Format Error on External Hard drive

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Format Error on External Hard drive

I have a dell studio laptop with Vista OS.

I use a external hard disk to save al my information. I am a student of research and lot of my works have been saved on it - academic, work. And i have a collection of pics, videos, music and a lot of research with my thesis stored in it.

I plugged my hard disk on an old computer with OS Windows XP and it said

Disk has to be formatted to be used and i cancelled the format ofcourse.

Now i tried using the hard disk on the Vista running laptop and it says the same thing

Disk to be formatted to be used.

And i really really don't want to format it. I tried reading it on different comps , it still says the same thing.

Please please can you help me out of this...I don't want to lose the information I collected over 6s years, please ...

Thanks you.