Is there a chance my external hard drive could be infected?

My laptop has **** itself. It's either the hard drive or viruses. It gave my a few options to try and restore it (which didn't work), to save everything externally (which I'm hoping I did properly) or to factory reset (which I didn't want to do incase I didn't save everything to the external hard drive).

So anyway I haven't had the cash to take my laptop to a professional. I just got given a free laptop from my mum. I want to check if I did save everything to my hard drive but am now scared incase it has any infected files.

I plan on getting a paid full subscription anti virus before I start using my new laptop. So should I just wait until then to check my hard drive?

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