Although I got no answers to this problem, I just thought you might like an update on my external hard drive problems.
It turns out that the adapter stopped working. I got a new adapter, plugged everything in and there it was on My Computer. I can now access my hard drive again, Thank God!
I had brought it to a guy who knows loads about computers, and he tested my adapter and discovered that the adapter was in fact dead. there was no voltage coming from it. I'd also brought along my external hard drive, so he asked to see that. Then he used the new adapter on it and it came to life.
Having said all of that, he recommended that I get two new hard drives as soon as I can, one to make a clone of my original hard drive and a seperate one to back up my info on to.
So I hope this helps somebody else. Just thought I'd let you guys and gals know as it might save you some money, in the short term anyway.
PS. My hard drive didn't die in the usual manner. When I restarted my computer the drive just didn't show up. There were no wierd sounds from the drive. In fact there were no sounds at all from the drive, no spinning no anything. All this meant was that there was no power going to the drive. So the drive itself wasn't broken, just the adapter.
The guy did say that when things start to go wrong, they will usually go wrong again, and it could be dying. So now I have to get those external hard drives as fast as I can while I still have life in this one. Due to finances, that might take two weeks, so in the meantime, I'm going to copy the most important data off onto DVDs & CDs while I can as a short term solution, in case the drive goes before I have a chance to get everything off.
I hope this makes things clearer and is of some help for people new to this subject.