Swapping WD external disks



  • I’ve got a 1 TB WD My Book Studio external drive but that was getting a bit full, so I bought a new 2 TB drive (also WD, to avoid the electronics saying “Do not want!”) to stick into the enclosure, planning to simply clone the 1 TB disk onto the 2 TB disk using my trusty Rosewill IDE-&-SATA-to-USB-adapter. It seems WD doesn’t like people to do this.

    The first hurdle is getting the case open, which already indicates WD’s attitude, but once that’s solved the drive comes out easily.

    I then put the new drive into the enclosure, and on plugging it in, my computer reported it was unformatted, would I like to do that now? Expected, so sure, go ahead. Then I hooked the old drive up to the Rosewill, and the computer said … it was unformatted. Odd, given that it worked fine in the WD enclosure half an hour earlier. Screwed the thing open again, swapped the drives around, and then the old drive (hooked up to the enclosure’s circuit board) worked fine but the new drive (plugged into the Rosewill) was seen as unformatted.

    Next attempt: format the new drive while it’s hooked up to the Rosewill, then plug it into WD’s electronics. Result: drive is seen as unformatted by the computer …

    Anybody have ideas for what else I can try? The only one I can think of is to put the old drive into the enclosure, copy everything onto a third drive that has enough room, then put the new drive in and copy it all back — which I’d like to avoid for obvious reasons as well as to maintain time/date stamps etc.

    (All this under macOS, BTW. I want this thing HFS+-formatted so trying it on a different OS isn’t really an option. That’s also why I don’t really want to copy the drive contents by hand, because the Finder is really bad at copying large numbers of files. Last time I tried, cloning the old disk in Disk Utility was done in less time than the Finder needed to even work out what it should copy before beginning to do so.)

    Edit: A while after writing the above, I remembered that my father has an empty WD drive enclosure not much older than the one I want to put this new drive into. And yes, you guessed it: that fails too. The computer simply doesn’t register it at all regardless of which of the two drives I put into it. I’m guessing it might be because the enclosure originally came with a 750-GB drive and so may not be able to handle anything larger.

    I’m starting to think copying to a third drive via the command line is my only recourse; advice on the best way to do that (dd? cp? rsync? something else?) would be welcome.


  • And then the murders began.

    This is the same WD who decided to prevent people from swapping drives in their 2.5" externals by building USB onto the drive's board, instead of just having a SATA->USB adapter in the case. I can't say I'm surprised the 3.5" external drives are also being hinky.



  • @Unperverted-Vixen Doing some more searching turned up that others also seem to have similar problems, but no solutions I’ve been able to find yet. It seems sites and YouTube videos mostly deal with replacing the drive, not with getting the data off the old one after making that swap.

    On WD’s own support forums, someone asked basically the same question I have, and look at the brilliant (and only) reply:

    Here’s a list of data recovery agencies recommended by Western Digital:

    Yes, right, I want to pay a company money to get data from one of my working hard drives onto another of my working hard drives because WD decided to fuck over customers by making the electronics in their external drive enclosures more complicated than they need to be.


  • :belt_onion:

    I abandoned pre-made external drives years ago. They tend to be cheap, poorly made crap with a slow hard drive mounted in a poorly ventilated case.

    Instead, I use a hard drive dock which allows me to plug in any hard drive I want and voila, an external hard drive that works perfectly every time.

    I just recently bought this one from Newegg:
    0_1497208818121_dock.jpg

    You can plug in 1 or 2 drives, up to 8TB each, and connect them to your computer with a single USB cable, (but they still show up as 2 separate drives).
    For $30 I highly recommend this over any consumer-grade external hard drive on the market.

    I don’t really want to copy the drive contents by hand, because the Finder is really bad at copying large numbers of files

    I know less than nothing about MacOS, but, there's no command-line copy function ??? :wtf:


  • SockDev

    @Gurth said in Swapping WD external disks:

    The first hurdle is getting the case open, which already indicates WD’s attitude, but once that’s solved the drive comes out easily.

    yep. suxxorz.

    their HDDs are good, their enclosures, crap.

    IIRC they fuck you over just by storing the MBR on the USB controller chip thingie. maybe you can try using a MBR recovery tool to try and recreate teh data that is missing?


  • SockDev

    @El_Heffe said in Swapping WD external disks:

    I know less than nothing about MacOS, but, there's no command-line copy function ??? :wtf:

    OSX == Unix

    cp -r  /path/to/source /path/to/dest
    

  • SockDev

    @accalia said in Swapping WD external disks:

    IIRC they fuck you over just by storing the MBR on the USB controller chip thingie

    /me puts Western Digital on her Do Not Buy list



  • @accalia said in Swapping WD external disks:

    @El_Heffe said in Swapping WD external disks:

    I know less than nothing about MacOS, but, there's no command-line copy function ??? :wtf:

    OSX == Unix

    cp -r  /path/to/source /path/to/dest
    

    I'd add this:

    cp -r -p /path/to/source /path/to/dest
    

    to preserve timestamps, mode and ownership. Then again, this is a Mac and I just found that -p might not work

    However,

    rsync -az /path/to/src /path/to/dest
    

    should do the trick.



