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

Updated by Tim to RAW to NTFS on October 15th, 2020

Chkdsk (short for check disk) is a system tool built-in Windows OS, it verifies the file system integrity of a volume and fixes logical errors in the file system.

After one drive became RAW file system, we usually use chkdsk /f command to fix RAW external hard drive, hard drive, USB drive, SD card, etc., but chkdsk always reports an error message: 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 file system? 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 should we fix the RAW partition when the type of the file system is RAW, chkdsk is not available for RAW drives in Windows 10/8/7/XP and Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003?

How to fix 'chkdsk is not available for RAW drives' with software?

Following are several solutions to fix 'chkdsk is not available for RAW drives' on USB drive, SD card, flash drive, external hard drive in Windows 10/8/7/XP and Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003.

Solution 1: Fix 'chkdsk is not available for RAW drives' with RAW partition recovery

M3 Data Recovery is a RAW partition recovery and RAW drive data recovery software which can solve "chkdsk is not available for RAW drives" issue by converting RAW to NTFS/FAT32 without data loss or recovering lost data from the RAW drive.

Step 1: Install and launch M3 Data Recovery software. After that, please select RAW Drive Recovery module.

RAW drive recovery software

Step 2: Choose the RAW drive.

Select RAW drive to fix chkdsk RAW error

Step 3: Click Next to scan the RAW drive you want to recover or fix.

Scan RAW drive to fix chkdsk RAW error

Step 4: After fixing RAW drive, please check the files in RAW drive before recovering.

Fix chkdsk is not available for RAW drives error

Step 5: Click "Fix Drive" to fix RAW drive, you will see RAW drive will become NTFS/FAT32 file system and acess the drive as normal.

If RAW drive cannot be fixed, please go to solution 2 and recover lost data from the RAW drive with M3 Data Recovery software.

Solution 2: Fix 'chkdsk is not available for RAW drives' with RAW drive data recovery

Step 1: Launch M3 Data Recovery software and choose the Data Recovery module.

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

Scan RAW drive with M3 Data Recovery

Step 3: Select the files you want to recover and then save them.

Recover lost data from RAW drive

Besides solving RAW drive issue, M3 Data Recovery software can also recover lost 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.

Solution 3: Fix 'chkdsk is not available for RAW drives' on BitLocker encrypted drive

If the RAW drive was BitLocker encrypted, M3 Data Recovery is also a professional BitLocker data recovery software which can recover lost data from the BitLocker encrypted drive.

Step 1: Launch M3 Data Recovery software and select BitLocker Recovery module.

Step 2: Select the BitLocker encrypted drive and click Next to continue.

Select BitLocker encrypted drive in M3 Data Recovery

Step 3: Enter the password or BitLocker recovery key and click OK to scan lost data from the selected BitLocker encrypted drive.

Scan data from RAW BitLocker encrypted drive

Step 4: After the scan completes, the lost files will be listed as below window, then select the files you need and start recovery process.

Recover lost data from RAW BitLocker encrypted drive

If the RAW drive was encrypted by other encryption tool, you need to unlock this RAW drive before using M3 Data Recovery software, otherwise, M3 Data Recovery software doesn't and won't decrypt the recovered files.

Solution 4: Fix 'chkdsk is not available for RAW drives' on C: drive

After the C: drive became RAW file system, we are unable to boot Windows computer, in this situation, we need to create a bootable media and fix it.

Step 1: Download M3 Data Recovery WinPE bootable media iso file.

Step 2: Create M3 Data Recovery WinPE bootable media with a burning tool.

Step 3: Boot the failed Windows computer from M3 Data Recovery WinPE bootable media.

Step 4: Choose Data Recovery module to recover lost data from C: drive or choose RAW Drive Recovery module to fix the RAW drive.

How to fix 'chkdsk is not available for RAW drives' without software?

Following are several solutions to fix 'chkdsk is not available for RAW drives' without any software:

Solution 5: Fix the RAW drive by reformatting

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

Step 1: Right click 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

Step 4: Click Start to reformat the RAW drive to NTFS file system.

If there is important data stored in the RAW drive, just follow solution 2 to recover lost data from the RAW drive and then reformat it after data recovery is successfully done.

Solution 6: Fix the RAW drive using CMD

Before using CMD to fix 'chkdsk is not available for RAW drives', please follow solution 2 to recover lost data from the RAW drive if there is important data stored in this RAW drive.

Step 1: Go to the start menu, type in "cmd" in the search bar.

Step 2: Right click cmd.exe and choose "Run as Administrator".

Step 3: Type diskpart to open the diskpart command prompt.

Step 4: Type list volume, press Enter, all the volume will be list.

Step 5: Type select volume n, press Enter, the volume you want to format will be selected.

Step 6: Type "format fs=ntfs quick" and press Enter. After format completes, the RAW drive will be NTFS.

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.

Solution 7: Ask for help from a local data recovery specialist

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

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 M3 Data Recovery software:

Data not found by M3 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).

What is the RAW drive?

RAW drive also calls RAW file system or unknown file system, RAW file system simply means that the file system is not recognized by Windows OS. Therefore all the available file system drivers are unable to mount the file system as a drive. This often happens when the records determining the file system type or location on the disk are damaged or corrupted, usually it is the partition table (MBR) or the boot sector (DBR).

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.

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