My laptop died, so I pulled the hard drive and connected it to my Desktop computer via SATA/USB cable.
Disk Manager sees the external drive, but says it must be initialized ... which would erase the data I am trying to rescue!
Is there another way?
If Windows won't mount the drive, and you need the data, you will need to weigh the need for the data against the cost of recovery. There are some utilities that can attempt to read drives that Windows won't - Ontrack's Easy Recovery is one -- but anything you do can reduce the chances of professional recovery, if that becomes necessary. It costs at least a few hundred dollars to recover a drive - one reasonably priced, well regarded recovery service is Gillware (www.gillware.com).
Thanks for your reply. Can you tell me in simple terms why my desktop won't recognize or mount the external drive? I had no trouble doing this with another dead laptop drive.
It sounds like whatever damaged the notebook caused hard drive damage in this case.
The only certainty where hard drives are concerned is that all drives will fail at some point - and the only sure road to recovery is backup before they do.
The partition might be in inactive state. You can activate it using the disk part commands or recover the data using recovery software like Remo Recover