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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Recovering data from an WD external hard drive

If the data is only on this drive then by definition it is NOT a backup, since a backup is a secondary copy just in case the first one fails. If the drive truly had a backup then no data would be at risk, just so you know.
External desktop hard drives

External hard drives

Portable hard drives

External & portable hard drives

External Drives:
If your WD external drive is not recognized, it can be caused by one of the following problems:
  1. Your driver may be corrupted. The symptoms of this problem can vary - The majority of the time however, the drive may request a driver, or will not appear as a connected device. You will need to contact Microsoft or your System Manufacturer for assistance in resolving this issue, as we are unable to provide assistance in diagnosing your OS.
  2. IMPORTANT Important: It has been reported to us that some users have been able to resolve this issue using the SFC Command in a Command Prompt. When contacting Microsoft or your System Manufactuer, providing them with this information may assist in resolving this issue. Please note that WD Technical Support cannot assist with the usage of this command line program, and is not responsible for any damage to your system or data it may cause.

  3. Your drive may be damaged or have failed. A good test for this is to try the drive in another system. If the issue continues to occur, than this is most likely the case. For assistance replacing your drive under warranty see Answer ID 8: How can I replace a product under warranty?.

  4. In some cases you may need to install a drive in order for your drive to be recognized. Check the table below to see if your model drive requires a driver to be installed besides the one that is included in your Operating System. Please note that this table includes any drive that has a driver for any reason.In most cases the drivers listed are not required for the drive to function, but add some additional funcationality that the OS supplied driver cannot provide. If an OS is not listed in either column, your WD external drive is not supported on that OS. If a driver is available, select the OS in the list to go to the download page for that driver.

Select the type of drive you would like to find a driver for:

Where to find the PID from Windows Device Manager | Where to find the PID from Apple System Profiler
Please use the table below as a reference to available downloads for WD products by PID.
Model Prefixes
Product Name
USB ID (hex)
Disk LUN Inquiry Data
Product ID

My Book 1110

My Book 1111

My Book 1112

My Passport 070A

My Passport 070B

My Passport 070C

WD Elements Desktop
My Book Essential

1 TB - 3 TB
USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
Specifications Order Number Capacity Interface

My Book Essential 1,5 TB (wdbaaf0015hbk-01)
[WD Elements Desktop, 1.5 TB WDBAAU0015HBK
the drive inside is WD15EARS with 64MB Cache]

Available Downloads

Updating firmware on a My Book or My Passport 

SES (SCSI Enclosure Services) driver


Windows attempts to install a driver called the SES Driver every time I connect the drive to a computer. What is this driver, why is it required and how can I get rid of the repeated prompts to install the driver?
Your new Western Digital My Passport/My Book hard drive requires a special communications channel (SCSI) between your PC and the drive to enable certain features such as password protection, LED control, and access to the drives label if applicable.
At install, the Windows operating system detects this SCSI communications channel and attempts to install a SCSI Enclosure Services (SES) driver. This driver is only used by your hard drive and is installed by default when you first attach the drive to a computer.
However if you did not install the driver upon first install and chose not to install WD Smartware, Windows will continue to prompt you to install the driver each time you connect the drive to a computer. This will continue to occur unless the SES driver is installed.
We recommend that you install the driver by selecting the Install the software automatically option on the popup screen. Windows will automatically find the Windows SES driver online, and the prompting will disappear. This will not affect your operating system negatively in any way. If Windows is unable to find the driver you can download a copy of the driver from Answer ID 5419: WD SES driver download and instructions for recovering the WD SmartWare installer.

NOTE Note: If you can't get the SES driver to install, automatically, you can install the SES driver, manually. To install the WD SES driver, manually, follow the steps below.

  1. When the Found New Hardware Wizard starts, choose No, not this time and click on Next.
  2. Image

  3. The software will ask for the driver for the WD SES Device that it found. Click Install from a list or specific location (Advanced), and click Next.
  4. Image

  5. You will want to specify the location of the driver, so check the Include this location in the search. Then have it search on the Virtual CD in the x:\extras\WD SES Device Driver folder. (“x” would be the drive letter of your Virtual CD).
  6. Note: This window may look different depending on your version of Windows.

