How to Recover Data from RAW Drives?

How to recover data from RAW drives? This tutorial gathers multiple methods to help you achieve hard drive RAW data recovery safely and efficiently.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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While using internal hard drives or external storage devices, sometimes, it is inevitable to meet some mild or intense problems, like file loss, unrecognized USB, white screen of death, etc. The RAW drive is one of the tricky issues.


RAW hard drive recovery


Both my and my girlfriend's old laptops recently died, so we bought a new desktop. I purchased an external hard drive case to connect the hard drives via USB. Through disk management, I've discovered that the problem drive, which is in the RAW format.


- Question from Tom’s Hardware


You may be facing a similar problem: the computer prompts and tells you the hard drive needs to be formatted, which is a bit frightening because you realize that you haven’t backed up the data in it.


Rest assured, the problem isn’t irreversible, and this tutorial will help you recover data from RAW drives. Before the solutions, let’s make it clear what a RAW drive is.

What is the RAW drive?

A RAW drive describes a drive without any readable file system (NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, FAT, Ext2, Ext3, etc.) that cannot be recognized by the OS.

If a drive is RAW, there is no data on the drive since data cannot be written in before it gets formatted and a file system is generated.

Then, why some users are bothered by a RAW drive when the storage device has been used for a while? That is because under some circumstances, a used hard drive will become RAW as well.

You may receive these prompts.

  • You need to format the disk in drive E: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?”
  • “Drive: \ not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable”.
  • “The type of the file system is RAW. chkdsk is not available for RAW drives”.


Check the possible reasons why your drive becomes RAW.

Why disk gets RAW

Simply put, when the drive shows as RAW, it is corrupted or lost. The following causes can account for the RAW drive issue.

Interrupted and failed disk formatting.

Partition table damage
File system damage/missing. 
Bad sectors caused by physical or logical damage. 
A sudden power surge/outage breaks the file system.

Next, check the methods to recover files from RAW drives in the following parts.

How to recover data from RAW drives efficiently?

No one wants to lose data due to RAW drives. Thus, we need to restore the files first and then try to fix them.

Hard drive raw data recovery isn’t an easy task since you may cause further damage to the corrupted/failing drive and decrease the recovery rate if you try removing the enclosure and fixing/restoring the data by yourself.

In this case, using a professional and efficient Windows data recovery tool is a safe and easy way to rescue your precious data.

MyRecover is the one we sincerely recommend. As an easy tool, it offers an intuitive user interface and simple data rescue procedure, helping all users restore data easily.

MyRecover - recover files from RAW drive easily
  • All-inclusive. Adapt to a wide range of Windows data loss circumstances, including deletion, formatting, recycle bin emptying, virus, system crash, and so on.
  • Efficient. Recover 200+ types of data, including photos, videos, documents, compressed files, etc.
  • Easy-to-operate. Require no expertise or experience; all users can recover lost or deleted data from an external/internal HDD/SSD/USB/SD card, etc.
  • Convenient. During recovery, keep the original file formats, names, and structures.
  • Compatible. It is available for Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and the Server; also, it supports NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
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Stop using the affected drive in case you may write new data to the raw drive and overwrite the data.

Check the following steps to learn how to recover data from RAW drives.

Step 1. Install and run the software > hover the mouse over the RAW drive/partition (if it is an external hard drive, please connect it to the PC carefully) > click Scan.


RAW hard drives' drive letter will be intact, please make sure you locate the RAW drive by checking the drive letter and the capacity.

Step 2. While scanning, you can preview/filter/select and recover/sort the scan results by Date modified, Type, Size, etc.


Step 3. Check the Deleted files > go to the file's original location to restore data while keeping the filename/directory/format. Also, you could check the Other missing files to retrieve files selectively.


  • MyRecover offers a free version, and it allows you to select 30 MB of files to restore for free each time. For users who need to recover unlimited data on multiple devices, upgrading to Pro/Tech version is also a good option.

How to fix RAW drives?

Now, with the needed data recovered from the RAW drive, it is time to check how to fix the RAW disks.

Method 1. Format the RAW drive to NTFS

Since one of the biggest reason for a RAW drive is a corrupted/lost/damaged file system, it is reasonable to format the drive and generate a new system to fix it.

Disk formatting wipes all the data on the drive, please do not format your drive if you still need the files/haven’t recovered the files.

Step 1. Press Win + R and type “diskmgmt.msc”/right-click on the start menu and click Disk Management to open it.

Step 2. Right-click the RAW partition > select Format. Specify the file system and whether to perform a quick format.


Method 2. Fix RAW drives using CHKDSK

Except for formatting, you could also try another tool to fix the RAW file system – Command Prompt. Its command CHKDSK can help check the status of the disk and fix possible physical & logical errors in the file system.

Learn how to fix raw drive without format following the steps below.

If you find the CHKDSK not working, please refer to the tutorial and fix it.

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive to the Windows computer correctly > enter “cmd” in the Windows search box > click Run as administrator.


Step 2. Input chkdsk F:/f. When seeing the notice: “Windows has made corrections to the file system.” The file system is fixed. Replace the with the real drive letter of the disk.


Method 3. Rebuild partition table

As we have discussed earlier, a corrupted/damaged partition table may also lead to a RAW drive. With this, users could try rebuilding the MBR to fix it.

AOMEI Partition Assistant is a versatile partition management tool that can help you rebuild MBR in only a few steps.

It assists users to format/convert/clone/delete partitions, check bad sectors, etc. What’s more, it helps recover deleted partition in Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista.

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1: Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant > right-click the RAW hard drive > select Rebuild MBR.


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



This tutorial helps users to recover data from RAW drive and fix the disk with some free and efficient tools.

Apart from the methods and info offered above, you may need some extra info.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.