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RAW Drive Recovery: Recover Files From RAW Partition

Updated on Monday, April 29, 2024

iBoysoft author Jessica Shee

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Jessica Shee

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How to Recover Data From RAW Partition and Fix RAW Drive

Summary: You found the file system is RAW after plugging the hard drive on your Windows PC, see how to convert RAW to NTFS, format a RAW drive to fix a RAW drive, and use RAW drive recovery software: iBoysoft Data Recovery to recover data.

RAW drive

It is such a bummer when Windows suddenly can't recognize your USB flash drive, SD card, or hard drive full of important files. Error messages indicate your drive or partition is RAW.

Don't panic. This situation is not as desperate as you may expect. There mainly are two most effective ways to recover data from a RAW partition or drive. You can either recover the RAW partition by fixing it to a recognizable format such as NTFS or FAT or directly get files off the RAW drive with RAW data recovery software.

What is RAW file system?

All modern consumer storage devices such as an SSDHDD, memory card, or USB flash drive require a file system for the computer operating system to read and write data efficiently. Without a working file system, your data will be stored as big chunks on a disk and new data could be easily placed on a section that is already full, causing the original data to become overwritten.

There are three types of Windows file systems: FAT (FAT32 and exFAT), NTFS, and ReFS. The type of file system is RAW means the Windows operating system can't recognize a storage device because it contains an unknown or no file system.

Your disk or partition is RAW because:

  • The hard drive's file system is missing or damaged due to bad sectors or virus attacks.
  • The RAW drive has not been formatted with a valid file system.
  • The file system of the storage device is not compatible and not recognized by Windows.
  • The drive's file system is encrypted by a third-party disk encryption tool.

RAW file system


RAW drive recovery: recover data from RAW partition

If your disk or partition is RAW, Windows doesn't allow users to use this drive and access files stored on it. You are asked to format the drive before you can use it, or a window pops up that says the volume doesn't contain a recognized file system.

However, a RAW drive or RAW partition is never an announcement of permanent data loss. Your files are still on the drive but not easily accessible by the Windows computer. By performing RAW drive recovery, you can get back lost files successfully.

If it is a new hard drive that shows a RAW file system in Windows Disk Management, simply format the disk with a file system that can be recognized by a Windows computer. If the RAW partition carries a large number of files, use one of the methods below to recover files from a RAW external hard drive.

Recover files from RAW drive by fixing the RAW file system

RAW Drive Recovery MethodsSpecific StepsWhen to Apply
Fix RAW Drive with Specialized SoftwareInstall iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows > Choose RAW Drive Recovery> Scan the drive > Click Fix DriveThe drive has a RAW file system and files are intact after scanning the drive.
Run CHKDSK Command in CMD to Fix RAW PartitionOpen Command Prompt > Run chkdsk commandThe drive suddenly becomes RAW.
Recover Data with File Recovery SoftwareInstall iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows > Choose RAW Drive Recovery> Scan the drive >Preview and recover filesRAW drive can't be fixed by the Fix Drive feature of iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows and CHKDSK command.

Use RAW drive recovery software

If the RAW hard drive is damaged with slight logical errors, you can recover RAW partition by fixing the RAW file system to a recognized file system. iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows has a feature called "Fix Drive" which is designed to fix minor errors in the partition table and file system and restore the RAW file system to the original file system on the disk. By changing RAW to FAT file system or NTFS file system, all your lost files on the RAW hard drive will be restored instantly.

Step 1: Download, install and open iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows on your PC running Windows 11/10/8/7.

Step 2: Choose the RAW Drive Recovery module.

RAW drive recovery software

Step 3: Select your RAW drive in the list which usually has a red bar indicating a problematic status.

select raw drive

Step 4: Click Next, preview found files to see if they are intact, and then click Fix Drive.

fix raw drive to restore files

After the software reports your RAW hard drive is successfully repaired. Check if your RAW disk is usable and all data has been restored.

