Having decided that I no longer needed my 1TB WD MyBook external harddrive to be portable, I disassembled it and connected it as an internal drive on my Windows 7 PC. However, it did not show up in Windows Explorer. When I opened Disk Management, I could see the partition was marked "unallocated", and I was prompted to choose a partition style before I could use the disk:


Unclear of what the consequences of this action would be, I reluctantly chose "OK". I thought choosing "MBR" would somehow make the drive readable again. Unfortunately, it didn't. I realized the drive was encrypted, and read online that using the original USB-to-SATA bridge from the case would make the harddrive readable again. I tried this, and still no -- the partition is still unallocated. I fear the worst; I desperately need my data back!

How can I make the drive readable again?

1 Answer 1


While hunting for a solution to this problem, I realized this is a commonly faced problem by users who decide to turn their WD MyBook into internal drives, and end up with "unallocated" drives that cost them several hours to recover their data from it using various data-recovery tools, or otherwise an expensive trip to a WD service center.

The point to note here that the data on the drive is intact, and only the partition table has be lost. This is easily fixed using a (free) tool like EaseUS Partition Recovery. But due to WD's encryption mechanism on the drive, this cannot be done without the original WD USB-to-SATA bridge from the case.

If the USB-to-SATA bridge is still functional, follow this procedure. Total time needed here will be about 30 mins.

Using the WD USB-to-SATA bridge, connect the drive as usual through a USB port. Download and install EaseUS Partition Recovery, and run the tool. Choose the drive to recover the partition table of.

choose disk to search for lost partitions

Next, choose the sector of the harddrive to search for lost partitions. I specified 0~5000 sector range to speed up the process, but you can choose to 'Search the Entire Disk' (will take considerably longer) if you're unsure.

choose disk sectors to look for lost partitions

Once the search is complete, the tool should be able to find the lost partition. Choose to recover it, and you're done.

choose lost partition to recover

The drive will now be available in My Computer.

recovered drive

If the USB-to-SATA bridge is broken or disfunctional, try GetDataBack to recover content onto a different healthy harddrive. This process will take several hours.

I hope this Q&A helps someone stumbling upon this situation.

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