How I got my corrupted external hard drive to work again
Today, I was trying to reformat my hard drive. I wanted to store more of my files. In the middle of the reformat of "DATAFORTRESS II", I decided to stop since it had already been 4 hours. Next thing I know, access is denied to my hard drive.
Reformatting the corrupted hard drive didn't work. I still got the error of "drive does not have a recognizable file system" and "do you want to reformat it?" Yes, I would LOVE to reformat it, except the reformat isn't working!
Angry, I tried one last thing -- I went to the Disk Management utility. (Right-click My Computer, click Manage, find Disk Management under the Storage category.) The drive was showing the size of itself, its partitions, etc. To fix my hard drive I removed the drive letter by right-clicking on it, deleted the current partition by right-clicking it in the bottom pane, and clicked "Delete Volume" and created a new volume called "DATAFORTRESS II" -- you can name it to whatever you want. Now I'm happy and safe with the 150GB of files I needed to store and a vault for future computer backups. The files on it were of course backed up as I was planning to reformat sometime soon, luckily.
If you cannot format your external hard drive, this technique should work 99.99% of the time. Unfortunately, you'll lose all your data, but it's worth saving the money of buying a new drive where you will have lost the data anyway. From this experience I have learned that the only fully reliable storage media is solid, unchangeable, and not influenced by magnets -- things like CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs which from now on will be where my important files will be backed up onto.