How to fix 'The type of the file system is RAW, chkdsk is not available for RAW drives'?

Updated by Tim to Data Recovery Tips on April 28th, 2021

Sometimes the drive gets corrupted and you cannot access the files stored on it. The Windows CHKDSK command is the first solution most users turn to, but in some cases, it returns an error saying The type of the file system is RAW. Chkdsk is not available for RAW drives.

CHKDSK is not available for RAW drive

Anyway, what is wrong with the drive when chkdsk reports RAW error?

There are so many important data stored on it, and chkdsk tool will complain that it is unable to perform a RAW file system recovery; how to fix RAW drive?

What is the CHKDSK command?

Chkdsk (short for check disk) scans a drive or other storage volume to verify its integrity. If it finds logical errors in the file system, it can correct them.

To run a scan with CHKDSK, you need to open the Windows Command Prompt. Clic on the Start menu and type "CMD" in the search field. Right-click on CMD.EXE and select Run as Administrator.

This opens the Command Prompt window with a command line for running various diagnostic tools. To run CHKDSK, enter the following command:
CHKDSK X: /f /r
Replace the X: with whatever drive letter you want to scan.

What does 'CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives" mean?

Under normal circumstances, you'll see a status report after CHKDSK finishes scanning the drive. If you get the "CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives" message instead, it means the type of the file system is RAW.

In other words, Windows see the drive as unformatted. CHKDSK isn't able to scan and repair RAW partition.

Common scenarios of the RAW drive

Sometimes a corrupted drive may lose its file system and an error messages may appear as below:
The volume X: is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?
The disk in drive X: is not formatted.
The volume does not contain a recognized file system
Drive X:\ not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.
There was an error accessing drive X:. The disk is not formatted.

The type of the file system is RAW, how to fix it?

Chkdsk cannot fix RAW drive, how to fix it? Following are seven methods to solve 'The type of the file system is RAW, chkdsk is not available for RAW drives' error:

Fix 1: Fix RAW drive with a RAW drive recovery software

iBoysoft Data Recovery will fix "The type of the file system is RAW, chkdsk is not available for RAW drives" error by repairing the file system errors and converting RAW to NTFS/FAT32 without data loss.

Tutorial to fix RAW drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery:

Step 1: Install and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery software. After that, choose RAW Drive Recovery module.

RAW drive recovery software

Step 2: Select the RAW drive.

Select RAW drive to fix chkdsk RAW error

Step 3: Click Next to scan the RAW drive.

Scan RAW drive to fix chkdsk RAW error

Step 4: When the scan finishes, check the list of files found on the RAW drive.

Fix chkdsk is not available for RAW drives error

Step 5: Click "Fix Drive" to fix RAW drive or switch to data recovery mode and recover the files.

If RAW drive cannot be fixed, go to solution 2 and recover data from the RAW drive with a data recovery software.

Fix 2: Fix RAW drive with a data recovery software

First, you need to recover the files and other information you need from the drive. Once you recover those files and have them saved in a safe place, you can format the drive to either NTFS or FAT32.

Once it's formatted, you can copy the recovered data back onto the drive to complete the process.

Windows includes the CHKDSK tool for diagnosing and repairing drives, but it doesn't include a data recovery tool. This means you need another way to read information from a RAW drive and recover the files and data saved on it.

iBoysoft Data Recovery is a professional data recovery software which can recover data from RAW hard drive, external hard drive, USB drive, SD card, etc.

Steps to recover data from RAW drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery:

Step 1: Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery software and choose the Data Recovery module.

Step 2: Select the RAW drive and click Next to scan, All files will be found in minutes.

Scan RAW drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery

Step 3: Select the files you want to recover and click Recover to start RAW drive data recvoery process.

Recover lost data from RAW drive

Besides solving RAW drive issue, iBoysoft Data Recovery software can also recover data from RAW external hard drive, USB flash drive, memory card, SD card, recover lost data from the formatted drive, recover lost data from the deleted/lost partition, etc. in Windows 10/8/7/XP and Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003.

Fix 3: Fix RAW drive with a BitLocker data recovery software

BitLocker is a disk encryption technology built into Windows 10. If your drive was encrypted by BitLocker, the first two solutions won't be able to read the encrypted data. In this case, you'll need to use a BitLocker Data Recovery software: iBoysoft Data Recovery to recover data from BitLocker encrypted drive.

Steps to recover data from BitLocker encrypted drive:

Step 1: Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery software and select BitLocker Recovery module.

