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Problem with an external hard drive

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I'm having a problem with my external hard drive; it is a Western Digital 500gb Elements Desktop (WD Elements)

I can't find anything online that helps, I was hoping someone here may be able to.

The problem is that my computer won't read the hard drive, even though it knows the drive is there. However, the drive used to work perfectly fine. This sucks since I have a lot of work on it being a student (nothing too important, everything really important is backed up). I've tried the drive on my mac and pc as well as numerous others, still get the smae problem.

On my MacBook Pro and other Mac's I get this message after I plug in the drive-
"Disk Insertion
The disk you inserted was not readable by this compter
(initialize, ignore, erase)"

On pc's, I get the pop-up windows in the bottom of the screen saying new hardware has been instelled, the 'safely remove hardware' icon is there, and in device mangager it recognizes it as 'USB mass storage device' (though I think it used to say WD Elements, but I'm not sure). However, there is no icon in my computer for the drive.

The only thing I can think of is that other people have used the drive and unplugged it without 'safely removing' it; I'm not sure that this is something that would cause this sort of problem though.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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I has that problem with my USB, it turns out USBs have a lifespan. Of course some USBs just last longer than other...

The only thing I can think of is that other people have used the drive and unplugged it without 'safely removing' it

That apparently decreases the USB's lifespan and so does knocking it around.

I hope that line isn't true for external hard drives(although connected as USBs) , as i have one too and it contains all of my anime!!!!!!!!

IF possible and given an option, i would format the drive as a last attempt.
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