I apologize if this may sound like a noob question, but I'm not very adept at computers so I thought I'd ask the experts. Anyway, I was running a Windows 7 backup operation when my power went out and the operation was interrupted after about 95% completion. I got the power back on but when I tried to run my external hard drive it is now telling me that I need to format it. I understand I will lose everything in the external hard drive if I do this, and I've got about 700GB of data that I DO NOT want to lose. Is there a way to get my external hard drive to work again without losing all of my files (preferably for free)? Is this a Windows 7 problem or is my hard drive now screwed?
If there is a solution I would appreciate it if someone can explain it to me like I'm 5 years old as, again, I'm not very computer-literate (I don't know what "slaves" and other such computer terms mean). Thanks for anyone that can help me.
Does it say that the external drive is "unallocated"? If yes, it means that it can't see the partitions, the master boot record, which holds the partition table became corrupted.
File recovery software like GetDataBack can build a reconstruction of the filesystem based on a sector-by-sector inspection of the drive, and provide a way to copy the files to another disk. It's quite good at it, but the recovered files can't be 100% trusted to contain their original content. (Consider that it also picks up starting points of long deleted files the content area of which are long rewritten with something else.)
Still, it's your first and best bet, apart from creating an exact copy of the drive, if the data is so important, and then going on with attempting partition table recovery, which has some chance for restore the original situation, but it comes with writing operations on the disk, so it has the theoretic possibility to make things worse.