SD card RAW? This post will show you how to solve the issue SD card Raw and help you recover data from the raw SD card. Thus, you can try using MiniTool Power Data Recovery to effectively recover photos from RAW SD card.

Last week, I could not access my camera memory card. I received an error message "Card not formatted, format card with this camera." Then, I connected this card to my PC, and I found it was displayed as RAW in Disk Management. However, this card contains massive important photos. Now, what should I do? How can I do SD card RAW recovery? Who can help me to recover lost photos from RAW SD card?

Top recommendation: Want to know more information about the "card not formatted" error? Now, you can read our previous post "How to Recover Photos from SD Card without Formatting" to know how to fix the "SD card not formatted" error with ease.

Generally, if your SD card becomes RAW, you can try the following 2 solutions to do SD card RAW recovery.

Tip: MiniTool Power Data Recovery - Helps you recover any photos and videos from camera RAW SD/memory card. Use it to recover any deleted/lost files, photos, videos, etc. from PC, HDD, SSD, SD/memory card, USB drive in a few clicks. 100% clean program.

Free Download

Solution 1: Repair RAW SD Card by Using CMD without Formatting

(Here, we take Windows 10 for example.)

Experienced users may try using diskpart commands to repair the RAW SD card.

1) Connect the not formatted SD card to PC.

2) Click Start menu.

3) Type Command Prompt into Start.

4) Right click Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.

5) Type chkdsk [drive letter:] /r, and then press Enter.

For example, if your SD card reader is f:, you can use the following command: chkdsk f: /r.

6) Type exit and press Enter.

Command prompt will fix RAW SD card successfully while keeping all your data if you are fortunate enough. However, in many cases, this solution doesn't work, and you will receive the following message:

"The type of the file system is RAW.
CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives."

At this time, what should you do?

Want to know the best way to fix RAW SD card without damaging the original photos?

CHKDSK /F or /R | Difference Between CHKDSK /F and CHKDSK /R
CHKDSK /F or /R | Difference Between CHKDSK /F and CHKDSK /R

Wonder using CHKDSK /f or /r to check & fix hard disk errors? Check difference between CHKDSK /f and CHKDSK /r. Learn how to run CHKDSK /f /r Windows 10.

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Solution 2: SD Card RAW Recovery and Fix

Let's start with a true example:

My camera memory card is displayed as RAW file system and all taken photos cannot be accessed. But, some of them are needed in this Friday. So, I just come here and ask what I can do to re-access these photos. Do you have any idea? Is it right for me to format this card at first? Please, help me! Thanks!
Warning: You had better not format this SD card immediately. Otherwise, you will find it is difficult to recover lost photos.

Generally, people who successfully repair the RAW SD card do 2 things very well.

  1. First, they recover lost data from RAW SD card.
  2. Second, they fix the RAW SD card.

Let's discuss them one by one.

Part 1 - Recover Lost Photos from RAW SD Card

I think you will agree with me when I say:

"It is REALLY hard to recover lost photos from RAW SD card!"
Or is it?
Well, it turns out that you have a big chance to recover RAW SD card as long as the lost data has not been overwritten.
Now, I guess you might be wondering:
"How can we do SD card RAW recovery?"

As you know, with the development of the software technology, more and more data recovery software are now made available in the market which can help to recover lost files from RAW SD card.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery, developed by MiniTool Software Ltd., is recommended here because of its excellent performance, simple operations, and wizard-like interfaces. As a green, professional and simple photo recovery software, MiniTool Power Data Recovery can help to recover lost photos from camera without affecting the original data because it is a read-only tool. And, this professional photo recovery software can recover different types of photos like JPG, TIFF/TIF, PNG, BMP, GIF, PSD, CRW, CR2, NEF, ORF, RAF, SR2, MRW, DCR, WMF, DNG, ERF, RAW, etc. You can use this tool to recover any deleted/lost files, photos, videos, etc. from PC, memory card, USB, HDD, SSD, etc.

Now, let's see how to use this professional photo recovery software to recover RAW SD card photos.

Step-by-step Guide for SD Card RAW Recovery

Before you do:

1. Remove the not formatted memory card from your camera, and then connect it to your PC using a card reader.

2. Download and install this professional photo recovery software - MiniTool Power Data Recovery - on PC (do not install it on the drive containing lost data).

Free Download

Step 1: Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery to get into the main UI like below.


See! This professional photo recovery software not only can recover photos from memory card , but also can recover lost photos from USB disk, computer hard drive, external hard drive, etc..

Top recommendation: Free Recover Lost/Deleted Photos from Memory Card, Phone, Camera, etc.

Step 2: Select Removable Disk Drive in the left pane and select the RAW SD card in the right window, and then click Scan button.


MiniTool Power Data Recovery not only can scan photos but also can find video files. Therefore, sometimes, you will need to spend a lot of time in finding the data you want to recover. In this situation, you are supposed to make use of the "Settings" function.

Click "Settings" button to enter the following interface. You will find there are a lot of data types for you to choose from. At this time, you can choose suitable types according to actual needs. After that, click "OK" button to go back to the previous operating interface. For instance, if you only want to recover JPEG pictures, you can only click JPEG Camera file (*.jpg) as well as JPEG Graphics (*.jpg), as shown below.


Step 3: Preview and save all needed photos from the RAW SD card.

1) Preview photos.

