RAW Drive Fix: How to Fix RAW Hard Drive or External Hard Drive

Don't panic if your computer hard drive or external hard drive suddenly becomes RAW. To fix a RAW hard drive, here are two methods to try out. If the drive has a drive letter, you can fix the RAW external hard drive using CMD. If CMD fails, you can recover files from your RAW disk with professional and reliable software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard first, and then format your RAW hard drive to NTFS or other file systems you want.

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Table of Contents

Overview of External Hard Drive Becoming RAW

It sometimes happens that your computer hard drive, external hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card, or other external storage devices suddenly becomes RAW. When your hard drive becomes RAW, it indicates that your hard drive is not formatted with a compatible file system like NTFS or FAT32. And, the data on it remains inaccessible.

External Hard Drive Suddenly Became RAW

How do you identify a RAW hard drive? If you find yourself in one of the following situations, know that your (external) hard drive has become RAW.

  • The file system is displayed as "RAW"
  • File names contain weird characters
  • Windows shows "This disk is not formatted. Do you want to format now?"

If you have encountered one of the situations listed above, the next thing you need to know is how to perform a RAW drive fix without losing any files on it. Based on our experience, there are two methods to fix a RAW external hard drive. Both are outlined below, and you can also apply the methods to fix RAW SD cards, USB flash drives, and other storage devices.

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RAW External Hard Drive Fixes

The ways to fix a RAW hard drive vary, depending on your hard drive condition.

Method 1. Fix RAW External Hard Drive Without Formatting

If the drive shows RAW but still has a drive letter, you can try to fix the RAW hard drive without formatting it using CMD. With CHKDSK, you have a chance to fix your RAW hard drive without formatting it. Some people might say that CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives, but that's not true. If your external hard drive appears with a drive letter, you can use CMD to try and fix it. If your external hard drive is shown as RAW without a drive letter, follow method 2 instead.

Running chkdsk can hopefully fix the RAW drive issue, however, it can also result in total data loss. So, perform data recovery in advance, and then continue with the CMD method.

Step 1. Connect your RAW external hard drive to your computer.

Step 2. Click the "search" icon in the taskbar and type cmd. Then, right-click "Command Prompt" and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 3. Enter chkdsk G: /f and hit Enter to fix your RAW external hard drive. (G is the drive letter of your RAW drive.)

After the repairing process, you can open Disk Management to check if your hard drive is repaired. If CHKDSK is not working, don't worry. You can fix your RAW external hard drive using the method below.

Method 2. RAW Drive Fix: Format RAW External Hard Drive to NTFS Without Losing Data

A straightforward way to do this is to first recover data from the RAW external hard drive first and then format it to NTFS or other file systems you like. As mentioned above, RAW means your external hard drive is not formatted. Thus, the direct way to fix it is to format the RAW drive to NTFS, FAT32, or other file systems available. However, as we all know, formatting inevitably causes data loss on your storage device. To avoid data loss, you can use the 100% secure hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover your files before or after the formatting process.

As one of the best data recovery software for Windows, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will help you recover all the files on your hard drive safely and quickly. After that, you can format your RAW external hard drive to NTFS without worrying about losing files.

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It's better to recover data before you format the RAW external hard drive to NTFS or other file systems.
Although you cannot access data on the RAW hard drive from your computer, the data recovery software can successfully access and recover it for you.

First, Recover Data from the RAW Hard Drive:

A video tutorial and detailed steps are provided below. Follow one of them to restore files from your hard drive immediately.

Video Tutorial: Recover Files from RAW Hard Drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

Detailed Steps to Recover Files with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard:

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

This solution is also applicable to raw flash drive recovery and raw pen drive recovery. Other than RAW disk recovery, this software is also capable of retrieving data from other situations, like recovering deleted files after emptying the Recycle Bin, recovering data from the formatted SD card, restoring lost data after reinstalling OS, and more. It's worth downloading EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your computer to minimize the chance of data loss.

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Then, Format the RAW Hard Drive to NTFS:

After you have successfully recovered files from the RAW external hard drive, you can format the external drive to NFTS. After formatting, the drive will become normal and usable.

Step 1. Connect your RAW external hard drive to your computer.

Step 2. Go to "This PC" > "Manage" > "Disk Management".

Step 3. Find and right-click the RAW hard drive and choose "Format".

Step 4. Select the file system (NTFS) and assign a drive letter to your hard drive.

Step 5. Click "Start" to format your RAW hard drive. When formatting has completed, click "OK".

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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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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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