How do I get my computer to recognize my external hard drive with out formatting

Last night my 2 year old daughter managed to grab my hd and I am not sure what happened between her and my other 3 kids but now it isn't being recognized by my wives computer. When I plug it into my computer it prompts me to format it. All my music is on it and I am very distressed. Any help would be much appreciated.
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  1. I have had hard drives hit the ground and lose everything. However if you want to verify that is the case here is what I would do- download the newest version of ubuntu and burn the ISO on to a CD. Then run it from the CD. You can then recover (if anything is on there) your files from your harddrive. Just run a search on how to recover files from ubuntu live. This is a strong community so they may be other answers but I have used this method in the past.
  2. I totally agree with AurtherEld.
    I always keep a Ubuntu bootable USB flash drive and use it if/when a drive is not detected in a computer.
  3. You may also try Parted Magic. Its a free Hard Disk Utility program that you can run from a bootable CD (No install required).
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