I have a 2TB Western Digital MyBook Essential External Hard-disk. I wanted to use the Hard-disk as an internal hard-drive for my PC running Linux Mint. So, I dis-assembled it, and took out the SATA Hard-disk. Now, I assembled it into my PC using the SATA port.

The hard-disk's partition are not recognized now. In GParted. it shows as follows:

enter image description here

I then took out the hard-drive and assembled it back into its external USB case. It is recognized just fine now.

I am stumped. What might be causing this? The hard-drive is recognized just fine in its external USB case but NOT when connected through internal SATA.

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    Maybe you have to recreate the partition table (which removes all data) and then use it.But then it will not work in the enclosure
    – Suici Doga
    Mar 7, 2016 at 13:29
  • @MariusMatutiae I doubt Windows would ever call your disk /dev/sdb Mar 7, 2016 at 15:04
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    @shivams Could you add the output of hdparm -I /dev/sdb to your question? I wonder if the drive support encryption when it's not in the external case, and I'm reluctant to open mine. Mar 7, 2016 at 16:24
  • It's worth noting that if you don't want the data, you just want to use the drive, you can probably repartition it and reformat it just fine. If you have somewhere to store the data temporarily you could even copy it off while it's in the enclosure, then install it internally, reformat, and copy the data back.
    – hobbs
    Mar 8, 2016 at 7:37
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    @shivams Did you try to recover the partition withTestDisk? www.cgsecurity.org . It worked fine for me, when the controler of my external WD harddrive failed - but mine came without encription features, if I remember correctly. The issue with my drive was connected to some weird partition feature of the harddrive; the controler emulated an ntfs partition, but used another format internally. Mar 8, 2016 at 11:50

3 Answers 3


It seems like the SATA-USB card in the external case encrypts data. So, the hard-disk is hardware encrypted, and can not be decrypted using any software. I am saying this on the basis of the discussion here:


So, the hard-disk can only be decrypted by that SATA-USB "card". If I do want to use it as an internal hard-drive, I will have to re-format it while it is connected to my internal SATA port.

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    @Dmitry: yes... That was a surprising finding for me too... Better to go for proper internal drives whenever possible... And if we need encryption, we can do our own encryption.
    – shivams
    Mar 7, 2016 at 15:32
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    Wow! I have two similar disks from WD, which I use to store back-ups of important data. Now I know that my data can be instantly wiped by a USB cable with a damaged connector. Mar 7, 2016 at 15:35
  • @DmitryGrigoryev If I understood the toms article correctly, a doggy cable wouldn't be a problem, you'd need to kill the sata-usb adapter board which'd take a spectacularly bad cable to do so as opposed to normal type damage. OTOH this only strengthens my desire to use DIY enclosures and internal HDDs instead of buying prebuilt ones. Something I started doing when I read about one of the HDD makers experimenting with drives that removed the need for the adapter board by moving the USB controller onto the drives PCB and only exposing a proprietary connector for that. Mar 7, 2016 at 20:57
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    @DanNeely I mean if I damage the connector, I won't be able to simply use another adapter to copy my data, I'll have to pay (presumably) hundreds of dollars for data recovery, which will consist in repairing a $5 adapter. Mar 7, 2016 at 21:04
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    This is rather typical for WD. That is why I swore to never, never, never again buy one of theit products after having had a MyBookLive. Which trashed the GUI management console with an automatic update, leaving none but reset to factory as option (which fixes nothing, but also disables SSH, bricking the device). It's running Linux and using ext4, so at least all data is not lost... right? Except they use a patched kernel with a non-standard block size filesystem that no other Linux system can read. Which serves no purpose but making data recovery impossible and pissing off the customer.
    – Damon
    Mar 8, 2016 at 10:40

I have no experience with exactly your MyBook, but I used a couple of those in the past and I clearly remember them having the disk divided into partitions mounted in a RAID-1 array. This will most likely befuddle your system, if you do not have the package mdadm imstalled. I would try that,

   sudo apt-get install mdadm

and then restart gparted.

  • Thanks @MariusMatutiae. But this solution did not work :|
    – shivams
    Mar 7, 2016 at 10:58
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    If there's only a single hard drive inside, it won't be a RAID-1 array, because I can't imagine even WD is that stupid. If it contains multiple drives, in my experience even with mdadm installed Linux won't necessarily recognize their contents as an array; they seem to use some sort of proprietary/non-standard layout. I actually have two 500GB disks from a dead MyBook World unit that I've been struggling with; the partition table on Drive 1 seems to claim the drive contains a single 1TB partiton — how's that for crazy? I suspect catting the contents together (metaphorically) might work.
    – FeRD
    Mar 7, 2016 at 23:20

Do note that these drives are generally slower than their internal counterparts (they use drives that aren't necessarily made for performance) especially due to the slower transfer speeds over USB.

Even if the hard drive is encrypted, you will be able to use partition software to wipe the drive and reformat it as an ext or FAT partition, whichever you prefer for your desired operating system. For all intents and purposes, the drive you pulled out of the external drive is the same, but possibly cheaper/slower hard drive than your existing internal drive.

Using partition software lets you treat this drive as a raw storage medium. Despite the original partitions or possible encryption on the drive. Just wipe and reformat it. You should be able to do this in the installation process of your Linux os.

Worst case scenario is that you don't have the correct drivers for his hard drive. That's usually not a problem unless you have a separate SATA or raid controller. If it's your laptop, that shouldn't be the case.

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