It seems I have a hardware problem. What does that actually mean?

I have bought a brand new WD passport external hard drive and it is connected to my laptop via a USB port. But the device is not being picked up. I have followed someone' troubleshooting advice and the answer was that I have a hard drive problem. But what does that actually mean and how do solve this?
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  1. Do you mean a hardware problem or a hard drive problem?

    Can you detail the steps that you followed?
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