Taking apart a Western Digital My Book

SDraconis

Limp Gawd
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Sep 28, 2005
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I managed to get my hands on a 400GB Western Digital My Book Essential edition external HDD on a Black Friday deal. In truth, this drive would be more useful to me as an internal one. My intent is to remove the drive inside and swap it with a smaller one I have in my case. Ideally, I wish to open the enclosure without breaking it so I can then make the smaller drive the external one.

I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this drive and/or tips on how I might go about opening it up with as little damage to the enclosure as possible. Also, my whole plan is based on the assumption that the drive inside has a SATA interface rather than PATA/IDE. If anybody can confirm or deny this assumption, please let me know.
 

oplin

Gawd
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Jan 9, 2002
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Just open up the drive and look at it. All the external thing is a case to the hard drive. Alot of them are almost always PATA and have an adapter to SATA on the outside or Firewire or USB, but i might be wrong. When opening it just make sure you get all the screws and pup off the top. Some you have to pry off the head part and then undo the top. They're relativily easy and you can buy them seperately and just put a regular hard drive in one.
 

SDraconis

Limp Gawd
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Sep 28, 2005
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I don't think you have seen what the drive in question looks like. There are no screws, even hidden ones underneath labels. This is in no way a standard enclosure, WD did something weird with this one. I was wondering if anyone else has managed to open up one of these without breaking the enclosure.
 

Farva

Extremely [H]
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I don't think you have seen what the drive in question looks like. There are no screws, even hidden ones underneath labels. This is in no way a standard enclosure, WD did something weird with this one. I was wondering if anyone else has managed to open up one of these without breaking the enclosure.

I recall someone have this same problem a month or so ago. There are some tabs you can pull back. The screws are underneath those tabs. I think they were rubber grommets, but I'm not sure on that.
 

oplin

Gawd
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Jan 9, 2002
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Well it obviously comes apart somehow. If there are clips have fun, try using a flat head screw driver and prying them loose. It'll come, it's like trying to figure out how in the hell does your cd player in your car come out the first time you have to rip apart the console, it's all a matter of patience a few beers, a little more patience a few more beers and magically you'll get it out, just keep repeating if it doesn't work.
 

SDraconis

Limp Gawd
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Sep 28, 2005
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141
One of the guys I live with is an engineer and helped me figure it out. Most of it is prying, but one corner is deceptively screwed on. You need to scrape off the paint that hides the screw. I'll post pictures if anyone else needs to do this.

The drive inside is a SATA WD Caviar. It has both SATA and 4-pin molex power. To my dismay, the enclosure provides power via the 4-pin molex connector, so sticking my old Maxtor drive might be a bit difficult. I'm going to try to by the smallest SATA power adapter I can and squeeze it in there.
 

crumflake

n00b
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Jan 6, 2007
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i recently bought a MyBook and was looking for a way to open it.
would you mind sharing some pictures?
id be really appreciative.
 

SDraconis

Limp Gawd
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Sep 28, 2005
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141
I originally intended to post pics, but I can't seem to get my hands on a camera. Here's written instructions that might hopefully help out.

1.) Orient the case so that the "spine" of the book is in your left hand, the "pages" are on the right, and the WD logo is upright. The top left corner is where you'll need to scrape off to get to the main screw that holds it all together. Scrape that off and unscrew.
2.) At the top and bottom where the pages connect to the spine, push something flat in. There's big tabs here that hold the thing together.
3.) Pull the "pages" out from the "cover".
4.) By now you should have the drive. You're going to need to unscrew the four screws on the bottom and all the screws on top, as well as one on the side that hold the power button circuitry onto the board. This will make it so you can separate the drive cage from the rest of the setup. Of course, you'll want to unplug the power and SATA connectors.
5.) It should be obvious now. Unscrew the four screws on the sides of the drive that mount it to the cage.
 

caffiendo

n00b
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Jan 10, 2007
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I have been trying to figure out where this hidden screw is and have been unsuccessful. I thought I'd post a few pics since there aren't any on the thread yet.

driveedit.jpg

driveedit2.jpg

driveedit3.jpg
 

vlink

n00b
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Aug 1, 2005
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caffiendo, the screw is under the rubber foot in the top right corner of your second picture. SDraconis, can you explain step 2 in more detail? i'm just not getting push something flat in. thanks
 

vlink

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Aug 1, 2005
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nevermind, answering my own question, there are two tabs holding the book "pages" to the spine, you can see them in caffiendo's pics, you can push them down to release the "pages" from the cover with a small flathead screwdriver. in caff's first picture, the tab on the bottom of the drive enclosure is in the upper left corner, first and second row of dots and dashes in the enclosure. the tab on the top of the drive is in caff's third picture, in the upper right corner, second and third row of dots and dashes.
 

Sven210884

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Jan 11, 2007
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I too would like tips,

I've removed the screw, and found the tabs, I can push them in slightly, but the sleeve does not come off, it just wont budge! Is heavy-handedness and brute force and ignorance the way to go here, or should it separate easily.

I don't really want to bugger up the case, Thanks
 

spectrumbx

[H]ard|Gawd
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Apr 2, 2003
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1,647
Oh oh!

I just ordered the 500GB version and was hoping it was PATA.
I wanted to replace the drive inside with a 250 PATA drive, sell it, and only keep the 500GB.

