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Question Encrypted external hard drive

retab12332

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May 7, 2020
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I have a WD external encrypted drive. The hdd that came with it is having hardware problems cuz its old. Can i buy another hdd and swap it out? Will the encryption software still work ?
 

UsandThem

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May 4, 2000
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I have a WD external encrypted drive. The hdd that came with it is having hardware problems cuz its old. Can i buy another hdd and swap it out? Will the encryption software still work ?
Usually not.

External drives like that often come with the controller installed on the drive, and the do not have a standard SATA connection like most hard drives do. A good portion of 2.5" external hard drives were made this way, and the encryption is paired between the drive and this controller, so if one of the parts were replaced, you would lose the data.

You can likely Google your specific hard drive model number to find out for sure. But any data you can't afford to lose should immediately moved to another drive.
 
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retab12332

Member
May 7, 2020
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Usually not.

External drives like that often come with the controller installed on the drive, and the do not have a standard SATA connection like most hard drives do. A good portion of 2.5" external hard drives were made this way, and the encryption is paired between the drive and this controller, so if one of the parts were replaced, you would lose the data.

You can likely Google your specific hard drive model number to find out for sure. But any data you can't afford to lose should immediately moved to another drive.
How do I get the data out, if the hdd fails?
 

UsandThem

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How do I get the data out, if the hdd fails?
You likely would have to mail it in to a data recovery service, but even they might not be able to recover it (depending on the drive). With some models, they can replace parts (like a controller, chip, etc.) to recover data. But that would not be something I would rely on and it is very expensive.

I only use standard hard drives I install in standard SATA enclosures for this very reason, and I always keep two copies of data I can't afford to lose (local hard drive, and cloud storage).
 

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