What an amazing way to restore your files and fix a RAW disk. You must let others know too!


Run chkdsk to fix a RAW partition

CHKDSK is a command that can be run in Windows Command Prompt to verify and fix the integrity of the file system. When there are minor logical errors in the file system of your drive that result in a RAW drive, running chkdsk can help solve the RAW file system issue.

Step 1: Click the Start menu, search for cmd (Command Prompt), right-click on it, and tap Run as Administrator.

open Command Prompt

Step 2: Type "chkdsk E: "(E means the RAW drive letter and this command usually is followed with one or two parameters such as "/f" and "/r") and press Enter on the keyboard.

run chkdsk to fix raw drive

After Windows finishes check and repair the RAW file system, your disk will be working and all files will be back. However, if you keep receiving the feedback "The type of file system is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives" when fixing the RAW partition with chkdsk, you will need additional assistance for data recovery from RAW hard drives.

Recover data from RAW drive with data recovery software

When the RAW partition is severely corrupted, you need to use RAW disk recovery software to scan the RAW disk and recover lost files. Professional data recovery software will thoroughly look for recoverable files on a drive whose file system has become RAW and even find lost partitions for data recovery. It can identify hundreds of different file types and recover them with a few simple steps.

iBoysoft Data Recovery is a versatile data recovery application that specializes in RAW drive data recovery. It can scan RAW hard drives, RAW USB drives, RAW memory cards, and any other Windows-compatible storage devices for lost data. In addition, it also can get back files from emptied Recycle Bin and BitLocker-encrypted disks.

Step 1: Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows and select the Data Recovery module this time.

RAW drive recovery software

Step 2: Select the drive that became RAW in the list.

Step 3: Use Deep Scan, click the Next button, and the scan will start immediately.

Step 4: Preview found files from the RAW partition to find recoverable files.

Step 5: Tick the boxes of the wanted files and click Recover to save them to another disk.

recover data from RAW drive

All these methods above are also applicable if you need to recover RAW USB drive or SD card RAW recovery.

If the self-helped methods can't let you recover data from RAW hard drive, a professional data recovery service will be happy to take a look at the RAW disk and perform RAW drive recovery for you. They will take your RAW disk into a clean room and find recoverable files with specialty equipment by experienced data recovery experts.

If your data has been successfully recovered, share your joy now.


How to fix RAW drive without data loss

Your hard drive becomes RAW doesn't mean you can never use this drive again. After you secure the important files from a RAW partition, here are some effective ways to fix the RAW partition with or without formatting.

How to Fix a RAW DriveStepsApplicable situation
Verify connectivity1. Connect the RAW drive to another PC
2. Check the USB port, USB cable, and power supply
Windows cannot recognize the drive properly due to a poor connection or the glitches of the current Windows system.
Convert RAW to NTFS/FAT32/exFATRun Command Prompt > Open DiskPart > Run commandsYou are familiar with running commands on Windows.
Update Disk DriverOpen Device Manager > Find the RAW drive > Right-click on it and choose Update DriverYou want to fix a RAW drive without formatting.
Format RAW driveOpen File Explorer or Disk Management> Right-click on the RAW Drive > Choose Format> Set up relevant information > Click Start or OkThe RAW drive can't be fixed by other methods and you have secured your important files from the RAW drive.

Before proceeding to fix a RAW partition, do the following checks:

  • Connect the RAW hard drive to another Windows computer to see if it still is in RAW format.
  • Connect the RAW hard drive to another operating system to see if it can be accessed.
  • Check the USB port, USB cable, and power supply to make sure it is not the connection that makes Windows not recognize your hard drive.

Fix RAW drive without formatting

There are several ways to fix RAW hard drive without formatting. Even though these solutions don't require formatting the RAW disk, some of them might cause losing data.

