External USB 3.0 Hard Drive - MBR Gone?

Lots of suggestions on the web and tried a lot of them. Here's the problem (and I will pay for a solution that works)!

External USB 3.0 WD Mybook 1140 3G drive. Was working perfect for over a year. I recently upgraded to Windows 8.1, but it was still working fine. Now I can see in Administration Storage and windows even offers to eject said disk. BUT in explorer the disk is not listed. Device Manager also reports the disk but says 0Mb free. Basically windows wants me to initialise the disk (which I am not going to do as for sure the data will be lost).

Any ideas? Really, I have tried quite a lot. I don't mind initialising for the MBR can be recreated, but it is 10 years of pictures from my DSLR that I am trying to recover.

Yes, yes I should backup, but this was my backup and after installing windows 8 fresh I do not have most the original images ... I feel sick! HELP!
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  1. Update - I think I know what I did. The external drive was unplugged and I installed a new 480Gb SSD, then like a dumb ass I assign it the same drive letter as the unplugged external drive. I have now renamed the new SSD, but still cannot see the external drive. Windows 8.1 reports Disk 5 - Unknown and wants me to initialise, which as I say I won't do until I have tried absolutely everything to get the data back. Any suggestions? How about a system restore point? would this help?
  2. Best answer
    Wish I had my notes from researching a similar issue. However, you might try taking the USB drive to a different computer and plugging it in.

    If that continues to fail here are some notes about recovering data from USB drives. (The following were suggested on SevenForums)
    Partition Wizard

    A friend suggested "Paragon Drive Manager" might be able to handle a non-initialized drive.

    Good luck and Godspeed
  3. What does HD Sentinel say about the drive?

    If the drive really is reporting a capacity of 0, then it has an internal fault, in which case no software (except perhaps commercial tools) will be able to fix it.
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