Step 2: Select the BitLocker encrypted drive from the list and click Next.

Select BitLocker encrypted drive in iBoysoft Data Recovery

Step 3: Enter the password or 48-digit BitLocker recovery key and click OK to scan the drive for recoverable files..

Scan data from RAW BitLocker encrypted drive

Step 4: After the scan is complete, you'll see a list of the files it found. Select the files you want to recover in the list and click Recover to start the recovery process.

Recover lost data from RAW BitLocker encrypted drive

If the drive uses another encryption tool, you'll need to unlock it before you can recover the files. iBoysoft Data Recovery can't recover encrypted files until you decrypt the drive.

Fix 4: Fix RAW drive with a WinPE bootable media

If the drive that's reporting the CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives error is the computer's boot drive (C:), you won't be able to start the computer to run iBoysoft Data Recovery. In that case, you need to create a WinPE bootable disk so that you can start the computer and then run the data recovery software.

Step 1: Download iBoysoft Data Recovery WinPE bootable media .iso file.

Step 2: Use a burning tool to create a bootable disk using the .iso file you downloaded.

Step 3: Boot the computer from the WinPE recovery disk.

Step 4: Choose the RAW Drive Recovery module or if it doesn't work, choose the Data Recovery module (per the steps in the first two solutions above).

Fix 5: Fix RAW drive by reformatting

As we mentioned already, you can fix a RAW drive by converting it to either the NTFS or the FAT32 file system. The important factor here is whether or not you need to save any data on the drive.

If there's nothing on the drive that you need to recover, you can format it with the following steps.

Step 1: Open a File Explorer window, click on This PC (or My Computer), and right-click on the RAW drive.

Step 2: Click on Format in the menu that appears.

Step 3: Select the file system (NTFS or FAT32) and adjust the other settings as needed (allocation unit size, volume label, and format options).

Step 4: Click Start to reformat the RAW drive to whichever file system you selected.

Fix 6: Fix RAW drive using CMD

If you can't repair the RAW drive using the above two methods, it means you'll need to convert the drive from RAW to either the NTFS or FAT32 file system. This means you need to format the drive.

If there are no files on the drive that you need to save or recover, you can go ahead and format it. But if the drive does hold important data, you'll lose it if you format from RAW to either NFTS or FAT32. In that case, you need to recover the data first with iBoysoft Data Recovery software.

If you prefer to work from the command prompt, you can convert the RAW drive to either NTFS or FAT32 using the diskpart command. Just keep in mind that the same warning applies here - you'll lose any information on the drive if you don't recover it first.

Step 1: Click on the Start menu and type CMD in the search box.

Step 2: Right-click CMD.EXE and select Run as Administrator.

Step 3: Type DISKPART and hit Enter to open the Diskpart utility.

Step 4: Type LIST VOLUME and press Enter to see the list of drives.

Step 5: Type SELECT VOLUME n (where "n" is the drive number) and press Enter to select the drive you want to format.

Step 6: Type FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK and press Enter to format the drive. Replace NTFS with FAT32 if you want to use that file system.

If Windows and diskpart command are unable to format the RAW drive, the RAW drive should have hardware issue, please try the 3rd-party professional format software or low-level format tool.

Fix 7: Using a data recovery service

If none of the previous solutions work, you'll need to send the drive to a data recovery service to have your files professionally recovered.

These services will disassemble the drive and move the storage platters into a new, working drive to read the information. This is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process so expect to pay quite a bit for it.

When encountering the following RAW drive scenarios, it means the RAW storage device has a hardwae issue, send it to a local specialist for data recovery assistance.

1. The capacity of the RAW drive is 0 bytes.

RAW hard drive 0 bytes

2. The RAW drive doesn't have correct capacity:

RAW SD card

3. Drive is not accessible. Data error (Cyclic redundancy check) when accessing RAW drive in My Computer or Windows explorer:

Data error (Cyclic redundancy check)

4. The lost data is not found by iBoysoft Data Recovery software:

Data not found by iBoysoft Data Recovery

5. WinHex cannot read the RAW drive due to the unreadable sectors.

WinHex is a universal hex editor, particularly helpful in the realm of computer forensics, data recovery, low-level data editing.

After installing WinHex, run it as administrator -> select Tools -> select Open Disk -> select the RAW drive and check if there are the unreadable sectors or data error (Cyclic redundancy check).

The best recovery software for solving the RAW drive problem

If you're dealing with a "CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives" error, the iBoysoft Data Recovery software is the best solution for recovering your files before you repair the drive.