  7. Windows will install the driver after it finds it.
  8. Image

  9. Click on Finish when it is done. Your drive and Virtual CD should be fully installed.
  10. Image

  11. The driver should show up in Device Manager under WD Drive Management devices.
  12. Image

    NOTE Note: If the drive is not working properly, or you get a driver error when installing SmartWare, make sure that this driver is present and doesn’t have any Exclamation Points or Question Marks.
Direct Connection Drives (USB/Firewire/eSATA)
  • There are a few My Book drives that have firmware updates to resolve minor issues. You can check to see if your drive has a firmware update by vising our Downloads Library

WD SES driver download and instructions for recovering the WD SmartWare installer 
WD SES Driver and WD SmartWare Installer Recovery Images



WD SES Driver (32-bit) Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)
WD SES Driver Setup (x86)
WD SES Driver (64-bit) Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)
WD SES Driver Setup (x64)
WD SmartWare Disk Image for Windows Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)
WD SmartWare PP4R2
WD SmartWare Disk Image for Mac OSX Click Here for Instructions
(instructions will appear below this table)
WD SmartWare Mac Disk Image PP4R2
My Book Essential software update for Windows users
WD smartware download? - Western Digital Community

WD SES driver download and instructions for recovering 

Where to find a driver for a WD product or the operating system (OS) fails to recognize a WD drive 
Data recovery services
Use first SIW - System Information for Windows (free version from Use on the drive before opening it up
Follow these steps and check if it helps
Method 1:
  1. Click on start, go to control panel.
  2. Click on Administrative Tools.
  3. Go to Computer Management, and open Disk Management.
  4. Check if it is recognized correct there.
Method 2:
Try running this below fixit and check if it helps:
The drive is recognized as a Initio Default controller

Initio combo default controller

It appears that the enclosure is identifying itself with the Product ID and Vendor ID of the Initio (INIC-16xx ???) USB-SATA bridge chip, rather than the ID of the FreeAgent product. The FreeAgent ID would be stored in an 8-pin serial EEPROM chip attached to the bridge. 
This suggests that the bridge board may have a problem. That said, it may be that the bridge board identifies itself as a "Default Initio" device if it cannot detect a hard drive.
It may be possible to reprogram the EEPROM via the USB interface, in which case you would need to obtain tools from Seagate, assuming they are available. Otherwise, if you are prepared to void your warranty, remove the hard drive from the enclosure and connect it directly to a SATA port on your motherboard, or install it in a third party enclosure.
You can see the Initio device using Microsoft's UVCView utility:

Inside the enclosure is a USB-SATA bridge board. In some models the bridge IC is integrated onto the drive. When the enclosure identifies itself as an "Initio default controller", this means that the firmware on the bridge board is corrupt. I believe the solution is as simple as applying the "Apollo" firmware update:
External HD to Internal HD after firmware failure Options
Since the 2 TB drive is a SATA drive and my computer has IDE connectors, I bought a 2TB capable SATA to IDE converter, attached it to the drive, and attempted to install this 2 TB drive as an internal drive as a slave drive.  The drive was recognized on the computer, both in the BIOS and by the Device Manager.  However, the computer did not assign a drive letter to it because the disk had not been initialized on the PC. Since initializing was not the same as formatting and Windows did not warn of a data loss, I went ahead and initialized the drive.  So, now I have an initialized drive but still no drive letter and more questions than answers at this point on proceeding forward.
Some resources are indicating that once you initialize the disk you cannot retrieve the data, other are saying you can, so I am uncertain what to believe at this point.
If the data is only on this drive then by definition it is NOT a backup, since a backup is a secondary copy just in case the first one fails. If the drive truly had a backup then no data would be at risk, just so you know.
On the other hand, initializing the drive does not give any drive a drive letter... Formatting does.
The drive will not be seen on Windows explorer until it is given a file system that Windows understands after the new initialization as an internal drive.
Good news are that if you are were able to initialize the drive then it means it is not encrypted.

I can suggest you to try TestDisk, which is free and has given good results here, if it doesn't work for you then yes, try the software you have in mind and many different ones. Since the drive itself is working then trying different softwares is the way to go.
The computer alone won't read the data on the drive while it still needs to be formatted.
That's when TestDisk, File Scavenger, Recover My Files and many other data recovery softwares come into play: They can.
If you initialized the drive as a Master Boot Record (MBR) patition table, then TestDisk will try to repair it first to grant you direct access to the files without formatting, if the file system cannot be repaired then most data recovery softwares tend to extract the files directly from the lower levels (Sectors and clusters) of the drive.

