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Convert External Hard Drive from RAW to NTFS without Formatting

Updated on Dec 27, 2018 by Tracy King to Storage Media Recovery


If your Seagate, SanDisk or WD etc external hard drive suddenly convert to RAW, and you cannot access your saved data, what should you do? Don't worry, this page will offer effective methods to help you convert your external hard drive from RAW to NTFS file system without formatting, so you can get all your saved data back.

"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. I don't want to. Or, I'll lose the files and document in the drive. 
So I'm wondering to know can anyone of you tell me or show me how to recover data from the RAW drive and convert that same RAW drive back into NTFS again?

Why does an external hard drive convert to RAW

It's important for us, as users, to know under what circumstances our drive will become RAW.

And also, to know what generally causes an external hard drive becoming RAW. 

Here, we've gathered some reasons that may explain why your external hard drive shows as RAW when connected to a PC: 

  1. 1. Improper operation: unplugging the device from PC, or laptop without properly ejecting it.
  2. 2. An internal system error or hard drive error.
  3. 3. Virus attack, etc.

So how do you avoid this issue and fix or convert a RAW external hard drive back to NTFS again? Find the answers below.

Change/convert a RAW external hard drive to NTFS without formatting

To convert a RAW external storage device to NTFS, you'll need to follow the two steps below:

First. Recover data from the RAW external hard drive

In order to avoid unnecessary data loss issue while converting a RAW external hard drive to NTFS, please first recover your data from the external hard drive.

Professional hard drive data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can help you fully restore data from a RAW external hard drive, USB or other storage devices within 3 simple steps. Just download and activate the software to follow the steps:

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

Now you may now directly format the drive into NTFS. If you don't want to format the drive, you can follow Step 2 to convert and change the RAW external hard drive to NTFS without formatting.

Second. Convert/change RAW external hard drive to NTFS without formatting by CMD

You can directly convert a RAW external hard drive to NTFS with the CMD command. This method can also be used to convert RAW to NTFS/ NTFS to FAT/ FAT32 to NTFS etc without formatting any disk or drives:

  1. 1. Connect the RAW external hard drive to your PC.
  2. 2. Press Win + R to open the Command Prompt window, then type: cmd and hit Enter.
  3. 3. Type: H: /FS :NTFS and hit Enter. (H will be the drive letter of your RAW storage device.)

Now your RAW external hard drive will have the NTFS file system and data stored inside can be used again.

How do I avoid storage device becoming RAW

How do you prevent your storage media devices from converting to RAW? Here are some tips to help protect your devices from a RAW error:

1. Use storage devices properly: plug and unplug the device from PC with the right operation steps.
2. Use anti-virus software to scan and clean up virus on storage devices and PC frequently.
3. Use CMD with CHKDSK to check and fix bad sectors on the device.
4. Backup important data regularly.