a few days ago i connected a hard drive that had data on it. when i came back to my computer the next day the drive could no longer be found in the "my computer" area where drives are listed. then i went into computer management and it says the drive is unallocated. how did this possible happen and can i get the data back
Try and use Recovery Studio (R-Studio) at (http://www.r-tt.com/)
- use the free trial - to try and recover most of your data. Reformat the HD after recovery and then see if it's visible.
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You said you connected the hard drive, which had been already used on other PC, maby it just has file system incompatible with the OS on your current PC (EX: if you used this disk under winXP, it probably has NTFS file system, which is not supported by win98).
And if this is the case, you can simply convert the file system using Partition Magic, without wiping your data.