Unable to locate hard drive files on Windows 10

I have an external 1 terabyte hard drive. It is a Western Digital Passport Essential SE 0740 USB Device that I bought from Best Buy in I believe 2011. I am using Windows 10 64bit. When I plug it into the computer, the small white LED on the hard drive will light up and blink, showing that it is connected to the computer. It will also make the sound if I unplug the USB that it was disconnected, so I know the computer is recognizing it. However, it will not show up under “My Computer” so I cannot access the files. I have also tried plugging it into two different windows 7 computers, and my PS4 with the same result. I have tried using a different USB cable. I have tried restarting my computer with the hard drive connected. I have updated my computer to the latest update possible. I was last able to access this hard drive in 2015 on the same computer I am using now.

It has many family memories both pictures and videos from the last 10 years as well as some movies I had downloaded using the code you get when you buy the blu-ray/dvd bundle. This hard drive is the ONLY place I have the family memories and I am getting sick at the thought that they might be gone forever. I want to start using Amazon Prime Cloud service so that I do not run into this problem again. I don’t think I have more than 250gb of data on the drive.

I googled my problem and found that others have a similar issue, although I have not found one with quite the exact same problem as mine. They say to press the windows button +R and type “devmgmt.msc” When I do that I see the device showing up under Disk Drives with no errors. I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling it from there with no luck. Also, I read to press the windows button + R and type “diskmgmt.msc”, the hard drive shows up under Disk 1 as “unknown” and “not initialized”. It gives me a pop up saying, “you must initialize a disk before logical disk manager can access it and gives me two options, to either use the partition style of MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table) When I select GPT the error message says, “The specified disk is not convertible because the size is less than the minimum size required for GPT disks.” When I click MBR, the error message says, “The request failed to a fatal device hardware error”

So, is my last hope to retrieve the pictures to pay big bucks for a professional data recovery company to pull my files by sending in the drive? If so, what company do you recommend that is both trustworthy and reasonable? I could care less about the movies, I just want my family pictures and videos back. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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Try pressing the windows key + "R" and typing in "diskmgmt.msc" and running that without the hard drive plugged in. Once Disk Managment opens and finshes loading plug in your hard drive. Then go to the "Action" menu item in the top left of the window and select "Refresh". Let me know if it still reports the drive as "unknown"/"not initialized" or says something else.


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Windows 10 Instructions:

1.) Right click the Start button, located at the corner, and click Disk Management.

2.) Connect your external hard drive to the computer.

3.) On the top menu bar go to Action > Refresh or Rescan Disk if refresh doesn't recognize it.

Provide the following information about the disk highlighted in red.

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I would suggest booting you computer using a linux boot disk. Click on try it out v/s install. The easiest version to use is cinnamon mint. Here you will have to burn a disk and then boot to it. Then use linux to recover your files to another external drive. It may save you about a grand to try this yourself. It is the fist step to doing a data recovery.

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if your PC cannot burn disks you can always use a USB drive


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