How to fix RAW USB drive, recover data from RAW USB drive and convert/format USB to FAT32?

Updated by Tim to Data Recovery on March 13th, 2020

USB flash drive is one of the most popular external storage devices for their durability and easy-to-use feature. However, it's inevitable that you may unexpectedly face various corruptions, while USB drive becoming RAW file system is very typical and common in our digital life.

Common USB drive RAW file system symptoms

When encountering RAW USB drive problem, you may get one of the following symptoms:

No file system on USB flash drive
USB drive not showing full capacity.
USB drive showing RAW file system in disk management.
USB drive showing wrong capacity in Disk Management.
USB drive not working or recognized in Windows 10, 8, 7.
USB drive is not formatted, do you want to format it now?
Windows is unable to complete the format on USB drive.
USB flash drive is not accessible, the parameter is incorrect.
RAW USB drive is write protected, cannot format it.
USB drive showing 0 bytes (Used space 0 bytes, free space 0 bytes) in drive properties.

After knowing the above RAW USB drive errors, you may ask how to fix RAW USB drive, how to recover data from RAW USB drive and how to convert RAW USB drive to FAT32. Please read on.

How to fix RAW USB drive in Windows 10, 8 or 7?

After your USB flash drive became RAW format, we think you are very anxious and want to know how to fix USB drive RAW format. Of course, if there is a method to fix USB RAW format without formatting, it will be perfect.

As a matter of fact, Windows has a built-in repair tool called chkdsk. It can verify the file system integrity of a volume and fix the logical file system errors.

One of RAW USB drive symptoms is caused by file system corruption. In this case, chkdsk can correct the file system errors and fix RAW USB drive without formatting.

Steps to fix RAW USB drive with chkdsk command:

1. Connect RAW USB drive to your Windows computer.

2. Type CMD in Windows search bar of Taskbar.

3. Right click on cmd.exe from the search results and choose "Run as Administrator".

command prompt

4. After seeing command prompt, type chkdsk X: /f (X is the drive letter of your USB drive) in the CMD window and press Enter.

Chkdsk will verify and fix the file system errors. Once the RAW USB drive is fixed by chkdsk command, you will be able to access the USB drive again. But sometimes, chkdsk fails to fix RAW USB drive and reports "The type of the file system is RAW, chkdsk is not available for RAW drives". In that case, you have to try other methods.

How to recover data from RAW USB drive?

In some cases, chkdsk is unable to fix RAW USB drive where stored the important data. To prevent data loss, data recovery is the first thing you need to do.

To recover lost data from RAW USB drive, a professional data recovery software: M3 Data Recovery is highly recommended.

M3 Data Recovery can recover deleted files from USB drive, recover lost data from formatted USB drive, recover lost data from RAW USB drive, recover lost data from inaccessible USB drive, recover lost data from corrupted USB drive, etc. M3 Data Recovery is fully compatible with Windows 10/8/7/XP and Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003 Operating Systems.

Besides to recover deleted or lost files from USB drive, M3 Data Recovery can also recover deleted or lost files from hard drive, external hard drive, flash drive, SD card, pen drive, USB stick etc.

Steps to recover lost data from RAW USB drive:

1. Download and install M3 Data Recovery software on your Windows computer.

2. Connect the RAW USB drive to your Windows computer.

3. Launch M3 Data Recovery and choose Data Recovery module on the main interface.

Free data recovery software

If your USB drive was Bitlocker encrypted, choose Bitlocker Recovery module to recover lost data from Bitlocker encrypted USB drive.

4. Select RAW USB drive from the drive list and then click Next to scan the lost data.

Scan lost data from RAW USB drive

5. After the scan completes, you can preview the documents, photos and play videos, audios so that you can see if your lost files are recoverable.

Recover lost data from RAW USB drive

If there are some files missing after the scan completes, please return to the Data Recovery module and try deep scan option to find more files.

6. Select the files you need and click Recover to save them to another drive.

7. After ensuring all recovered files can be opened, you can format USB drive to FAT32 and use it again.

How to convert/format RAW USB drive to FAT32?

After finishing the data recovery, you are not afraid of losing any data on that USB drive. Now it is time to convert or format RAW USB drive to FAT32 with Windows explorer, Disk Management, diskpart command or the 3rd-party format tool.

Format RAW USB drive using Windows explorer

1. Double click My Computer or This PC on the desktop to open Windows exporer.

2. Right click on the USB drive and select "Format" option.

3. Select FAT32 file system and then set other information (Allocation unit size, volume label, format options) about format process.

4. Click Start to format USB drive to FAT32.

The default is quick format. If you want to do a full format, please check that option before formatting.

Format RAW USB drive using Disk Management

Disk Management is a free Windows built-in tool which is designed to help users to deal with common disk partition related jobs. It is your choice when you want to format USB to FAT32.

1. Find My Computer or This PC on the desktop and right click on it.

2. Select "Manage" -> "Storage -> "Disk Management" and find your RAW USB drive.

3. Right click on your RAW USB drive and select "Format" option.

4. Select FAT32 file system and click Ok.

The RAW USB drive to FAT32 recovery will begin. The FAT32 file system will be created and your USB drive will work fine.

However, sometimes, Windows is unable to complete the format on RAW USB drive, diskpart command may help you a lot.

Format RAW USB drive using diskpart CMD

Unlike Disk Management, diskpart is a Windows built-in command line tool. It is designed to help users to deal with common disk partition related jobs.

1. Type "diskpart" in the search bar of Taskbar.

2. Right click diskpart.exe and choose "Run as Administrator" to run diskpart.exe.

3. At the DISKPART> prompt, type "list disk" command and press Enter.

4. Type "select disk X" command and press Enter (Replace X with the disk number of your RAW USB drive).

5. Type "list volume" command and press Enter.

6. Type "select volume X" command and press Enter (Replace X with the volume number of your RAW USB drive).

7. Type format fs=fat32 label=volume label quick and press Enter to execute the format.

Format volume with diskpart command

Repair RAW USB drive to FAT32 with a production tool

The following RAW USB drive symptoms mean a hardware issue, you have to go to the manufacturer's site and find a corresponding production tool to do a factory reset.

1. USB drive showing incorrect capacity in Disk Management, for example 64GB, detect 31MB.

RAW SD card

2. Windows is unable to complete the format on RAW USB drive.

Windows is unable to complete the format

3. USB drive is write protected, cannot format it.

4. USB drive is not recognized, disk management showing disk unknown, not initialized, no disk space.

Disk unknown not initialized

Repair RAW USB drive from a local professional

If the RAW USB drive has been physically damaged, you'd better send it to a local professional for data recovery or repair help.

How to avoid RAW USB drive again?

1. Backup

There is nothing that can replace backup to prevent your data loss, so regular backup is the best way to protect your data stored on the USB drive. There are several free backup software you can choose, such as Aomei Backupper Standard, Macrium Reflect Free, Paragon Backup & Recovery Free).

2. Practise good working habits

After using the USB drive, safe ejection is another option to prevent your data loss. Although direct unplugging USB drive is very convenient, but it is the most common cause of USB drive RAW file system.

Please always use "Safely remove hardware" option to safely eject USB drive from your Windows computer or Mac computer.

3. Use an advanced file system

If you have a choice, don't use FAT32 or exFAT file system. Stead, format USB drive to NTFS file system.

Not only NTFS gives you more flexibility in length of filenames and directory, security control, but also you can stand a greater chance of good recovery in case of drive corruption.

Related articles: