How to Recover Files from RAW External Hard Drive Safely

You are in the right place if your drive suddenly becomes RAW. We will show you the safest way & alternative to recover files from RAW external hard drive and how to fix it completely.


By Ivy / Updated on April 2, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

External hard drives are essential for storing and accessing files on the go, providing increased storage capacity beyond the limitations of internal storage. However, these drives are vulnerable to hardware failures, malware infections, file system errors, etc, making your drive becomes RAW and unrecognizable.

In this article, we will explore the possible reasons and various methods to recover files from RAW external hard drives without formatting. Please act swiftly to prevent data loss and avoid using the RAW drive. Otherwise, your data may be overwritten and make data recovery more difficult.

Recover Files from RAW External Hard Drive

Why Does My External Hard Drive Become RAW?

Like other file systems, RAW is a file system but not recognized by the Windows system. It often indicates a file system error. Also, there are other reasons for this RAW drive. Below are some possible reasons:

  • Incompatible or corrupted file system.
  • Improper format.
  • Malware infection.
  • Exhausted reserve of write/rewrite cycles.
  • Aging of the device.
  • Sudden power failure, or abrupt removal.
  • Long unplugged/untouched power supply.

Is It Possible to Recover Files from RAW External Hard Drive?

When your external drive becomes RAW, you are not able to access your drive as normal, along with its data. While trying to access it, you will receive the “F:\ is not accessible. The volume doe snot contains a recognized file system.” error message.

Fortunately, if your Disk Management is functioning, you can use professional data recovery software to access and recover data from a RAW external drive. If not, usually, a hardware or controller failure limits your system from recognizing memory cells, causing external hard drive not showing up in Disk Management. As a result, the data recovery software can’t detect the disk.

Safest Way to Perform RAW External Hard Drive Recovery

If your external hard drive still exists in Disk Management, try the safest method to recover files from RAW external hard drive. It’s using reliable Windows data recovery software or services. MyRecover is one of the best software.

Reasons Why We Recommend using MyRecover

  • User-friendly interface: Its interface is clear and straightforward, even novices can understand and use it easily and quickly.
  • Two advanced scanning methods: It will scan the selected disk quickly and deeply and find out all the deleted or lost data completely.
  • Up to 95% recovery rate: It’s the core of a data recovery software, especially recover a large amount of files in a short time.
  • 200+ file types: It’s able to recover Word documents/Excel/PPT, photos, audios, videos, emails, webpages, compressed files, and more without losing quality.
  • All-inclusive data loss scenarios: It is capable of handling data loss due to accidental deletion, disk format, virus infection, etc.

Recover Data from RAW External Hard Drive Step by Step

Now please download this Windows data recovery software. You can then follow the steps below to recover data from RAW external hard drive safely.

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

Step 1: Scan the RAW external hard disk. 

Launch powerful data recovery software - MyRecover. Hover the mouse over the RAW drive, and click Scan. It will run two advanced scanning methods - Quick Scan & Deep Scan automatically and display all the found files on the selected disk.


Step 2: Filter and preview files on the RAW external drive.

Click Filter and select a file type, such as Documents. Then, type the file name or file extension in the Search for files or folders box. Or expand the Other Missing Files tab on the left panel.


Step 3: Recover data from the RAW external hard drive.

Select all the deleted or lost files on the RAW external disk and click the Recover x files button. You will then be asked to select a location. Please select a new location instead of the original location.



  • The restore button will display the number of selected files and their full size. You can use it to determine the integrity of the recovered files.
  • Saving the recovered files to their original location may cause data corruption or further data loss.
  • You can recover data from RAW external hard drive for free, up to 500MB. To recover all files on it, try advanced editions.

Except for recovering files from RAW external hard drive, you can also use it to recover data from uninitialized disk, recover files from formatted hard drive, recover files from damaged disk, etc.

Alternative Software to Recover Data from RAW External Hard Drive

Also, it’s worth trying Windows File Recovery, a free file recovery software from Microsoft, to recover data from RAW external hard drive in Windows 10 version 2004 and above. It’s a command line software, which requires you to learn the syntax as well as recovery modes & parameters.

winfr source-drive: destination-folder /mode /switches


  • The source drive and destination folder are locations containing deleted files and recovered path, respecitively.
  • The mode is recovery options for different file systems and data loss scenarios.
  • The switches decide the file or file types to search.

