Megahertz said:
@RockieOllie, now you know the value of a backup.

External drives aren't as reliable as internal drives. External drives can be damaged by movements and impacts.

Buy two first grade 3.5" HDDs. (like WD Gold or HGST)
One you install inside of your desktop and keep permanently "alive" as a data drive.
The second you install inside of your desktop but keep it "detached" (remove the SATA or power cable or simply set the SATA port as disabled). This prevents a malware to damage your backups.

Regularly (I do it once a week) you "attach" the backup drive and run a backup software. The backup drive should be bigger than the data drive so it can store the data drive and the Windows drive backups.
Lessoned learned. reformatted the problem drive and using the new drive I bought to backup with redundancy files as well backing up all my files.