So I realized that I forgot to give an update as to what happened with the pitiful external hard drive.
“TS” took the HD to a local disk repair shop, who (after some confusion) opened up the case to discover that when the drive landed, it grounded out in 3 places. This means that there were rings of
death burn marks in three areas on the drive board itself. This also means that whenever my computer attempted to read anything past the burn marks, it got stopped and couldn’t go any further.
In our attempt to recover my data, we managed to melt the connectors inside the drive. It would have taken three connectors to get past the burn marks, not to mention the hours of recovery, so, it has received the “Lost Cause” stamp.
Moral of the story: Organization can come second to reliability. Back up the new stuff before you start downloading the old to organize archives.