How to Open a Western Digital Dual-Option USB Enclosure

The Western Digital Dual-Option USB enclosures are handy devices for carrying data (high throughput sneakernet) or just for making offline backups of your data.

Eventually you might realize that you're running low on capacity, or your drive might die. Western Digital would prefer that you just buy another USB drive, but I'd rather reuse the existing hardware, especially since I have a few larger PATA drives sitting around now. This instructable gives you a play by play on opening the enclosure without breaking it (well, hopefully you won't break it because I'll show you how).

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Step 1: Remove the Sides

This is the most difficult step and the one that is most likely to end in broken plastic.

Pry up the rear end of one of the long silver sides.

Slide the side toward the back of the drive. On my drive it was very difficult. I found that I was able to get things to move by standing the drive on one side and applying downward pressure on the side that I was trying to slide. This relieves some of the stress on the tabs that hold the side in place. Keep trying and be patient, or else you may end up with some broken tabs (like I did, on my first try).

Repeat for the other side.

Step 2:

Remove silver front. After prying up both sides I used my thumbs to wiggle it out.

Step 3: Remove the Top

Using a couple of screwdrivers, pry the dark top off of the bottom. There are eight tabs that hold the top to the bottom.

Step 4: Remove All Fasteners

Remove the silver tape and the three screws in the base. Lift the drive assembly out of the base and remove the four screws from the bottom of the drive. Disconnect the drive power and data connectors from the USB interface. You might want to prop the drive assembly up on the base like I did in the picture, because otherwise you have to disconnect the HID (front buttons) wire. Remove the six screws from the sides of the drive and remove the heat sinks.

Step 5: Install Your New Drive, and Reverse the Steps

From here on out it's easy. Connect your new drive and reverse all of the previous steps. You could even do what I did and install a Maxtor drive in a Western Digital enclosure. The world might just end.

You should test that everything works after reconnecting the drive, before you go and put it all back together. I found that my drive would not be recognized when the jumper was set to master. By setting it to Cable Select everything worked fine. This is probably a function of how flaky the USB interface is, so YMMV.

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    10 Discussions


    1 year ago

    So glad I came across this post! I know this was from over 5 years ago, but my hard drive died and I was wondering if you could tell me where I can find a new (or used) enclosure. I can't seem to find one or know which keyword search to use. I'm thinking of taking the hard drive out using your awesome instructions and putting it in a different enclosure.


    7 years ago on Step 5

    Despite the age of this post, it helped me out today. I wasn't trying to install a new drive, but get a probably still functional hard drive out of a deceased enclosure. Sure enough, when I got the HDD out, put it into another enclosure, it spun up fine. Thanks for this great "how to."

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    So glad I came across this post and your comment! I know this comment was from 5 years ago, but I was wondering if you could tell me where I can find the right enclosure. I can't seem to find one or know which keyword search to use. I'm thinking of doing the same thing with my now-defunct hard drive / enclosure: taking the hard drive out and putting it in a new enclosure.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This post helped me in the end. The HDD itself was not broken, so I could reuse it in another case and retrieve all the data from it. Thanks for this explaination.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for posting this, I had just about given up. Before I bother to crack it opne, will this enclosure accept a SATA drive? Also, you mention some little tabs that broke off, did it still go back together ok?

    2 replies

    It's tricky to get it open, so I figured that should make for a decent instructable and you're very welcome. The tabs that broke off did not keep me from closing it up nicely. The one side plate is probably not as solid as it could be, but it's not easy to tell. If I were more careful, I wouldn't have broken them. It is a regular IDE connection inside, so SATA is out unless you have some kind of adapter.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    nice writeup. just an FYI to others, i used a WD backup drive and the included software copied my entire C: drive then put a copy of the Info to my HD and the WD drive. made a nice back up copy and at the same time took my 200 gb hd and left me with duplicates of all files giving me essentially 12gb of remaing space. so others be warned about that.

    2 replies

    Hmm that doesn't sound like useful behavior for the backup software but that's probably a good tip for anyone using it. I happen to use my external drives on various Linux boxes, so I handle everything with rsync. I did actually write some software to handle the buttons on the front of the enclosures but haven't gotten around to integrating it nicely with gnome.

    Yea, i'm not sure why the software did it but it essentially destroyed the pc. It runs so slow and hot right now from lack of HD space that I ought to just wipe the drive and begin anew. Good luck with the Programming though, i could never really wrap my head around that. Tried C++ but there was too much math lol.