This post provides some general instructions on how to open a "My Book"(TM) external hard drive.
You can probably figure out how to open the drive case just by using the reference picture that shows you where relevant things are located. However, I hope the information provided below will also help folks save time and reduce the chances of damaging the case or drive.
I've created a reference picture and it's located at:
This picture shows the locations of the hidden screw, and internal interlocking tabs and flanges. The interlocking tab locations show up as small white rectangles. For discussion purposes, this picture shows the book-"cover" piece of the "book" (this basically looks like the front and back covers and the spine of a regular textbook, with the book's pages removed)
The unit that I successfully opened was a 250gb "My Book Essential Edition". The procedures should be similar for the other "My Book" single drive models, However, no guaranty is made as to whether these instructions will work for your "My Book", and damage is possible.
Be careful not to damage any interior components when using a tool to separate the "cover" from the "insert" (see below)
Extreme care and a slow and patient hand should be exercised at all steps. This is very important to prevent cosmetic damage to the plastic case parts, and to help prevent hurting yourself if the screwdriver should slip.
I can't over-emphasize this: SLOW AND PATIENT AND GENTLE. I was able to do this without leaving a noticeable mark anywhere on the case, but it took almost an hour.
The MyBook case is held together by one metal screw and a series of interlocking tabs and flanges.
The single philips screw is located under a "stealth" tamper-indicating disc at one corner of the "book". The screw-hole is indicated in the picture. If you hold by the spine, the "book" in your left hand, with the "WD" logo facing right-side up, then the screw should be in the top-right corner of the same side as your left thumb.
The book's "spine" is the side with the large circular on/off button.
There are 4 interlocking flanges along the top and bottom edges of the front and back "covers" of the book. They run the length of the edges involved, in this case each flange is about 5" long. They are located behind the hole-filled plastic "insert". The "insert" can be imagined to be the edges of the pages in the "book". The U-shaped insert is about 2" wide, with the bottom of the "U" being the surface that contains the power jack and USB port.
Referring to the picture, there are 2 interlocking tabs along each of the two longer edges of the front and back "book covers", 4 total...the top-to-bottom edges of the "cover" that you would normally open to get to the printed pages in a real book. Each tab is about 1/4" in width. In the picture, I've highlighted these tabs bright white for visibility. The distance of each tab from the nearest edge of the "cover" is provided in inches.
The only tools I used were a straight-pin, philips screwdriver, and a small 1/8" standard thin screwdriver. It has to be fairly thin but strong, as it will be used to pry the insert away from the "cover" and free the interlocking tabs and flanges, and prying apart the flanges required a lot of force on the drive I bought...more than I was comfortable with.
Procedure to separate the U-shaped "insert" from the "cover":
( remember...GENTLE and very SLOW )
1) Either remove or just push thru the tamper-evident circle with the philips screwdriver and remove the screw. The black circle can be removed intact with a straight pin if you are exceedingly careful. But, in most cases it will fragment anyway so just push through with the screwdriver. If you have trouble detecting the tamper-evident covering, use a straight pin and push in the exact center of the "circle" you can see moulded into each corner of the cover. The pin will penetrate when you have found the screw.
2) Referring to the picture, insert the flat-blade screwdriver at about the mid-point between the top two interlocking tabs. Note that this is NOT the mid-point of the case. Then pull the screwdriver handle up gently and slowly and continue to push the screwdriver blade further into the case.
3) GENTLY pry the "insert" edge away from the "cover". Watch that you disengage any interlocked tabs as needed. Move to another location and repeat as often as needed. You may have to exert considerable force to do this at certain points in the process. Be very careful for safety and damage control reasons.
I found disengaging the long interlocking flanges to be the most difficult step in the entire process, ESPECIALLY near the screw-hole.
To disengage the interlocking tabs, just pry the edge of the "insert" straight out away from the "cover"...like you were pulling a page out of the "book" by pulling on the outside margin of the page. Don't try to move things side-to-side or up-and-down or you may break the tabs.
Again, be GENTLE and very
SLOW and you shouldn't even deform the plastic.
4) If necessary, press in on the spring-loaded interlocks located at the top and bottom of the "book's" cover, nearest to the "spine" of the book. You will see them if you look through the ventilation slots. They are located about 1" from the "spine" side of the book. In my case, these had virtually no impact as the spring-loading was extremely weak. The interlocking tabs and flanges were the primary retention mechanism.
5) Once the interlocks have been handled, pull or slide the "insert" in the direction away from the book's "spine".
1) If you plan to change the drive, you will have to remove the screws holding the on/off button LEDs circuit card. Removing the drive isn't just a matter of removing 4 screws and popping the drive out of a bracket. WD was a little more complicated with this design.
2) I also successfully installed a small (medium density) foam "bumper" on this circuit card, so that it now takes a little more force to push the big on/off button. This made it a LOT less likely that the button will be accidently pressed.
3) You may wish to leave the metal screw out of the re-assembly. If you want to cover the screw-hole up, use a paper punch to punch a circle out of black paper (or black felt-tip pen colored paper) and glue it in place.