I can understand people’s frustration when something works and then stops working, but please take the time to check if you’ve done everything on your end to protect your investment.
first off, power is a lot more important than the obvious…
plugging it in/unplugging when not in use is a good practice however if you have a surge protector or battery backup (bbackup is best), plug it in there.
keep in mind of USB power surges…they DO happen. Make sure anything you are connecting is clean, not bent, dry etc.
surges large or small can and will destroy use of your drive…that isn’t a WD hardware fault.
I’ve seen other people post info about checking out device manager/disk management. Here is a good site for that rundown as well as some other useful info: http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=194531
When a HD goes, there isn’t too much you can do to get it working again…that’s why it is very important to try to have a proactive mindset…back up your backup.
If you have access to a desktop computer, you can always try taking apart the external enclosure. They usually have regular hard drives inside or laptop hard drives. If it is a regular (IDE, the wide grey ribbon cables) drive then you can just plug it into your motherboard on your desktop and try to get it to be recognized that way. It could be that the internal parts in the external drive are faulty. There are also adapters you can purchase (which are godsends btw) that will allow you to hook up to USB. Here is an example http://www.cooldrives.com/index.php/saandidehadr1.html
Believe it or not, but there is an old trick called a “cold boot” that sometimes works. If your drive is failing just about all tests and you can’t get it to do much of anything, this would be a last resort kind of thing. Basically, get an antistatic bag (put it inside a few ziplock bags too), put the drive in it (out of the enclosure that is) and throw it in the freezer over-night. When you take it out the next morning, you must be very quick; have everything ready to go. Just plug it in, boot up the computer and hope for the best. If this method actually works for you, you have a very limited amount of time to start backing up your data. You don’t have to leave it in over night either…but I would recommend at least and hour or two.
Google it if you don’t believe me…
If you have access to programs like The Ultimate Boot CD or Knoppix, I would suggest using them to boot to and transfer your files…there is too much to explain on those if you are unfamiliar with them, but again, Google works wonders.
As for the filesystems on these hard drives…i’m not 100% positive on this, just assuming…BUT…I would assume that they are formated in FAT32 format considering that is universally read throughout windows operating systems. The NTFS format is different becase it allows for encryption on your disks…which is the standard from Windows XP and up. There isn’t really anything that will make it incompatible with your “new” computer in terms of hardware or the formatting considering everything that is out there in terms of pc’s and their operating systems…to suggest that would be kind of silly don’t you think?
Anywho, I hope that some of this info helped some of you out there or at least gave you a better insight as to what you can and cannot do…
Oh and I almost forgot! Data recovery software for those who want to try it. I’ve always had good luck with Stellar Phoenix and Digital Rescue Premium.
Best of luck to you all