2) If by "software" you mean the contents of the drive, then my suggestion is that your friend may have moved the files off of it onto his Mac instead of copying them, and that you should ask him to move them back.
3) What operating system are you using ("Windows XP", "Vista")? Does your computer detect the drive (beep when you plug it in)? Have you tried this drive on another computer, other than your friend's? Does it still work on your friend's?
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Well, you can basically buy any external drive and it will work on both operating systems if you format it to a FAT32 format.
If you buy a new drive, you first need to delete the partition on the new drive using Fat32 formatter, and then format it in Fat32 file system. Here is a link to where you can download the software for free, and get instructions on how to do this.
the problem is that your western digital operates using the NTFS (New Technology File System) which is the standard file system of Windows. Apple macs is not interopable with native NTFS therefore you need to install a read-write NTFS file-system driver on your mac.
an excellent free mac NTFS driver can be found here- http://mac.softpedia.com/get/System-Utilities/NTFS-3G.shtml
download and install the software then restart your mac.
Well, in your case I think you can try some so-called data recovery software. It's pretty much cheaper then data recovery services.
First of ALL - Connect your external hard drive to your personal computer. And install this software Wondershare Data Recovery on the computer in order to perform data recovery. Get the program from its site. data recovery (for Windows OS) Mac data recovery (for Mac OS X)
Good luck. I hope that my reply has shed some light on the problem! Remember - Always make Backups of your precious data!
Be carefull when moving data from Macs to Windows etc.
Your best bet would be to start again.
It should work if you get your friend to put the data on the drive & copy it directly to your Mac. From there, you can safely copy data to the PC, but may have trouble accessing that same data after the PC has had it.
It maybe that your motherboard bios cannot support 250GB and needs an update, but caution applies here.
The other problem maybe that you need to use the hardrive on the 'CS' (Cable select setting).
Lastly if you already have a pc running, use this drive as the slave the go to the Maxtor website to make use of the diagnostic/formatting and partition tools.