How to fix bricked WD My Book World Edition White Light or install brand new disk?

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Problem

I bought brand new WD Caviar Green hard disks and put them into My Book World Edition II White Light case but… surprisingly it doesn’t work or even start! Only top LED is blinking/flashing and MBWE doesn’t appear in my network environment! Similar situation is with WD My Book World Edition I White Light or with my previous HDD that has stopped working.

How to recover or rebuild firmware of bricked WD My Book World Edition White Light or install/replace brand new hard disk(s)?

Also following questions will find here their answers:

  • Which disk to buy for WD My Book World Edition White Light?
  • How to increase/upgrade WD My Book World Edition White Light capacity to 3TB/4TB (MBWE I) or 6TB/8TB (MBWE II)?
  • How to downgrade WD My Book World Edition White Light firmware version?
  • How to clean personal data (completely erase to the factory defaults) WD My Book World Edition White Light in purpose of sale?

Note

If you just want to upgrade your healthy MBWE II to 2x3TB HDDs or more, try this simplest community.wd.com solution. I haven’t tested it but it sounds like you can also preserve your data.

What’s going on?

If suddenly your MBWE have stopped working, firstly decode your MBWE situation by LEDs state/action and refer to the My Book World Edition User Manual on page 10 (LED Indicators). Maybe nothing serious happened there but only something unusual.

Anyway, MBWE is booting from NAS OS written on disk, so you can’t start MBWE:

  • with brand new clean disk(s) or
  • when your current disk(s) has broken boot partition or master boot record (MBR).

There is no user procedure provided by Western Digital to repair MBWE or start brand new disks. You can only return complete MBWE (with disk(s)) to Western Digital to recieve new one, if you have void warranty (for warranty conditions see: support.wdc.com).

I couldn’t agree with this, so I decided to make it on my own and here it is…

What’s this?

This is linux bash script solution to restore MBWE White Light (install firmware once again) with a FACTORY STATE and CLEAN DISK:

  • Works with both MBWE White Light (I and II) with any size of disk (even 4TB or 2x4TB)! It fully supports only WD Caviar disks! It means that you can use other vendor disk like Samsung or Maxtor (this solution is prepared for this) but forget then about: updating firmware, replacing disk, reformatting or changing RAID mode. Full support of other vendors requires wide firmware hack against this operations except firmware update which cannot be hacked (new firmware can simply overwrite these hacks). If you are interested in hacked firmware, ask in comment – I can do this but for a fee. Anyway, I strongly recommend to use WD disks only – it’s free and safe.
    Be aware also that not all WD Caviar Green drives seem to be MBWE compatible! (see WARNING below for details).
  • Designed to auto download & install always the latest MBWE firmware directly from wdc.com (manually available here and fw revision info is here). But you can also install any firmware since & including ver. 01.02.06, that I’ve tested on 2011-04-20. If you encounter any problem with the latest version, just pick ver. 01.02.06 (mirror) and use it in step 3 of procedure below, then upgrade to the latest firmware using native MBWE management interface any time you want.
  • Full install takes less than 1 minute! excluding firmware download.
  • In MBWE II only 1 disk needs to be prepared! – the second one (clean) will be adopted by MBWE itself.
  • Config with only 4 lines to adjust: disk label, serial number, model type, MAC address.
  • 1 script to fire! and little wizard will guide you.

1st WARNING !!!

This solution WILL ERASE ALL YOUR DISK DATA, if you connect your old disk!!!

If you want to rescue data on bricked MBWE, contact Western Digital on wdc.custhelp.com or go to data recovery guide to make your data copy before this operation (4th partition is DataVolume partition) and move them back to your „new” MBWE. This should be possible if you got MBWE I or MBWE II with RAID 1 (Mirrored) or JBOD array mode. In other case, you shouldn’t do anything but call Western Digital if you care your data and you don’t know what to do.

Don’t buy new WD Caviar Green disk without being sure this model works with your MBWE!

