How to fix RAW external hard drive without formatting and recover data?

Updated by Admin to RAW Drive Recovery & Repair on June 4th, 2019

When external hard drive suddenly became RAW file system, you would get the error message when accessing RAW external hard drive. The common RAW external hard drive symptoms are listed as below:

1. Windows prompts: "External hard drive not formatted, do you want to format it?" When attempting to access the RAW external hard drive in Windows explorer.

2. "The volume does not contain a recognized file system. Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted" when accessing RAW external hard drive in Windows from a program or the command line.

3. The Disk Management shows external hard drive as either RAW file system or unknown file system.

RAW external hard drive in disk management

4. External hard drive shows 0 bytes space (Used space and free space) and RAW file system in Properties.

5. External hard drive not accessible, the disk structure is corrupted and unreadable.

6. External hard drive not accessible, the parameter is incorrect.

7. External hard drive not accessible, The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.

8. External hard drive not accessible, access denied.

9. External hard drive not accessible, data error (cyclic redundancy check).

How to fix RAW external hard drive without formatting and recover data?

When encountering RAW external hard drive issue, we cannot access the data stored on external hard drive because of external hard drive not accessible. If we click "Format disk" button after encountering RAW external hard drive not format disk error, we will lose the data. How to repair/fix RAW external hard drive without formatting and losing data? There are 10 solutions to solve RAW external hard drive issue and get data back:

Solution 1: Connect RAW external hard drive to another computer and check

If the external hard drive is RAW file system and not accessible on this computer, please connect the RAW external hard drive to another computer and check if it still is RAW file system and inaccessible.

Solution 2: Check USB cable and USB port

If there is something wrong with USB cable and USB port, Windows OS cannot access external hard drive so that it is displayed RAW file system, please change USB cable or USB port and then check if external hard drive can be accessed.

Solution 3: Update the driver

Sometimes, the driver compatibility may cause RAW external hard drive. In this case, please update the driver with following method:

Step 1: Right click My Computer or This PC on the desktop.

Step 2: Select Manage and Device Manager.

Step 3: Right click external hard drive in Device Manager and select "Update driver" or "Uninstall driver" to reinstall it.

Solution 4: Fix RAW external hard drive without formatting using CMD

Chkdsk (short for check disk) is a system tool in Windows OS, it verifies the file system integrity of a volume and fixes logical errors in file system on hard drive, external hard drive, USB drive, flash drive, pen drive, SD card, memory card, etc.

Step 1: Go to Windows start menu, type CMD in the search bar.

Step 2: Right click cmd.exe from the search results and choose Run as Administrator.

command prompt

Step 3: Type chkdsk X: /f (X is the drive letter of the RAW drive) in the command window to fix RAW external hard drive.

Once the RAW external hard drive is fixed, all the data will be got back. Sometimes, chkdsk fails to fix RAW external hard drive and then reports: "The type of the file system is RAW. Chkdsk is not available for RAW drives", in this situation, we have to try solution 5 to fix RAW external hard drive.

Solution 5: Fix RAW external hard drive without formatting via RAW drive recovery software

M3 Data Recovery is a RAW drive recovery software which provides RAW Drive Recovery function to fix/repair RAW external hard drive error and then change/convert RAW external hard drive to NTFS/FAT32 without formatting and losing data in Windows 10/8/7/XP and Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003.

Besides to fix RAW external hard drive without formatting and losing data, M3 Data Recovery can also recover deleted files even emptied from Recycle Bin, recover data from formatted drive, recover data from RAW drive, recover data from inaccessible drive, recover data from corrupted drive, recover data from deleted/lost partition, recover data from Bitlocker encrypted drive.

Step 1: Connect RAW external hard drive to your computer.

Step 2: Download, install and launch M3 Data Recovery software.

Step 3: After launching M3 Data Recovery software, please choose RAW Drive Recovery module.

Free data recovery software

If the RAW external hard drive was Bitlocker encrypted, please choose Bitlocker Recovery module and then recover data from Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive.

Step 4: Select the RAW external hard drive and then click Next to scan the data.

Scan RAW external hard drive

Step 5: Check the files in RAW external hard drive before fixing/repairing.

Fix RAW external hard drive

If there are some files missing after checking the scan results, please return to home window, choose Data Recovery module and try deep scan option to find more files.

Step 6: Click "Fix Drive" to fix RAW external hard drive.

Once the corrupted file system is rebuilt and RAW external hard drive is fixed successfully, the RAW external hard drive will be accessible again. However, sometimes, RAW external hard drive cannot be fixed due to corrupted file system, in this situation, we have to try solution 6 to recover data from RAW external hard drive and then format RAW external hard drive to NTFS/FAT32/exFAT file system after data recovery is done.

Solution 6: Recover data from RAW external hard drive

As a professional data recovery software, M3 Data Recovery provides powerful data recovery feature which can recover data from RAW external hard drive, RAW hard drive, RAW USB drive, RAW flash drive, RAW SD card, RAW memory card, etc. on Windows 10/8/7/XP and Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003.

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

Step 2: Connect the RAW external hard drive to your computer as a slave drive and then launch M3 Data Recovery software.

