What should i do if my external hard drive is not detected by my mac

what should i do if my external hard drive is not detected by my mac?
need to have the files saved on it and be able to backup via time machine

Hi:
Here are some of the options I've read about on here that may or may not work:
1. Reset the NVRAM as it may need to be reset to recognize the drive. See below:
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1379
2. If the drive is a USB drive, put a USB hub between the drive and the unit. As ridiculous as that may sound in some cases it works.
3. If you have some types of hardware problems and want to test them this works:
http://scsc-online.com/Scannerz.html
That's a test tool only. It isn't going to fix anything just diagnose a bunch of possible hardware problems and it costs money, too.
What format is the drive in? Is it a Mac native format like HFS or is it some other format, like NTFS or FAT?

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