Customer's HDD originates from a 2TB Western Digital My Book External Storage with Auto Back Up and Encryption features.
Warning: Quite often people rely on knowledge and experience with older hard drive external technologies where the internal drive could be removed from the external enclosure, then connect it to a desktop or laptop machine and attempt to access the data files directly on it. Most of the My Book series externals were designed by Western Digital to encrypt and decrypt on the fly the data on the drive. The encryption and decryption process takes place through the chipware architecture on the USB external controller. At software level, the Smartware application provides the ability to protect the user’s data by enabling a password. This design works in conjunction with the internal drive’s firmware module, which can only be accessible with advanced data recovery equipment. Given this architecture on My Book external drives, it is not possible to simply remove the hard drive from the external, connect it to a computer and access data like on older technologies. If the drive is in good condition, then the drive will mount in Disk Management, however the data within the volume(s) will not be available as result of encryption.
Here is a link to the Smartware software description installed on the drive by WD at the factory: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=940
Internal hard drive in the My Book WDBACW0020HBK external was:
Western Digital 3.5" HDD
USB Controller: JMS538S
Failure: the internal drive sustained degradation where bad sectors began developing in an area containing critical files causing instability and hard disk drive to fail. SMART attributes module were inaccessible. Additional firmware module responsible firmware area defective sectors were corrupt causing what is known in the data recovery community as the “Slow responding” problem. Further mechanics testing indicating weak read-write component. This case was categorized as a mechanical (weak head) and logical (bad sectors).
Solution: HDD's firmware was modified to prevent drive's own internal error scanning activation and operation with the goal of minimizing further damage. The firmware modules responsible for the “slow responding” problem were altered manually with advanced data recovery equipment and expertise to bring drive to normal operation. Full binary sector-by-sector clone copy of the failed HDD were created using advanced data recovery hardware based equipment to a healthy drive based on occupied data space parameters and head-to-damage present selectivity. Upon cloning process completion, the clone drive was prepared for the data decryption process by coupling to the external’s hardware controller. Upon data decryption at hardware level, due to logical structure damage, the data volume needed an advanced logical scan to rebuild complete folder and file tree. R-Studio and DMDE software were used for advanced scans (Can find demo software for download here: http://www.r-studio.com and http://dmde.com). Upon scan completion, over 700GB worth of data files were extracted to a brand new SAMSUNG 1TB P3 Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 Model STSHX-MTD10EF (http://www.newegg.com). File listing of the files recovered were provided to the customer for review. Upon files review confirmation from the customer, the Samsung external containing the recovered content was shipped to the customer.
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Cost: Less than $340