Initialize a hard drive in win 7?

I am trying to recover what once was my primary hard drive(Seagate barracuda 320gb SATA), i heard using an external enclosure can sometimes work. i bout a USB external enclosure, put in the hard drive and connected to my laptop (also running win7). it came up and said new hardware added & installed sucessfully. It is not showing up in My Computer so i went to the disk manager. It is listed as unknown device and says it needs to be intialized.

Can i initialize it without erasing everything?
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  1. Not really.

    If it doesn't allow you to assign a drive letter to the drive, I'm pretty sure initialising the drive would ask for a format (though I could be wrong).

    What was the issue with the hard drive? I mean.. why are you having to do it through a caddy? Did something go wrong on your computer?
  2. If it asks you to format it while initialising, just cancel it.
  3. the hard drive used to boot fine until the day i tried adding a second seagate barracuda (500gb) drive. I plugged it in, turned on the computer and the boot would stall at a blank black screen.
    I took the new drive out,(so it should have been back to normal) rebooted and then kept getting an error about not finding a boot device. It was listed in the BIOS but all the values were zero.

    now im trying to recover my data off of that original drive and reinstall windows on a new hard drive.
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