Fix RAW drive by converting RAW to NTFS/FAT

The most effective way to fix a RAW partition is to convert RAW to a more advanced file system such as NTFS file system, FAT32 file system, or exFAT file system. You can utilize convert RAW to NTFS parameter DiskPart utility or a RAW to FAT converter to change the RAW state for external HDD, SD cards, or USB flash drives.

Step 1: Go to Start menu and search for cmd.

Step 2: Right-click on the Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.

Step 3: Enter "diskpart" and hit Enter to open the Diskpart utility.

Step 4: Type "list volume" (if you have a RAW volume that needs fixing) or "list disk" (if you have an entire RAW disk that needs fixing) to list all detected volumes or disks and then hit Enter.

Step 5: Identify the volume number or disk number which belongs to your RAW device and type "select volume (disk) [number]" to select it.

Step 6: Type "format fs=ntfs quick" to convert RAW to NTFS or type "format fs=fat32 quick" to convert RAW to FAT32 and hit Enter.

convert RAW to NTFS in Diskpart

Fix RAW drive by updating the disk driver

Another way to fix RAW partition is to manually update the driver as an outdated or incompatible disk drive is the culprit for a RAW hard drive.

Technically speaking, device drivers will be automatically updated when the Windows operating system has been updated. Therefore, you can first go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update to see if there is any new Windows update available and install the latest update.

If a Windows update can't solve the problem and your drive is still RAW after a reconnection, you can manually update the disk driver in Device Management on your PC.

Step 1: Open the Start menu and search for Device Manager.

Step 2: Click the Disk Drives or Other Devices category that contains your RAW drive and right click on the disk brand.

Step 3: Tap Update driver.

update disk driver to fix raw drive

Step 4: Select Search automatically for updated driver software.

automatically update disk driver to fix raw drive

Then the wizard will install the newer driver on the computer to update the controllers for older hardware.

Spread the word.


Fix RAW drive by formatting

If you can't fix your RAW disk without formatting, the last alternative is to format RAW drive. Formatting will allocate a new file system that can be recognized by Windows to the disk and delete all stored files at the same time. It will return you with a blank and usage device. To avoid data loss, make sure you have recovered all important data from the RAW drive.

How to format RAW drive in File Explorer:

Step 1: Click the folder icon on your taskbar to open File Explorer.

Step 2: Right-click the storage device with a RAW file system and select Format.

Step 3: Select NTFS in the File System menu if you are using it on Windows. Otherwise, use exFAT instead for better compatibility.

format RAW disk in file explorer

Step 4: Give your device a name, check the box of Quick Format, and then Click Start.

How to format RAW drive in Disk Management:

Step 1: Right-click This PC/My Computer and select Manage.

Step 2: Select Storage and then Disk Management to open the interface.

Step 3: Right-click on your RAW partition and tap Format.

Step 4: Give your device a name, use NTFS as a file system, and check the box of Perform a quick format.

format RAW disk in disk management

Step 5: Click OK to begin formatting.

After the drive is successfully formatted, you will have a blank storage medium for use.

RAW drive recovery tips

Even though RAW drive recovery is possible, it is always necessary to know what precautions you can take to avoid ending up with a RAW drive and get a better result for data recovery.

Don't format RAW drive before recovery

When you find your drive becomes RAW or a pop-up asks you to format your hard drive, do not follow the suggestion to reformat your disk, especially when you have a large number of files stored on the RAW hard drive. Reformatting will destroy the original file system further and make data recovery harder.

Create backups

Your RAW hard drive is failing and could stop working anytime, and you can make a byte-to-byte backup of the damaged hard drive and attempt data recovery on the copy later. An advanced HDD RAW copy tool can do intelligent disk clone which creates a compressed RAW image of the entire storage device including MBR, boot records, file system, and data while skipping bad sectors. Then use RAW file recovery software to scan the hard disk RAW copy to recover data.

Eliminate computer malware

Malware and viruses can turn your perfectly working drive into a RAW drive. To avoid continuous damage to your device or later potential issue, it is recommended to scan your computer with powerful anti-virus/malware software to maintain a clean and safe system environment.

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