As Western Digital online customer support says, Advanced Format Drives are not compatible with MBWE but they don’t say which one particularly is advanced/incompatible (more about Advanced Format Technology)Particular WD Caviar Green disk models with MBWE compatibility statuses are (for specs go to wdc.com or Specs Sheet):

  • EADS, EAVS, EACS (SATA II 3Gb/s) are definitly compatible as WD says.
  • EARS (SATA II 3Gb/s) are compatible as tested on my own and by the community.
  • EARX (SATA III 6Gb/s) compatibility varies as community report success (3 cases) as well as failures (2 cases). WD support says it may or may not work due to relatively older MBWE SATA II interface. If you’ve encountered any issues, try different jumper settings as a last hope (see pic).
  • EZRX (SATA III 6Gb/s) compatibility varies – some users succeeded (here is the proof of 2x3TB WD30EZRX and 2x4TB WD40EZRX) and some report failure. There is a suspicion that revision R/N B3D (labeled on the bottom, right under WD logo) is not compatible with EZRX (report) but results also varies.
  • EADX, EZRSDTL (SATA III 6Gb/s) compatibility unknown yet.
  • AACS (SATA II 3Gb/s) are compatible as reported by community.

Sometimes connecting HDD directly to the computer SATA controller instead of using external SATA adapters can help (see Troubleshooting below).

Even though some of the users report success with WD Caviar Black or Red, I don’t recommend them due to higher work temperature than WD Caviar Green. Bear in mind, that MBWE is passively cooled and excessive temp. can shorten HDD life or even damage MBWE electronics.

NOTICE: If you buy new disks to your MBWE II, it would be better (if possible) to take both disks of the same type and the same part (production series) due to RAID performance and conformance. Therefore, you should buy both disks from the same retailer at once (at the same time).

Quick How-To

2nd WARNING !!!

You should never ever run this script on a production environment!
I strongly recommend to unplug any attached hard disks from the computer you will use to run this script, except the HDD you want to install firmware to. This way you’re avoiding any mistakes that can unrecoverably destroy your data.

  1. Prerequisites
    If your HDD contains any data or structure (isn’t brand new), you must wipe it out beforehand (unallocated space = no partitions, unformatted – just raw). This can be done using Computer Manager > Disk Management under Windows or using Disk Utility under Ubuntu.
    You should also check your HDD against bad sectors because MBWE firmware is based on some absolute blocks and thus they cannot be bad or mapped as bad.
  2. 1 Boot the latest Ubuntu
    from optical drive or flash/pen/USB drive (USB is far faster than optical), or direct HDD. How-To on ubuntu.com in Download Ubuntu section. Choose Try Ubuntu (it will boot directly without any changes on your system drive). NOTICE:
    If you have problems with other linux distributions/versions simply use Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS, because I tested it (screenshots below were taken long time ago on Ubuntu 10.10)
    .
    DO NOT USE ANY VIRTUAL MACHINE – it can cause many additional issues and mostly does not work in this low level operation.Ubuntu Try
  3. Wire your computer
    to the Internet
    (wireless connection is often not possible due to lack of many Ubuntu CD WiFi drivers and it’s not our goal to play with it here).
  4. 3 Extract mbwe.tar.gz
    (right click and choose Extract Here) on the Desktop (and all files should be placed in folder mbwe – if not, correct this). If you pre-downloaded firmware image manually, place it in mbwe folder and rename it to fw.img
  5. 4 Connect your hard disk
    directly to the computer SATA controller (if possible) or alternatively using SATA-to-USB adapter (or any other hotplug way, e.g. FireWire, eSATA). Find your disk label using Disk Utility ( go to top bar menu System Administration Disk Utility) as shown on the picture below (here it is sdc but yours can be different).
    Ubuntu Disk Utility
  6. 5 Edit mbwe-config.sh file
    in folder mbwe (right click on the file, choose Open in another application and select gedit editor) and type your HDD and MBWE parameters (DISK_LABEL, MBWE_TYPE, MBWE_SERIAL and MAC_ADDRS) according to comments. Save file (CTRL+S) and close gedit.
    NOTICE: If you really want to do this step on your own (some people are stubborn) then  DO NOT EVER USE word processor like Word nor Wordpad to edit *.sh files – it has to be plain text (txt file) Notepad like editor (here Gedit). Otherwise, you might break these files leaving hidden formatting characters and lead to unexpected results/errors.
    Ubuntu MBWE Config
  7. 6 Open Terminal
    (CTRL+ALT+T) and type:
    cd Desktop/mbwe
    sudo bash ./mbwe-install.shUbuntu Terminal
  8. 7 Listen carefully
    what is Terminal asking you and obey its commands.
    Ubuntu Terminal mbwe-install.sh
  9. 8 After Safe Removed disk
    using Disk Utility (click Safe Removal button), unplug MBWE from the power supply and place HDD in MBWE bay (any bay in MBWE II).
    Ubuntu Disk Utility Safe Removal
  10. 9 Plug MBWE to the power supply back
    and wait 30 seconds until MBWE initialize and shuts down itself (all LEDs go off). Then hold Power button for 3 seconds until bottom LED goes on and wait 3 minutes for MBWE to boot up. Then go through the first start procedure in MBWE web GUI (provide MBWE IP address in your web browser and log in as admin/admin).
  11. 10 For MBWE I that’s all.

