Recover files from External HDD

Hi,

I have a 1TB external USB HDD. Not sure what caused this, but I am no longer able to access files from this external drive. When I plug it into any of my PC's running XP or Win7 it asks to be formatted. I have also tried changing the USB cable but get the same problem.

I trialed a few differnt recovery software. Recuva can't access my external drive and prompts for it to be formatted. I seem to be able to see my folders using Active File Recovery but I have to purchase the software to recover anything over 65kb.

Can anyone suggest another solution that I could access my files without having to purchase recovery software?
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  1. Hirens Boot CD has some good tools to use
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