External Hard Disk not working

Hi guys,

Am in a big problem, I have a 360GB external HD which I use to store and move my most important files. Yesterday I have attached it to my relative's laptop and since then the nightmare started. When I connected th HD to my laptop it didn't autoplay, I went to "my computer" and double clicked the E: drive and there was the message "This drive is not formatted, do you want to format it now". Of course I didn't, and after a right click on the drive I found that the HD has no file system any more, it showed that empty space is zero and used space is zero.
I previously had this problem with flash memories and simply formatted them but know no that can't be done. I have about 112GBs of files out of them about 30GBs of irreplaceble data. I suspect that a virus on that laptop has some how destroyed my file system.
I really appreciate any help in this problem with providing any tools or information about this issue. I know that some companies may provide such support but I would like to try it myself as no one cares for person's data more than himself.

10x in advance for any support provided.
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More about external hard disk working
  1. If you have a desktop (tower) system I suggest opening up the enclosure of the external and taking the drive out. Then hook up the drive to your desktop and see if the machine can view the correct contents of the disk. If it can then the problem is with your enclosure, if it can't then the problem is with the disk it's self.

    It's a more hands on approach, and before trying it I'd see if anybody else here has a software solution. If not... pull that sucker out and see if she's behaving.
  2. There are two relatively common sources of such problems that you probably can fix without losing your data. Both start by using Windows Disk Management to diagnose. I'm going to assume you are not familiar with it.

    Click on Start at lower left, then RIGHT-click on My Computer and chose "Manage" from the mini-menu. This opens the Computer Management window. On the left expand "Storage" if necessary and click on "Disk Management". The right hand side will show two panes, upper and lower. The upper pane shows you all the drives Windows can use right now. The LOWER RIGHT pane shows you those with different info, plus other hardware devices it cannot understand. Each piece of hardware is represented by a rectangle that contains sub-blocks. The pane SCROLLS so you can see all it has.

    Look for your external drive in that LOWER RIGHT pane. At its left end will be a label block with some info. To the right will be the larger main block with more info like a Volume Name, a disk letter name, a size, a File System like NTFS, and a status. There are two things to check:
    1. If it does NOT have a letter name like "E:", you can RIGHT-click on it and assign a name to it. If you do this, back out of Disk Management and reboot, so Windows can get this change into its Registry. If that was the only problem, the drive may show up now in My Computer. If not, proceed to the next step by going back into Disk Management.
    2. What does it say for the File System? If it is NTFS there should not be a problem. BUT if it shows as "RAW", that means a little data in the Partition Table or similar place is corrupted and Windows does not understand. Your data itself is likely all OK, and you are right to NOT format the drive. What you will need to do is back out of there and search around the web for ways to recover from a RAW Format disk. It can be done, but I can't point to the exact instructions.
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