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How to recover entire partition or data from accidentally initialized WD MyBook Essential 2TB External USB Hard Drive


Aug 12, 2016

This is my situation, I am going through it step by step:

1. I have a Western Digital MyBook Essential 2TB external USB drive. It was working perfectly for more than 3 years. One day out of the blue when I connected it to my laptop the drive turned on as usual (LED turned on and disk started spinning) but it didn't show up in windows explorer (the drive had a single partition using the whole space, unfortunately I don't remember if it was FAT32 or NTFS). I am using Windows 7 Ultimate x64 as OS in my laptop.

2. The hardware did show up in Device Manager and when I went to Disk Management it showed the full 2TB disk as "unallocated space" and a window prompted me to "initialize" the disk as either MBR or GPT. I did not initialize the disk at that point.

3. Not knowing about the WD external HDD hardware encryption feature, I just opened the disk enclosure, taken out the hard drive and connected it directly to a desktop PC running Windows 7 Ultimate x86 with SATA cable. I thought this way I could either fix the issue or get the partition/data back through a recovery software.

4. After I connected it to the desktop machine I saw the same thing (it didn't show up in explorer and in Disk management it asked me to initialize it). Not knowing better I initialized it in MBR. But it still stayed unallocated.

5. After this I did not create a new partition or format the drive. I have been trying to do recovery using most of the popular recovery tools available (both in regular and deep scan), but nothing has worked!

6. After almost a month of trying and going through various forums I came to know about the WD hardware data encryption feature and after that I put the drive back in the enclosure and have been trying to do recovery but still nothing fruitful has come up.

Can somebody please show me the way on how to recover the data?

Hi there jojo121,

That is really unpleasant. :(

Initialization could be data destructive.

Is the drive properly recognized when in the enclosure?(whether it is recognized by Disk Management)
What happens when you use different software tools? Is the drive recognized by those?

Unfortunately, you don't really have many options:
- In case the data is extremely important, you will need to look for some professional help. You can take a look at WD's Data Recovery Partners: http://products.wdc.com/support/kb.ashx?id=WWJHLV
- The other thing would be to just try several different data recovery tools.(in case the drive is recognized by them when in the enclosure)

Let me know in case you have some more questions,
D_Know_WD :)

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