Recover Data off a Western Digital MyBook Live Drive

If you happen to have a Western Digital NAS that has failed – but suspect that the drive is OK then you may be able to recover the data using the following steps.

Note this is a destructive process for the case work – and should be attempted if your aim is to get the data off the internal drive.

You will need a machine running a recent version of Linux (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu, System Rescue Boot Linux USB), and some way to connect a SATA drive e.g. USB drive caddy.

First break apart the enclosure to reveal the NAS electronics and 3.5″ hard drrive.

Remove all the electronics so you have just the 3.5″ Western Digital internal SATA drive.

Place the drive in a USB caddy and connect to a machine running linux.

Login as root or similar privaledged user.

Check the drive with fdisk -l:

 Disk /dev/sdb: 111.8 GiB, 120034123776 bytes, 234441648 sectors
 Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
 Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
 I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
 Disklabel type: dos
 Disk identifier: 0x8d6ae933
Device     Boot     Start       End   Sectors   Size Id Type
 /dev/sdb1  *         2048 217913343 217911296 103.9G 83 Linux
 /dev/sdb2       217915390 234440703  16525314   7.9G  5 Extended
 /dev/sdb5       217915392 234440703  16525312   7.9G 82 Linux swap / Solaris

Disk /dev/sda: 1.8 TiB, 2000398934016 bytes, 3907029168 sectors
 Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
 Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
 I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 33553920 bytes
 Disklabel type: gpt
 Disk identifier: B681229E-AF4B-44BE-818B-BA1200E02213
Device       Start        End    Sectors  Size Type
 /dev/sda1  1032192    5031935    3999744  1.9G Linux RAID
 /dev/sda2  5031936    9031679    3999744  1.9G Linux RAID
 /dev/sda3    30720    1032191    1001472  489M Microsoft basic data
 /dev/sda4  9031680 3907028991 3897997312  1.8T Microsoft basic data


On this system we can see that device /dev/sda is the 2TB drive from a Western Digital MyBook Live. The partition with the data is /dev/sda4 (the device sdX will vary depending on the your system).

Now make a mount point using:

mkdir /mnt/wd4

Now mount the data using:

fuseext2 -o ro -o sync_read -o allow_other /dev/sda4 /mnt/wd4

You should now be able to access the data with normal commands

ls /mnt/wd4

You may need to install fuse using your package manager if not already installed with:

apt-get install fuseext2

Copy all the data off the original drive using rsync or similar e.g.

rsync -avr /mnt/wd4 /mnt/nas

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