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

Daisy updated on Jul 22, 2019 to Resource | How-to Articles

Summary

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.

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, accidentally 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

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 the RAW hard drive

  • Download and install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your Windows PC or laptop.
  • Launch the software. Make sure that Windows has detected your RAW hard drive and correctly listed the drive letter on the disk map.
  • Left-click on the RAW drive and then click the "Scan" button.
select the raw drive

Step 2. Scan the data on the RAW hard drive

At this stage, the software would work very hard to search all data through the entire drive, and timely display the data as the scanning task goes on. 

Tip: users are allowed to pause the scan process for an instant recovery as soon as the target files show up, but it's better to stay and wait for a complete scan till the end.

scan the raw drive

Step 3. Check files under the "Extra Files" result

  • Besides the general scan results of all lost data on the selected drive, the "Extra Files" is specially designed for RAW hard drive/USB flash drive/micro SD card data recovery, under which you're likely to recover what you want with a high success rate.
  • Of course, check all the scan results if necessary. Choose the target files and click the "Recover" button. You should 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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Frequently Asked Questions

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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

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

5. 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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