Fix & Recover RAW SD Card without Formatting (6 Ways)

With the possible reasons, you can easily fix RAW SD card without formatting in 6 useful methods. But if you end up using the formatting method, please recover your data on the SD card first.


By Ivy / Updated on April 2, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

When you try to open an SD card in File Explorer, but receive an error message like “You need to format the disk in Drive X: before you use it. Do you want to format it?”, this may be because your SD becomes RAW due to unknown reasons. At this time, it becomes inaccessible and you cannot get your data from it.

Format Disk

Worry not, you still can use data recovery software to recover RAW SD card without formatting. Also, there are several ways to fix RAW SD card without formatting. Please continue to read this article.

Why Does RAW SD Card Become RAW?

You may want to fix RAW SD card without formatting right now, but it’s still worth taking the time to learn the possible reasons. It may offer you a clue to fix and prevent this error from happening again. we have summarized for you the following common reasons:

  • The file system is corrupted or missing.
  • Incompatible file system.
  • Improper usage, such as abruptly eject without safe remove option, stop file transfer halfway, etc.
  • Virus attacks or malware infections make SD cards become RAW.
  • The quality of the SD card is poor. It often misreports their storage capacity, read or write speed, or both.

How to Recover Data from RAW SD Card

Before fixing the RAW SD card without formatting, it’s suggested to recover data from RAW SD card. Because handling a problematic device may make things worse, even causing data loss due to unknown reasons, misoperation, etc. If you end up using the formatting methods, it will delete all the data loss on it.

To get your data off RAW SD card easily and quickly, try the best Windows data recovery software - MyRecover to help you. It applies to comprehensive data loss scenarios such as virus attacks, malware infection, format, system crashes, etc. And you can enjoy the following features:

  • Recover Word documents, Excel files, PPT, pictures, videos, compressed files, etc, and more than 200+ file types.
  • Support two advanced scanning methods - Quick Scan and Deep Scan. It helps to find all the data stored on RAW SD card.
  • Preview or recover files during the scanning process. You are able to filter specific files if you don’t need to recover all of them on the RAW drive.
  • Recover data from RAW SD drive with a high success rate and fast speed, keeping its original file name, format, quality, and path.

To get started, download Windows data recovery software- MyRecover and install it on your Windows PC. Meanwhile, connect your SD card in RAW format as well.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Launch Windows data recovery software- MyRecover. Hover the mouse over the RAW SD card, and click Scan.


Note: You can identify the RAW SD card through its drive letter (if it has) or the capacity.

Step 2. The software will run Quick Scan & Deep Scan automatically and find all the data stored on RAW SD drive. Once any of files are found, it will display in the following window. You can then preview or select them to recover immediately.


Step 3. Select all the data on the RAW drive and click Recover XX files.



  • MyRecover will display the number of files to be recovered and their entire size. You can free recover files up to 500MB in total. To recover unlimited files, please upgrade MyRecover.
  • Select a new location to store files on the RAW SD drive. Retrieving files to original location may overwrite the space of deleted data, resulting in data recovery failure.
  • You still can use it to recover deleted files from Windows Server 2016, 2019, 2022, etc.

How to recover specific files on a RAW SD drive:

In MyRecover, you could directly type its file name in the Search for files or folders box. Or use the Filter feature. You need to select file type (eg: Word documents), date modified or size.

  • Type: It will contain all the file types in the local drive, such as, images, videos, documents, mails, webpage, compressed files, etc.
  • Data Modified: It supports today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days, and custom.
  • Size: It allows you to filter file size from less than 128KB to 128KB ~1MB to 1MB ~ 512MB and above, or custom.

Search for Word Files

How to Fix RAW SD Card without Formatting

As mentioned earlier, the formatting process will wipe your data. You probably don’t lose data due to this. So you can recover RAW SD card without formatting in the following 6 useful methods.

IMPORTANT: Please recover data from RAW SD card with data recovery software like MyRecover first. Or backup files to a safe place with free backup software like AOMEI Backupper Standard. Because fixing RAW SD card may cause data loss due to different reasons.

Way 1: Try Another USB Port, Card Reader, or PC

The reason your SD card becomes RAW may be it is not recognized well. To exclude this possibility, you need to check the following items.

  • Unlock your SD card and reconnect it. The SD has a small physical switch on the side, which locks and unlocks the SD card.
  • Clear your SD card or USB port for any dust and debris.
  • Try another USB port, card reader (if you are using a micro SD card), or different machine.

Way 2: Fix RAW SD Card using Error Checking Tool

If your SD card and connection does not have problems, try Error Checking tool. It is able to check the file system errors and fix them on your drive.

Step 1. Connect your RAW SD card to a Windows PC. Then, right-click it and select Properties.

Step 2. In the Properties window, go to the Tools tab and click Check under the Error Checking section.

properties tools check

Step 3. Click Scan Drive to find out file system errors and fix it.

scan drive

Way 3: Recover RAW SD Card using CHKDSK

CHKDSK is the command line version of the Error Checking tool, which is more flexible and has rich error-checking options. You need to connect your RAW SD card to a Windows PC.

Step 1. Right-click the Start menu and select Powershell (Admin).

Step 2. Type chkdsk G: /f /r or chkdsk G: /f /r /x and press Enter. It will start to check the drive for file system errors and fix them.