If the USB-SATA bridge board in your WD enclosure has an Initio INIC-1607E chip, then your data are hardware encrypted, whether or not you have set a password. This is why the PC failed to recognise the partitions. Now that you have initialised your drive, you have wiped the encrypted partition information, but hopefully your encrypted data are still intact.
Your easiest course of action is to obtain another MyBook Elite and swap the drives. Then run TestDisk or "Partition Find and Mount". Hopefully your data will be accessible. If not, then one commercial tool that has worked for others is "Active File Recovery for Windows".
That said, a failed firmware update usually causes the Initio chip to identify itself as an "Initio default controller". In this mode it has prepared itself to receive a firmware download. If this is the case, then you should be able to update the firmware simply by repeating the procedure, ensuring that no other application is attempting to access the device at the same time. The firmware is written to an 8-pin serial flash memory chip on the bridge board, not to the drive itself.
Here is an enlightening discussion:
The OP in that thread has done some excellent detective work on a HP SimpleDrive which appears to be an OEM version of a WD SmartWare product. If you are unable to apply the firmware update, then see the last page for a simple hardware hack.
files. extremeoverclocking. com / browse.php? c=21
Connect the drive back up to the usb adapter, run the software at
files . extremeoverclocking . com / file . php ? f=197
Follow the directions at
And the hidden vcd will be gone. 
I don't believe HP's tool can write to the VCD. In fact the OP in your link appears to have fooled himself by first hiding the VCD using WD's tool. After reformatting, he then claims that an increase in the reported size of the user partition is evidence that the VCD's data area has been reclaimed. In fact prior to the reformat, Windows shows a WD SmartWare volume of size 615 MB. Afterwards he claims that an increase in the user area from 595.51GB to 595.52GB is evidence that the VCD is gone. Clearly his arithmetic is poor.
595.52GB - 595.51GB = 0.01GB = 10MB
So where are the other 605 MB?
In Gaucho's case the label on his drive shows a capacity of 625142448 LBAs. However, after connecting the drive directly via SATA, the OS reports a capacity of 319362912256 bytes.
The difference, in sectors, is ...
625142448 - (319362912256 / 512) = 1386760
... which is close to the figure stated by DR-Kiev.
The difference, in bytes, is 710 MB.
I wonder whether the VCD partition is actually visible to disc utilities, or if it is hidden in a HPA. To this end, it would be interesting to see how many LBAs are reported by the software.
AIUI, Gaucho's problem is that the HP drive enumerates as a multifunction device, first as a VCD, and then as a USB mass storage device. Windows can handle this, but his TV media player cannot. 
To prevent the drive from identifying as a VCD, the VCD needs to be disabled in the bridge chip's firmware. This is apparently how WD's firmware updates tackle the issue.
BTW, I believe you can hide the VCD in Windows merely by disabling the VCD device in Device Manager.
Everything I have seen on the WD site, actually reinstalls the VCD manager.
I have one of these wd usb/sata adapters in my hand, and it will properly read a non vcd'd drive without problem, So all that is needed is to remove the hidden partition from the drive.
If the Hp tool doesn't work, we can dig deeper, but there is nothing to lose in trying.
Like i said before , there is in the end of physical drive locate HFS boot loader partition, wich contains VCD. It is not encrypted. Via USB you couldn't see that sectors. Its locked.
Inic1607E was programmed for using this "loader" for mount and decrypting main partition. BTW. Open physical drive with WinHex ... jump on to that sectors in the end and you will see all you need.
i think that initio chip in the adapter, encripts partition, and doesn't allow you clear see the partition when the disk is directly connected to PC.
INITIO doesn't answer my questions, resellers do the same..
i will try to disconnect flash data pin.. 
I connected the disk directy to a sata bus, and i used gparted live to watch disk partitions.
gparted shows that the disk has no partition, because gparted is seeing an encrypted MBR. That's why it is telling you that there is nothing there.
Use a disc editor such as WinHex or HxD to view the first two sectors.HxD - Freeware Hex Editor and Disk Editor:
I believe LBA 1 should have a repeating pattern of 16-bytes (128 bits). These will be encrypted zeros.
Use HxD to examine the end of the physical drive (not logical drive). Note the number of the last sector. That should tell you the visible capacity of the physical drive.
The same disk used with the SATA-USB adapter, has a V-CD and a NTFS partition.
Use HxD to view the same sectors. This time you will see an unencrypted HD partition, but not the VCD.
Alternatively, you could Microsoft's Sector Inspector:
Extract the above archive to the one folder and execute the SIrun.bat file. The procedure will generate a report file named SIout.txt.
hard disk [2.24 KiB] 
here what i did:
-i realized a bootable bartPe with HxD (portable) on it (just because i don't want to install anything on this pc)
-i connected the disk with the adapter and saved the sector 0 (annexed file sector0withAdapter), sector 1 (annexed file sector1withAdapter) and the last sector (sector 623769599) (annexed file sector623769599withAdapter)
-i connected the disk without adapter and saved the sector 0 (annexed file sector0withoutAdapter), sector 1 (annexed file sector1withoutAdapter) and the last sector (sector 625142447) (annexed file sector625142447withoutAdapter)
some observations:
1) sector one with adapter, is composed by repeating sequenze ( this is the sequence: 96 6C F5 0F 30 E9 74 2D 2F 43 EF BE 2C F2 18 92 )
sector one with hard disk directly connected to PC is composed by zeros.
2) sector zero is in clear if readed with the adapter.
sector zero is cyphered if readed directly on the hard disk.
3)with adapter the size of the hard disk reduces by 1372848 bytes (that is near to the size of the

