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Need help with dead WD20EARS-0​0MVWB0

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Last response: in Storage
November 15, 2011 10:58:40 AM

So my daughter was watching some of her movies that I backed up onto the drive (external element case) and her brother ran by and tripped over the usb cable sending the drive crashing to the hardwood. Drive would detect but couldn't read and I could tell something was up with the heads cause I could hear the arm clicking. Not having the $100's it would cost to send drive off I opened up the drive and spun the platters and the arm wouldn't move up so I gently pushed the arm back up over the platters and quickly sealed the drive up. I was able to get about a gig of info off the drive before it stopped reading again. I figured maybe the arm was having trouble getting back over the platters again. But to my dismay, the actual heads on the arms were flopping around.

So my question is, is there anyplace to find just the read / write arm or is it possible to order one from WD (long shot I know). Or would any drive from the WD20EARS series have the same arm as the drive I have (00mvwb0) that I could find on ebay (a parts drive if you will)? I only need to get the info off the drive and after that it'll get sold for parts You know the whole dust thing and all.

Thank you,


More about : dead wd20ears 00mvwb0

a c 331 G Storage
November 16, 2011 8:27:41 PM

The original problem sounded like media damage. Your attempts to fix the problem have only resulted in much more damage. In addition you have introduced contaminants.

Furthermore, if you have touched the platters, then you would have left fingermarks which would have caused a head crash. AIUI, modern heads fly over the platters at a height equivalent to the diameter of 30 atoms. This means that a fingerprint will look like Mt Everest.

Your description of the heads "flopping around" suggests that you may have turned the platters in the wrong direction, in which case you would have ripped the sliders from the heads. Also, when you placed the heads over the platters, you would have created a "stiction" condition where the heads adhere to the platters, much like two plates of glass with water in between. The data area on the platters is micro-smooth, but there is a "rough" laser etched landing area where the heads normally come to rest. If you dragged the heads over the smooth area of the platters without rotating the discs (with a non-magnetic screwdriver), then once again you would have risked ripping the sliders off the heads. Not only that, but the damaged heads may then have gouged the platters.

ISTM that your quest for replacement heads is pointless. If you wish to try, then you will need to find a donor drive with a closely matching DCM (Drive Configuration Matrix). This is printed on the label.

FYI, the following describes what is involved in a head swap.

Head Stack Replacement: Questions and Answers:
November 16, 2011 11:10:02 PM

Thank you fzabkar for the info. I'll have to keep an eye out for a parts drive just to give it a try and see if I can get the files off the drive. Which leads me back to one of my original questions. Will any series of drives from the WD20EARS series work? I've noticed others that have the model WD20EARS but have a different ending model #. Mine is 00mvwb0 but I've seen some with 00s8b1, 00mvw80, etc.
a c 331 G Storage
November 16, 2011 11:37:01 PM

I'm not a data recovery professional, but I know that matching the mechanical parts in WD drives is not always straightforward. You must avoid refurbished drives (those with an "R" on the label).

I believe that some WD20EARS drives have 4 platters and 8 heads whereas others will have 3 platters. I believe the DCM should distinguish these in some way.


According to the following document, "the model number suffix (characters to the right of the dash following the model number) is only for in-house use. Refer to Change Administration’s Model Specification (document number 2096-000101)."

Model Number Format for OEM and Distribution Channels:

I haven't seen WD's internal document, but here is an explanation in Russian:

Here is Google's English translation: