How to Convert RAW to NTFS Without Losing Data

When a hard disk or partition suddenly goes RAW, you cannot access its data. A basic solution for this issue is to convert RAW to NTFS. In this guide, we'll show you how to perform this conversion using a file recovery program called EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

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Table of Contents

What Does RAW File System Mean?

When an (external) hard drive, USB flash drive, or partition becomes the RAW format, it indicates three kinds of possibilities:

  • Your computer's operating system can’t recognize the file system of the disk.
  • There is no file system on your disk
  • The file system of your hard drive or partition is damaged

Windows supports FAT, NTFS, exFAT, Live File System, and ReFS file systems. If you connect an external hard drive that uses the AFPS file system to your Windows computer, your computer will show the drive as RAW.

Notifications of Hard Drive/Partition Becoming RAW

You can use the properties or Disk Management to see if the file system is RAW. However, you only get to know if your external hard drive or USB flash drive may become RAW when you see one of the following notifications on your computer:

"You need to format the disk in drive X before you can use it."

"The disk in drive X is not formatted. Do you want to format it?"

"There was an error accessing drive X: The disk is not formatted."

"The type of the file system is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives."

Why Do You Need to Convert RAW to NTFS?

When your hard drive or partition becomes RAW, you cannot access the files on it. Besides, you are not able to use it for data storage until you convert the RAW hard drive to NTFS by formatting it. But, the question is how can you repair the RAW disk and convert RAW to NTFS without losing your data? 

As you may already know, converting your drive removes all the files stored on the drive. And, since your RAW drive is inaccessible, you can't even open the folders on it to copy your files. This almost makes it impossible for you to back up your data.

Luckily, all hope is not lost. There's a way to back up the files from your inaccessible RAW drive before you format it.

How to Convert RAW to NTFS Without Losing Data

In simple words, you can convert RAW to NTFS without losing data by first doing RAW file recovery and then formatting the RAW drive to NTFS.

# 1. Restore Data from the RAW Hard Drive/Partition

You can use a tool like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard - the professional hard drive recovery software, to recover files from your RAW drive. This tool fully supports RAW file recovery on local hard drives, external hard drives, disk partitions, USB flash drives, and even SD cards.

The tool works on Windows 10/8/7/Vista.

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Video Tutorial for RAW to NTFS Conversion:

To perform RAW disk/partition recovery:

Note: To restore all your lost files, install EaseUS data recovery software on another disk instead of the RAW disk where you lost files.

Step 1. Locate and Scan the RAW Hard Drive

Locate the RAW drive with its original drive letter and then click "Scan". If the RAW drive has lost its label, it will be detected as "Lost Partition", select it and click "Scan". 

The program will automatically scan all lost files and data on the RAW drive.

select the raw drive

Step 2. Find and Preview the Found Data on the RAW Drive

When the scan process finishes, find lost RAW drive data in "Other Lost Files" or "Files Lost Original Name". The "Filter" and "Search" features can also help locate specific types of files with ease.

You can double-click a file to preview it. 

scan the raw drive

Step 3. Restore and Save Data Out of the RAW Drive

Choose the files found from RAW Drive and click "Recover" to save the items to a new location. Click "OK" to start the recovery.

select files and click recover

In addition to RAW file recovery, EaseUS helps recover data from nearly all data loss scenarios, including virus infection, formatted file recovery, lost partition, and so on.

Let's get to formatting your RAW drive. There are multiple ways to do this and select anyone you'd like to use.

# 2-1. Convert RAW to NTFS by Formatting

Step 1. Open This PC (Windows 10), right-click the RAW disk/partition, and choose Format.

Step 2. Select the NTFS file system and configure other options.

Step 3. Select Start followed by OK.

How to convert RAW to NTFS

When the process is done, your hard drive or partition is usable again. You can copy the files recovered in the first step back to the disk according to your needs.

# 2-2. Convert RAW to NTFS via CMD

If you prefer commands, you can use a command with Command Prompt to convert your RAW hard disk/partition to NTFS. Here's how you do that:

Step 1. Open the Start menu, search for Command Prompt, and choose Run as administrator.

Step 2. Type convert X(driver letter): /fs:ntfs and hit Enter.

Step 3. Type the name of the partition or disk you want to convert to NTFS and press Enter.

Wait for the process to finish. When it's done, your RAW disk/partition should now be using the NTFS file system.

Bottom Line

Just so you know, it's not possible to access a RAW drive and copy files from it for data recovery. You must use a data recovery program to back up your files, and then use one of the many ways to turn your RAW drive into NTFS.

FAQs About Converting RAW to NTFS

If you have further questions about the RAW to NTFS conversion, the following series of questions and answers might be helpful to you.

1. How can I convert my raw hard drive to NTFS without losing data?

To convert a RAW hard drive to NTFS without losing data, first use a data recovery tool like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover your data. Then, use one of the methods outlined in this guide to format your drive to the NTFS file system.

2. How can I convert RAW to NTFS?

To convert a RAW drive to NTFS, you can either use a CMD command or format the drive in Disk Management/File Explorer.

Here's how to use Disk Management to format the drive:

  1. Step 1. Open Disk Management and find your RAW storage devices (SD memory card, hard disk, USB flash drive, etc.)
  2. Step 2. Among the volumes, right-click on your device. Select the format and the file system (NTFS)。
  3. Step 3. Click OK.

3. How do I fix a raw external hard drive without formatting?

If you don't want to format a RAW external hard drive, you will need to convert RAW external hard drive in CMD. Here are the steps:

  1. Step 1. Connect the RAW external hard drive to your PC.
  2. Step 2. Click Start and search command, then right-click on it and afterward click Run as Administrator.
  3. Step 3. Type in Diskpart and then press Enter.
  4. Step 4. Type the following command and hit Enter each time:
  • list disk
  • select disk * ( replace * with the drive letter of the RAW device) 
  • clean 
  • create partition primary
  • format fs=ntfs (or format fs=FAT32)
  • assign letter=* (replace * with a new drive letter)

4. How do I recover data from a raw hard drive?

When a hard drive becomes RAW, you cannot simply access the saved data on it by simply double-clicking it in File Explorer. This is because the Windows system doesn't support this file system.

But, since your computer detects the RAW drive, there's a good chance you can recover your data from the drive. Using a tool like EaseUS, you may be able to recover all of the files stored on your RAW drive.

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Updated by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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Approved by Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh is an experienced comuter tech writer. He's been writing tech how-to guides for about 8 years now and has covered many topics. He loves to teach people how they can get the most out of their devices.

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