Before I do anything that will prevent me from being able to recover my data, I am checking with you first! Here is some background on my problem:
80 gig Western Digital external firewire drive was working fine for several years - for unknown reason, stopped last week (I have confirmed that the port, cable, A/C adapter, etc. are fine). It is showing up in Device Manager, but not in Windows Explorer or My Computer. In Disk Management: In the bottom part, it has a little red symbol on the disk icon, next to the icon it says Disk 2, and under that says "Unknown", then shows disk capacity of 74.53 GB, then under that says "Not Initialized". In the right pane, it says 74.53 GB, unallocated. Under Volumes tab, it shows partition style=Not Applicable. Under System Information (under System Tools on Start menu) the drive is not listed at all under Drives, but IS listed under Disks. However, it shows Partitions = 0. I was able to run Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Diagnostic tool - it passed both the Quick and Extended tests, which according to WD's tech support means that "the drive is mostly likely still running fine." They are recommending that I "initialize" the drive, but I don't want to try that until I know how that will affect my ability to recover my data.
I tried to run Version 3.4 of Recover My Files several days ago (just before release of 3.54), but it did not see the drive (I only tried Fast and Complete Search - I was afraid to try the Format Recovery in case it reformatted the drive and wiped off the data).
So, here are my questions:
1) Should I initialize the drive? Will that wipe off my data? If it DOES bring the drive back to life but data is missing, or if the drive is still not working, will Recover My Files be able to recover the data?
2) Or should I try something else first - such as the Format Recovery? Will that be able to see the drive that is not being seen otherwise by Recover My Files?
3) Or am I totally out of luck and will forever be kicking myself for having been lazy about backing up the files I really wanted?
Thank you very much in advance for any help you can provide.