WD My Book Duo Raid Faux Failure

I have been buying WD Products for most of my adult life. I never would have suspected Western Digital would deliberately sabotage their products. As an IT professional I have used WD hard drives for years, I had heard unsubstantiated rumors that WD enclosures randomly fail and for seemingly no reason.

The Enclosure: WD 12TB My Book Duo Desktop RAID External Hard Drive, USB 3.1 - WDBFBE0120JBK-NESN. I bought a WD My Book Duo to store my home files on and it seemed to work great for months. No problems. I used it as storage for my home server. I set it up as a striped drive to get the maximum use of the enclosure as a storage device (my mistake). What I should have done is buy a 14 TB hard drive and install it in my PC for regular use and use the My Book Duo as a backup – Lesson Learned!

Problem: When I reached eight terabytes of the drive’s capacity the raid function started acting wonky. When I restarted on my server I received an error message informing me there is a failure on RAID 1. No panicking I began t troubleshoot the problem.

  1. I unplugged the enclosure and plugged it back in again. The drive rebooted and worked normally. I thought it was odd and went online and began about reading about raid failures here in the forums. And found out about the difficulty people have trying to retrieve their data after an enclosure fails.
    For more info please see this thread: WD My Book Duo data forever lost if Drive Enclosure Dies!

Fortunately I havd a backup on another drive in another enclosure (not a Western Digital enclosure). I had learned years ago through bitter experience what happens when someone doesn’t have a good backup.

  1. The hard drive began having more RAID failures as I approached 9 terabytes of the drive’s capacity. The error message kept popping up in windows: “RAID 1 failure on WD MyBook Duo, please correct the problem in WD Drive Utilities.”

I rebooted the enclosure and it worked again. I thought ‘How odd. No RAID failure I ever heard of worked this way before.’ I went on to the WD forums and found the link above along with many other threads involving RAID failures. I contacted a friend and mentor who has been in the industry longer than me. He told me that I had better start copying the data off that drive before I lose it forever. He told me he believes that WD deliberately sabotages their enclosures to get you to buy another one when the RAID fails and send both drives in to get the data recovered onto a new and bigger drive. Due to what he’s seen these drives do in a WD enclosure, he won’t use a WD enclosure and he buys the Hard drives and put’s them into a third party enclosure to avoid that problem and they almost always work well.

He told me to do an experiment after I get the data from the enclosure – remove the stripe. Set up RAID for RAID copy and remove a drive from the enclosure and try to recover the data. When I did, I found out that some of the files are there and they are encrypted which means it is impossible to recover the data without Western Digital’s help or the help of one of their affiliated data recovery companies.

  1. I bought a nice 5 bay NAS enclosure that has a Linux OS. I set up RAID between the same two hard drives in that enclosure using Putty on my Windows 10 pc and guess what? I copied all the data back to those two drives and they work better than when they were in that enclosure.

Conclusion: Based on what other WD customers have said in the forums combined with my experiences and my mentor’s suggestions. I will never buy a WD MyBook enclosure again. I like my pictures, having my tax records and everything else stored securely on my own enclosures and It frustrates me that you would make your hard drive enclosures to fail when a user starts to reach the enclosure’s capacity so they will willingly send their precious data to you to recover for big $$$ and sell a bigger drive just to drive more sales. I am appalled that Western Digital would stoop to the level of a used car dealer to make an extra buck. The reality is, your products become more and more overpriced from year to year. I can pull a Toshiba drive out of it’s enclosure and recover the data simply by plugging it in internally to my desktop PC.

I hope others will heed my warning and avoid Western Digital enclosures or reap the bitter experience of losing their data.