What do you know? I’ve got the same problem. I bought my USB 500 gb Passport Essential in August, 2010 on a 2 and 1/2 week trip to Alaska with the Air Force. While I was there I put about 300 gb of data on it, mostly movies from a friend of mine. I returned home to Wisconsin and I’ve used it one time since then. The next time I wanted to use it, about three weeks or so ago, it showed up under computer management (CM) as 2 tb of unallocated space on my Vista OS. I don’t even have the option to initialize it. When I put it on an XP OS, it doesn’t even show up under CM, only under the option to ‘safely remove hardware.’ Under Windows 7, it shows up under CM, and gives me the option to initialize it but then says the disk is locked when I try to do so.
Western Digital will replace the disk for me for free, they’ll even send me a new disk right now and give me 30 days to send back the old one, but they won’t recover the data for me, and the guy I got the movies from is in Iraq now and will be for some time. But why should I have to pay someone to recover my data when the data costed me nothing to begin with, except my time and efforts, and the problem is obviously a defective product because so many of them apparently have the idential problem and they are brand new? No wonder it was on sale from $129.99 to $79.99. I thought I had gotten a great deal, but apparently I got screwed. Double screwed because I have a second one still in the box and I haven’t even used it but now I don’t even trust that one to work!