  • The G: refers to the drive letter of your SD card in RAW format.
  • The /f parameters tell it to fix errors on the disk.
  • The /r parameters tell it to locate bad sectors and recover readable information.
  • The /x parameters tell it to force the volume to dismount first if necessary.

If you receive the “CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives” error, try the other 3 methods below or directly format it.

Way 4: Assign a New Drive Letter for RAW SD Card

Your SD card became RAW, probably just because of the missing drive letter. You can choose to assign a new drive letter for it. Please connect your RAW SD card in advance.

Step 1. Right-click the Start menu and select Disk Management.

Step 2. Right-click the RAW SD card and select the Change Drive Letter and Path option.


Step 3. Click the Change option and select a new drive letter from the drop-down menu. Then, click OK.


Way 5: Reinstall SD Card Drivers

Windows will automatically install drivers for the newly connected drive but sometimes fails. You need to install drivers in the Device Manager manually.

Step 1. Right-click the Start menu and select Device Manager.

Step 2. Go to Disk drives. Find out your SD card, right-click it, and select Uninstall device.


Step 3. Restart your system and see if your SD card is accessible.

Way 6: Set RAW SD Card Active

Step 1. Type diskmgmt.msc in the search box and press Enter. It will direct you to Disk Management.

Step 2. Right-click the RAW SD card and select Mark Partition as Active.

Mark Partition as Active

Step 3. Go to File Explorer. Right-click the SD card and select Properties.

Step 4. Go to Security > Advanced, look for Owner and click Edit.


Step 5. Go to Other groups or users and click Advanced. Then, select the first user in the list and click OK.

How to Convert RAW SD Card to NTFS

If you still cannot recover RAW SD card without formatting, formatting is the only method to make your SD card usable. You have 3 available methods below.

Way 1: Format RAW SD Card to NTFS in File Explorer

Step 1. Open This PC. Right-click the RAW SD card and select Format.

Step 2. Select the NTFS file system and click Start.

Windows Quick Format


  • The quick format option deletes only the file system paths to your data on the RAW SD drive. If you uncheck it, it will overwrite data on this disk with zero.
  • You can also select any recognized file system based on your preferences, such as FAT32, FAT16, exFAT, etc.

Step 3. Click Yes in the prompt to start the formatting process.

Way 2: Convert RAW SD Drive to NTFS with Disk Management

Step 1. Right-click on the Windows icon and choose Disk Management. Then, find the SD drive labeled with RAW.


Step 2. Right-click the RAW SD drive and select Format.

Step 3. In the Format window, select file system- NTFS and click OK. You can also select FAT32, FAT16, exFAT, etc.

RAW File System to NTFS

Step 2. Click OK again when you see a formatting warning.

Way 3: Change RAW File System to NTFS using DiskPart

Step 1. Press Win + R and type diskpart in the Run window. Then, click OK to open it.

Step 2. Enter the following commands and press Enter after each line.

  • list disk
  • select disk M (M is the disk number of the RAW SD drive.)
  • clean (The clean command will delete all the data on the RAW SD drive.)
  • create partition primary
  • format fs=ntfs quick

Format RAW Drive to NTFS


  • If your RAW SD disk is write-protected, you could add the “attributes disk clear readonly” command to remove it before using the “clean” command.
  • If your RAW drive is just a partition on a disk, select the partition and format it to a recognized file system.

How to Prevent Your SD Card from Becoming RAW

The RAW file system is a not recognized “format”, so you cannot access your SD card and data on it if it becomes RAW. This also may cause data loss. To make it always usable, you need to follow the suggestions below:

  • Always get an SD card with high quality, such as SD card from a well-known brand manufacturer, such as SanDisk, Kingston, Samsung, etc.
  • Take good care of your SD card. For example, keep it in a dust-free and dry place, use the Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media option, don’t interrupt operation in the process, etc.
  • Use a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply).
  • Replace the SD card if you use it for a long time. According to the SD Card Association, most good-quality SD cards have a 10-year lifespan. If you are a heavy user, this may be shorter.
  • Format your SD card after it’s full or you delete files multiple times. This ensures it continues operating well. Remember to backup files in SD card beforehand.
  • Don’t visit unsafe websites and scan your computer for viruses periodically.


✍ How do I convert my RAW SD card to FAT32?

The methods are the same as converting RAW SD card to NTFS. You just need to select FAT32 as file system. In diskpart, type format fs=fat32 quick instead.

✍ Why is my SD card not allowing FAT32?

This is probably because your SD card is larger than 32GB. Microsoft only allow users to format SD card with 32 GB or lower capacity as FAT32. If this is your problem, try the NTFS file system.

✍ How do I fix a corrupted RAW SD card?

If your SD card is damaged, the most effective method is to format it and you have 3 common used methods. You can choose to fix a corrupted RAW SD card in File Explorer, Disk Management or Diskpart.

Concluding Words

This article introduces you to the possible reasons of RAW SD card and how to fix RAW SD card without formatting. If neither of them fixing this problem, you have to format RAW Disk to NTFS or other recognized file systems, such as FAT32, exFAT, etc.

Whether you format RAW SD card or not, there is a potential risk of data loss. So it’s suggested to recover data from RAW SD card or backup files to a safe place with free backup software like AOMEI Backupper Standard.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.