[Solutions] RAW Drive Fix: How to Fix RAW Hard Drive or External Hard Drive

Daisy updated on Nov 30, 2020 to Data Recovery Resouce | How-to Articles

Many users have reported that their computer hard drive or external hard drive suddenly became RAW. To fix a RAW hard drive, there are two methods for you. If it has a drive letter, you can try to fix the RAW external hard drive without formatting 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.

Overview of External Hard Drive Becoming RAW
2 Ways to Fix RAW External Hard Drive
Fix RAW External Hard Drive Without Fomatting
Recover Data and Fomat RAW External Hard Drive to NTFS

Overview of External Hard Drive Becoming RAW

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

External Hard Drive Suddenly Became RAW

How to identify a RAW hard drive? If you encounter one of the following situations, you should 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 fix a RAW hard drive without losing any files on it. Based on our experience, there are two methods to fix a RAW external hard drive. Both are detailed below. You can also apply the methods to fix RAW SD card, USB flash drive, or other storage devices.

How to Fix RAW External Hard Drive

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

Method 1. How to 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 using CMD. Via CHKDSK, you have a chance to fix your RAW hard drive without formatting it. Some say that CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives. That's not true. If your external hard drive is still shown with a drive letter, you can use CMD to have a try. If your external hard drive is shown as RAW without a drive letter, follow method 2 instead.

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

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

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

After the repairing process, you can go to Disk Management to check whether your hard drive is repaired. If CHKDSK is not working, no worry, you can surely fix your RAW external hard drive using the method below.

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

The most straightforward way is to 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 will inevitably cause 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.

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:

Both the video tutorial and detailed steps are provided. 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:

Step 1. Locate and scan the RAW hard drive.

On EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, locate the RAW drive and then 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 found data in the RAW drive. 

When the scanning process finishes, find lost RAW drive data in "Deleted Files", "Lost Files" or "Existing Files". Filter and Search features also can locate the found files with ease. Check and double-click each file to preview them. 

scan the raw drive

Step 3. Restore and save RAW drive data.

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

select files and click recover

This solution is also applicable to raw flash drive recovery or 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 recycle bin, recovering data from 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.

Then, format the RAW hard drive to NTFS:

After you have successfully recover files from the RAW external hard drive, you can now format the external drive to NFTS. After the formatting, it will be normal and can be used again.

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 it has completed, click "OK".

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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