For more details, please check: how to use Windows File Recovery.

Step 1. Install Windows File Recovery.

Type Microsoft Store on the search box and select the top result. In the Microsoft Store, search for Windows File Recovery and press Enter. Then, click Get to download and install Windows File Recovery.


Step 2. Access to Windows File Recovery.

After the installation process completes, click the Open button. You will have access to its command-line interface. While the interface may be as pleasing to the eye, it does the job well.

Step 3. Recover data from RAW external hard drive.

Identify the drive letter of AW external disk. Type the command: Winfr D: E: /regular /n *.docx and press Y to start the RAW external hard drive recovery. The recovered files will be stored in a directory named “Recovery_[date and time]” in the destination folder.


This process can be slightly cumbersome for inexperienced users. To avoid any confusion, we recommend using data recovery software like MyRecover. With it, you enjoy a user-friendly and intuitive interface, more flexible recovery modes and options, breathtaking recovery capacities, etc.

✍ What if you failed to recover files from a RAW external hard drive?

Your disk probably has a hardware issue or controller failure, which prevents your system from recognizing memory cells. In this case, you need to seek help from a professional data recovery service (eg: Geek Squad). It usually has professional equipment and data recovery experts. However, you should also be prepared that the price will be higher.

Geek Squad Recovery

How to Fix RAW External Hard Drive Completely

While it’s possible to fix your RAW hard drive without formatting it, some situations may require formatting, especially the non-formatting methods are not working. If this is unavoidable, please recover files from RAW external hard drive first.

Way 1: Format RAW External Disk in File Explorer

Step 1. Open Windows Explorer. Locate the RAW external drive, right-click on it, and select Format.

Step 2. Select a compatible file system (eg: NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, etc) and be sure the Quick format option is checked. You can also set a new volume label as well. Then click Start to format this RAW external disk.

Windows Quick Format

Way 2: Format RAW External Disk With Disk Management

Step 1. Press Win + R and type diskmgmt.msc in the Run box. Then, click OK to open Disk Management. Or search for disk management in the Start menu and select Create and format hard disk partitions.

Step 2. It will display all the available disks here. Locate your RAW external drive and select the Format disk option.


Step 3. Select a compatible file system (eg: NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, etc) and be sure the Perform a quick format option is checked. You can also set a new name in the Volume label. Finally, click the “OK” button.

RAW File System to NTFS

Way 3:  Format RAW External Disk using CMD

Step 1. Be sure your RAW external hard drive is recognized. Click the Start button, search for cmd, and select Run as administrator.

Step 2. Type diskpart and press Enter. It will navigate you to the DiskPart tool.

Step 3. Type the following commands and press Enter after each line.

  • list volume
  • select volume x (x is the drive letter of your RAW external hard drive)
  • format fs=ntfs quick (or format fs=fat32 quick)
  • exit


✍ Can data be recovered from a RAW external hard drive?

Yes, you can easily recover data from RAW external hard drive if you act quickly. Please don't add new data to RAW drive or continue using it. Otherwise, your data will be overwritten and make data recovery more difficult.

✍ How do I fix a RAW external hard drive without losing data?

Formatting is the quickest method to fix a RAW external hard drive. However, it will cause data loss. To avoid any loss, you’d better using a data recovery software like MyRecover to recover data from RAW external hard drive first.

✍ How can I fix my RAW hard drive without formatting?

Various reasons may cause your drive becomes RAW, such as outdate drivers, virus infection, file system error, etc. So you can choose to update drivers, scan for viruses, etc before formatting.

✍ How do I recover files from RAW external hard drive without software?

Except for software, you can also try corresponding solutions based on the possible reasons to fix RAW external hard drive and make it usable. For example, if you suspect your disk has a file system error, you can choose to try chkdsk E: /f command. It will scan the file system and metadata of this disk and repair the found error.

Wrapping Up

If your disk suddenly becomes RAW, the first thing is to recover files from RAW external hard drive. Because any operation on this disk may cause data loss. MyRecover is one of the best Windows data recovery software. It’s able to recover over 200+ file types quickly and the success rate is up to 95%.

However, it is not guaranteed that all of your desired data will be recovered successfully every time. The best practice to protect your files safely is using reliable Windows backup software. We strongly recommend you use 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.