Getting data off my external hard drive HELP!

I am a photographer, but I am NOT good with computers and all the technology stuff. I just went to back up two weddings and had a problem. I plugged in my external hard drive and it says it has to be formatted before I can use it. Last I checked I had over 380gb on there and I’m not sure what to do. I know that some of the stuff on there it is the ONLY place I have it. Yes, I have completed the work, but I would still like to have a copy. Can anyone tell me if it is possible to get this data back or am I just screwed? Also, why does it do that? was working fine the other day and then I plug it in and now it’s not working.

Thanks so much!

When unplugging removal HDD’s, you MUST use the device removal wizard. It’s generally the little icon on the bottom right of your start bar with a green curvy arrow.

If windows refuses to use it, you can download a linux distribution live cd (like ubuntu), it’s free, and mount the HDD to get the contents off.

Hopefully it’s all good.