I was in error, because that difference is in sectors, not in bytes.
infact 1372848 (SECTORS) * 512= 702898176 (Bytes)
i copied hard disk sectors from sector 623769600 to sector 625142447
In these sectors i found the files contained in the CD-ROM (not encrypted!!): HPLauncher.exe and
I even converted these sectors to string, and i found some readable strings:
The first anomaly I'd like to clear up in my mind is in regard to the slight differences in the user area before and after formatting.
Your hex dump of sector623769599withAdapter is of the last sector of the physical drive that is visible via the bridge. It shows a backup copy of an NTFS boot sector which belongs to a partition beginning at sector 63 (= 0x3F) and whose size is 623769537 (= 0x252DF7C0 + 1) sectors. This is consistent with a user area of 623769600 sectors, as per the drive's original format.
Your hex dump of sector0withAdapter is the result of the latest reformat. It shows a partition table with a single NTFS partition beginning at sector 63 and whose size is 623755692 (= 0x252DC1AC) sectors. Therefore the total user area now appears to be 623755755 sectors. This is 13845 sectors less than the previous figure. It also corresponds to about 7.1 MB of lost disc space.
This difference can be accounted for if we assume that your formatting utility ends a partition on a cylinder boundary. A logical track has 63 logical sectors, and a logical cylinder has 255 logical tracks or heads. Dividing the user capacity by 63 x 255 should give us an integral number of cylinders, ie ...
623755755 / (255 x 63) = 38827
Therefore, it would appear that the discrepancy in the formatted capacity of 7.1MB is due solely to the formatting methodology, and corresponds to the size of the last partial cylinder. This also accounts for the 0.01GB difference observed by the blogger at Steve's URL.
As for the question of whether you could force your TV media player to see the USB mass storage device before the VCD device, I don't believe this would be possible. Dr-Kiev cautions you not to touch the VCD data area, as this is necessary for the INIC-1607E's encryption function. Having said that, I don't understand why your VCD now has a capacity of only 1MB, nor do I understand why your hardware encryption is still functional, if after reformatting in SATA mode, you have overwritten the VCD data area. :?
If OTOH you have not touched the VCD area, and if you wish to observe how the device behaves in the absence of the VCD data, then you could clone those sectors (623769600 - 625142447) to a backup drive (or CD) before zeroing them, or you could try substituting a regular SATA drive that has been zero-filled.
I believe your only plausible solution is to force one of WD's utilities to update the firmware of the Initio bridge.
Perhaps you could use Microsoft's UVCView to see how your HP device identifies itself, compare that to a My Book or Passport drive, and then edit an appropriate file in the update package (but not the firmware image itself).
BTW, if you don't need hardware encryption, then you could buy a third party enclosure.
http://www.users.on. net/~fzabkar/USB_IDs/UVCView.x86.exe
The Windows 2000/XP MBR:
The NTFS Boot Record: Boot Sector:
It appears that the VCD image is a cross-platform ISO built with CDEveryWhere:
"Create Hybrid CD image. Joliet (Win) / HFS (Mac) / RockRidge (Unix/Linux) / ISO9660 (Industry Standard Format)."
"CDEveryWhere supports all 4 file systems - so your CD data can be shared seamlessly across platforms."
BTW, Dr-Kiev is saying that, after deleting the VCD image, you will have lost the hardware encryption functionality of the Initio bridge. You could verify this by formatting your drive via the bridge, and then viewing it via SATA.
Of course none of this helps you tackle your initial problem. It appears that the VCD can only be disabled by updating the firmware in the bridge's flash memory.
You could try lifting the clock pin, but I suspect that the resultant "default Initio controller" won't provide you with a USB mass storage device.
It may be interesting to see how the bridge board behaves on its own, ie with the drive disconnected. Is it detected as a "default Initio controller"? Does the VCD still appear, albeit with zero capacity?
In Linux you can use LSUSB or USBVIEW to display information about the connected USB devices.
usbview (for windows) detects the usb adapter with the hard disk as shown:
if i connect the adapter without the hard disk, usbview can't see any usb device.
ok, now, beginning from sector 623769600 till the end (sector 625142447) the sectors are all zeroized, apart of these 2 sectors: 625137672 and 625141759 (see annexed files)
the disk still works well (i can read,write and even format)
now i'll try to zeroize these 2 sectors (one at time)
question: one sector begins with WD, the other one with NTFS. what does it means? why it is placed at the end of the hard disk?
Attachments: [583 Bytes] [634 Bytes]  

