External HD lost files and formatting

By Rosstamon ·
I have an external HD that lost all files and formatting. When I try to access it I get the message "You need to format the disk in drive I: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?"
So my questions are: Should I format it or will I lose everything?
What is the best preferable free software out there to recover this data?
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All Answers

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Try Free Recuva

by amycopper In reply to External HD lost files an ...

You will lose everything if you format the hard drive. Try Recuva to recover files.

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This is a common problem

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to External HD lost files an ...

Because people fail to use the Safely Remove option for external media. They unplug external drives while a write process is underway and it damages the Partition Tables of the External Hard Drive.

You can try opening the command line in Windows and entering the CHKDSK /R command for the external drive and this should repair the Partition Tables.

In future remember to use the Safely Remove Option or this will continue happening and may cause the premature failure of the HDD by dragging the Read/Write heads on the Platters when you unplug the drive.

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