Cannot Format RAW Drives? Fixed!

Cannot format RAW drives! Get the corresponding ways to recover data from RAW drives and convert RAW to NTFS or FAT32 file systems in this article.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Cannot format RAW drives!


My hard drive is dying or dead? The file system changed to RAW, and I can’t open this drive anymore. Not to mention format it. Is there any way to get my data back without formatting? Thanks.

- A user from Toms Hardware

When the file system of your drive is missing or corrupted, it will become RAW. Besides, if your drive is not formatted with any file system, it also can turn RAW. Then your drive automatically become unreadable by any operating system.

If you double-click your connected RAW drive in File Explorer, you will automatically receive this error message: You need to format the disk in drive H: before you can use it.


But disk formatting or initialization can erase all the existing data on your RAW drive. If you desire to keep its data, please click the Cancel button in File Explorer. You’ll see another error message as follows.


Is it possible to format RAW drives without losing data?

If you want to format your RAW drives without losing data, you’re supposed to recover deleted & missing files from your RAW drives first. Then you’re ready to convert RAW to NTFS or FAT32 file systems without losing data via the second part.

Part 1. How to recover data from RAW drives?

How to recover deleted & missing files from RAW drives with ease? A powerful third-party tool like MyRecover could be your top choice because highly-praised data recovery software can avoid many blind spots and try its best to recover data from RAW drives as much as possible.  

Key features of MyRecover:   
All-inclusive: Apply to a variety of data loss scenarios such as deletion, disk formatting, system crashes, or virus attacks.
High-efficiency: Recover 200+ types of files such as MS Office and WPS files, folders, compressed files, photos, audio, songs, videos, websites, etc.   
Advanced scanning method: MyRecover runs Quick Scan & Deep Scan automatically to search all the recoverable files. Specify the filename, saved path, date, or size to filter your needed files.
Convenience: Retain the original filename, path, and format for the deleted files.   
Excellent compatibility: Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems.

Don’t hesitate to download MyRecover on your Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Server PC!

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. After launching MyRecover, hover the mouse over the RAW drive and click Scan.

Start Scan

Step 2. It will automatically scan your RAW drive and display all the found files. You can filter and preview needed data based on Document types (eg: Word documents). 


Step 3. Go to the Other Missing Files folder and select the data you want. Then click “Recover x files” to begin the Windows data recovery process.

Restore RAW Data from External Hard Drive


  • After recovery, you’d better store these retrieved files in another partition instead of the original RAW drive.
  • Upgrading MyRecover to the Professional or Technician edition is a more cost-effective solution if you desire a batch recovery of deleted and missing documents from local drives.

Part 2. How do I fix a hard drive that won’t format?

After retrieving recoverable data from your RAW drive, you can format your RAW drive. When you cannot format RAW drives via Windows File Explorer, you can refer to the following solutions to format and convert file systems.

Fix 1. Run Diskpart to format the SD card from RAW to NTFS

Diskpart is a feasible fix for you to convert RAW to NTFS without losing data because it can manage your PC’s drives (disks, partitions, or volumes).

Step 1. Press “Win + R” and type “diskpart” in the Run box. Then hit “Enter” or click “OK” to open it.

Step 2. Type the following command prompt in the window one by one and hit “Enter” after each line.

  • list disk
  • select x (x refers to the disk number of your connected SD card.)
  • clean(The clean command can wipe out all the data on your SD card.)
  • create partition primary
  • format fs=ntfs quick (or format fs=fat32 quick)
  • exit


Fix 2. Format the SD card via Disk Management

Although diskpart is useful, ordinary users cannot format RAW to NTFS using CMD. Then you can seek help from Disk Management, designed to perform advanced storage tasks.

Step 1. Press “Win + X” and select “Disk Management” to open this Window system utility.


Step 2. Right-click on your RAW drive and click the “Format” button.


Step 3. Select the NTFS file system and click “OK” to save your changes.


Fix 3. Format the SD card via AOMEI Partition Assistant

Apart from that, powerful partition recovery software-AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard can also help you format and convert file systems without paying.   

Other highlights of AOMEI Partition Assistant: 
Deal with fixing errors using CHKDSK.exe, disk formatting, merge partitions, partition creation, partition resize, etc.
Perform disk conversion between MBR and GPT, OS migration, etc.  
Support Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP (32/64-bit) computers.
Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. After running this free demo on your Windows PC, right-click on your selected RAW disk and select the “Format Partition” option.


Step 2. Select the FAT32 file system and click the “OK” button.


Please click “Apply” to save these changes and wait patiently.

In conclusion

If you cannot format RAW drives via File Explorer, you can refer to the second part to convert RAW to NTFS or FAT32 file systems. But before that, you’d better recover data from RAW drives via MyRecover. Otherwise, you’ll suffer the second damage.

To prevent data loss at the source, it’s time for you to make regular backups via this free backup software for Windows, AOMEI Backupper to back up files, folders, partitions, disks, or systems.

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.