Has your PC ever run into problems when its "file system is RAW"? How to fix it? Don't panic; this post will offer some effective methods to recover files from the RAW partition, as well as methods to convert RAW to NTFS without losing data or format RAW to NTFS in Windows 7/8/10.

Disk Partition Becomes RAW

Generally speaking, RAW refers to a file system which is not formatted by the NT file system, such as NTFS and FAT. Actually, many storage devices can run into the RAW issue, such as hard disk, external hard drive, USB drive, SD card, memory card, portable storage device, and more.

If a device doesn’t have a file system, no files or folders can exist on said device. Namely, a RAW partition cannot be used to store data before it is formatted. In a word, once your disk becomes RAW format, it is not allowed to access the target partition. You can find the RAW partition in the Windows built-in Disk Management utility. 

RAW partition in Disk Management

Usually, some related RAW issues and situations may occur:

  • You need to format the disk in drive X before you can use it. Do you want to format it?
  • The type of the file system is RAW.CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives.
  • Disk space is 0 bytes.
  • Invalid media type reading drive. Abort, Retry, Fail?
  • File names contain “weird” characters, “Sector not found” messages.

If your NTFS partition accidentally turned RAW format, how can you convert RAW to NTFS to get data back? Find effective solutions in the following part.

How to Convert RAW to NTFS without Losing Data in Windows 7/8/10

In general, the reasons for this issue can vary in Windows 7/8/10. The causes could be partition table damage, bad sectors, file system structure damage, disk damage, etc. Due to different reasons, the solutions to convert RAW to NTFS are also different. Keep reading to learn how to fix RAW hard drive to NTFS with step by step guide in different cases.

Solution 1: Recover RAW Partition to NTFS via Partition Recovery

As you know, the partition table and volume boot sector are two places where you can store the partition information. Once partition table on your external drive gets corrupted or damaged, Windows will no longer be able to read this disk for any reason, and it will report your disk as RAW.

Although the data is still there, the RAW format partition cannot be accessed. In this case, data recovery should be the first thing to do in Windows 7/8/10. How to recover data from RAW storage device and then format RAW to NTFS without data loss?

Fortunately, MiniTool Partition Wizard has an ability to recover RAW drive partition data. As a reliable and professional manager software, coming with many powerful features, it is compatible with several operating systems including Windows Vista/XP/7/8/8.1/10. To recover data from RAW disk, it has a very useful feature called Partition Recovery.

Note: This feature is a paid function. Here we highly recommend its Pro Ultimate Edition. Just get it from the following button, or you can download the Free Edition of this RAW to NTFS converter to check if it can scan lost partitions. If so, upgrade to the full edition so you can save your data when the scanning process finishes.

MiniTool Partition Wizard FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 1: Choose a Feature

  1. Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard to its main interface.
  2. Choose the Partition Recovery feature from the context menu or Check Disk drop-down menu.
1. If the RAW issue was caused by damaged partition table and boot sector, here you will find all volumes on your external hard drive have become unallocated space in Partition Wizard. (In Disk Management, partition shows “RAW”.) This case has been tested by Windows 7 users, and please click this question Recover a flash drive turned RAW from sevenforums to learn the detailed information.
2. Note that you should never create a new partition on the unallocated disk, or else partition recovery will fail.

use partition recovery feature to convert RAW to NTFS

Step 2: Choose a Scanning Range

  1. Full Disk: This mode is suitable for scanning the entire disk.
  2. Unallocated Space: It only scans the free space on your selected disk.
  3. Specified Range: It is useful to scan specified sectors.

choose scanning range

Step 3: Select a Method for Scan

  1. There are two options and set a scanning method for the specified scanning range.
  2. Quick Scan and Full Scan are two scanning methods. The former can restore lost/deleted partitions which are continuous and the latter is designed to scan each sector of the scanning range you have chosen.

