Computer says external hd needs to be formated

Please help. I recently bought a new computer. Went from windows xp to windows 7. I’ve been using a WD 500G external hard drive for storing pictures and songs with my old computer. I have many thousands of pictures stored on this external hard drive. I’ve used my external drive a few times on with new computer. Today I started up my external hard drive and my computer says it needs to be formated. That it doesn’t contain a recogized file system. What happened? What should I do? I know not to format it as this will erase all my data on it. I don’t have these pictures anywhere else but on this external drive. I simply can’t lose them. Any suggestions?

Do you still have the old PC and does the drive show there? On the new PC look in disk Management and down by the bars and what does it say there?


Hello, Yes I still have the old computer and it says the same thing on that computer too. In disk management, which I’m clueless too but still found it, says (volume=j: , layout=simple, type=basic, file system=raw, status=healthy(active, primary partition), capacity=465.76GB, free space=465.76GB, %free=100%, fault tolerance=no, overhead=0%). Hope that is what you meant. Please tell me I didn’t lose all my files on my external drive. Could they still be there?. Thanks for answering my post. Scott

I think the pictures may still be there. The fact that it shows file system as RAW looks like it may be a corruption problem. You can try a program like Partition find and Mount or Test Disk there is also a recovery program there PhotoRec. There is also one from EaseUS I think there is a limit on the size of recovery, if it works you buy the full version. You can also find a Linux Live CD like Knopix and burn it to CD and boot from that. It doesn’t actually install. There is also something to try if they fail that sometimes works. See if anyof those work.


Thanks Joe, I’ll try one of those. I’m not very computer savvy but I’ll give one a try. Worse comes to worse i’d be willing to take it to someone so I don’t make things impossible to retrieve. I just want to get my files back. I scanned and labeled over 7000 slides that I got from my uncle that were my Grandfathers, who passed away. Plus a few thousand of my photos that I don’t have saved anywhere else. I know, I know, save in more then one place… I’ve learned my lesson… I’m crossing my fingers… I’ll post after I try one of the software options.