Yeah, so I bought a 500GB external hard drive over the holidays to store my files in. The instructions said to plug it in and the software or whatever needed to happen for it to work would install (?) automatically. I had some trouble with it, and trying to disconnect it properly (clicking the icon and saying "safely disconnect" lead to an error) didn't work, so I had to unplug the USB connector and then the power. After I plugged it back in, it seemed to work fine.
...except the next day, my files won't show up in it. From the My Computer screen, the drive appears to have the files - that is, they take up ~76GB of space - but whenever I try to enter the drive, all of the folders - including the ones that came with the HD; they must have the important parts to make it run. (God I'm so computer-stupid.) They just show up as "empty" when the pointer hovers over them, and inside, there's nothing.
Apparently, if I can unplug the HD safely and then reconnect it to the computer, the files show up. It hasn't happened at any other time, though, such as turning on the power for the computer if it was previously off. The files also don't show up for an extended period of time that I haven't tested yet...
Is there any explanation for this - did I do something wrong - can I recover my files and should I take the HD back to the store?
Edit: I also can't upload anything from the hard drive (like to a file hosting site, for example). The folders show up as empty.