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How to access my external harddrive without having to format?

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robo_dev

The best move is to engage a specialist to help. The more you fiddle with it, the more likely the data will be lost permanently.

If this were my device, I would try several things:

1) take the raw drive out of the enclosure and try it in another enclosure on another PC

2) download and run the manufacturers SMART diags on the drive. If if is failing diagnostics and has somethng very wrong, like a head that fell off, then only a technician in a white suit in a clean room can fix that sort of thing.

3) Make a forensic copy, a sector-by-sector copy of the drive to another drive of the same capacity

On the COPY drive, then fiddle with some utilities, such as the EASUS set of drive utilities, or simply booting up a Linux distribution such as the UBCD or Hirens Boot CD and determine if the data is readable or not.