2) Check all needed photos.

3) Click Save button in the lower right corner to get the interface of Save Files.

4) Click Browse… to specify a secure location to save the selected photos.

5) Click OK button.


When the professional photo recovery software – MiniTool Power Data Recovery executes all operations, the whole process to recover specified photos is completed.

GOOD NEWS! By using MiniTool Power Data Recovery, I quickly and effectively recovered lost photos from my RAW SD card without damaging the original data. Now, if you are still worrying about SD card RAW recovery, you can try this tool.Click to Tweet

In general, as long as the file loss is not caused by hardware failure, and lost file has not been overwritten by new data, you can recover it by using MiniTool Power Data Recovery because of its excellent performance. You can read our previous post "Recover Data from RAW File System, RAW Partition and RAW Drive Efficiently" to know more details.

However, if you use a Mac computer, then you can use a professional Mac data recovery software to recover photos and videos from RAW SD card of camera.

Part 2 - Fix RAW SD Card

After recovering all important photos via MiniTool Power Data Recovery or if there is no precious data on the RAW SD card, you can format the RAW card to NTFS or FAT32 file system. Here, MiniTool Partition Wizard is recommended here to help you repair RAW disk!

Top recommendation: To get more solutions to formatting a device, please visit: How to Format a Hard Drive with Ease?

1) Download Free MiniTool Partition Wizard, install it on computer, and launch it to get its main interface.

Free Download

2) Select the RAW SD card and right-click the partition on the RAW SD card. Choose Format option from the list.

3) Set partition label, file system and cluster size for the SD card and click OK.


4) Preview the formatted partition.

5) Click Apply button to execute the SD card formatting action.

After the formatting process is completed, you can reuse the SD card to store photos and other data again.

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After above steps, you've successfully recovered photos from RAW memory card and repaired the RAW file system. And now, I guess most users want to know what's RAW, and why their SD card becomes RAW, and whether they can prevent SD card becoming RAW.

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Overview of RAW SD Card

What Is RAW Drive?

What is RAW? In fact, RAW is a file system that Windows cannot recognize. RAW drive is a hard drive partition which has not been formatted with the file system neither FAT12/FAT16/FAT32/EXFAT nor NTFS/NTFS5.You cannot access a RAW hard drive without some recovery tools like MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

Symptoms of RAW File System

If your memory card turns to RAW file system, you may encounter the following messages:

1. Digital camera may show "the card is not formatted, format the card with this camera" when you open the camera and access to its photos.

2. If you connect your RAW memory card to SD card, you may receive this error message: "You need to format the disk before you can use it".

IMPORTANT: DO NOT FORMAT THE SD CARD if you need to recover data from it.

3. Sometimes, trying to access the data on the drive results in a message like "[Drive Letter]\ is not accessible. 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."

4. If you check the properties of RAW SD card, it shows 0 bytes in used space, free space and capacity. The file system changes to RAW format.

5. CHKDSK reports error message.
"The type of the file system is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives."

What Cause RAW SD Card?

RAW memory card can be caused by the following reasons:

  • Virus attack
  • Corrupted file system structure
  • Wrong or mistaken partitioning
  • Using inferior partitioning software
  • Improper ejection
  • Physical damage
  • Others.

How to Prevent SD Card from Becoming RAW?

Now, you know how to fix RAW SD card without losing data.
This is enough?

It is also very important to know how to prevent this issue from happening again. Here are some tips for avoiding RAW file system.

  • Every time you take out the SD card from the camera or mobile phone, you need to turn down the power first.
  • Don't forcefully unplug memory card from your computer. It is recommended to disconnect it from PC using "Safely Remove Hardware" feature.
  • Manage memory card with the help of reliable software if you really need an assistant.
  • Run antivirus software to scan the SD card regularly.
  • Protect your device and SD card from exterior damage such as scratch, squeeze, fire, water and so on.

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Are you still worrying about SD card RAW recovery?

Now, you can try MiniTool Power Data Recovery. This professional and read-only photo recovery software can help to recover lost photos from RAW SD card without affecting the original data.

Free Download

Should you have any questions or suggestions about MiniTool software, you can type your questions in the comment section below, or you can contact our support team via [email protected]. All ideas are welcome.

RAW SD Card Recovery FAQ

How do I recover files from a raw SD card?
  1. Connect SD card to PC.
  2. Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery.
  3. Select the Removable Disk Drive.
  4. Select the RAW SD card and click Scan.
  5. Check all needed files, and store them in a safe place.
How can I recover my damaged SD card without formatting?
  1. Connect the RAW SD card to PC.
  2. Click Start button, type Command prompt.
  3. Right click Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.
  4. Type chkdsk [drive letter]/r, and then press Enter.
  5. Type exit and press Enter.
How do I change my SD card from raw to NTFS?
  1. Connect SD card to your PC.
  2. Open This PC or My Computer.
  3. Right-click the RAW SD card, choose Format.
  4. Select the file system & allocation unit size, enter a volume label, select quick format and then Choose Start button.
  5. Click OK to confirm formatting SD card.
What is raw SD card?
RAW file system is a system error that the device encounters. If your SD card, hard drive, or memory card or other drive shows RAW file system, you cannot access its data. Formatting RAW drive is the fastest and most efficient way to fix RAW drive. However, formatting will delete the original data. It is recommended to recover lost data before formatting.
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