Windows supports NTFS, FAT (FAT12/FAT16/FAT32), Live File System, REFS, and exFAT file systems. Any storage media with a file system other than the supported ones are not accessible and recognized as RAW format drive in Windows (see screenshot). Also, a hard drive without any file system or damaged file system is also detected as a RAW drive by the Windows OS.
Malware & virus infection, corrupt files, system crash, abrupt shutdown, removing drive without ejecting, etc. can lead to file system errors, which can turn a healthy drive or partition into a RAW partition.
Therefore, a RAW format drive doesn’t necessarily mean that the drive is damaged or corrupt. However, if the drive was accessible earlier and now it isn’t, it most probably is corrupt.
Convert RAW Format Hard Drive to NTFS
To convert a RAW format hard drive to NTFS, just format the hard drive by using the Disk Management tool.
Formatting permanently erases all the data contained in the affected RAW drive. Thus, before you convert RAW format hard drive to NTFS, make sure you have the required data backup available. If there’s no backup, consider fixing the corruption with Windows proprietary tools and utilities. Otherwise, you will end up losing all the data permanently.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Windows may prompt to format the RAW drive. DO NOT click ‘Format’ if such prompt message appears (see screenshot below). Hit ‘Cancel’
Fixing the RAW Format Hard Drive
To help you, we have listed a few methods that can help fix the file system errors and the drive corruption. However, in case the fixes don’t work, we still can get back the inaccessible data from such a corrupt hard drive. So follow the fixes carefully.
1. Run Error Checking Tool
- Open ‘File Explorer’ and right-click on the RAW format hard drive volume
If the drive isn’t visible in File Explorer, use Disk Management tool and assign a drive letter to it. DO NOT FORMAT.
- Select Properties and click ‘Tools’ tab
- Click the ‘Check’ button
Wait for a while until the scan and repair process is finished. Restart the system or reconnect the drive and try accessing the volume by using Windows File Explorer.
CAUTION: After clicking ‘Check,’ if a prompt message (see screenshot below) asking to format the drive appears; click ‘No’ to avoid permanent data loss. And use the subsequent fixes.
2. Run CHKDSK Scan
If you see the prompt to format the drive while running the error-checking tool, run CHKDSK scan on the affected drive volume.
- Press Windows+S and type cmd
- Right-click on ‘Command Prompt’ and select ‘Run as administrator’ (see screenshot)
- In the command prompt window, type chkdsk /r /f X: and press ‘Enter’
Here X: is the drive letter that turned RAW (see screenshot below)
After CHKDSK scan is finished, reboot the system or reconnect the external drive to access it.
3. Scan the Drive for Inaccessible Data
In case you are not able to access the corrupt drive even after running the error-checking tool and CHKDSK scan, install Stellar Data Recovery software on a Windows PC. The software natively recognizes a RAW drive and lets you access the data from a corrupt RAW format hard drive. So use the software to backup data and convert a RAW format hard drive to NTFS without losing data.
Just follow these steps:
- Run the software
- Select what data you want to recover and then click ‘Next.’
Then select the RAW format hard drive volume under ‘Connected Drives’
- Turn on the ‘Deep Scan’ toggle switch located at the bottom of the software window and click ‘Scan.’
Deep Scan takes time depending on the storage media size and I/O speed. So stay calm and wait for the scan to finish.
- After the scan, click ‘File Type’ tab in the left-pane to sort the scan results
- Use the search bar to quickly locate the important files and click on any photo, video, document, or audio file to see its preview
- Then select the required files you wish to save from the scan results and click ‘Recover.’
- Click ‘Browse’ and choose a location on any internal or external volume to save the selected recovered files and folders
- Click ‘Start Saving’ and Wait for a while until software saves the recovered files at your desired location.
Additionally, after scan a user can save the scan information (size in a few KBs) on the PC. Later, the scan information can be loaded to restore the data.
This feature helps save time and be more productive as users can resume data recovery later as per their convenience.
Now that you have the access to the data, go ahead, open Disk Management tool in Windows and format the RAW drive to NTFS.
A storage media may turn into a RAW format drive without any prior indications. There are several reasons that can cause drive corruption and may turn a drive into RAW format. However, when a hard drive or drive volumes turn RAW, never format them if they contain important data.
Instead, try to fix the corruption with the help of the fixes discussed in the blog post. If the fix doesn’t work in your case, get back the inaccessible data with the help of Stellar Data Recovery software. The software can restore data such as photos, videos, audio, documents, etc. from severely corrupt and formatted external or internal drive volumes.