I’ve bought (over time) five Western Digital “My Book” drives. Two of them have failed – one the moment I plugged it in, the other just recently.
Those of you who might trust me to make important decisions should note that I bought one of the drives after the two failures. Einstein famously defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. Make of that what you will.
The recent failure was of a drive holding many of my collected television shows – West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Sports Night, Gilmore Girls, Scrubs, Friends, Star Trek TNG, DS9, Monk, Grey’s Anatomy, Psych… and probably others I’ve forgotten. Having them all at my fingertips was a great triumph in personal computing for me. (And this is just one drive in a bank of 3 TB of storage in front of me at the moment. Anyone else remember when we used 1.44 MB floppies?)
Of course, all my content is backed up. All of it. Except this drive. This drive contains mostly videos ripped from DVDs, which I of course own (shame on you for thinking I pirated content!), so I reasoned I could always encode them again if the drive failed. Faced with that very possibility, though, I’ve realized something important: I really don’t want to! It’s well over a thousand hours of video, and I don’t have the patience to encode it all again.
I developed a theory. Perhaps the physical drive is intact, but the USB connection is faulty. The Internet backs me up on this. It also believes we never landed on the moon, but we’ll focus on the hard drive for the moment.
To prove this theory (and reclaim my data), I began disassembling the case, per Scott Cramer’s description. It went well, until step two. This requires depressing a catch at the top and bottom of the drive while pulling the two halves of the case apart. I performed a quick inventory of my hands, and found two fewer than required for this task.
The end result of all this had me sitting at my desk this beautiful summer evening with a hard drive in front of me, jamming a screw driver into one side and a steel letter opener into the other, and thinking, offhandedly, “So this is how I’m going to die.”