USB Becomes the RAW Format, Help!

"I have a USB flash drive which has data on it. When I plugged it into my computer, a prompt appeared asking me to format the drive, and the USB shown as a RAW format. There are important files on the device that I need to recovery. Does anyone know how to recover files from a RAW USB?"

The USB becoming the RAW format is a common issue that annoys users. When a USB becomes RAW, it means the data on the device has become inaccessible. You will not be able to access and open files such as documents, photos, emails, and more on your device. Thus, to fix the RAW USB, you need to first perform RAW USB recovery and then fix the USB drive in the RAW format. But, before we show you how to do that, you may want to know more details about the RAW USB drive.

Common Reasons for RAW USB Drive

In general, your USB doesn't become RAW without a reason. You can trace the cause of the issue, and some common causes are:

  • Your access to the USB is denied
  • Your USB is not formatted or is not formatted correctly
  • The current file system of your USB is not recognized by the operating system of your computer
  • Your USB drive is infected by a virus

Common Situations Indicating USB Has Become RAW

When your USB becomes the RAW format, the system doesn't necessarily show you a RAW USB directly. Instead, you receive various notifications. When you experience one of the situations or error messages below while using a USB drive, and you check the property of the drive, it will show you that the file system is RAW.

  • Invalid media type reading drive. Abort, Retry, Fail?
  • The file system is displayed as "RAW"
  • Windows may show "Disk is not formatted. Do you want to format now?"
  • File names contain weird characters
  • "Sector not found" messages

RAW USB Drive Property

While using certain USB drives such as USB external hard disks, USB memory cards, USB smart media, or other storage media, you may encounter these frustrating notifications. Fortunately, there are ways to repair the RAW USB drive without losing any data. By recovering your precious files from your RAW USB and then fixing the RAW format, you can make your USB drive work properly again without data loss.

3-Step USB RAW Recovery Solution

Before you fix the USB in RAW format, you need to perform RAW USB drive recovery to keep your data safe. The professional EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard fully supports RAW USB recovery. With it, you can recover all the files from your inaccessible USB drive easily. You can catch a glimpse of the software here:

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

  • Supports RAW data recovery, deleted files recovery, formatted file recovery, Recycle Bin emptied data recovery, lost partition recovery, virus attack recovery, and other difficult data recovery situations
  • Recovers files from a USB flash drive, SD card, memory card, external hard drive, digital camera, music player, computer, etc
  • Retrieves almost all file types

Video Tutorial: Recover Files from RAW USB

Guide: Recover Files from a Flash Drive that has Turned RAW

Step 1. Choose the USB drive to scan

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and choose your USB drive where you lost important files. Click "Scan" to start.

select the USB drive

Step 2. Check and preview USB drive data

When the scanning is finished, you can quickly locate a specific type of file by using the Filter feature as well as the Search option.

Scan and find lost flash drive files

Step 3. Restore flash drive data

After checking and finding lost USB drive files, click "Recover" to restore them. You shall save the found files to a safe location on your PC rather than to your USB drive.

Restore lost files from USB drive

When you have a RAW USB drive, you can't just format it directly as you are asked by your computer. Doing so will delete all the existing files on the RAW USB drive, and you may lose the chance to recover files from the RAW USB drive. What you should do, instead, is to first recover files from the RAW USB drive and then fix the problematic storage device. And, since you cannot recover files from the RAW USB drive by yourself, you should seek assistance from a third-party tool.

RAW USB Data Recovery Services

As one of the best data recovery software for Windows, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a good recommendation for RAW USB drive recovery, including unparalleled manual recovery services.

Consult with EaseUS data recovery experts for one-on-one manual RAW recovery service. We could offer the following services after FREE diagnosis:

  • Repair damaged RAW drive without formatting
  • Recover data from the RAW drive, including BitLocker encrypted drives
  • Recover RAW partition, RAW USB, RAW flash drive, RAW external hard drive, etc.

3 Ways to Fix a RAW USB Drive

As you probably know, the most effective way to fix a USB in RAW format is to format it. However, formatting the device should be your last resort as it removes all the existing data from your USB drive.

Method 1. Fix RAW USB Drive by Checking the Device

A built-in Windows feature can help you check the drive for file system errors and repair them automatically.

Step 1. Connect your USB drive to your computer.

Step 2. Go to "This PC" (in Windows 10). Under "Devices and drives", right-click your USB and choose "Properties".

Step 3. Click the "Tools" tab and then click "Check".

Step 4. In the "Error Checking" window, choose "Scan and repair drive" and wait for the process to finish.

Fix USB RAW format - method 1

Method 2. Repair a RAW USB Drive Using CMD

You might have heard that the chkdsk command is not available for RAW drive. However, that's not true. As long as your USB is still shown with a drive letter, you can use the command to check and repair the storage device.

Running chkdsk can hopefully fix the RAW USB 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 USB 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 /f G: (G is the drive letter of your RAW drive) and press Enter to fix your RAW USB.

After the repair process, launch Disk Management and check if your hard drive is repaired. If CHKDSK is not working, consider formatting your USB. Luckily, since you have recovered files from your USB already, you can format the USB without any worries.

Method 3. Fix and Repair a RAW USB Drive by Formatting It   

Step 1. Connect the RAW USB/SD card/pen drive to your PC.

Step 2. Open "This PC/My Computer". Right-click the RAW USB drive, SD card, or other RAW device and select "Format".

Step 3. Reset file system, rename USB drive, and then click "OK" to repair the RAW USB drive to NTFS/FAT32. After that, it will be reusable again.

There is more than one way to format a USB. In addition to the built-in features in Windows, you can also format the RAW USB with a professional usb formatter. After the formatting, you can move the files back to the USB drive if you need to.

Fix USB RAW Format - method 3


Generally speaking, it's easy to fix a RAW USB flash drive. To keep your data safe, though, you will inevitably need the help of a third-party EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard tool like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. It successfully performs RAW USB recovery and it can also be helpful in other data recovery situations. Go ahead and grab the tool to fix RAW issues without worries.

RAW USB Drive Recovery FAQs

Do you want to learn more about RAW USB drive recovery? We have prepared four frequently asked questions to help you learn more information:

1. How to fix RAW USB without formatting?

You can fix the RAW USB without formatting by using the methods below:

  1. 1. Repair the RAW file system of your USB drive.
  2. 2. Check hardware issues.
  3. 3. Use the CHKDSK command to fix the RAW USB.
  4. 4. Check the USB driver update.
  5. 5. Delete the RAW partition on your USB drive.

2. Is that possible to recover data from a RAW USB?

Yes, RAW drive recovery is available with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

  1. 1. Connect your USB drive to your computer/laptop, and scan it with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.
  2. 2. It is time to select the files you want to recover from your USB flash drive.
  3. 3. The Recover button should be pressed when ready to perform a RAW USB recovery.

3. How to format a RAW USB drive?

You should follow the steps below to format a RAW USB drive:

  1. 1. Recover data from your RAW USB with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.
  2. 2. Open Windows Disk Management.
  3. 3. Right-click your RAW USB flash drive and click "Format", then your USB drive will be formatted.

4. Why did my USB drive suddenly become RAW format?

Your USB drive needs to be formatted or has been incorrectly formatted recently. This may be because your computer's operating system does not currently recognize the file system on your USB. Or a virus has invaded your USB drive.

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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.

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Approved by Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh is an experienced computer 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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