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Summary :

Whether you want to recover data from RAW or fix the RAW drive without losing data, you will need the help of MiniTool Software. In this article, I’ll analyze the RAW drive format and the related problems; then, provide corresponding solutions and fixes. Hope you can solve any problems regarding RAW drives smoothly.

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What Is RAW

What’s RAW? To be specific, RAW is the default file system of CD-ROM recognized by Windows. In DVD burning methods, there is a RAW mode that refers to burning after reading the complete sector data. It can extract not only users’ data but also data of sub-channels. However, not all burners give support for RAW mode.

What is RAW partition?

Literally, the hard drive which has not been formatted by NT file system, such as FAT and NTFS, is called RAW hard drive or RAW partition. However, from this perspective, nothing should be included in a RAW hard drive/RAW partition; no drive can be put into use for saving data before it is actually formatted.

Why there are so many people want to recover data from RAW? In fact, that is because a hard drive/partition can turn into RAW after encountering problems like virus attack and improper operation.

This post tells you exactly how to recover files from RAW drive after virus attack.

recover data from RAW

In fact, the RAW hard drive problem includes two situations.

  1. One is that the whole hard drive has become RAW.
  2. The other is just one partition of a hard drive that has turned into RAW.

Next, let’s dive into them one by one.

RAW Hard Drive – the Whole Disk Is RAW

If the operating system you are running now can’t recognize the file system of your hard drive at a certain moment, the state of the hard drive becomes RAW. At this time, the hard drive will not allow any access to its storage. Meanwhile, its capacity, used space, and unused space will all be shown as “zero”. That is to say, all data originally saved in that “RAW” disk are lost. You can neither see them nor transfer them to a safe place for further use. What a tragedy it will be if it includes files of great importance.

How to recover 0 bytes files?

RAW hard drive

It is worth noting that both internal hard drive and external hard drive can become RAW due to inappropriate operation or virus invasion.

RAW Hard Drive Partition – Only One Partition Is Inaccessible

When damage is only brought to one partition on a hard drive, you’ll find find that other partitions are still in normal state except for this partition, whose file system is RAW now. If you click on the drive, an error message will pop up to show that this drive is not accessible.

  • The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable
  • You need to format the disk

RAW partition

In this case, choosing to format the drive will help you enter it successfully. However, the formatting will be harmful to the data inside and possibly cause it all to be gone. Therefore, do not consider the idea of formatting the RAW partition to make it work properly - this will be done at the cost of losing useful data.

How to fix RAW hard drive to NTFS? You’ll need to recover all data successfully before changing the drive to NTFS.

How to Recover Data from RAW

In this part, I’ll talk about how to recover data from RAW in the above two situations respectively.

  • How to recover files from RAW internal/external hard drive
  • How to recover files from RAW partition

3 Ways to Recover Data from a RAW Hard Drive

Let's start with a true example on how to recover files from RAW drive:

Hi, I had extra space on a hard drive so I extended it in disk management but I did not format it as I had data on it. And now it is showing as a RAW HD and I cannot open it without formatting the drive. Is there any way to recover the date that I know is still on it?- from Tomshardware

Before the recovery:

You must stay calm even if the whole hard drive becomes RAW. You need to keep 3 things in mind:

  • It’s no use wasting time on regret.
  • A worried mood can’t help you make the right decision on what to do next.
  • You must stop writing any data to the RAW drive before you get all important data restored.

Then, you should choose one of the following ways to complete RAW drive data recovery step by step.

The first way: use data recovery software.

How to recover files from RAW external hard drive?

  1. Install and run MiniTool Power Data Recovery.
  2. Choose Hard Disk Drive from the main window.
  3. Select the RAW hard drive and press Scan to detect files in it.
  4. Browse the scan result during or at the end of the scan.
  5. Check the files you need and click on the Save button to choose a partition for storing them.
  6. Click on the OK button to confirm your selection.

Free Download

browse the scan result

Note: The Trial Edition I used in this way is only able to help you scan the RAW hard drive and list the data it finds; it will prevent you from recovering any files by giving a prompt window to show you the limitations. You’d better upgrade to the full version as suggested so as to complete the RAW drive recovery.

trial edition limitations

The second way: rebuild disk partition table.

  1. Call the system built-in fix program after discovering the RAW problem.
  2. Download practical tool to repair the hard disk boot record.
  3. Rebuild hard disk partition table with a special tool.

If you’d like to fix RAW partition without losing data, the last step is to recover data from RAW (MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a good choice for even green hands to recover lost files).

The third way: make use of the powerful tool – WINHEX.

  1. Choose the RAW hard drive.
  2. Scan for lost partitions.
  3. Open found partitions.
  4. Select the files that can be and need to be recovered.
  5. Set a location to store files.

3 Ways to Fix RAW Partition without Losing Data

There are also 3 ways that can be adopted to recover data from RAW partition.

