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How to re form a second hard drive without losing data

Last response: in Storage
December 24, 2012 3:00:25 AM

I have found an old external hard drive for back up and there are files on there I want to retrieve. But when I plug it in the USB I get a message that I have to format before using.

This is not reformating which I have done before, and I know that cleans a disk out all together. Does "format" mean i can still retrieve? without too much difficulty?

I can't even "see" it on my computer, as I thought maybe I could sneak those files off before formatting, but no luck.

Help? Thank you so much for your input. It's a Western Digital.

a c 84 G Storage
December 24, 2012 8:11:55 PM

Like RealBeast said, you can try to recover the files to another disk. Windows tells you to format the disk, because the files system is damaged. After hopefully retrieving some files from the disk, do a full format on it (not a quick format) and check it for errors.
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January 5, 2013 10:44:19 PM

Thanks you guys. I appreciate the help on this. Because of the holidays I haven't had a chance to try anything yet. This week is a good time to give it a go. As soon as I get a chance, I will let you know how it goes. Again THANK YOU tons. You all are always so helpful when I get stuck. I appreciate the time you put into helping strangers like this....
January 24, 2013 4:57:29 AM

Right! You do have chances to retrieve your data. But the formatting can make the recovery stuff much harder. Therefore, you are supposed to run a free hard drive recovery program for retrieving data firstly and format it for saving itself. Since I have experienced the same problem, I recommend you to select the "Advanced File Recovery" option in the main interface of it and follow the guidance till you accomplish the recovery process successfully.

You can download it:-

Good luck!