How to Convert RAW External Hard Drive to NTFS without Data Loss

If your external hard drive suddenly becomes RAW, and you cannot access the saved data, what should you do? EaseUS file recovery software with effective methods are available here to help you convert the external hard drive from RAW to NTFS file system without data loss, getting all your precious data back. Keep reading and check more details.

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"Hey, guys. Do you know how to change a RAW external hard drive into NTFS? My Seagate external hard drive is showing as RAW on my PC and I have some very useful documents saved on the drive. The computer keeps asking me to format the drive. But I don't want to.

So I'm wondering if anyone of you can tell me how to recover data from the RAW external hard drive and fix or convert RAW hard drive to NTFS?"

External hard drive becomes raw.

What is Raw Hard Drive?

When a storage device displays as RAW in disk management, it means that this drive has not been formatted to any readable file system. In a word, when your hard drive or external hard drive becomes RAW, Windows computer cannot read or access the drive. As a result, you cannot open the drive and use your data.

So how to fix this issue, converting your RAW external hard drive back to NTFS without losing data? Find the answers below.

Part 1. Recover Data from RAW External Hard Drive (3 steps)

Highlight: Restore data in advance, protect precious data from being removed or deleted while fixing the RAW external hard drive to NTFS.

As most efficient solutions that work to fix RAW external hard drive to NTFS will cause data loss, we recommend you recover data from the RAW drive first to avoid unnecessary data loss.

To do so, you'll need professional data recovery software that supports raw recovery. EaseUS hard drive data recovery software - Data Recovery Wizard can help you fully restore data from a RAW device, including RAW computer hard drive, RAW external hard drive, RAW USB, etc.

If your data saved on the device is less than 2GB, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition is available to help. For unlimited file recovery, activation is required in this software.

Video Tutorial: Convert RAW External Hard Drive to NTFS without Data Loss

Follow the 3 steps below to let EaseUS data recovery software retrieve the external hard drive data now:

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

If you don't want to format the drive, you can follow Part 2 to convert and change the RAW external hard drive to NTFS.

Do You Need Specialized Data Recovery Services?
You may need further help for tough data loss situations like reformatting drive, RAW disk, partition loss, repartition failures and system boot error. Consult with EaseUS Data Recovery Experts for cost-efficient one-on-one manual recovery service. They could offer the following services after FREE diagnosis:
1. Unformat the drive
2. Repair the RAID, RAW disk or operating system
3. Recover lost partition (the one that cannot be recovered by software)

Part 2. Fix and Convert RAW External Hard Drive to NTFS

Highlight: Fix and convert RAW external hard drive or internal hard drive to NTFS, free.

When a storage device becomes RAW, formatting is the most direct way to change the RAW file system to NTFS, FAT32, etc. Another way to execute the operation is to convert RAW to NTFS.

You will find two practical methods to fix the RAW external hard drive to NTFS issue in the following. Pick up one and follow the detailed steps below to make your device accessible again.

Method 1. Convert RAW Disk to NTFS with CMD Clean Command

CMD command is a Windows built-in tool that works to fix the RAW hard drive issue for you with its clean command. Notice that to do so, it will delete the partition on the RAW external hard drive first and then create a new partition, making the device usable again.

Ensure that you have followed Part 1 and restored all your precious data from the RAW drive in advance. This method also applies to convert RAW to NTFS, RAW to FAT32 without formatting any disk or drives:

Step 1: Type cmd in the search box and right-click on Command Prompt, select "Run as Administrator".

Step 2: Type diskpart and press "Enter".

Run cmd command tool to fix raw external hard drive.

Step 3: Type list disk to list all the available drives and press "Enter".

Type select disk * ( replace * with the drive letter of the RAW external hard drive) and press Enter.

Step 4: Type clean to clear the selected RAW external hard drive and press "Enter".

Clean RAW hard drive.

Step 5: Type create partition primary and hit "Enter".

Step 6: Type format fs=ntfs and hit Enter. ( This command will change your drive from RAW to NTFS, making it accessible again)

Set new partition file system on external hard drive.

Step 7: Type assign letter=* to assign a drive letter to the drive and press "Enter". (Replace * with a new drive letter.)

After this, type exit to close DiskPart.

Now your RAW external hard drive will be available for you to save data again.

Method 2. Convert RAW Drive to NTFS Using CHKDSK Command

Except for the CMD clean command, you can also run the CHKDSK command on your RAW external hard drive to fix the file system error.

According to some professionals, when a storage device contains a file system error, it will also show as RAW in disk management, disallowing Windows to read or access it.

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

Windows CMD command with its CHKDSK command will be available to fix this error. Follow the steps carefully and learn how to fix RAW external hard drive without formatting:

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box, and right-click "Command Prompt" and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 2. Enter the following command and hit Enter: chkdsk c: /f /r /x

Replace C: with the drive letter of your RAW external hard drive.

Check disk raw file system error

When you finish the process, re-open Disk Management to check if your external hard drive is not with RAW now.

Besides running the CMD CHKDSK command, you can also run a third-party file system repair freeware like EaseUS Partition Master with its Check File System feature for help.

Tips to Prevent Storage Device from Becoming RAW

How do you prevent your storage media devices from becoming RAW? Learn the causes first:

Why Is My Hard Drive in RAW Format?

Knowing the causes will be very helpful for us to prevent the external hard drive from becoming RAW. Here is a list of reasons that may cause your device RAW:

  • The file system is corrupted or damaged.
  • The current OS does not support the file system.
  • Access to the external hard drive was denied.
  • Improper operations on external hard drive.
  • Virus attack.

How to Prevent External Hard Drive Becoming RAW

Here are 4 tips to help protect your devices from becoming RAW:

  1. 1. Use storage devices properly: plug and unplug the device from PC with the right operation steps.
  2. 2. Use anti-virus software to scan and clean up the virus on storage devices and PC frequently.
  3. 3. Use CMD or partition manager tool - like EaseUS Partition Master to scan and fix disk error.
  4. 4. Backup important data regularly.

The Bottom Line

On this page, we provided one reliable data recovery software with CMD free commands to help you fix RAW external hard drive to NTFS without formatting.

To make your RAW drive openable again, you need first restore data from the RAW external hard drive. Then apply the CMD command or third-party disk management software to convert the RAW device to NTFS.

Note that if your storage is not RAW but the file system of your device is not supported by Windows, for example, SD has an unsupported file system, you will need to format it to a recognizable one, such as NTFS, FAT32, or exFAT, etc.

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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 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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