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External Hard Drive Recognition Problem

Last response: in Storage
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March 16, 2011 12:05:10 AM

I have an iomega 1 Tb external USB hard drive. It's been working on our Windows 7 laptop for a while now, but was accidentally dropped from a height of about a foot and a half when someone tugged on the cord and it fell from a nightstand.

The drive still powers on, and the sounds of the disk speeding up are the same as before, but when plugged in, it didn't show up on the list of drives on My Computer.

I decided to plug it into my desktop for the first time, and saw it installed the drivers for the device properly. However, again it did not show up. I looked into the Disk Management window, and saw that the drive was indeed being detected, but that it says it was "Not Initialized".

Now, it gives me the option of initializing it, but the data on the drive is important. It basically has my whole life on it, both for school (I'm a teacher) and home. I'm really afraid that initializing it will erase the data, or make it impossible to get to. What I've read online seems to be conflicting: some places it says initializing it is tantamount to formatting, some places say that initializing it will allow me access to the data. There's also the concern that the drive is broken somehow internally, and that doing this will have no effect either way.

Any information that you can provide will be welcome.
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