Passport Drive too full, "the device is not ready"

I have a 4T WD Passport portable drive. I wasn’t paying attention on downloads and overfilled it: only 78.5 gb left.

I was also in the process of backing it up and discovered the problem when I went in to delete the first set of files I had backed up. So only a little of it is backed up.

Clicking on any of the folders gives me “(file) is not accessible. The device is not ready.” When I try to delete folders, nothing happens. The folder just remains. When I try to delete files or move files to my laptop, I get a long error message beginning “the destination you have specified does not exist.” So it thinks my recycle bin and my laptop don’t exist. The recycle bin on the drive is empty.

All my folders are visible and some will open, allowing me to see the files, and it appears that everything is intact at this point. If I could get in there, I could immediately delete about 600 gb.

I have the file recovery software Recuva and there is other file recovery software available online. The thing is, I can’t afford to lose the contents of this drive. If I try the software recovery software, is there a chance that would make things worse, so much so that a professional shop wouldn’t be able to recover? Or is it safe to try?

Any other solutions?

Thanks . . .

I’m writing to answer my own question in case someone else has this problem.

I rebooted my computer with my WD drive plugged in. I then “safely ejected” the drive and plugged it back in. After a few moments of pit-of-stomach dread, it loaded, and my folders and files looked fine.

I was still not able to open some folders, got the same error message, but I was able to open a music folder that had songs and albums I knew I could easily replace. I figured since I had little wiggle room, I should start with small files. So I started deleting songs. Some I had to do through right-click-delete, others with shift-delete. Some wouldn’t budge.

I also noted that though earlier, my Recycle Bin said it was 0bytes, it was now quite full. I emptied it.

The more space I freed up, the bigger files I could delete and I got to where I could move folders and files to other drives.

I’m now back at normal capacity with a working drive :sweat_smile:

However, I have a couple bad drives that I’m holding onto for the day when I’m wealthy and can spend hundreds (thousands?) of dollars getting them professionally recovered.

If I try to use Recuva or EaseUS, is there a risk of damaging my data so that it will be harder for a professional to recover it?

If you can answer this, I’ll give you a hug.

I hope my information can help someone else if they get into this bind.