I have an iomega 500gb external drive with all my data backed up on it. My laptop hdd failed so reinstalled windows and went to load my backup only to see that there was no data on my external hdd. Someone has told me that when i set up the external drive it is encrypted with a password (dont remember setting a password) How do I recover my data when I am not even prompted for a password? Any help greatly appreciated.
"I have an iomega 500gb external drive with all my data backed up on it"
When all your data exists only on one drive, then it isn't backed up at all. You really should have had at least two external hard drives with the same data on both of them, so if one of them starts misbehaving or fails, you haven't lost anything.
External hard drive data is not encrypted or password-protected unless you set it up that way with third-party software.
I would first test the Iomega drive to determine it's state of health. You can test it with SeaTools for Windows.
Click "Downloads" on this page: http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/
Test it with the Long or Extended test.
Note: although SeaTools is Seagate software, it can be used to test any brand of hard drive.