What Is RAW: the Comprehensive Definition and Meaning of RAW Conditions

Jaden updated on Jan 11, 2024 | Home > Knowledge Center

RAW: What Does RAW Drive Mean

A RAW drive means the disk has no file system and is not formatted. Or your drive has file system failures and can't be recognized by the device. Then, your drive will turn RAW, which isn't truly a file system type but indicates a problem with your disk. It often happens when one or more system tables include inconsistent or missing information about the file system type.

When referring to data tables, with each row containing an observation and each column denoting a variable that characterizes a particular aspect of each observation, the term "raw data" is frequently used. The clean terms data, flat data, primary data, atomic data, and unit record data are also used to describe this form of data. And RAW data is a term that is occasionally used to describe unprocessed data.

When you attempt to open a non-system disk in Windows Explorer, a dialog appears asking you to format the disk before using it. The disk most likely contains file system faults.

RAW Drive Means

The "Format disk" typically resolves the hard drive issue but erases all the data. If the drive is not formatted, you will see an error notice that reads, "There is no recognized file system on the volume. Please verify that the volume is uncorrupted and that all necessary file system drivers are loaded."

What Does RAW Hard Drive Mean

RAW: What Does RAW File System Mean

Many things can cause a hard drive or external storage device to go into a RAW state:

  • ❌The drive's file system is corrupt or absent.
  • 📃The FAT12/FAT16/FAT32 or NTFS/NTFS5 file systems have not been used to format the RAW disk.
  • 💻The computer does not recognize the storage medium's present file system.

The RAW File System

The RAW file system is the condition of a storage device, such as an external hard drive, USB flash drive, or memory card, that has an unknown or no file system in Windows.

File systems like NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT govern data storage and retrieval. Without a file system, you cannot open a storage medium, such as a hard disk, USB flash drive, or SD card. A hard disk in the RAW file system has no or an unidentified file system. We refer to a disk or drive with a RAW file system as a raw disk or drive.

Unlike standard file systems like NTFS and FAT, the RAW file system is incompatible with Windows. As a result, you cannot see or store files on the RAW disks.

How to Convert RAW File System to NTFS

To read and write data in the RAW drive, you must convert the RAW file system to NTFS.

1. RAW to NTFS Conversion via Formatting

Step 1. Open This PC in Windows 10 and select Format from the context menu of the RAW drive or partition.

Step 2. Choose the NTFS file system and set up the rest of the settings.

Step 3. Choose Start and then OK.

Select Format

Your hard disk or partition is usable once the process is finished. The files recovered in the initial phase can be copied back to the drive based on your requirements.

2. Convert RAW to NTFS Using CMD

To change your RAW hard drive/partition to NTFS, you can use a command with Command Prompt if you prefer using commands. Here is how to go about it:

Step 1. Locate Command Prompt in the Start menu and select Run as administrator

Step 2. Enter the command convert X(driver letter): Press Enter to enter /fs:ntfs

Step 3. Input the disk's or partition's name and press Enter to convert it to NTFS

Await the procedure' conclusion. Your RAW disk or partition should now be using the NTFS file system once it's finished

How to Recover Data from RAW Drive

By formatting, you can assign a new file system to the disk, which will make the device usable again. However, since the design will erase all the existing files on your hard drive, you should perform RAW data recovery before the fix if you don't want to lose them all. Thus, to fix an external storage device that has file system issues, all you need to do is to:

  • Recover data from the RAW drive
  • Format the disk

1. Recover files on Windows

You may recover your files before or after formatting using the 100% secure EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, which will help you prevent data loss.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, one of the best data recovery programs for Windows, will assist you in rapidly and safely recovering the RAW drive. Then, without worrying about data loss, you can format your RAW external hard drive to NTFS.

2. Recover files on Mac

If you are a Mac user, don't worry. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is the best Mac data recovery software due to the vast range of file systems it supports and the availability of many scanning modes. It allows you to recover trash on Mac and data from hard drives, external drives, and memory cards.

If the method above is helpful to recover lost data from RAW drive, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms!


RAW: What Is RAW in Photography

Besides the RAW file system and disk, "RAW" in photography also means a type of picture format. You might discover photography websites recommending taking pictures in "RAW". But what is a RAW file, and what's the difference between RAW file format and other picture formats?

What Is RAW File

A RAW file is a digital image file that is kept on the memory card of your camera or smartphone. It typically isn't compressed and has minimum processing. Every camera manufacturer has a unique RAW file format; for instance, Canon RAW files are in the.CR2 or.CR3 extension, whereas Nikon RAW files are in the.NEF extension.

Shot in RAW

A RAW file records the raw data from your camera's sensor because it is lossless. A RAW file, often called a digital negative, can be thought of as the unprocessed "ingredients" of a photograph that must be further enhanced to realize its full potential. As you might anticipate, RAW files are considerably more extensive than JPEG files as a trade-off for these exact details.


File Size Greater file size Quarter the size of a RAW file
Exclusivity Unique to each camera Universal file format
Integrity Has greater control over the final image Can be shared without editing
Support Only supported by specific cameras Supported by the majority of cameras
Storage 68 billion and 4.3 trillion color shades Up to 16 million shades of color


This article states the RAW file system and RAW disk. If you encounter a RAW drive issue, you can follow the methods mentioned to convert the file system. Besides, we introduced the RAW file format and the difference between RAW and JPEG. If you want to recover or repair corrupted RAW files from a digital camera, EaseUS RAW recovery software is a great choice. It is a professional and easy-to-use RAW file recovery tool.

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Updated by Jaden

Jaden is one of the editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on topics concerning PCs and Mac data recovery. Jaden is committed to enhancing professional IT knowledge and writing abilities. She is always keen on new and intelligent products.

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