Formatting My External Hard Drive?

Alright so, I have a backup drive that I've been using for around six months now. It is a WD Smartware MyBook Essential Hard Drive. Somehow...it managed to unformat itself. I've been trying to format my F: drive myself, but every time I try to the computer says that if I try to do a "NTFS" format,... show more Alright so, I have a backup drive that I've been using for around six months now. It is a WD Smartware MyBook Essential Hard Drive. Somehow...it managed to unformat itself. I've been trying to format my F: drive myself, but every time I try to the computer says that if I try to do a "NTFS" format, I will lose everything on my hard drive. I want to know if there is any possible way to fix this problem by formatting it and not losing my data on the external or just completely fixing this problem.

I've asked around (as you can see, I'm not very computer savy) and everyone says to back up the things on the hard drive and just format it. Well, I can't. I cannot even open up the files on my external hard drive until it is formatted.
The reason that these files are so important to me is because I store all of my pictures, music, movies and documents my external. My computer does not have enough memory, so I store them onto the external. Every picture I've ever taken for about the last five years is on this hard drive, and I'm a HUGE memory person. Let's just say if these pictures are lost...I will be very upset.

So anyway, if anyone could try and help me that would be appreciated.
Any piece of advice can help!
Thanks so much Yahoo Community! =]
Update: To: L D:
Thanks for the advice!! I tried it...but
after a few minutes all my command prompt said was "CONVERT is not available for RAW drives".
****.
hm...my boyfriend used to work at Best Buy and he said that GeekSquad might do it? but he's not sure how much it will cost...
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