Storage forum: External hard drive not reading and am at my wit's end!

by: saskiatje March 26, 2013 10:40 PM PDT

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External hard drive not reading and am at my wit's end!

by saskiatje - 3/26/13 10:40 PM

Hi folks,
I have a 500gb WD portable external hard drive. I'd say it's about 6 years old (ancient, I know) and has never given me strife EXCEPT for today.
I have it connected to my laptop pretty much all the time as my laptop is also old and ****** with little storage, so everything I d/l goes straight onto the external hd. I was using my laptop earlier and the hd starting making whirring and scratching noises, which it's never made before, and when I looked for it in MyComputer, it was nowhere to be seen. It's still showing up as connected to the computer in my device manager, and it's also able to be removed via the 'safely remove hardware' option - but I can't actually access what's on it!
I've tried uninstalling the driver via device manager, which was successful. I then re-installed and tried to update the driver software, and was told I already had the latest version. Still not showing up in MyComputer.
I also looked for it in disk management and SOMETHING was there - 'Disk 1 - Unknown' and when I looked at it, my option was to initialize. I'm pretty sure that will wipe all my data, though, so I chose not to do that.
All my photos and music and a heap of other sentimental stuff is on this thing (and it's not backed up - I KNOW I'm an idiot) and I was realllllly hoping that someone here would have some advice for me. If I can't fix the problem myself, what are my options...?
Thanks in advance...

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