The first way: use MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

  1. Install and run the data powerful data recovery software.
  2. Choose This PC from the main window.
  3. Select the RAW partition and double-click on it to scan. (To recover only certain types of files, you may click on the Settings button and choose to do an extra search for known file types.)
  4. Browse all the items found by the software carefully.
  5. Check needed files and press the Save button to recover them (the appointed storage location for recovered data can’t be the original RAW partition).

extra search for known file types

Note: If it is the hard drive/partition containing system becomes RAW (internal hard drive corrupted), you will need the help of MiniTool Power Data Recovery Boot Disk to recover data. The main functions of this tool are basically the same as that of the Windows Version. The only difference is that it can help you access the RAW drive & recover data without a system.

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The second way: add local user.

  1. Right click on the RAW partition and choose property.
  2. Select security settings.
  3. Delete useless users and messy codes.
  4. Add a local user.

The third way: change sharing and security model.

  1. Click Management Tool from Action Panel.
  2. Find Security Settings in Local Security Policy window.
  3. Find the sharing and security model for local accounts.
  4. Change guest only to classic.

Security Settings

How to configure security policy settings in Windows 10?

How to fix RAW hard drive to NTFS?

  1. Get, install, and launch MiniTool Partition Wizard.
  2. Select the RAW drive from the right pane (if the RAW drive is an external one, please connect it to your computer now).
  3. Click Format Partition feature from the left pane.
  4. Select NTFS as the file system and click OK to confirm.
  5. Click Apply in the main interface to execute changes.

Format Partition

Possible Causes of RAW Drive

6 Causes for a Hard Drive to Become RAW

In general, there can be various causes that a drive could become RAW. It is hard to pinpoint which exactly is the cause.

For instance, suppose you are late for work today. The result is that you are late, but the reason is not clear - traffic jam, illness, emergency and a lot of other things could be the reason why you didn’t arrive to the workplace on time.

Likewise, the state of a hard drive could turn into RAW due to different factors. Now, I’m on my way, to sum up the common reasons and display them.

One: partition table damage.

No matter what the reason is, once the partition table of the hard drive has been damaged, the whole hard drive will become RAW. The OS can only identify different partitions with the help of partition table, which records the size, location, type and other information of every partition in the disk.

Read this page if you are interested in partition table recovery:

Simple Tips For Data Recovery From Partition Table Issues

Indeed, partition table recovery can be quite an easy job as long as you have an easy-to-use third-party tool to help you.

Read More

Two: reinstallation or restoration of the operating system.

You may choose to reinstall the OS you are running now or restore it to the initial state for different reasons.

Three: virus attack.

Computer viruses and ransomware are widespread throughout the world. They should be responsible for many undesired problems, such as documents loss, photo missing, partition loss, system crash, and file system crash. The hard drive will be turned into the RAW state after viruses have attacked the hard drive and changed/deleted some vital parameters and information.

Ransomware prevention is important!

Four: file system structural damage.

If the RAW problems occur without an obvious sign or reason, you need to analyze the causes manually. If you are not proficient in such work, you can resort to professional tools like WINHEX.

file system structure

Five: bad sectors.

If you click on the letter of the hard drive only to find the responding speed to be very slow, it means that there are bad sectors in the key area of the hard drive. Under this circumstance, a professional tool is required to mirror the hard drive and find the location of the bad sectors. You are supposed to carry out data recovery only when this step has been done for the sake of security consideration.

Six: hard disk drive cable problem.

In rare cases, a hard drive may be shown as RAW in the computer due to cable issues. For instance, when the cable is broken, the hard drive can’t be listed in a computer with a normal state. In addition, if the interface of an external hard drive has a bad contact, you won't get a chance to see it listed in the computer.

3 Possible Causes for a Partition to Become RAW

You may see the following errors when you are trying to getting access to a hard drive partition so as to make use of data in it.

  • The disk in drive F: is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?
  • You need to format the disk in drive D: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?
  • 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.

The volume does not contain a recognized file system

Please don’t format the partition as the prompt suggested you to do; there’s also no need to freak out when the above errors show up. You need to calm down and do the best you can to recover data from the RAW hard drive.

However, you should know the probable reasons leading to RAW trouble.

One: virus invasion.

If part of the hard drive partition table with partition information like partition starting position and ending position has been damaged or corrupted because of being infected by computer viruses, the corresponding partition will be given a RAW file system.

Two: system reinstallation.

If the current system partition is formatted with FAT, but it is changed to NTFS when you replace the old operating system with a new one, you may find that the file system of the system partition can’t be recognized by OS anymore.

Three: too many hard drives and partitions.

Having too many hard drives and partitions being used in one computer simultaneously will probably bring RAW partition issue as well.

To sum up, the reasons for a partition to become RAW differ and you can hardly know the accurate cause of it. All you need to and can do is sparing no effort to try to figure out the real reason.

Note: Sometimes, you may find a partition in the Windows Disk Management without a file system type (rather than with a RAW file system). Actually, both cases are similar to each other and timely data recovery should be carried out to minimize or even eliminate losses.

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Closing Words

This is the end of how to recover data from RAW and why RAW drive appears. After reading the above content, you must have noticed that lots of factors can lead to the hard drive RAW problem. However, although RAW drive data recovery can be finished completely sometimes, it is still advisable for you to backup hard drive regularly. In this way, you can fix RAW partition without losing data.

In a word, data backup is a very important way to protect significant data. But if no backup is available, ask MiniTool Power Data Recovery for help. It won't disappoint you.

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