You can see the Initio device using Microsft's UVCView utility:
Partition Find and Mount:
Active File Recovery for Windows
WD SmartWare Virtual CD Manager
Remove WD smartware
After many return with Western Digital, I learned that the virtual CD automatically installed on their external hard drive 1TB CAN NOT BE DELETED. I find it unacceptable that buying a 1TB capacity, approximately 700 MB is used by software, again, is a virtual cd that we can not eject from his office in the dismantling every time by Disk Utility.
I have the same problem, I can not eject it, but I use "Disk Utility" and got 999.5 GB in 1 TB. It does not solve the problem but I have 2 partitions of 500 GB . The WD response: "I'm sorry, but the virtual drive Smartware''''can not be deleted but disabled." And most importantly, it eats 700 MB of space of 1 TB.
Disable the VCD - WD SmartWare 
The VCD is necessary if you wish to install WD SmartWare or if you want to use the encryption and password protection features on the drive. If you don't wish to run WD SmartWare or use the security features, you can disable the VCD following the steps below. The VCD can be re-enabled by running the VCD manager.
  • All AntiVirus software MUST be disabled
  • All Anti-Spyware software MUST be disabled
  • NY and ALL programs that would require drive access during the update MUST be disabled
Failure to perform these precautions may cause data corruption/loss and/or drive failure.
How to install the Virtual CD Manager
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
STEP 1: Firmware Update: Release 1.032 (11/16/09)
Before running the Virtual CD Manager, you must first update the firmware on your hard drive.
  1. Disconnect all other external drives from the computer except for the My Book or My Passport hard drive you want to update.
  2. Download the Firmware Updater for Windows.
  3. Unzip the file and double click to open the Firmware Updater.
  4. Click Continue to update the firmware.
  5. Verify the attached drive's serial number located on the back of the drive.
  6. Click Update Firmware.
  7. Click Accept the End User's License Agreement (EULA). The updater will scan the drive; this may take a few minutes.
  8. Once the updater is finished, click Exit.
  9. Turn off the drive - For My Passport, disconnect the USB cable. For My Book disconnect both USB and power cables.
  10. Wait 10 seconds. Reconnect the USB/power cables.
STEP 2: Download and run the VCD Manager
  • Download VCD Manager for Windows.( to your desktop.
  • Unzip the utility (Extract the file using an extraction utility.)
  • Double click WDSmartWareVirtualCDManagerforWindows-v1.0.7.4.exe.
  • Click Continue to disable the VCD.
  • Once the utility has found your drive, click Configure Drive and then click Exit.
  • Turn off the drive - For My Passport, disconnect the USB cable. For My Book disconnect both USB and power cables.
  • Wait 10 seconds. Reconnect the USB/power cables that have been disconnected in the previous step.
  • Verify that the VCD no longer appears.

1 comment:

Tim McConnell said...

I can't tell if this is a real person compiling the blog or not, but RE: the Initio problem for WD drives, I found a fix for my My Passport Essential.

I did all of the things that other people have mentioned: uninstalling the Initio driver, disabling the Initio device, fiddling with the cable, using more USB power, trying HP disk drive utilities, WD utilities, MSFT USB utilities, etc.

I tried reaching out to WD Support, but they have no tools to help when the firmware is wonky in this post-smart update firmware age. I actually contacted Initio to see if they could help, and they were very responsive, but there wasn’t much that they could do. I opened up my drive and encountered the mystery non-SATA connection internals.

It drives me nuts when I cannot get to the root of software issues. Fortunately, I worked my way through this one. To fix it, I had to use an older version of the firmware updater:

It seems that this older version of the firmware updater was smart enough to detect properly flashed WD drives and the “transition state” / “blank slate” ones. I really hope that this helps you. Let me know if it does, and my sympathies if it does not.