How to get files off external hard drive

Hello,
I have an external hard drive that I have used before on a computer that i am no longer using. I connected the external hard drive to my current computer to get files off of it. My computer will not recognize it and keeps saying I need to format. However, I do not want to erase all files on the external hard drive as that is the whole purpose of me trying to hook it up to my computer. Please help
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  1. Sounds as if the filesystem got damaged somehow.

    1) Try it on some other machine and see if said other machine agrees that it can't be read.

    2) Download free partition recovery software like EASEUS Partition Recovery, or look for other ones in previous threads in this forum. The freebies are perfectly good at repairing the most common corruptions.

    3) If that worketh not, is the drive making nasty sounds or emitting smoke? Do the BIOS and the Device Manager see it? (That question was a reflex; if it says that you need to format it, then it's seen).

    There are frequently _permissions_ problems with external drives using NTFS, but that will prevent access, not show the drive as unformatted.

    Tell us what you see. Good luck.
  2. forget about downloading software to help you out - that's a last ditch effort. there's a lot you can do Before you start Adding more stuff to your computer...

    First is remove the drive from the enclosure and connect it directly to the computer's motherboard and power, see if it works

    enter BIOS and see if the drive is recognized

    you haven't told us what windows version you're running, or how old the computer is, or what kind of drive it is (IDE or SATA) so if that first step doesn't work, you could try upgrading your BIOS to work with the drive

    if it's an IDE drive, its possible you have to set Master and SLave jumpers on the existing HDD in the computer and the one you're adding
  3. I'v had this problem many times. Sometimes i just try all the usb ports (works most of the time) or even changing the USB cable (also works sometimes).
  4. TechJamaica said:
    I'v had this problem many times. Sometimes i just try all the usb ports (works most of the time) or even changing the USB cable (also works sometimes).

    I'm assuming he's already done the basic stuff, like what you point out.
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