choose scanning method

Step 4: Choose Partitions to Continue

  1. After finishing the scanning, all partitions on your external hard drive will be listed here and then please select the partitions you need.
  2. Click Finish.

check all found partitions

Use Preview feature to preview all data in this RAW partition. Double-clicking this partition which is in the RAW file system in Disk Management, and then all partition data will be displayed. Check whether the files, documents, photos, pictures, etc. are your needs.

explore the recovered partition

Step 5: Execute All Changes

  1. Go back to the main interface of MiniTool Partition Wizard software, then you can preview all RAW partitions that will be converted to NTFS.
  2. Hit the Apply button to perform a RAW drive partition recovery operation in Windows 7/8/10.

click Apply to recover RAW partition to NTFS

Note: After finishing RAW recovery, all partitions don’t have a drive letter. So please use MiniTool Partition Wizard to assign a drive letter with the Change Letter feature.

With the help of the feature Partition Recovery, it is very easy to retrieve RAW partition and convert RAW to NTFS without losing data when partition table damage happens. Just get it to have a try and share it with your friends.

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Solution 2: Format RAW to NTFS

If your hard drive becomes RAW due to virus attack, improper operations, bad sectors or power outage, you can try to format this RAW partition to NTFS.

However, if there are many files saved on your disk, formatting will erase those files. To convert RAW to NTFS without losing data, firstly get RAW files back and then start to format.

Operation 1: Recover Data from RAW Drive

Here MiniTool Partition Wizard Pro Ultimate Edition can also help you since it has the Data Recovery feature, allowing you to recover data from RAW partition easily in Windows 7/8/10. How can you retrieve data from RAW partition? Follow the below detailed steps now!

Step 1: Right-click on the RAW drive to choose Data Recovery or choose this feature from Check Partition.

MiniTool Partition Wizard Data Recovery feature

Step 2: Then, this RAW to NTFS converter will start a partition scan. Just wait patiently.

Step 3: After the deep scan, find the files you need and check them, then click the Save button to store files to a safe location.

Note: Do not save files on the RAW drive to its original place.

recover data from RAW drive

Tip: In addition to MiniTool Partition Wizard, you can also use professional Data Recovery software, MiniTool Power Data Recovery, to retrieve data from RAW partitions. 

Operation 2: Format RAW to NTFS

After finishing all steps of recovery, now it’s time to format RAW hard drive to NTFS. Follow the four format options below now.

① Format RAW Drive in Disk Management

Usually, in Disk Management, you probably right-click on the RAW drive and select Format to convert RAW to NTFS on the external hard drive in Windows 7/8/10.

Sometimes you can do this successfully, however, sometimes an error message saying “The format did not complete successfully ” appears. Please try another way.

Format in Windows Explorer

When opening Windows Explorer and clicking the RAW partition, a warning will appear like so – “you need to format the disk in drive X before you can use it, do you want to format it”. If you right-click it to format your RAW partition on the external hard drive, sometimes you may come across the format failure message “Windows was unable to complete the format”.

What should you do if Windows Disk Management and Windows Explorer both fail to format RAW to NTFS? Try to convert RAW to NTFS file system partition with CMD.

Convert RAW to NTFS CMD

When searching for the answers to “RAW external hard drive fix” online, a topic about failing to format from tomshardware forum shows a useful solution that is to use diskpart to recover RAW partition to NTFS in Windows 7/8/10. How to convert RAW to NTFS file system with CMD? Just follow the guide.

Type Command Prompt in the search box of Windows, and select it. Run Command Prompt as Administrator, and then enter the following commands (each ends up with the Enter key.) to do external hard drive raw format fix.


list disk: all disks will be displayed.

select disk n: n means the disk number of your external hard drive which contains the RAW partition

clean: remove all partitions

create partition primary


Now, all steps to convert RAW to NTFS in DOS have been shown. If you don’t want to use this tool, try the next one.

