Computer novice here, so laymans terms as much as possible please.
Old laptop will not boot up. Some of the data has been backed up but not all. I would like to recover remaining data. I bought an IDE/SATA connecter and removed the hard drive from dead computer. When I connect to working computer and attempt to view the old hard drive (F drive on "my computer") it says "you need to format the disk in drive F before you can use it." When I click "format disk" it warns that all data will be erased from disk if I continue so I cancel the operation.
I tried a third party software like Recuva and Undelete Plus. Recuva scanned the disk for photos and found random jpegs and gifs that appear to be stock photos and web browser content, not my actual photos I have taken. Undelete Plus scan only found 3 deleted pictures and would not let me view them without purchasing the full version.
I have done this in the past and was able to view content on a different computer's drive and easily transfer to another computer and external HD. I have not encountered this formatting issue before. Both computers I am using in this case are Windows Vista if that matters.
Is the hard drive physically unable to recover the data, meaning it is damaged in some way? Do I have to format the disk regardless and delete the data, and then use the third party software to recover the deleted data? Any help to recover the data without additional expense would be appreciated.