I’ve finally regained access to my external hard drive!
There are probably other ways to do this, but here are the steps I took – some of which may not have been necessary, and some of which could probably be done more efficiently.
Essentially, I added another user called “Everyone”.
I went to my Device Manager and saw that WD My Passport 259D USB Device was indeed listed.
Right-clicked on the the listing … selected “Properties” … then selected the tab “Volume”.
No “Volumes” were showing.
Clicked the button named “Populate”.
Now “Volumes” became visible and various data about the drive became visible.
In the window at the bottom, called “Volume” (which provided other details) I clicked on “My Passport (K:)”
Note: I had earlier renamed my external hard drive from “D” to “K” because some articles I’d read
suggested that this can sometimes fix the kind of error message I’d been getting. It’s possible in my case that this was unnecessary, but I don’t know for sure.
I clicked on “My Passport (K:)” and then clicked the button titled “Properties” then clicked the tab titled “Security”.
The top panel under this tab is called “Group or user names”.
There were two items within this panel.
One was “SYSTEM” … The other was “Administrators (followed by other letters)”
Clicking on either of these displays the “permissions” that each has.
I don’t think it actually matters which one is clicked.
The point to note is that there is a button under this panel titled “Edit”.
I clicked on that.
This popped up another panel called “Security”
Under the window called “Group or user names:” I clicked the button titled “Add”.
This brought up a panel called Select Users or Groups.
This panel has an area at the bottom titled “Enter the object names to select (examples)”.
I typed in “Everyone” and then – if I recall correctly – I think I then clicked the adjacent button titled “Check Names”
At around this point somewhere … I don’t remember exactly & don’t want to tamper with it for now … the new user or group titled “Everyone” was accepted and a list of permissions was presented.
I think I checked/ticked them all and lo and behold, my external drive was now accessible.
The above notes are not meant as instructions.
They are merely my best recollection of what I did and the fact that I ended up regaining access to my external hard drive.
I’m sure the way I went about it was incredibly convoluted and someone more knowledgeable could provide a more direct and logical process/pathway for solving the problem.
Why my WD My Passport Ultra suddenly stopped allowing me access remains a mystery.
Was the problem actually caused by my computer?
Maybe, but I tried to access the external hard drive from both my Windows 10 laptops and they both brought up the same error message. The external hard drive was inaccessible from both the laptops.
If anyone reading this has a theory about what may have caused the problem in the first place, I’d be very interested to read it.