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

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OH Smeg

Is that the drive was disconnected without being dismounted. This can be OK 99 times out of 100 but you are eventually going to hit that 1 in a 100 time that the partition Tables go south.

What to do here all depends on just how "IMPORTANT" the data on the drive is. If it's "IMPORTANT" stop using the drive IMMEDIATELY and pack it up and send it to a Data Recovery Specialist Now.

However if it would just be Nice to recover the data and you can afford to loose it all there are several things you can try but you need to remember that every time you unsuccessfully do something it's just that much harder to recover anything at all and if you then send it to a Professional Data Recovery House you will have drastically increased the costs as well as reducing the chance of getting a 100% recovery.

If you just disconnected the drive without using the Safely Remove Option you can go the Run Command and enter chkdsk /r for the Drive letter that the External Drive should be and hope that Windows can repair the Partition Tables. It may or may not work but what the **** it costs nothing and it just might work.

If that doesn't work look here for a list of Data Recovery Software

http://www.techrepublic.com/forum/questions/101-342724?tag=content;discussion-table