Can a PATA drive go inside as a replacement?

Do you have pics of the inside (connectors) and the drive?
 

caffiendo

n00b
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Jan 10, 2007
Messages
53
I too would like tips,

I've removed the screw, and found the tabs, I can push them in slightly, but the sleeve does not come off, it just wont budge! Is heavy-handedness and brute force and ignorance the way to go here, or should it separate easily.

I don't really want to bugger up the case, Thanks

I'm having the same issue. What capacity MyBook are you working with? I have 2 250's and can't get it to "slide" out.

How far in does one need to press the tabs in?

Also, the case seems to pull away "ventilated pages" on the side where the screw was removed.

I also have the tabs pressed in as far as they can go. From the looks of it, the tabs are connected to part of case that has the power button, correct? Also, the case seems very tight to the side where there was no screw removed.
 

Sven210884

n00b
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Jan 11, 2007
Messages
3
I'm having the same issue. What capacity MyBook are you working with? I have 2 250's and can't get it to "slide" out.

How far in does one need to press the tabs in?

Also, the case seems to pull away "ventilated pages" on the side where the screw was removed.

I also have the tabs pressed in as far as they can go. From the looks of it, the tabs are connected to part of case that has the power button, correct? Also, the case seems very tight to the side where there was no screw removed.

It is the 250 that I'm having trouble with too, I can't see it being different to the 400 stated in this thread.

I've managed to push the bottom tab in as far as it will phisically go (I think to a point where it is usless as a tab, so thats broken already) and I can push the top tab in until it hits against the bracket inside. I'm pretty sure the tabs are out of the way but the case remains solid.

I too can't see how it will slide apart, even if you do get the tabs out of the way
 

josh2

n00b
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Jan 16, 2007
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Hey all.. new here. My WD 250GB just died a week or two ago. I was delaying sending it in for repair because I wanted the data on it.. just didn't want to pay for somebody to recover it. Luckily I stumbled across this thread and tried to take it apart.. sure enough, I plopped it in my computer and it worked fine :) All my data is back! Woot.

Anyhow, I took a couple pictures after I got it apart. It was really easy actually.

http://www.thejosher.net/hd/

Basically, unscrew the hidden screw, then use a flathead screwdriver to pry all around the back part of the leef section, then along the top and bottom. I didn't worry about pressing in on the tabs, just prying around it.. they snapped loose. (but didn't break)

The leaf section then came right out. Getting the drive out of the enclosure was fun, but I eventually got it. Mine was an IDE drive. (which was great as I didn't have any SATA conncetors)

Hope my pictures help somebody. Sorry for the crappy pics, but I was using my sisters camera.

:)
 

Sven210884

n00b
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Jan 11, 2007
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Thanks Josh2, it's a tough one to crack but i finally got there just the way you described.

It went a bit tits up for me after that when i was installing the HD into my computer... my unplugged WD caught an arc from the power plug (Computer was on and the plug was out, but a little too close) and it fried both my hard drives, dumb rookie mistake. I wasn't trying to plug it in while it was on (i'm not that stupid) just recklessness and ignorance, so laugh at the Noob if you will!

but thanks anyway for your help!
 

davidm

n00b
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Feb 17, 2007
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2
What a great thread! Intrigue, hardware shots, success, disaster, its got it all.

Skipping the long story, I wanted to swap the 500GB drive in "mybook" for a smaller drive, where the WD drive would be used in a striped array.

Motivated by this thread and a quantity of dark rum (potent stuff), I managed to successfully extract the SATA WD drive. One note: there was no screw in my case design, led by postings talking about a "deceptive" screw, I searched for it (felt very pirate like) and really scratched up the case, but opening it up was a matter of removing the rubber seal and prying the case open. This is the USB/Firewire version.

My question: is it possible to use a different drive in this case? I tried a Maxtor 300 GB SATA drive with a power adapter, but while the mybook lights came on, the drive wouldn't start. Is it a proprietary WD thing, or maybe a newer SATA command?

David
 

caffiendo

n00b
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Jan 10, 2007
Messages
53
That is strange the drive didn't work.. I removed a 5000KS for a regular USB 2.0 MyBook and have the SATA -> USB converter which I thought I would use later, so I'm interested in what you find as well..

I guess it is possible that this problem is related to a proprietary WD issue, I guess.
 

davidm

n00b
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Feb 17, 2007
Messages
2
I tried a Maxtor 500GB drive (MaXLine Pro 500 - an impulse buy at a cheap price, but maaan is this drive slow compared to the WD) and it seems to work fine in the MyBook case. Not sure what the difference is.
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2007
Messages
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I had a 500GB MyBook. Model wd5000c032.
Like DavidM, my Mybook had no screw holding t together so I pointlessly dinged my case.

There is a pretty great guide to opening the 500GB Mybook at:
http://www.ransackery.com/western-digital-mybook-open-case-recover-data.htm

It has several terrific graphics.
Even if you have another model, it may be useful.

Where this fellow used his fingers to pry the "pages" side away from the case, I used a flat head at the tabs (about an inch from top and bottom of book) and wedged thin pads of paper in so the tabs didn't re-engage.

After that, depressing the "catches" at top and bottom let the My Book case slide off easily.

Try this approach before you search for the phantom screw.
 
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