Faulty Elements hard drive

In 2012 I bought a Western Digital Elements 2TB external desktop hard drive and until a few weeks ago had no problems with it.
However, now when I connect the hard drive to my laptop I either get a “do you want to format” message or “internal hardware error issue” message.
My laptop is the only computer I’ve ever connected the hard drive to and used with.
The hard drive has thousands of family photo’s on it which I need to retain.
Can the hard drive be fixed?
If not, can the photo’s be saved and transferred onto a new hard drive?

Hello and welcome to the WD Community.

If possible, test the unit on a desktop computer and try connecting the drive to the back USB ports, if stills the same, try using a different USB cable.