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How to retrieve files from a drive needed to be re-formatted?

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Portable USB drive...If you're being asked to reformat it...then it means Windows is not able to read it's original formatting..Was it formatted as NTFS or FAT32? Did you use it on a Windows computer or MAC? When did it last work, what changed since? ie: Cables, USB Ports, New Drivers etc...

There is a way to access raw data but it requires certain tools. I recommend looking around the Internet for a CD/Tool called "Hirens"...or an "ERD" CD...these are great and valuable IT tools used on a daily basis.