How to fix RAW external hard drive and recover files?
Your external hard drive suddenly changed to RAW file system? Confused how to fix it without losing data? This post gets you all covered. You can recover files first with iBoysoft Data Recovery.
If you suddenly find that your external hard drive is throwing up errors and not letting you access it, it may be because your external hard drive has become RAW and inaccessible. There are a few methods you can try to fix the problem yourself. Read on how to fix a RAW external hard drive and recover files.
How to fix RAW external hard drive without formatting?
If you have important data on your external hard drive that you don't want to lose, you need to find a solution that can fix RAW external hard drive without formatting.
Reformatting an external hard drive will wipe all your data, so it isn't an ideal solution. Instead, there are a number of methods you can try to fix a RAW external hard drive without formatting.
Try your external hard drive on another computer
Your computer may be the problem. Try plugging your external hard drive into a different computer and see if the same issue occurs. If it does, the issue is probably the hard drive or cable.
Try a different USB port
Another thing you can try is switching which USB port your external hard drive is plugged into.
Sometimes specific USB ports can cause issues, but by plugging your external hard drive into a different USB port, the problem disappears. You should always try this before taking more drastic measures.
Replace the USB cable
If a change of USB port doesn't help, try another USB cable.
If you're using a USB external hard drive, try switching out the USB cable for a different one that you know works without any issues. It may be that your USB cable has become damaged and is causing the problem.
Verify the drive light is on
Desktop hard drive typically requires a power adapter. No light could indicate the power adapter is not connected to power.
Update the driver
Computers regularly update their systems. This can sometimes mean that the driver for your external hard drive is no longer compatible. Try updating the driver to the latest version and see if this fixes the problem. You can update the driver by following these steps:
1. Right-click on My Computer in Windows Explorer or on the desktop.
2. Click on Manage and then Device Manager.
3. Find your external hard drive in the Device Manager, right-click on it and select "Update Driver".
The driver should now update-to-date. Once the update has completed, try to access your external hard drive again and see if this has resolved the issue.
Chkdsk is a utility that comes as part of Windows. This system tool checks file system integrity and can fix errors on the external hard drive. In order to use Chkdsk to fix your hard drive without formatting it, complete the following steps:
1. Type CMD in the Windows search bar.
2. Right-click on cmd.exe and choose "Run as Administrator".
3. After seeing Command Prompt, type chkdsk driveletter: /f and hit Enter.
If you are lucky, chkdsk will then get to work trying to repair your RAW external hard drive. Otherwise, you will receive an error message saying that "The type of the file system is RAW. Chkdsk is not available for RAW drives external hard drive". In this situation, try next solution.
Convert RAW to NTFS/FAT32
If you want to fix a RAW external hard drive without data loss, then you need to use software that can convert a RAW external hard drive back into NTFS or FAT32 without losing any data.
iBoysoft Data Recovery is a RAW drive recovery program which can fix RAW external hard drive by converting RAW to NTFS without data loss.
To convert RAW external hard drive to NTFS/FAT32, simply complete the following steps:
1. Connect RAW external hard drive to your computer.
2. Download, install and run iBoysoft Data Recovery.
3. Choose RAW Drive Recovery module.
If RAW external hard drive was BitLocker encrypted, choose BitLocker Recovery module.
4. Select RAW external hard drive and choose Next.
5. Check and preview the files in RAW external hard drive.
If there are some files missing after scanning, try deep scan option in Data Recovery module to find more files.
6. Choose "Fix Drive".
The corrupted external hard drive RAW file system will now be rebuilt and you should be able to access your external hard drive once more.
If your RAW external hard drive file system cannot be fixed, try next solution to recover files.
Recover files From a RAW external hard drive
If you're unable to rebuild the external hard drive RAW file system, you may still be able to recover files from RAW hard drive, including external hard drive.
To recover files from RAW external hard drive, follow these steps:
1. Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery on your Windows computer.
2. Connect RAW external hard drive to your computer.
3. Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery.
4. Choose Data Recovery module.
5. Select RAW external hard drive.
6. Click Next to scan for your data.
Try deep scan to find more files if any files are missing after scanning.
7. Check through the files and click Recover to start the file recovery process.
8. Once you have recovered your files, it is time to reformat your external hard drive to NTFS, FAT32 or exFAT file system and make it working again.
You can now copy the recovered files back onto your external hard drive.
