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I have an external HD (WD MyBook Essentials) with all of my backups (1TB) for some unknown reason, when I try to connect the drive (Tried several interfaces: eSATA/plugged it into my PC/USB) I get this message: "You need to format the disk in drive M: before you can use it"

I've looked in disk management at the drive, and its listed in there - with the same full capacity. The file system under disk management now says RAW and that its healthy

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possible duplicate of Partition became RAW after accessing with Linux –  JdeBP Nov 26 '11 at 19:51
    
If you can recall, what was the file system on that drive.. Was the drive formatted with NTFS or FAT32?? .. –  AzkerM Jan 14 at 13:52

2 Answers 2

If this is a problem of lost partitions, TestDisk is worth a try.

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Sorry for not mentioning that, but Iv'e kinda tried that software. I don't know how to use it actually... –  Matan Eldan Oct 10 '11 at 13:57
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cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step step by step guide to testdisk –  Journeyman Geek Oct 12 '11 at 0:14

Try opening the drive with a linux livecd and NTFS3G- sometimes it manages to open 'lost' NTFS drives. if that fails then i'd suggest using testdisk as mouviciel suggested

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I'm in a process of downloading Knoppix. It should do the trick as well? –  Matan Eldan Oct 10 '11 at 14:00
    
as long as it has NTFS 3g. I tend to use ubuntu live since i usually have some flavour of it lying around –  Journeyman Geek Oct 10 '11 at 14:46

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