By Stephanie / Last update March 14, 2022

“I've resized my C:\ partition but now I can't boot anymore. I tried to use CHKDSK to analyze the disk but keep getting this error: CHKDSK does not support RAW disk. I suppose the partition is damaged or changed to RAW format. So, how can I restore it to NTFS or at least recover my data?”

A RAW partition indicates a partition without a file system that is recognized by the OS. "Raw partition error" does not usually occur, but exists. Data in the RAW partition will become inaccessible if the Windows operating system cannot recognize the partition. A local hard disk, an external hard disk, USB, and other storage devices can be affected.

Symptoms of partitions becoming RAW

You can view properties or Disk Management to check whether the file system is RAW. If your external hard disk or USB flash drive becomes RAW, you will get one of the following notifications on your computer:

✦✦

“The volume does not contain a recognized file system. Make sure that all the necessary file system drivers are loaded and the volume is not damaged”;

“Sector not found”

“Wrong media type media. Interrupt, Retry, Fail?”

"You need to format the disk in drive X before you can use it."

"The disk in drive X is not formatted. Do you want to format it?"

"There was an error accessing drive X: The disk is not formatted."

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

✦✦

format-disk

A raw file system partition is inaccessible. Unfortunately, when you get into one of the above situations, you cannot open files on a RAW partition, such as documents, images, emails, etc. If you have data in the partition to be formatted, all data on the partition will be lost.

Why a partition became RAW

There are various reasons why a partition became RAW. It is necessary to know what may lead to the RAW partition to prevent it in the future. We listed some main reasons below:

  • Virus infection or malware- Other malicious systems could damage disks. Virus attacks can cause a system crash, file encryption, and RAW partitions. It makes sense to use effective antivirus software to secure your data.
  • Bad sectors on the hard disk- When the file system is located on a hard drive bad sector, it can cause file system corruption and RAW partition.
  • Damaged file system structure or MBR partition table-An improper file system operation or MBR partition table loss can lead to RAW partition.
  • Unexpected power failure-The computer turns off suddenly due to a power outage when the logical disk is working, which can lead to file system damage and RAW partition.

Besides, the formatting process is interrupted and fails and the cable problems can be also the cause of RAW partition.

How to recover RAW partition?

There are three methods to recover RAW partition. If the data in the RAW partition isn’t important, you can format the partition directly and use the partition again. Otherwise, you’d better use professional recovery software to recover data first and then format it for reuse.

Method 1: Formatting RAW partition in Disk Management

Formatting is the fastest and easiest way to fix the RAW partition and then run anti-virus software to scan all the hard disks.

Step 1: Press Win + R and type “diskmgmt.msc” to open Disk Management.

Step 2: Right-click the RAW partition and select “Format”.

format-in-disk-management

Then you can go to Windows File Explorer to check whether the partition is accessible. Run anti-virus software to do a virus check for the whole hard disk.

Method 2: Format RAW partition via Command Prompt

Users are more likely to run CHKDSK to check bad sectors when a partition becomes RAW. However, an error message shows “CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives”.

For this situation, Using the Diskpart command line is another method to recover the RAW partition.

Step 1: Press “Win+R” and type “cmd” in the Run Window, then press Enter.

Step 2: Type the following command one by one and press Enter after every command.

Diskpart

list volume

select volume # (replace # with the RAW partition number in the list)

format fs=fat32 (format RAW partition to FAT32)

Step 3: Type “exit” and press Enter to exit Command Prompt.

format-disk-via-cmd

If you want to repair RAW external drive with Diskpart, you can type the following command:

diskpart

list disk

select disk # (replace # with the external hard drive to be formatted and press Enter.)

clean: to remove all information on the external hard drive.

create partition primary: to create a partition.

format fs=ntfs: to format the partition as NTFS.

assign letter=# (replace # with any available letter from C to Z)

If these Diskpart commands process successfully, the RAW external drive would have been fixed and formatted to FAT32 or NTFS.

Method 3: Recover data in RAW partition via third-party recovery software

Recoverit, the RAW data recovery software can easily recover lost files from RAW hard drive partition, restoring files from partition like hard disk, external hard drive, USB drive, and SD memory card. Recoverit Data Recovery is the safest and most efficient RAW partition recovery tool to help you retrieve RAW partition data for Windows and MAC.

Step 1: Select your RAW partition which detected on the computer, and then click on "Start".

recoverit-interface

Step 2: The tool will start scanning the RAW partition automatically in minutes. It supports preview recovered files after scanning, and you can select the files and then click “Recover” to save them.

recoverit-scan-partition

Step 3: After recovering all the data in the RAW partition via Recoverit, then go to Windows File Explorer to format the partition. Right-click on the RAW partition and select the Format option. Choose the Format option on the pop-up menu. Then select NTFS or FAT32 under the File system label and click "Start" > "OK".

Bonus tip: Fix damaged MBR and bad sectors of the RAW partition for free

Because some users do not know how to use Diskpart to fix a RAW partition or want to repair the RAW drive without formatting, here is a free alternative to Diskpart: AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Using this freeware, you can rebuild MBR and check for bad sectors instead of formatting the RAW partition via Command Prompt.

Rebuild MBR of the RAW drive

Step 1: Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard to enter its main interface. Right-click the RAW hard drive and select “Rebuild MBR”.

rebuild-mbr

Step 2: Set the type of MBR for your current operating system and click “OK”.

select-mbr-type

Step 3: Go back to the main interface, click “Apply”> “Proceed” to complete the operation.

apply-to-proceed

Check bad sectors on the RAW partition

Step 1: Open AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right-click the RAW partition and select “Advance”> “Check Partition”.

check-partition

Step 2: Tick “Check whether there is a bad sector on the partition” and click “OK”. Then click “Start” and wait for the process to be completed.

check-bad-sectors

Conclusion

A RAW partition can be prevented by daily usage habits. Make sure your computer is virus-free, and always backup your vital files regularly via other storage devices. The solutions to recover the RAW partition provided are easy to operate. For users who are not technically knowledgeable enough to enable RAW partition recovery, third-party software would be the best choice for restoring data.

If you want to repair MBR and bad sectors of the RAW drive without formatting, you can download AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard for a trial.