In most cases NOT all, you can remove(figure it out) the HD inside and re-use. There are so many ext. USB cases to remount the HD in, just pick one. often enough you find one for 2.5 or 3.5 HDs, if the ext. kit offers that as well as SATA or PATA types of connection, just be sure to match your needs. One caveat, you find you can't re-use the WD back-up s/w because the WD i/f has some ID chip, etc. to help maintain that, though you can try otherwise and check results.
FYI- I have found typically the WD i/f connection pcb is shot duw to some electrical overload or surge or constant being ON that it fails. The HD itself remains, OK often enough. Either way, be sure to recover anything you need or safeguard as soon as its running again. I also suggest looking into an ext. HD "dock" that allows you drop-in the old HD and re-use that PLUS!!! any other HDs you have laying around or even a new one with relative ease.
One of my My WD MyBook discs failed. MyBook unit is about 4 years old. According to WD the drives for this unit are no longer made.
So that leaves me with a useless chassis and (I hope) one good drive.
I need a storage solution that will last when drives fail, so that I can replace them and keep things running.
I have minimum needs, just offboard storage - no NAS, , but preferably some backup solution. Ideally I'd like something in the 4tb area but not too expensive.
I currently have a 2tb RAID 1 WD MyBook (this one that failed) a 2TB un-RAIDed WD MyBook, an 2tb RAID 1 D-Link 323, and an old Maxtor 500gb drive which is still going strong.
I want to replace all but the D-Link into one unit.
Any suggestions, and, is this not strange that WD build units that are only good until the drives fail?