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How do i get files off my external hard drive when it says it needs formatting

Last response: in Storage
April 28, 2012 7:11:01 AM

I have a portable 500gb Samsung hard drive i have been using for ages now and have heaps of files on there - all of a sudden it is coming up as an L drive & says I need to format it. I'm devastated I may lose all my files - can anyone help tell me what to do?

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April 28, 2012 8:04:59 AM

Well... First don't format it or do anything that will write to it.
A lot of things can cause this problem -- if it's a hardware issue, then you are in more trouble, if it's just corrupted data, then you may be able to save it yourself with software.
Hard drives make a sound when they power up. It's the sound of a physical disk starting to spin. If you don't hear the usual "whirr", then it's probably a hardware problem. If it makes a bunch of unusually loud tick sounds, then I'd guess it's a hardware problem in that case too.
I know this all sounds very unscientific, but it's my experience with bad HDD's.
If you think the hardware is working fine, then I'd look into using software to try to recover the data. There are a lot of options. I've used a program called "Get Data Back" several times in the past with success. There are other alternatives too. Try google. Also, there are some linux live cd's aimed at data recovery (though there's a bit of a learning curve for some of the tools.) Otherwise, you can pay someone for data recovery, but from what I've seen, it's surprisingly expensive.
I'd try the software tools, hope for the best, and be prepared to put a bit of time into it if you're lucky enough to be able to recover at all. If you’re not up to all this, you could send me a private message and we could probably work out a deal for you to mail me the disk and I’ll do my best to recover your data.

a b G Storage
November 4, 2012 8:44:03 AM

hi i have a samsung external hard drive aswell i have just purchased a mac so i had to format it which i have done but before i did i dragged everything out and dropped it on my mac desktop as it said it will erase it. But i now cant drag the files back onto external hard drive any help would be great thanks
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March 4, 2013 5:21:00 AM

Coincidentally, recently I also could not access my videos on a WD external hard drive for it also received the “not formatted error” messages. Afterwards, I started to look for a data recovery tool over the internet. And finally found a hard drive recovery freeware that had completely retrieved all my videos.
Hence, if one encounters the similar recovery problems, he also can give it a shot:
Actually, the best way for us to prevent these similar problems is to make data backups all the time.
I hope my experiences can help much more people.
March 4, 2013 8:45:02 AM

You can recover your all data from a formatted hard drive by using some data recovery software's . You have to pay some money but defiantly get back your data completely. for more info visit:
December 1, 2013 6:10:54 PM

I was having the same problem before, suddenly the external hard drive shows not formatted error message, but I have important data on the external hard drive and do not want to format it. Luckily I found the solution after some research, you may have a try:

You should not format the external hard drive, even if you have to format it, use quick format instead of low level format. This is because that quick format remove file table only, while low level format erase every bits of data.