Question WD My Passport Physical Repair/Recovery

Nov 16, 2020
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Hi there!

I have an old Western Digital WD10JMVW-11AJGS0 mypassport drive from 2013, and it has recently stopped being recognized by my new macbook pro, and does the rhythmic beeping/clicking. After doing some research it sounds like this is usually caused by heads being stuck on the platters. I have attempted to repair the drive myself (I know, this is generally a bad idea, but the data here isn’t that valuable and I’ve actually taught clean room microelectronics lab classes, so I have a higher aptitude for this than the average person – still not a great idea vs a professional that specializes in this repair, but anyway). Upon opening the case, I was expecting to find the heads stuck to the platters, as that seems to be the usual cause of the beeping issue. Instead I found that the heads actually were not on the platters at all, and that the platters appeared to be completely damage free. If the heads aren’t stuck to the platter, what’s does anyone know the next most likely cause of the beeping issue?

Interesting data point: I put the cover back onto the drive and tightened only a couple of screws. Plugged the drive in and miraculously, it spun right up, no clicks and no beeps! However, it was not at all recognized in Disk Utility in MacOS, so, something’s still up. Now, the interesting part is: if I keep it running and put two more screws in (that secure the case to the head assembly) the beeping returns! Undo the screws, the beeping goes away. Does this give better insight into what the issue is and whether or not there’s a possibility I can repair this myself?

Also, what drives have interchangable parts for my drive? I see on ebay that there are many variants of the WD10JMVW. My particular variant, 11AJGS0, seems to be much rarer and much more expensive than the others, at least on ebay. If I were to purchase a drive for donor parts, does it need to be a 11AJGS0 variant? Or will any variant of the WD10JMVW do?

I’m looking into having the drive recovered by a professional, and a place local to me, [some site] , has quoted me $500 before any replacement parts. $100 of this charge is a flat fee that they add for “encrypted” drives, which they insist that this model of drive is. Is this drive really encrypted? If this drive just had software encryption, then I’d like to argue that the $100 encryption fee shouldn’t apply here, as I definitely was not using the the encryption software and had completely wiped the drive of any such software before putting my data on it. I just haven't been able to find any definitive information out there about this model. Do I have a case?

Finally, if I got the professional route, can I do better than a $500 flat fee (before replacement parts) for a professional (I’d be willing to pay an amateur for half the price, again, this data isn’t essential to recover) to recover this drive?

Thanks for any insights :)
 
Nov 16, 2020
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why then?
Because while it's not that valuable it would be nice to have. If after my attempts fail, there's still potential for recovery down the road, I may consider it. Mainly I'm mostly interested in whether or not I can pull this off myself, but the stakes for failure aren't very high. I understand that what I'm doing is inherently very risky and even if I succeed I wouldn't condone this to other people. I realize that you get what you pay for with professional clean room services, but if I can get away with paying significantly less than $500 to recover the data, even if it means much lower chance of success, I'm willing to give it a shot.

Also, of course, it goes without saying that I take any suggestion made here with an outlook that I'll probably fail, and if that happens it's my fault for mucking around with the drive to begin with. That said, would love to learn more about what could be going on with my drive here :)

A lot of these drives had their own internal encryption. The user had no control over it.
Right. Is there any way to figure out for sure if this specific model of drive had internal encryption? Again, I haven't been able to find anything conclusive by googling.
 
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