I’ve had some bad luck with external hard drives. For a while I was using a 100gb as my primary photo drive. Well, it died. Fortunately I was able to take it apart and plug the drive into an EIDE controller and keep the data. It was backed up on DVD, but getting it off the drive was much faster and easier.
Next I bought a 250gb Western Digital MyBook to use as a backup drive. After about a month it started clicking which was indicative of a hard drive failure. Back to WD it went under warranty and they sent me a new one. To their credit their customer service was very good about replacing the drive. About a week ago my backup routine started sending me emails that it couldn’t find the drive. So this morning I took it apart to see if the drive was still good (it was). So it’s still going to be a backup drive, but moved to my Linux server where I can keep a little more airflow on it and hopefully not have the issues.
But since it was such a pain to take apart I figured someone out there might like to see the steps.
This is the drive the way it looks laying over on its side ready to get taken apart. There are a lot of different MyBooks and I wasn’t able to easily find instructions on how to take apart this particular model.
And here’s the back. The model I have is the one with only a USB connection. Some of the newer models also have firewire or ethernet, but not this one.
The biggest catch is that you can’t see any screws. Usually that means that there are plastic catches that just pop apart so off I went with a small flat head screwdriver. Oops. There’s one screw painted over on the back, top, left corner if you’re looking from the front. It’s the one closest to the power connection. There are 8 little dimples, but the rest are just indentions. This one has a screw.
So with that screw out, now it’s time to pry off the cover. A small flat head and a little patience and it comes off. Easiest place to start is the middle of the backside. Once it’s loose all the way around the front cover just slides off.
And the disappointing part. I was hoping the drive was SATA so it would work in my new computer. I’ve got an EIDE controller in it as well, but that controller is already full with 2 drives.
And here’s the guts of the drive. The drive is surrounded by a metal casing with the USB to EIDE controller on one side.
4 screws and the whole assembly slides out of the plastic casing. A few more and the controller board flips off. One catch here is that the button and LED assembly for the front of the drive is screwed in on the side so there are 3 extra screws to remove before pulling.
Then it’s just a matter of pulling the power and EIDE cables out and the controller card is loose, and not of any more use.
And we’re left with just the hard drive and a cover.
And now we need to pull off the drive covering. It had 4 screws around the side that held the top on and then 4 more that held the drive in. Taking off the first 4 let me open up the case like a clamshell. The top and bottom covers were taped together so they didn’t totally separate.
These are the screws that held the drive in. No clue what the little side pieces are for. They didn’t seem to serve any purpose.
And now we’re down to just the drive. It’s just a normal 250gb EIDE Caviar.
And out comes one of my toys. It’s one of those geeky things I’ve wanted for a while but didn’t have an excuse to buy until a few weeks ago. It’s a USB adapter with connections for power, 3.5″ EIDE, 2.5″ EIDE (notebooks), and SATA so it’ll hook up to pretty much any internal drive and let it temporarily act as an external. Not a good permanent solution, but works great for what I’m doing.
Plugged it in and it worked without a snag. Windows found the drive and all of the data appears intact. Now I’ve just got to install it in my Linux machine and start using it as a backup there.