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Application Failed on WD SES Encrypted drive

Try this first if applicable

Read this first:
If you have an error “Disk is write protected” or files cannot be opened when a My Book or Passport with included WD SmartWare wakes up from hibernation mode, to resolve the issue try these:

  1. Open Computer/My Computer from your Start Menu
  2. Double click the external drive's Virtual CD-ROM
  3. Double click the Unlock.exe application
  4. Enter your password to unlock the drive
Illustration of write-protected messages

When the above remedy doesn't help or not applicable to problem

The same or similar error message of such type can occur when a hardware-encrypted external WD hard drive, like My Passport or My Book has failed to start specially designed software that provides access to the partition with user's data on the drive:
Application Failed. Cannot read from sector 0 of WD My Book 111A. This media is write protected.

The affected WD SES software corruption is basically happened due to the internal physical damage of the device, and cannot be fixed by simple re-writing the damaged code. Yet, if you don't care about losing files that were previously written on the drive, you may try fixing the problem by re-formatting the drive, using Apple Disk Utility software that comes with the device.
As a result of the drive failure, the application responsible for launching the virtual partition with programs, controlling the access to the main large partition of the external storage with user data is failed and you see such error. This problem can be solved in the data recovery lab by safely extracting files from damaged drive and back it up to the new external drive.
Mostly-affected models by this issue are listed below and have PCB 4060-705059-001 REV. P1 :

  1. My Book Essential Desktop with model numbers WDBACW0030HBK, WDBACW0020HBK, WDBACW0015HBK, and WDBACW0010HBK
  2. My Book for Mac with model numbers WDBAAG0030HCH, WDBAAG0020HCH, WDBAAG0010HCH, and WDBAAG6400ECH.
  3. My Passport portable WD drives with hardware encryption

Where are WD SES files located on the drive?

For better explanation where SES files are located on the drive, let's have a close look at the example with 3Tb drive comes in WD My Book external hard drive. There might be an internal Caviar Green line HDD, such as WD30EZRX.

This drive is encrypted, and asking a password when connected through the USB cable to the computer. Unlocked drive will show 5,860,466,688 sectors. If you remove the drive from the WD external box and connect directly (SATA-to-SATA) to computer motherboard, the number of sectors will be 5,860,533,168. Why LBA numbers are different?

Comparing the amount of LBA=5,860,466,688 sectors that are visible and explicitly available for computer operating system through the My Book Essential USB-port with slightly different, bigger number of LBA equal to 5,860,533,168 in total for the internal bare hard drive connected directly to the SATA port on computer motherboard, you may ask - Why the LBA numbers are different?

As you can see you can see the difference equal to 66,487, and those are sectors reserved explicitly for the drive encryption software.

LBA distribution on WD 3Tb encrypted drive
It should be noted though that you may see the different LBA numbers on your computer. In fact, it depends on the way you software (Disk utility, disk viewer, Disk manager, OS type) and hardware (the physical sector size supported by a Hard Drive model, USB bridge type) deliver, interpret, or select the sector size. Most modern software and hardware work and communicate with 4096-byte per sector supporting hard drives, and show you only 732,558,336 sectors for 3Tb hard drive. On the other hand, same 3Tb HDD can be represented system as 5,860,466,688 sectors medium when system uses traditional 512-byte per sector format, and here is no discrepancy, because 732,558,336 * 8 = 5,860,466,688 where 8 = 4096/512. Of course, the motherboard must support HDD with capacity greater than 2.19Tb to see and access all sectors for 2.5Tb, 3Tb, and bigger Hard Drives.

Again, going back to those invisible for USB-connection sectors, let’s have a close look at those mysterious hidden sectors the existence of which can be revealed by connecting the encrypted drive directly to SATA port.

That very small portion of drive space is used by encryption system for automatic launching a virtual RAM-drive with a special program that serves and controls the access to the encrypted volume on the drive. To unlock encrypted disk volume on previously failed hard drive we need a valid password and a recovered copy of original disk. Also, it is critical for decryption process to retrieve, restore, or repair all data from those sectors with encryption system. Then we can start the decrypting process and unlock the user data.

Data Lab 24/7 specialists have recovered plenty of the encrypted hard drives, including Western Digital full-encryption devices. Our specialists have many years of experience in complex and specific data recovery projects and able to override SES-controller commands and decrypt data directly through SATA port.

If you lost access to WD encrypted drive, please contact us - we can help, but only if you have a valid password to the failed drive.