Recover files from a BitLocker encrypted hard drive showing as RAW
To recover files from BitLocker encrypted external hard drive, follow these steps:
1. Download, install, launch iBoysoft Data Recovery and choose BitLocker Recovery module.
2. Select your external hard drive.
3. Click Next.
4. Enter your password or 48-digit recovery key and click OK.
5. Check the found files and then select the files to recover.
6. If you cannot find the required files, try a deep scan.
You should now be able to recover your files and reformat your hard drive, before encrypting your hard drive once more.
If your external hard drive was encrypted with a different tool, you'll need to find data recovery software that supports that kind of encryption.
Reformat external hard drive
If your hard drive doesn't contain any important data, and you're not worried about recovering any of it, then you can opt to reformat your hard drive. This will return your external hard drive to being usable with your computer.
To reformat external hard drive, follow these steps:
1. Right-click on your external hard drive in Windows Explorer
2. Select "Format..." from the right-click menu.
3. Choose the type of file system you want to use.
4. Select Start to begin formatting your external hard drive
Once the process is complete, your external hard drive should be reformatted and you should be able to save files and folders to it without any issues.
If Windows is unable to reformat your external hard drive, try reformating the drive in CMD by diskpart command or the 3rd-party tool.
No method worked? Contact professional
If you've tried all of these above method and none of them have been successful, then you may need to seek expert help.
Try taking your external hard drive to a local computer repair shop. They may be able to repair your RAW external hard drive issue that you are having.
If you don't need the data and the hard drive is still within warranty, you will want to have the drive replaced or ask for a refund.
What is the RAW file system?
A RAW file system is the state of the drive has not been formatted to work on your computer.
In other words, it is an unformatted file system that needs to be formatted before it can be used to store your files. The trouble is, formatting an external hard drive will wipe any data on it. That means if your external hard drive has suddenly become RAW, you'll need to find a way to fix it without formatting.
Why does an external hard drive become RAW?
There are a number of reasons why an external hard drive says RAW file system.
It may have become corrupted, either due to an internal failure, or because it was not safely ejected before being removed. It may be caused by the accidental deletion of system files that cause it to become unreadable. It may also be caused by a virus or malware.
1. Bad sectors
If there are bad sectors in the area of an external hard drive where stores the information for the operating system to recognize the file system, the external hard drive will not be recognized by the operating system and becomes RAW.
2. File system structural damage
The RAW external hard drive is surely involved with the problem of file system, so a damaged file system structure will be showing as a RAW drive or partition.
3. Partition table corruption
If the partition table is corrupted in the external hard drive, the operating system is not able to recognize the file system and takes it as a RAW partition.
4. Virus and malware attacks
Virus and malware attacks can cause damage to key information for the operating system to recognize the file system, like partition table, root directory, etc.
5. Unsafely ejection
It is very common that people just pull out the external hard drive violently without ejecting it safely first. This action probably results in damaged or corrupted external hard drive or even hardware issues.
6. Unexpected shutdown
When the operating system is reading from or writing to the external hard drive, the sudden power off will interrupt the process and cause damage to the file system or hardware.
RAW external hard drive symptoms
If your hard drive has become RAW file system, you will usually see one of the following error messages:
Drive is not accessible, access denied.
External hard drive says it needs to be formatted.
Drive is not accessible, the parameter is incorrect.
The volume does not contain a recognized file system.
Drive is not accessible, the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.
Drive is not accessible, the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable.
Drive is not accessible, data error (cyclic redundancy check).
Moreover, if your external hard drive showed "unknown" file system in partition information under Disk Management or capacity of the external hard drive was 0 bytes and showed RAW in Windows Explorer, you have a RAW external hard drive.
How to avoid RAW drive problem in future
No one wants to lose their data. External hard drives do sometimes fail, however.
To avoid the same issues in the future, always make sure that you back up your files to another location. This could be another hard drive, or you could use a cloud-based backup system that will save your files and folders in the cloud. It means that if you do have hard drive problems, you won't have to worry about losing all of your data; you can easily restore it from your backup.
You should also ensure that you always safely eject the external hard drive before you remove it from your computer.
Are you looking for the software to help you with external hard drive repair?
If you're in need of RAW external hard drive repair because your external hard drive is showing as RAW file system, then we're here to help.
Our all-in-one iBoysoft Data Recovery is a powerful data recovery software that can help you recover lost or deleted files from an emptied recycle bin, hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card or external hard drive. It's reliable and easy to use and can be used to recover files from formatted, corrupted, deleted or lost partitions in more than 300 different file types.
It's compatible with Windows 10 as well as macOS. Download one of our solutions for free today.