I'm trying to access files from a friend's external hard disk which had stopped showing up in 'My Computer' on his XP machine.
I removed the drive (500Gb Seagate SATA drive) and installed it in my Windows 7 PC. The drive is detected by Disk Management but listed as 'Not initialized'. It pops up a 'Initialize Disk' window asking if I want to initialize with either MBR or GPT partitions styles.
If I go ahead and let Windows initialize the disk, will this make the data unrecoverable? What is the safest way to proceed here?
Short answer, 'No, initialization shouldn't make the data unrecoverable' but probably won't make it any easier to recover either.
I didn't initialize the drive but used the free version of 'Partition Find and Mount' which let me mount the drive read only. Copied the data over OK (free version is speed limited so this takes some time).
I tried initializing the drive when I was done and 'F&M' still let me mount the partition and copy data - so it seems that initialization doesn't make the data unrecoverable.