Error Message, need to format the disc (Passport Essential SE) before you can use

I have been using Passport Essential SE for over a year with Memeo software, I made no changes but suddently I am getting a popup from MSFT Windows - you need to format the disc in drive E before you can use it.  If I format, I will lose all of my information, of course I could just start backing up again, but I’m concerned this is not a real message and it is some type of virus.  Is it possible that my Passport is damaged or crashed and I should just replace it?  I have a Lenova laptop, Windows 7, I use IE and FF both current versions. I understand formatting in the beginning, but I have been using this probably over a year. Any help will be appreciated.  Thanks

Welcome to the Community.

I’d recommend running a diagnostic test with WD SmartWare (Settings tab> Drive settings> Diagnostics) and Data Lifeguard Diagnostics. If the hard drive is to fail the test I’d recommend a free replacement under warranty. If the hard drive is to pass all tests I’d recommend changing the USB cable and checking the unit’s behavior. If it is always safely ejected after use and there are no computer viruses it should be replaced as well.

Still having problems.

1.  It appears I never had the software, so I downloaded from the link you gave.  Once loaded, the program ran extremely slow.  Dowload instructions were to go to the backup tab, but it was grayed out, only the settings, help, and hope were accessible - it would take a minimum of 15 minutes to switch between tabs.  On the settings tab the screen was blank save for some files on the left, which did not seem to apply, again took forever to load.  I then ran all of my virus spyware programs to be sure that was not the problem.   I then tried to open some documents to see if everything else was ok, I could not open any documents.  I uninstalled and now can get back to my documents

2.  I did run the Data Lifeguard Diagnostics, and the short version said there was no problem.  I did not try the longer version since the software failed so miserably.

Any idea what I’m doing wrong?  Thanks again for your help.