My Passport Ultra (In Windows 10) - At atttempt to access data, says: "You must format the drive"

My wife has a 1TB WD My Passport Ultra that she uses to store embroidery designs on and to “run” her embroidery machine. She’d used over a third of the capacity when she started to open it last, and in several attempts to access the data stored on the drive received alternately one of two messages: “Location is not available. M:\ is not accessible. The volume does not contain a recognized files system. Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted” OR, alternatively, “You need to format the disk in Drive M: before you can use it. Do you want to format it.” I ran the Western Digital Lifeguard diagnostics and got a green check and no errors noted. Can I get the data to show again? Formatting will, obviously, destroy about 300 GB of data files. Using with Windows 10.

A corrupted volume in a healthy hard drive means the file system was damaged due to a power issue or improper ejection. Since the hard drive itself is working you should be able to use a data recovery or file system repair program with your hard drive. There are many free alternatives available online.