Is possible to format hard drive without losing files?

i bought a 1.5 TB hard drive for my movies. ive been using it for about a week now on both of my computers, yesterday morning both computers told me that it has to be formatted before i can use it. now the question is, is there a way to save my movies (about 500 GB) without physically being able to see them? if so how?
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More about format hard drive losing files
  1. Well, formatting's job is to get rid of what was there, so that's not the answer.

    If this is an external drive, the usual steps are to

    1) Try a simple recovery utility like EASEUS Partition Recovery. http://www.easeus.com/partition-recovery/

    2) If that doesn't work, remove the drive from the external casing and attach it directly to the motherboard of your desktop machine. Note: I just moved this step from number 1 to number 2.

    3) If that doesn't work, but Device Manager can see it, there are more sophisticated recovery utilities that will read every sector of the drive and try to reconstruct files. They typically cost $70 to $100 to recover files and allow you to do the scan for free.

    Unasked-for advice: Have at least two copies of everything, so if one drive goes south you still have your backup drive.

    If you need more help, please specify
    What kind of drive
    What interface (internal SATA / IDE? External USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire...?)
    What kind of computers are you using? What OS are you running?

    Good luck.
  2. A number of years ago, Steve Gibson (https://www.grc.com/) wrote SpinRite to salvage disks where the low level partition information was lost or drifted magnetically. This SpinRite could reformat (low-level) the drive by picking up the data, sector by sector, then rewriting the sector addtress on the disk, essentially reformatting the sector) then rewriting the data back to the sector. in this way, he could reformat a drive without disturbing the data.

    I have not used SpinRite in years so I don't know what the current technology is in that regard. But it would seem that a 3rd party developer could develop a high level format program that saves data by the cluster, then reformat that cluster, then redeposit the data on the cluster.
  3. SprinRite... if they are still in business that would be great. These days, "format before use" is BAD NEWS (meaning not normal, corruption, TROUBLE).
  4. davis_john5 said:
    i bought a 1.5 TB hard drive for my movies. ive been using it for about a week now on both of my computers, yesterday morning both computers told me that it has to be formatted before i can use it. now the question is, is there a way to save my movies (about 500 GB) without physically being able to see them? if so how?


    Do not Format your Hard drive. Watch this helpful video. the tool is $120 but I was able find it on kickazztorents. It will retract all the files for you and save them somewhere else. then format your disk to repair it. Do not format and try to retract later. Retract your files 1st then format the disk. For the people who say this is a dumb question, you're just stupid. The reason why they are asking this is because they never experienced having to re format or format an external hard drive before. Obviously they are asking because they are having an issue opening their hard drive ad its giving them the option to reset the drive but they are worried about losing their files. duhhhhhh find the Stellar phoenix recovery tool and go save your shit! Peace!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOUfM-y9Dy0
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