For MBWE II go further:

  1. 11 Shutdown MBWE
    by holding Power for 3 seconds and wait untill all LEDs are off, then unplug from the power supply and put your second clean disk in an empty bay. If your second disk contains any data or structure (isn’t brand new), you must wipe it out before (unallocated space = no partitions, unformatted). See Prerequisites.
  2. 12 Power MBWE on
    and voilà.

That’s all folks

If this saved your life, you can express your happiness by your little donation.
Thanks in advance!

Regardless you had issues or not, please leave your feedback:

  • Your MBWE version?MBWE I or MBWE II.
  • Your MBWE revision?: R\N B3D or other (labeled on the bottom, right under WD logo).
  • Your hard disk description?WD Caviar Green WD20EARS or other.
  • Your linux distro/version?Ubuntu 12.x Live CD or other.
  • Your firmware?: installed automatically by script or downloaded manually ver.01.02.06-010411.

This will help maintain script validity and help people to resolve their issues.

Troubleshooting

1. MBWE still does not boot

Instead of using USB-to-SATA adapter (or any other external hotplug way) try to connect HDD directly to the SATA controller in your PC before starting the procedure.  This can help as reported by user Jack.

As you power MBWE first time, it should go off after a couple of seconds. Then power it on again, holding power button for 3 seconds.
Make also sure that HDD SATA connector sits closely in SATA MBWE socket. I know it’s hard to check, but it’s a lousy construction and can fail. I would even disassemble the case to see better that connection and to be 100% sure before the final give up.

If above steps failed, the last thing you can do is to check your HDD against bad sectors (once again, even if you’ve taken that action at prerequisites step). MBWE firmware is based on some absolute blocks (especially boot sectors) and thus they cannot be bad or mapped as bad (that’s why you have to start with clean/raw HDD instead of formatted).

2. Second disk failed

If you’ve encountered Failed to create volume or missing after second disk was installed (only SPAN is available), here is what you can do:

1. Clean second disk before installation.

or

2. Change manually RAID type in file /proto/SxM_webui/admin/config.xml, editing at md2 (DataVolume) tag <level>s</level> to <level>1</level> (explanation: 0 is for RAID 0, 1 for RAID 1, j for JBOT, s for SPAN). You can access this file during FW installation procedure (there is pause point after NAS OS is installed) or any time later, mounting disk under Ubuntu in a manner described here but finding icon called ‚1’ (OS partition).

MBWE config xml

3. After a few minutes MBWE gets unresponsive

If your MBWE freezes (hangs) after some time of fully operational state it means that the processor has got overheated (probably you’ve put different disks than WD Greens that rose the temperature inside MBWE to 60 Celsius degrees or more). The solution is to: a) add MBWE processor radiator, glued with thermal paste and/or b) put WD Greens in place.

Discussion (538)

  1. Hello there, nice guide u have here. My WD Mybook hdd is clicking like crazy and i just don’t what to let go of this beautiful device 🙂 My question is will my WDMYBOOK world 1TB (single drive) WDH1NC10000N work with WD Green 2TB WD20EZRX

    Thank You!

      • Thank you! I will try that tomorrow and i will see how that goes and I will report back 🙂

        • Hey, me again 🙂 I can’t find any 2 TB drive in my country, i instead opted for the 3 tb version
          WD30EZRX, but as far as i can see the EZRX versions you have them listed as somewhat compatible in the description above. Does that mean if it doesn’t work i can edit the factoryDefault.sh or it will simply not work no matter what i do ? 🙂 thanks again, but i have to be sure because i can’t afford a slip-up, and in my country the policies for returns are awful.

          • I am using this drive with my MBWL: Device: WDC WDC WD30EZRX-00A Version: 80.0. It worked without issues.

