How to Convert RAW to NTFS without Formatting or Losing Data?
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Have you ever encountered this situation that you are unable to access your external hard drive? When accessing it in Windows Explorer, it pops up an error message as "The drive is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?" or "You need to format the disk in drive X: before you can use it".
When encountering the above RAW drive format error, you'll click on the "Format disk" button so that you can continue using this drive, but formatting will erase all the data. So please don't format the drive before fixing RAW drive. Otherwise, you will lose all data.
How to Convert RAW to NTFS?
Fortunately, there are 8 methods you can try to convert RAW to NTFS without losing data or formatting. Below are some of the solutions to do it:
- Method 1: Restart your computer
- Method 2: Update the drivers
- Method 3: Using CMD to convert RAW to NTFS
- Method 4: Convert RAW to NTFS via partition recovery
- Method 5: Convert RAW to NTFS via data recovery
- Method 6: Convert RAW to NTFS by reformatting
- Method 7: A local specialist
- Method 8: Consider a replacement
Fix 1: Restart your computer
Sometimes, Windows is unable to load the drivers of external hard drive so that you cannot access it. By restarting your computer, Windows will re-load the drivers and make your external hard drive accessible again.
Fix 2: Update the drivers for external hard drive
It is possible that your external hard drive may have come with bundled software that may be incompatible with the latest operating system.
Try updating the driver to the latest version and see if this fixes RAW external hard drive problem.
To update the driver, follow these steps:
Step 1: Right-click on My Computer or This PC in Windows Explorer or on the desktop.
Step 2: Click on Manage and then Device Manager.
Step 3: Find your external hard drive in the Device Manager, right-click on it and select "Update Driver Software...".
The driver should now be update-to-date. Once the update has completed, try to access your external hard drive again and see if this has resolved the RAW drive issue.
Fix 3: Convert RAW to NTFS via CMD (Without formatting)
Chkdsk is a utility for Windows that transforms and checks the integrity of the different file system errors on a storage device.
Steps to convert RAW to NTFS via CMD without formatting:
Step 1: Type "cmd" in the search bar of Windows Taskbar.
Step 2: Right click on cmd.exe and choose "Run as Administrator" to run the command prompt.
Step 3: After seeing Command Prompt window, type "chkdsk driveletter: /f" and then press Enter.
chkdsk /f -> Correct the errors on the disk.
chkdsk /r -> Correct the bade sectors on the disk.
chkdsk /x -> Include /f, but also scan the entire disk surface for physical errors and attempt to repair them as well.
Chkdsk will analyze and repair the file system errors on the RAW partition. Once the chkdsk command fixes RAW partition, you'll be able to access the drive again.
Sometimes, chkdsk is unable to fix RAW partition and reports an error message as "The type of the file system is RAW, chkdsk is not available for RAW drives". In such a case, you'll need to try other solutions as below.
Fix 4: Convert RAW to NTFS via Partition Recovery
As we know, the partition table and volume boot sector are two places storing the partition information. Once they get corrupted, Windows will be unable to read this disk and reports as RAW file system. In this case, partition recovery should be the first thing you need to do.
iBoysoft Data Recovery can fix RAW partition and convert RAW to NTFS without losing data and formatting on Windows XP/7/8/10 and Windows Server 2003/3008/2012/2016.
Tutorial to convert RAW to NTFS without formatting with iBoysoft Data Recovery:
Step 1: Please don't format the RAW drive, otherwise, you will lose all data.
Step 2: Download, install and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery on your Windows PC.
If the RAW drive is an external hard drive, you need to connect it to your computer before running iBoysoft Data Recovery.
Step 3: After launching iBoysoft Data Recovery, choose RAW Drive Recovery module.
If RAW hard drive was encrypted by BitLocker, choose "BitLocker Recovery" module to recover data from BitLocker encrypted drive.
Step 4: Choose the RAW drive from the drive list.
Step 5: Click Next to scan the data from the RAW drive.
Step 6: Preview and check the files in the RAW drive.
If you find some files missing after scanning, try deep scan in Data Recovery module to find more files.
Step 7: Click "Fix Drive" to convert RAW to NTFS without losing data.
The file system can become severely damaged in a way so that RAW drive can't be fixed back to NTFS file system. In such a case, the only way is to recover data and then convert RAW to NTFS by reformatting the drive.
