Question about Western Digital Media Center WDXF1600JB (wdxf1600jbrnn) 160 GB Hard Drive

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How do I read a hard drive taken from a WD Media

How do I read a hard drive taken from a failed WD Media Center external USB Hard Drive unit? I think the drive itself is OK but it shows up in Windows Disk Manager as 'Not Initialised'.

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  • trevor_cliff Jul 31, 2009

    Sorry - my fault for being unclear! I know how to initialise the drive, but my problem is that I want to get at the data on the drive first, and initialising the drive will wipe all the data off. Trying to find out if the drive is formatted in a way that Windows doesn't recognise, and if so, how can I read it without initialising or reformatting it first.



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How to open the case on a WD Media Center - a snap!
Turn the Silver/gray case upside down.
The case should be standing in the vertical position supported on a hard surface...

-Pressing down ******* the silver cover plate with the plastic feet attached, SLIDE the cover to rear, from front to back. Off comes the bottom cover.

-Repeat for the top silver cover.

- For the silver facing cover, gently slip a flat edged tool under the rear lip of the cover plate, top and bottom. Lift gently on the silver clip edge on the rear of the facing, and press facing slightly forward until it disengages with a "click". Place a shim stock under the freed up silver clip edge to keep it disengaged, and proceed to the other rear lip. Repeat the same action, and pull facing free.

-There are three (3) compression fixtures on both top and bottom of the hard drive case enclosure. One one side, pry up edges gently with a medium flat blade screwdriver to disengage the tooth of each case clip, placing a shim stock piece of metal or screwdriver to keep case clips disengaged. Proceed to the opposite side, perform the same maneuver, watching carefully that the opposite side clips don't re-engage the case, and pop case apart.'

You now have access to the old hard drive, controller board and card reader board.
Silver tape can be pulled off gently by heating with a hair dryer, or replaced with silver metallic duct tape at Lowe's or Home Depot, usually found with the insulation materials. Mark all quick disconnect leads with labelling tape, pull out any components you wish to replace. If your hard drive is still visible in Windows, but having transfer rate problems with the controller, you can buy a new replacement Media Center model WD2500B012 on Amazon and other sites for a little less than $100.00. Simply make sure your part # matches your existing hard drive - look on the nameplate on the back of the old unit for Model and Ser #.. Swap out the old hard drive with your data, remove the new hard drive, and install the old one into the new case.

Install WD drivers available for your Media Center on the WD website BEFORE plugging in the unit for the first time to your PC
Boot your Media Center, and plug in the Media Center. Locate your hard drive and confirm data integrity. If you can see it, you can read the old hard drive. Transfer your old data. Once accomplished, reformat, and install new WD firmware if available. You can keep the old hard drive until it crashes, but I would unplug the unit, and plug in the new hard drive, format and partition, and re-run the firmware.
Re-assemble your unit in the reverse order, making sure you have all the connections and cables restored to their original position. Don't forget the three (3) copper contact feet before closing the case.
Photograph the dis-assembly to help with re-assembly.
This took me a while to figure out, nothing out there on the web, am sure others are facing this problem with their old standalone units, fretting the loss of prized images, documents. If all else fails and your drive is still visible, go to the WD website, and use their referral companies for data recovery. Good luck.

Transfer your old hard drive data into your external hard drive/PC. Keep the old hard drive (if still good), and re-install the new hard drive back into the new unit. Keep the old unit for spare parts to keep your new WD Media Center working.

Posted on Nov 27, 2011

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Go into control panel click on administration tools storage there you can initialise and format

Posted on Jul 30, 2009


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