MyBook is missing folders. Help!

I plugged my MyBook into my MacBook this afternoon to backup some photos. I do this every 6 months or so; sometimes more frequently. Today, when I opened the drive, my entire “pictures” folder is missing. This is all of my photos from the past 7 years, and so I’ve spent the past few hours searching through the hard drive, hoping I’d somehow dragged the folder into some place it doesn’t belong. Through that searching, I’ve also discovered that there are a few other folders missing, or with contents that don’t fit the labels (an entire “old computer” folder is nearly completely empty).

I’ve seen some threads about how a folder might be there, but the contents aren’t accessible - this isn’t the case. The entire folder is flat out gone. There are some folders that remain untouched - those files seem to be just fine, but now I’m definitely nervous about continuing to use this hard drive.

Is there a way for me to recover these files (preferably without paying a bunch of money)? What happened? How do I prevent it?

I did a scan on Disk Utility and it came up clean - nothing was corrupt. 

Any and all advice would be great!

Hi there, If the folder was present on the drive and now you are not able to see it but the drive works fine, you could try using a Data Recovery Software to extract the data, I can suggest you FileScavengeror MiniTool Data Recovery which I have tested and proved to work good and are available for free.

I wound up using a recovery program, but used Disk Drill. The “solutions” you gave me were for PC’s - as I mentioned, I have a Mac. So far it looks like I might recover the photos (maybe…), but I’m also concerned why the hard drive did this in the first place. It seems more than a little ridiculous to have a *third* external hard drive to back up my back up’s back up (seriously), but it looks like that’s necessary after all? Oh well. 

Also, I can’t find any actually free data recovery software - many of them are free to scan, but then charge you to actually recover the files they located. I understand that it’s “worth it” for the files that are lost, but wasn’t that the point of buying an external hard drive in the first place - so not to lose them? 

Thanks anyways!