Bad button, but probably good HDD. Try Autorun.inf
Believe or not, I don't think the drive sounds nearly as bad as you think, but I am skeptical about repairing the buttons. Based upon what you said the only defect with this drive is that the buttons on the front that allow you to open the backup program don't work. I presume that you haven't found any reason to believe the actual drive is damaged. Almost everyone I have ever met agrees that these "one touch" backup buttons are a huge marketing gimmick. Millions of average people didn't find double clicking on their favorite backup utility confusing or just copying the folder with all their must retain stuff onto the external drive with Windows Explorer if their backup job was relatively simple. The retailers tend to charge more for this "feature" nevermind that you can easily set your machine to automatically open the exact same backup utility that WD provides you with. Either that or you could simply have Windows Explorer copy the folders that you want onto the drive. Either way you don't need the "easy" button to backup your computer.
Based upon Western Digital's Warranty policy page I am not sure whether WD will fix it and if they don't I question whether you want to attempt to fix it.
Citing the warranty from WD:
"WD will have no liability for any Product returned if WD determines that:
The product was stolen from WD.
The asserted defect:
is not present,
cannot reasonably be fixed because of damage occurring when the Product is in the possession of someone other than WD, or
is attributable to misuse, improper installation, alteration (including removing or obliterating labels and opening or removing external covers (unless authorized to do so by Western Digital or an authorized Service Center)), accident or mishandling while in the possession of someone other than WD."
If the damage is caused by misuse WD can legally reject warranty repair. Furthermore, if they don't fix it chances are the remaining 9 months on your warranty are likely to be voided if you attempt you own repair. Unless WD repairs it or someone they authorize to repair it the warranty is voided. Except for some of the data recovery firms like DriveSavers most anyone you are familiar with isn't an authorized repair facility. That being said a 200GB drive is pretty cheap to replace so you might not be too bothered by voiding the warranty. Provided that you are careful you shouldn't damage the drive inside.
I've never dissected a WD MyBook before, but based upon the case it doesn't look easy. According to some of the walkthoughs there are some hidden screws just as I expected. There are a few people with some instructions on how to do it:
I think that there are laptops where I could swap out the RAM faster than taking apart and putting back together WD MyBook. Unless you are careful about documenting your steps to disassemble you might have trouble getting it back together. Unless your time isn't worth much to you in my opinion I wouldn't worry about the buttons. If the little microswitches just died or for some reason aren't being touched by the plastic in front on them it is a pretty easy fix, but if it is on the logical board in the case I would say just deal with it. Provided that the hard drive diagnostic tools all say that the drive is functioning properly and doesn't have physical damage I wouldn't worry about a relatively petty issue because as I will get to in a moment you can easily have your drive automatically run your backup utility everytime you plug the drive in. I would go to WD's site and download their HDD diagnostics tools for your drive if you haven't already.
Just go to:
and pick your particular drive. It should automatically give you the right utility. Provided everything checks out I wouldn't worry about your data. If the utility reports any hardware damage I would copy everything that I don't have a copy of another another drive and call WD and have them replace it. HDD shouldn't die in under a year. If their own utility reports damage you shouldn't have too much trouble getting a warranty repair provided the drive doesn't show obvious abuse.
If I were you I would simply set your WD drive to automatically ask you if you want to run your backup utility every time you plug in the drive. Regardless of whether you want you are running Windows XP or Vista this trick should work.
Simply open Windows Explorer and go into the root directory of your Western Digital drive went it is pluged in(you should just see the drive letter and a \ ex. D:\, E:\, F:\, etc.) for . If there is anything after the \ keeping moving up until you are there.
Right click in some empty space on the right pane and click New>Text Document. Double Click on it. You should now be in Notepad.
Then paste this into the document:
ACTION=Open my backup program
Replace MYAPP.EXE in both instances with where ever the full path to your backup program is located. Just go to the start menu and right click on the backup program and click properties. Under the word target you should see the full path. Now save the file. Now select the file to rename it and give it the name autorun.inf. Provided you did everything right the next time you plug in the WD drive you will be prompted to "Open my backup program."
It is possible to have it set it up to automatically bypass the prompt and go straight to the backup program, but this unfortunately would require you to repartition your drive, which if you want to do it safely and with a fairly user friendly program would cost you some money. I've owned a Lexar flash drive (JD Lighting) that was partitioned so that it appeared to be a CD (ISO 9660) and a standard FAT partition and hence since windows considered it a CD it would bypass the prompt. Without getting too detailed and technical Partition Commander ought to be able to do this if you want to spend the money, but I wouldn't spend the money just to save one click.
Bottom line, unless the drive is physically damaged or you use a shoddy partitioning utility to reproduce the autorun without the prompt trick that Lexar was using you shouldn't lose any data. Unless the casing appears damaged I wouldn't see the point in moving it to another enclosure.
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