          • I’ve pointed out that some users have had problems with adopting EZRX but without any investigation of these particular cases. I also use 3TB EZRX in both enclosures (I and II) without any issues, except those I’ve enlisted in the Troubleshooting section (and their remedies) and some potential issues using USB-SATA adapters during the procedure (that can have shortcomings in emulation SATA protocols). So, you must understand that I can never ever assure anybody it is 100% sure, that’s why this warning exists.

          • Great news 🙂 I will not use and usb adapter. I will buy it today an i will report back.. and i will stop spamming the comments section and move over to the forum instead which i recently discovered it 🙂 Thanks guys, see you there

          • I’m not present on this forum anymore. Come back here if I you look for help according my solution.

          • I can’t find any WD Greens in my stupid country :@ it seems i will order one from abroad, anyway i will report back, Thank you!

          • Finally I found 1 disc WD10EARS in a local store, it’s not the capacity I liked but i will daisy chain via usb hub the external HDD enclosures to the My Book as I was using it like that before. I will post an update when everything is a go. 🙂

          • Hello, i bought the disc (WD10EARS) as new although it was used for 2 years xD (checked with crystal disc) and before I return it and swap it for WD10EFRX which I also found I gave this tutorial a go. And this are the results.
            Everything went well, i made a bootable dvd, unplugged all the hard drives except for the „new” one, checked and double checked every step (with the device id. s/n, mac address etc) finished it without any problems. I plugged everything back and the WDMB just stayed lit with the first LED, it didn’t reinitialize , no matter what i did it just stayed with 1 led on, it would just spin the HDD for 5-6 sec and that’s it. I plugged back the old WD HDD , it is working but it is clicking a lot, and the device booted right away. I checked the partitions on the new drive and everything seemed properly formatted. Any suggestions? I don’t think it’s my mistake because I really tried and checked everything twice. Anyway I will return this HDD and go for the WD Red one and see how that goes.

          • There are a few failure factors and all are described in Prerequisites and Troubleshooting section. Eventually, you can expose the log somehow to let me take a look.

          • I saw the troubleshooting section before wrote here, I wiped the disk checked everything 2-3 times but nothing helped, maybe it was the disk’s fault, it had one bad sector and in crystal disk it saud that it is writing to avoid that bad sector on a reserve sector amongst other things. I returned the disk today because i was furious that the sold me as ‚new’ but it was used 2 years 24/7 and I’m waiting for the new red one on Monday, anyway where is the log located ? 🙂

          • It’s located in my scripts mbwe folder (look for log string in filename).

          • I’m sorry to report that i can’t send you the log because i booted from a live cd and as you know i returned the disk. I’ve just got Wd30efrx 🙂 it’s risky but i will give it a go, yesterday i installed Sunon fan. I will thinker around and i will report back. Wish me luck 🙂

          • Hello there, I finally finished it. I installed the Wd30efrx, i did everything like i did before, the drive booted and everything is splendid 🙂 I didn’t like the color of the enclosure from the start so while I was disassembling it 2 times a day I’ve got a black opaque spray and I painted it (whole enclosure including the stupid white light strip, and while i was there I’ve put a Sunon 40x40x10 mm fan and I attached it to the USB port. The drive was working previously at 40-43 ish Celsius, now with the same workload it’s down to 34-37.
            I also upgraded my network to gigabit so now i’m getting 17-18MB/s writes and 39-40MB/s reads. It was worth the effort, i really like this device, and now is black with WD 3TB Red and a fan on it 🙂
            Here is the finished product
            https://goo.gl/photos/tNWqRrgMHji68oVE9

            Thanks for this tutorial!!

          • Good for you! I’m glad I could help.

          • I’ve wrote to you on Google + 🙂

  2. Hi Krzysztof !
    I get a problem with updating my HDD. By updating process i get foloving error:
    ##### MBWE ##### (install.sh): Writing partition table and building OS boot partition…
    /rootfs.arm.ext2: failed to setup loop device: Нет такого файла или каталога
    ./mbwe-install.sh: строка 145: $LOG_FILE: неоднозначное перенаправление
    [EXITING] No DISKPART in your firmware (/rootfs/etc/DSKPART)??? Probably things have changed and we won’t make the deal this way (further proceeding doesn’t make any sense). Your disk is untouched so far if it makes you happy somehow. All what’s left to you is to check what’s going on with your firmware version and if really something has changed since version 01.02.06 (2011-04-16) then make manually appropriate changes in scripts if possible [ENTER TO EXIT]

    Do you have any idea what is wrong?
    Thanks in advance!

