3+ Solutions: Cannot Format Raw External and Internal Hard Drive Error in 2021

Jean updated on Nov 04, 2020 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles

Stay calm if you can't format RAW drive or unable to format RAW external hard drive. To fix this error, you should first recover important data from the RAW drive by using reliable EaseUS RAW drive data recovery software. Then, you can use Diskpart or third-party formatting tool to format the RAW internal or external hard drive that cannot be formatted to NTFS with ease.

"My Seagate external HDD suddenly shows up as Raw and it asks me to format the disk in the drive before you can use it. However I try to open it, it prompts the message saying hard drive needs formatting. So I did it regardless of the important data there, what annoys me currently is that Raw drive cannot be fixed due to format failure! What should I do now to repair Raw drive without losing data?"

Normally, formatting is the most suggested way to fix a hard drive, USB drive or memory card with the Raw file system, and most of the time it works. But sometimes you may be out of luck, there are situations in which you can not repair a Raw drive by formatting as expected. For example, Windows was unable to complete the format.

Raw drive data recovery

No matter how you encounter the Raw file system, do not try to format it before applying professional data recovery software to recover important data. When you see the Raw drive, it means that the drive has an unknown Windows file system. Since no file system exists on the drive, it can no longer be used to store data, and you can not access the existing data, either.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the recommended hard drive recovery software for Raw hard drive data recovery. Simply download it on your PC, and follow the easy data recovery steps. After then, you can feel risk-free to fix the raw hard drive that cannot be formatted.

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.

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
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)

How to fix the Raw hard drive that cannot be formatted in all Windows

The process of repairing a Raw hard drive is to convert Raw to NTFS, FAT32 or other recognized file systems. When Windows Explorer quick format or Windows Disk Management is not able to complete the format, try raw hard drive format by using the Diskpart command line.

Fix 1. Convert Raw to NTFS/FAT32 using Diskpart

Step 1. Click on Start and then type cmd and hit Enter.

Step 2. Right-click on cmd and then click on Run As Administrator.

Step 3. Type Diskpart and then hit Enter.

Step 4. Type convert X: /fs:ntfs and hit Enter.

It's worth noting that X ought to be the drive letter of your RAW disk storage device. Also, you can replace ntfs with other desired file systems such as exfat, fat32, etc.

Fix 2. Format Raw to NTFS/FAT32 using a free partition manager

Did the command line help format the RAW drive to a certain usable file system? Considering that the command line method is kind of sophisticated, so it doesn't fit average users who have a little technical background. For that matter, we think it's necessary to get the other simpler alternative way to replace the Diskpart command line. EaseUS Partition Master, the recommended free partition manager software comes handy.

You can take advantage of its "Format" feature and "Partition Recovery" feature to deal with a RAW hard drive that cannot be fixed by the regular disk formatting methods via Windows Explorer and Windows Disk Management, and even the Diskpart command prompt doesn't help in the end.

Option 1. Format the RAW drive

Applies to the RAW drive which currently has a drive letter of it

If you need to format or convert a raw external storage device like SD card, USB or external hard drive, connect it to your PC first.


Step 1: Launch EaseUS Partition Master

Right-click on the RAW partition or RAW external hard drive/USB/SD card that you need to format and choose "Format".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

Step 2: Format RAW Partition and reset the file system

Assign a new partition label, set the file system to NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3, and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

Step 3: In the Warning window, click "OK" to continue.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

Step 4: Keep all changes

Click the "Execute Operation" button in the top-left corner to view all the changes, then click "Apply" to start formatting your RAW partition/USB/SD/external hard drive.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4

Option 2. Recover RAW hard drive

Applies to the Raw drive which lost the drive letter of it

Sometimes, you'll find that the hard drive partition displays as Raw without showing a drive letter on it. In this case, EaseUS Partition Master comes handy to solve this kind of Raw drive issue without formatting it, instead, perform a partition recovery from the beginning to the end. Once the scan finished and you chose the Raw drive partition to recover, you'll get a functional drive with the original drive letter and file system on it. 

Guide: how to perform partition recovery


What if the three attempts still cannot fix the raw drive and eventually failed to bring it back to normal use? There should be severe hard drive damage issue and the last resort you have to try is the low-level format, which will completely erase all data on the drive and make data unrecoverable. So, remember that raw drive data recovery always comes before the format. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

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

6. 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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