Step 3: Choose "Data Recovery" module.

Step 4: Select the RAW external hard drive and click Next to scan the lost data.

Scan data from RAW external hard drive

Step 5: Check the found files in RAW external hard drive.

Recover data from RAW external hard drive

If there are some files missing after checking the scan results, please return to home window, choose Data Recovery module and try deep scan option to find more files.

Step 6: Choose the files you expect and then click Recover to start data recovery from RAW external hard drive.

Step 7: After data recovery is successfully done, please try to format RAW external hard drive to NTFS/FAT32 through solution 9.

Solution 7: Recover data from Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive showing as RAW, unknown

If RAW external hard drive was encrypted by Bitlocker, M3 Data Recovery is also a professional Bitlocker data recovery software which can recover data from Bitlocker encrypted drive on Windows 10/8/7/XP and Server2016/2012/2008/2003.

M3 Data Recovery software can recover data from inaccessible Bitlocker encrypted drive, recover data from formatted Bitlocker encrypted drive, recover data from corrupted Bitlocker encrypted drive, recover data from failed Bitlocker encrypted drive, recover data from deleted/lost Bitlocker encrypted partition, etc. after providing the password or recovery key.

Step 1: Download, install, launch M3 Data Recovery software and select Bitlocker Recovery module.

Step 2: Select the Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive and click Next to continue.

Scan data from Bitlocker encrypted drive

Step 3: Enter the password or Bitlocker recovery key and click OK to scan data from Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive.

Scan data from RAW Bitlocker encrypted drive

Step 4: After the scan completes, lost data will be listed as below window, then select the files and click Recover to start Bitlocker data recovery.

Recover data from RAW Bitlocker encrypted drive

If there are some files missing after checking the scan results, please return to home window, choose Bitlocker Recovery module and try deep scan option to find more files.

Solution 8: Fix RAW external hard drive was encrypted by TrueCrypt, etc.

If RAW external hard drive was encrypted by TrueCrypt or other encryption software, we need to find a data recovery software which supports this encryption solution and then recover data, otherwise, the found data cannot be decrypted.

For example, if RAW external hard drive was Bitlocker encrypted, please try Bitlocker Recovery module built-in M3 Data Recovery to recover data from Bitlocker encrypted external hard drive.

If RAW external hard drive was encrypted APFS, please connect it to a Mac computer and try M3 Data Recovery for Mac to recover data from encrypted APFS external hard drive.

Solution 9: Format RAW external hard drive to NTFS/FAT32/exFAT

If there is no important data in RAW external hard drive, format is the best choice to fix RAW external hard drive, just right click RAW external hard drive in My Computer (This PC) or Disk Management and then select "Format..." to reformat it.

Step 1: Right click the RAW drive in My Computer (This PC) or Disk Management.

Step 2: Select "Format..." from the right-click menu.

Step 3: Select NTFS/FAT32/exFAT file system and then set other information (Allocation unit size, volume label, format options) about the format process.

Step 4: Click Start to format RAW external hard drive to NTFS/FAT32/exFAT.

If there is important data in RAW external hard drive, just follow solution 6 to recover data from RAW external hard drive and then format RAW external hard drive to NTFS/FAT32/exFAT file system after data recovery is successfully done.

If Windows is unable to format RAW external hard drive or RAW external hard drive cannot format, please try diskpart command format RAW drive, the 3rd-party professional format software or low-level format tool.

Solution 10: A local data recovery service

If the RAW external hard drive has the following symptoms, it means the RAW external hard drive has hardware issue, please send it to a local data recovery service for help.

1. The capacity of RAW external hard drive is 0 bytes when checking Properties.

RAW hard drive 0 bytes

2. RAW external hard drive doesn't display the correct capacity in Disk Management:

RAW SD card

3. Drive is not accessible. Data error (Cyclic redundancy check) when accessing RAW external hard drive in My Computer (This PC) or Disk Management:

Data error (Cyclic redundancy check)

4. Data is not found by M3 Data Recovery software:

Data not found by M3 Data Recovery

5. Unreadable sectors (bad sectors): WinHex shows unreadable sectors when reading the RAW external hard drive.

Winhex unreadable sectors

6. External hard disk unknown, not initialized, no disk space

Disk unknown not initialized

How to avoid RAW external hard drive again?

1. Backup

The most effective way to avoid data loss is to create frequent backups of your files (There are many free backup software which can create frequent backups in the internet market, such as Aomei Backupper Standard, Macrium Reflect Free, Paragon Backup & Recovery Free). Once you lost important data, you can restore lost data from the backups without worrying any data loss.

2. Safely remove external hard drive

The most common cause of external hard drive suddenly becoming RAW is disconnecting external hard drive from a computer without using the "Safely Remove Hardware" option. This can happen in many ways such as a power failure, unplugging external hard drive from the USB port or from its AC adapter.

Always use "Safely remove hardware" to safely eject external hard drive. Right click the icon on the taskbar, select Eject device from the menu, and then wait for the confirmation message of "Safe to Remove Hardware".

Related articles: