUCH DOES THAT ■■■■? Never again…


Windows My Book Duo RAID1 is defective
This info is concerning a 16 TB Windows My Book Duo purchased from amazon on May 17th with the expectation of using the device in RAID1.
The backup strategy chosen was to purchase an additional hard disk of the exact same model as the stock drives, and rotate the two disks weekly.

What I found is the RAID1 functionality is not stable and should not be used
with any expectation of reducing data loss.

All Disk Drives referenced below are
WD80EFZX SATA 128MB Cache NASware 3.0

Steps to reproduce

A. Stock Drives in RAID1 Fail if a drive is removed and rei-inserted
0. Use WD Drive Utilities Configuration to enable RAID1 configuration (wipes all data on both drives),

  1. Eject the My Book Duo using Windows Explorer
  2. Power off the My Book Duo.
  3. Remove Drive two from My Book Duo.
  4. Power on My Book Duo.
  5. Verify in WD Drive Utilities that the drive is offline
  6. Eject the My Book Duo using Windows Explorer
  7. Power off the My Book Duo.
  8. Reinstall Drive 2 in My Book Duo.
  9. Power on My Book Duo.
    1. WD Drive Utilities shows the drives are online in RAID1
    2. Drive configuration is unrecognized. The only option is to wipe the disks and reconfigure
    3. Drive configuration is recognized but requires a rebuild with no access for about 8 hours.

B. Replacing one of two mirrored disks with the exact same model number
results in an unrecognized configuration. This simulates a single-drive-failure in
RAID1 which should almost never result in data loss.
A. Stock Drives in RAID1 Fail if a drive is removed and rei-inserted
0. Use WD Drive Utilities Configuration to enable RAID1 configuration (wipes all data on both drives),

  1. Eject the My Book Duo using Windows Explorer
  2. Power off the My Book Duo.
  3. Replace Drive two from My Book Duo with exact same model MODEL WD80EFZX-68UW8N0.
  4. Power on My Book Duo.
    1. WD Drive Utilities shows the new drive needs to be formatted and added to the existing RAID1
    2. Drive One is still valid and part of the RAID 1 config
    3. Both drives on line.
    4. Drive configuration is unrecognized.
      The only option is to wipe the disks and reconfigure

Anyone familiar with RAID1 would never expect this behavior.
This unit does not support normal RAID1 recovery.
RAID1 should almost never result in data loss. In this case it always results in
catastrophic data loss.

Bottom Line:

  1. Never trust your backup solution until you’ve tried it with test data

Next Steps…stiil contemplating these…

  1. File a complaint to the Consumer Protection Agency so WD is forced to respond publicly
  2. Create a Public Service Alert video and try to get TV stations and youtube to promote it
    to draw attention to this defect before more people loose data
  3. Dissect the drive enclosure and attempt to recover and publish the AES key
  4. Try the drives directly on the motherboard or in an attached Drobo/Synology/etc enclosure
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I just bought a myBook Duo today and drive 1 failed. I found this topic and consider myself lucky. I will be returning this tomorrow. I wanted a safe device to store important files that should a single drive (or enclosure) fail I could replace it and not lose files.

That WD actually suggested that you should get a backup for your backup is absurd.

I’m sorry but how can this be your reply to such serious problem? Imma try to be as respectful to you sir, considering that you are here to provide a service and may not even understand what it means for EVERYONE THAT OWNS AN ENCRYPTED WD EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE TO NOT BE ABLE TO RECOVER THEIR PRECIOUS DATA! WE BUY THIS ENCRYPTED HARD DRIVES TO SAVE AND PROTECT WHAT IS TRULLY IMPORTANT TO US.

In my case I owned a 1Tb My book studio that I bought in 2010. It stopped working a couple of years ago and in my optimism that I would be able to recover my precious data when I found fit I let time pass by. Now that time arrived and to my surprise I found out how impossible is to recover my data without having to expend thousand of dollars to WD. I have even heard of people paying 5x the amount of the original price of this HDD just to recover their precious data. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
This week I’m suppose to get a response from one of WDs IT for a positive valid solution to the case I filed last week ( the IT initially responded asking for a couple of days to do some research–that’s how ef up this situation is)

On a note: I’m on the verge of losing 1TB of unreplaceable precious memories because of WD overpriced cheap encrypted hardware.

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@jowSnow You do not have a backup of your data?

I think that’s the point of owning an external hard drive but I really didn’t have time to back up my data

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