Convert RAW to NTFS by MiniTool Partition Wizard

In addition to the above three options of format, you can also ask the RAW format tool – MiniTool Partition Wizard for help. This partition manager can help you easily format RAW to NTFS.

Step 1: In Disk Management, the partition is in RAW file system. In the main interface of Partition Wizard, you will find the RAW drive shows “Other”. Please click the Format Partition feature from the Partition Management menu or Format from the context menu.

format RAW drive to NTFS with MiniTool Partition Wizard

Step 2: Select NTFS as the file system from the list. During the process, it is allowed to set the partition label and change cluster size for the target partition.

format RAW to NTFS

Step 3: Click Apply to make this change effective.

click Apply to format RAW to NTFS

If you have another RAW partition on your hard drive showing “unformatted” here, you can try the above format tools to format the RAW disk to NTFS in Windows 7/8/10, just like the above simple steps show.

Tip: If you don’t want to format RAW drive to NTFS, you also have a choice. The professional solution is available and you can follow it to convert RAW to NTFS without formatting right now. Turn to the next way.

Solution 3: Check RAW File System

Convert RAW to NTFS without Losing Data Command Prompt

If your external hard drive becomes RAW, maybe you can choose the CHKDSK cmd tool to find and repair file system errors to convert RAW drive to NTFS without data loss. Usually when you open diskpart to start the check, “CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives” error appears.

CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives

But sometimes “CHKDSK X: /f” commands can be done successfully. Why? Sometimes in Disk Management, your partition shows RAW file system. But in fact, it is not recognized as RAW by diskpart due to some unknown reasons. So you can try this solution in Windows 7/8/10.

Run MiniTool Partition Wizard

If you also fail to convert RAW to NTFS on external HDD by CHKDSK, MiniTool Partition Wizard is also useful. When launching it to the main interface, perhaps your partition which shows RAW in Disk Management shows as NTFS file system here.

At this time, you can reboot your computer. If the partition is still normal in Partition Wizard, it is most likely the key file system information is corrupted. So please check and fix file system now. Try the following steps.

Step 1: Right-click on the target drive to select Check File System.

check file system using MiniTool Partition Wizard

Step 2: Then in the pop-up window, there are two options for choice. Here select Check & fix detected errors. And then click Start to continue.

check and fix detected errors

In solution 2 and 3, MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition can format the partition and check file system error so as to convert RAW to NTFS. If you are interested in this tool, get RAW to NTFS converter free download now.

MiniTool Partition Wizard FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

In addition to the above ways, there are two possible methods, such as change limits of authority and change drive letter. If all ways are not working, it is most likely that your external hard drive suffer physical damages. So in this case, you only need to replace this disk in Windows 7/8/10. Besides, you are recommended to back up files regularly so as to keep them safe. 

Bottom Line

Has your external hard drive become RAW in Windows 10/8/7? The most important thing should be to convert RAW to NTFS. This post introduces you multiple solutions to get RAW data back and recover RAW partition to NTFS. Please try them according to your needs.

If you have any suggestion or questions, welcome to leave a comment below or email us via [email protected].

Convert RAW to NTFS FAQ

How do I fix a RAW hard drive to NTFS?
To fix a RAW hard drive to NTFS, you can get solutions from this post – How to Fix External Hard Disk Suddenly Became Raw.
How can I convert RAW to NTFS?
  1. Perform partition recovery
  2. Recover data from the raw partition
  3. Format the RAW drive
  4. Check the RAW file system
How do I fix a RAW hard drive without formatting?
If the hard drive shows unallocated space in MiniTool Partition Wizard, you can perform partition recovery. If it isn’t unallocated space, you can check the file system or recover data from the raw drive and format it to NTFS without data loss.
How do I format a RAW file system?
  1. Use Disk Management
  2. Use Windows Explorer
  3. Run CMD Command Prompt
  4. Use MiniTool Partition Wizard
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