  • @RaceProUK said in Swapping WD external disks:

    @accalia said in Swapping WD external disks:

    IIRC they fuck you over just by storing the MBR on the USB controller chip thingie

    /me puts Western Digital on her Do Not Buy list

    I haven't had any trouble with WD's plain 3.5" hard drives. For external drives, though, I would always suggest getting an empty enclosure and buying the hard drive separately. That way, you know that the enclosure is designed to accept any normal 3.5" drive.

    Alternatively, as El_Heffe, said, if you think you'll be switching disks somewhat frequently, you can buy a dock instead. I've used Thermaltake's docks in the past, and the newest USB3 one that I have is a Kingwin.



  • @El_Heffe said in Swapping WD external disks:

    I abandoned pre-made external drives years ago. They tend to be cheap, poorly made crap with a slow hard drive mounted in a poorly ventilated case.

    Can’t say I’ve had trouble with WD’s, but given what I’ve learned since yesterday I don’t think I’d buy one again — largely because my conclusion is that if the electronics fail, you’re screwed unless (perhaps) you can obtain a drive of exactly the same type.

    Instead, I use a hard drive dock which allows me to plug in any hard drive I want and voila, an external hard drive that works perfectly every time.

    I might do that, except that this is a drive I want attached to the computer all the time.

    I know less than nothing about MacOS, but, there's no command-line copy function ??? :wtf:

    Of course there is, given that macOS is a Unix :) Which is why I was wondering which command would be the best way to do it. My instinct is to just use cp with the right options to preserve permissions, dates etc. but maybe there are better ways.

    @accalia said in Swapping WD external disks:

    IIRC they fuck you over just by storing the MBR on the USB controller chip thingie. maybe you can try using a MBR recovery tool to try and recreate teh data that is missing?

    It’s formatted with an Apple partition map, which it probably came with from the factory (it’d likely be GUID if I’d formatted the drive myself, but I don’t remember). The controller definitely does something that prevents the computer from just recognising the bare drive.

    @Rhywden said in Swapping WD external disks:

     cp -r -p /path/to/source /path/to/dest
    

    to preserve timestamps, mode and ownership. Then again, this is a Mac and I just found that -p might not work

    It should. I’m not entirely sure, but my research yesterday made me think -pR would be all that’s needed.

    However,

    rsync -az /path/to/src /path/to/dest
    

    should do the trick.

    Thanks, I’ve never really looked into rsync.

    @Dragnslcr said in Swapping WD external disks:

    For external drives, though, I would always suggest getting an empty enclosure and buying the hard drive separately. That way, you know that the enclosure is designed to accept any normal 3.5" drive.

    Finding one that takes advantage of a Mac’s ports (like Thunderbolt) may be a bit tricky, though. That’s why I went with WD: that and LaCie were the only ones I could find at the time (about five years ago) with FireWire-800 ports.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Rhywden said in Swapping WD external disks:

    However,

    rsync -az /path/to/src /path/to/dest
    

    should do the trick.

    You don't really want to compress for local copies. It'll either do nothing or add unnecessary overhead.


  • :belt_onion:

    Why do people try to reuse drive enclosures? Is their time worth so little?


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Greybeard some of us like to tinker. Plus, if you have a drive enclosure, and you have a larger disk to go in it...why wouldn't you?

    I would never buy a disk to swap in because it is usually cheaper to just buy an external.


  • :belt_onion:

    @Polygeekery OP stated they bought a new drive.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Greybeard fair enough. The tinkering part still stands.


  • :belt_onion:

    @Polygeekery So someone decides to tinker and modifies the equipment in a way the manufacturer did not intend it to be used. And when it doesn't work they get mad at the manufacturer?


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Greybeard pffffbt. You must be new to the world.



  • @Greybeard said in Swapping WD external disks:

    Why do people try to reuse drive enclosures? Is their time worth so little?

    I don’t subscribe to the notion that time has value — certainly not monetary. As for the first question: in this case I tinker with the drive because the enclosure is still fine but the drive in it is too small, and buying a new 2 TB drive with enclosure would cost a non-significant amount more than buying a loose HDD.

    @Greybeard said in Swapping WD external disks:

    @Polygeekery So someone decides to tinker and modifies the equipment in a way the manufacturer did not intend it to be used. And when it doesn't work they get mad at the manufacturer?

    I didn’t get mad at the manufacturer, I asked if anyone knew a way to copy the data more easily than via a third drive.


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