How to Convert/Change RAW File System to NTFS Without Data Loss

A RAW file system is a file system that cannot be recognized by your computer. Thus, you cannot access the files on the storage device once it becomes RAW. To make your drive usable again without losing data, you can recover files from the RAW drive using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard first, and then convert RAW to NTFS or FAT32 by formatting.

Table of Contents

What Is RAW File System

A file system, like NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT, controls how data is stored and retrieved. Without a file system, you cannot access and open a storage medium, be it a hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card, and more. RAW file system indicates a state of your hard drive which has no or unknown file system. A disk or drive with a RAW file system is what we called as RAW disk/drive. When a hard drive or external storage device becomes RAW, it could be:

  • The file system of the drive is missing or damaged
  • The RAW drive has not been formatted with a file system, neither FAT12/FAT16/FAT32 nor NTFS/NTFS5
  • The current file system of the storage medium is not recognized by the computer 

The RAW file system can be caused by a number of reasons such as virus infection, format failure, accident shutdown of the operating system, power outages, etc. When a hard drive or external storage device becomes RAW, your device is unusable and you cannot access the files stored on it. Besides, there are some error messages you may encounter when you try to open the device or run CHKDSK on it, like "you need to format the disk in drive before you can use it" and "The type of the file system is RAW, CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives."

How to Fix a Drive with RAW File System

Here's a video tutorial about how to convert RAW file system to NTFS and how to recover data from a RAW system. Watch the guide and follow the detailed steps below to fix a drive with a RAW file system.

As mentioned above, you may be prompted to format the RAW drive in order to make it ready for data storage and access. Indeed, formatting the device will assign a file system to it and thus make it usable. However, this operation will also erase the existing files on the drive. Thus, to fix a RAW drive without losing data, you need to:

  • First, Perform RAW data recovery
  • Then, convert RAW to NTFS or another Windows-compatible file system by formatting

Procedure 1. Recover Data from RAW Drive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

Although the RAW drive is inaccessible when you try to open it, you can recover data from the storage medium with the help of hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. EaseUS data recovery software supports deleted file recovery, formatted file recovery, RAW drive recovery, and more. It will help you recover any existing files on your RAW hard drive, USB flash drive, memory card, etc.

To recover data from a drive with the RAW file system:

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.

If the RAW drive lost its label, it will be detected as "Lost Partition".

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

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a powerful data recovery software tool that can help get all data out from the RAW drive. After you have successfully recovered all files from your hard drive, you can now format the RAW drive to NTFS, FAT32 or other file systems with no hesitation.

Procedure 2. Convert RAW File System to NTFS by Formatting

There are generally three ways to formatting a drive, using File Explorer, Disk Management, or free format tool. Here we will show you how to format the RAW drive under File Explorer.

Step 1. Open "This PC", right-click your RAW drive or RAW disk and choose "Formatted".

Step 2. Set a file system (NTFS, FAT32, or exFAT) according to your needs and click "Start".

Step 3. In the Warning window, click "OK" to start formatting your storage medium.

Change RAW file system to NTFS

The Bottom Line

Since EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard supports formatted data recovery, you can also use the software to recover files from the formatted drive if you have formatted the RAW drive before performing data recovery. For more detailed guide, refer to the video below:

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Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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Written by Daisy

Daisy has been working as a technical writer for eight years. She specializes in making the complicated easy. She believes that technology should bring users satisfaction, not annoyance, so she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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