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Ext hard drive - cannot move files

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I have an external W/D hard drive, probably a 70Gb. I went to look at some files, I keep all my photos there, and I could see the files, but when I tried to open the folder it said "folder empty". I unplugged and replugged and it worked for a few moments. Thinking the drive was crashing, I started another copy to another drive. I can see all the folders, files, and photos, but when I try to copy/paste or even move it to antoher drive, it says cannot find file. I've tried a back up several times, but it doesn't always copy all the files and I have to go back and check them one by one, so that's why I am trying a copy/paste. Sometimes when copying a folder, it says it can't find a specific file in the folder, though it will copy the folder name, but nothing else, or just part of it. I did a check error and it wasn't any better. I have a new drive waiting if I can get the files to copy. Any ideas?
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