    • There can be many factors that couse that. Did you stick strictly to the procedure, considering all the prerequsities?

      • Hi Krzysztof, thanks for reply!

        Firstly, script unable to find my new HDD(non WD):

        Command „Fdisk -l” show:
        Disk /dev/sdb: 465.8 GiB, 500107862016 bytes, 976773168 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: 0xd2baa1ff
        ________________________________________________
        My mbwe-config.sh script content:

        # Find your disk system label under Ubuntu in System > Administration > Disk Utility
        # If you boot Ubuntui 10.10 from cd it should be sdc

        DISK_LABEL=sdb
        _______________________________________________
        nbwe-install.sh get me following result:

        root@ubuntu:/media/ubuntu/2E72-E1E8/mbwe# sudo bash ./mbwe-install.sh
        ./mbwe-config.sh: line 9: $’\r’: command not found
        ./mbwe-config.sh: line 12: $’\r’: command not found
        ./mbwe-config.sh: line 14: $’\r’: command not found
        ./mbwe-config.sh: line 17: $’\r’: command not found
        ./mbwe-config.sh: line 19: $’\r’: command not found
        ./mbwe-config.sh: line 24: $’\r’: command not found
        ./mbwe-config.sh: line 26: $’\r’: command not found
        ./mbwe-config.sh: line 29: $’\r’: command not found
        ./mbwe-config.sh: line 31: $’\r’: command not found

        ##### MBWE ##### (install.sh): [EXITING] Disk not present or misspecified DISK_L in mbwe-config.sh file.
        Resolve that problem (look into Disk Utility and/or edit mbwe-config.sh) and try again mbwe-install.sh
        To start Disk Utility and edit config [hit any key]
        __________________________________________________

        I just try to disable disk checking by manual deleting strings in nbwe-install.sh, but get the error in my first post….

        Thanks in advance!

        • How have you been editing config using plain txt editor or word processor?
          It looks like it’s the latter. You must use txt editor. This hidden ‚\r’ character comes from editing file under word processor, which is wrong.

  3. Thanks! Shame on me! As you told, i edit parameters in txt editor and all was prepared and record on HDD OK. I have some additional question. Second drive should be the same vendor and capacity(i got mbwe2 without HDDs)? I asking, because my mbwe does not light up on lan.
    And second. In mbwe-config.sh file MAC_ADDRS=”00:90:A9:70:B2:6A” value is in a quotes. It is correct?
    Thanks in advance!

    • 1) You can mix vendors, but I do not guarantee positive results.
      2) You can mix capacities, but there are some limits in RAID modes (see wikipedia RAID definition for details).
      3) Quotes ecompasses MAC string – it’s bash syntax, so this is correct.

      • Thank you for helpful answers!
        I try to find the same vendor/capacity model, like on first HDD.

  4. Finally i’ve done it))) I use two 500 GB HDDs from different vendors – Seagate and Hitachi(HGST). When i try boot up with 1 prepared and 2 empty HDDs MBWE is not load system. Then i prepare second HDD like a first, and MBWE light up on lan))) All works fine in RAID-O, but i got in admin menu warning – [HDD Status] Hard drive 3 and 4 not manufactured by WD. My Book World Edition II can only operate using WD hard drives. Replace the drive.!!!
    Thanks to Krzysztof for his useful help!!!

    • My script modifies only checks for installing firmware on non-WD disks. There can be another places around, which are gates for WD compliance (like this one you see). I’ve never tried that so, I can’t tell anything of any further usability issues. All known non-WD warnings and restrictions are written in this text, so I hope you are aware of them.
      Anyway, check if it is usable now before you start using it as a production appliance and… good luck.

  5. !!!! WARNING !!!!

    NEVER RUN THIS SCRIPT ON REAL SYSTEM, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE md DEVICES. THE SCRIPT WILL DO CRAP.

    • You’re absolutely right!
      Like any other formatting tool used inproperly. This is written explicitly in any possible places, starting from the beginning of this text to the script warnings. One careless step and and you’re doomed.

    • Well Krzysztof said a million times to unplug all the devices before running this, also he recommends live cd/usb. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve messed up. I’ve done this step by step tutorial with 3 HDD’s now, (I did it for a friend also) and everything is perfect.

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