Fix 5: Convert RAW to NTFS via Data Recovery
If your hard drive became RAW file system due to virus attack, improper operation, power outage, etc., your first choice should be reformatting. However, formatting will erase all the data. For the prevention of unexpected data loss when converting RAW to NTFS, the first thing should be data recovery
Tutorial to recover data from RAW drive:
Step 1: Download, install and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery on your Windows computer.
iBoysoft Data Recovery is a professional data recovery software which can recover data from RAW storage device, such as external hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card.
If it is a RAW external hard drive, connect it to your computer before launching iBoysoft Data Recovery.
Step 2: Choose "Data Recovery" module.
If RAW drive was encrypted by BitLocker, choose "BitLocker Recovery" module to recover data.
Step 3: Select the RAW drive and click Next to scan the data.
In the drive list, iBoysoft Data Recovery shows RAW drive as unknown file system.
Step 4: Preview and check the found files.
If there are some files missing after scanning, try deep scan in Data Recovery module to find more files.
Step 5: Choose the files you expect and then click Recover to start the data recovery process.
If the RAW hard drive has been physically failed, you need to send it to a local professional for data recovery assistance.
Fix 6: Convert RAW to NTFS by reformatting
After you complete the data recovery job, it is time to convert RAW to NTFS by reformatting the drive:
Method 1: Convert RAW to NTFS file system in Windows explorer
Step 1: Right click on the RAW drive in My Computer (This PC) or Disk Management.
Step 2: Select "Format...".
Step 3: Select NTFS file system and then set other information (Allocation unit size, volume label, format options) about format process.
Step 4: Click on "Start" to format the RAW drive to NTFS file system.
Sometimes you can do this successfully. However, sometimes an error message saying "The format did not complete successfully" appears. In this situation, try other method as below.
Method 2: Convert RAW to NTFS file system in disk management
In disk management, simply right click on the RAW drive and select "Format" to change RAW drive to NTFS file system.
Sometimes you can do this successfully, sometimes you fail with "Windows was unable to complete the format" message. In that case, try diskpart command.
Method 3: Diskpart converts RAW to NTFS/FAT32 file system
Diskpart command is another option to convert RAW to NTFS or FAT32 file system.
Step 1: Type diskpart in the search bar of Windows Taskbar.
Step 2: Right click on diskpart.exe and choose Run as Administrator to run diskpart.exe.
Step 3: At the DISKPART> prompt, please type list disk command and press Enter.
Step 4: Type select disk X command and press Enter (Replace X with the disk number of your RAW storage device).
Step 5: Type list volume command and press Enter.
Step 6: Type select volume X command and press Enter (Replace X with the volume number of your RAW partition).
Step 7: Type format fs=ntfs label=volume label quick and press Enter to execute the format. When the format completes, you will see message showing "Diskpart successfully formatted the volume".
Fix 7: A local specialist
If your external hard drive detected but not showing up in Disk Management or your RAW hard drive has a hardware issue, send it to a local specialist for data recovery help.
Fix 8: Consider a replacement
If your external hard drive has physicaly failed and don't worry about data loss, purchase a new hard drive and replace it.
Why Does Your Hard Drive Unexpectedly Become RAW?
There are quite a lot of reasons that may cause your hard drive to become RAW file system. Here below is a list of causes which may make it impossible to access data of your drive or partitions:
1. Bad sectors
If your hard drive has bad sectors, the operating system won't recognize it, and it'll become RAW. The typical error is: Drive not accessible, data error (cyclic redundancy check).
2. File system corrupt
One of RAW drive cause reasons is file system corruption, so a damaged file system structure will always read RAW.
3. Partition table corruption
If you have a corrupted partition table, the operating system will fail to recognize the NTFS file system and read as RAW.
4. Malware and virus attacks
Malware and virus attacks can damage critical data of the file system such as the boot sector and partition table.
5. Unsafe ejection
Many people are fond of ejecting the external hard drive without pulling it out safely. This usually causes hardware issue, corruption, and damage to the external hard drive.
6. Unexpected shutdown
While using the external hard drive, you might encounter shut down due to damage and corruption.
How to Prevent RAW Hard Drive Data Loss Again?
The best way to prevent data loss is by creating frequent file backups. There are several free backup software such as Paragon Backup and Recovery Free, Macrium Reflect Free, and Aomei Backupper Standard. You can pick one of the software to create a backup for your files. If you lose your crucial data, you can always restore them from the backup without worries.