WD External Hard Drive Shows as RAW? Fixed!

Figure out why my WD external hard drive shows as RAW and get efficient ways to solve this issue. You can also get relevant RAW data recovery tips and data loss prevention tips.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Is it possible to recover data from RAW drives?


Hello! I have a Western Digital 2TB My Book that is USB3. It is showing up as RAW in Disk Management. Windows Vista tells me to format this drive. But it’s impossible because I don’t want to erase the data. I believe My Book needs RAW data recovery or recognition for the partition. Thank you for your help.

- A user from Community. WD.com

As a portable storage device, external hard drives provide additional storage capabilities for backup files and data transmission. But some users are bothered by how do I fix my external hard drive suddenly became RAW.


You can find your RAW WD external hard drive via File Explorer or Disk Management, but you cannot access the data saved on it. All in all, when your WD external hard drive shows as RAW, which means this external HDD has not been formatted with any file system. Besides, unrecognized and damaged file systems also are responsible for RAW drives.

After double-clicking your RAW drive in File Explorer, you’ll automatically receive an error message as follows.


You need to format the disk in drive H: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?


Please don’t format your RAW disk if it saves your needed data because disk formatting aims to erase all the existing data on your RAW drive and make it ready for further use.

You’d better put the following suggestions into practice for a higher RAW data recovery rate.

  • Don’t perform disk formatting or disk initialization.
  • Please salvage deleted & missing data from your RAW drive first, then you’re ready to fix RAW drives without losing data.
  • As the sooner you begin RAW data recovery, the better chances you’ll be.

Phase 1. How to recover data from RAW external hard drives?

When it comes to recovering deleted & missing files from your RAW WD external hard drive, seeking help from a professional Windows data recovery tool could be your top choice because a powerful third-party tool can avoid many blind spots and recover your data as much as possible.

Supported by AOMEI Tech, highly-praised MyRecover might meet all your needs.  

Highlights of MyRecover:
Powerful features: Recover deleted & lost Word, Excel, PPT, folders, compressed files, photos, songs, videos, audio, websites, and other 200+ file types from RAW or healthy internal & external hard drives, USB, SSD, etc. 
Easy-to-find: Quick Scan and Deep Scan can find your deleted & missing files as many as possible. You can also quickly locate your desired files by Filename, Path, Date, Size, etc.
Convenient: Get deleted files’ original Paths, Filenames, and Format after recovery.   
Excellent compatibility: Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems and be compatible with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Windows Server.

These steps depict how to recover deleted files from external hard drives via this utility!

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
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Step 1. Connect the WD external hard drive to your Windows computer. After running MyRecover, hover the mouse over your WD external hard drive and click Scan.

Start Scan

Step 2. It will automatically scan your WD external hard drive and display all the found files. Filter and preview your needed data according to Document Type (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 RAW data recovery process.

Restore RAW Data from External Hard Drive


  • After recovery, please choose a new location to save your retrieved files.
  • To recover a large number of deleted or missing files from your external HDDs with no effort, upgrading MyRecover to the Professional or Technician edition could be a better choice.

Phase 2. How do I fix my external hard drive suddenly becomes RAW?

WD external hard drive showing as RAW format! Assuming you’ve retrieved files from your WD external hard drive, you can fix your RAW drives via the following solutions.

Fix 1. Convert RAW to NTFS/FAT32 without losing data

If the file system of your external hard drive is not compatible with your Windows OS, you can convert the original file system to NTFS or FAT32 according to your situation.

In this case, you can take advantage of Disk Management because this Windows system utility is designed to perform advanced Windows storage tasks.

Step 1. After connecting your WD external hard drive, press “Win + X” and click “Disk Management” to open this tool.


Step 2. Locate your RAW disk and right-click on it. Then select the “Format” option.


Step 3. Select “NTFS” or “FAT32” as you prefer. Please remember to click “OK” to save these changes.

Fix 2. Rebuild partition table via AOMEI Partition Assistant

Sometimes, the damaged partition table also be blamed for RAW disks. If it happens to be your case, you can ask for help from this free AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard to rebuild your partition table.   

Other highlights of AOMEI Partition Assistant:  
Recover deleted & missing NTFS, FAT, EX2, EX3, or Ex4 partitions.
Deal with fixing errors using CHKDSK.exe, disk formatting, improper partition size, 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
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Step 1. After running AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard on your Windows PC, right-click on the selected RAW drive and click the “Rebuild MBR” button.


Step 2. Select your current operating system and click the “OK” button.


Step 3. On the main interface, click Apply > Proceed.


Related Q&A about RAW/external hard drive data recovery

If your WD external hard drive shows as RAW, please get possible reasons and feasible fixes from the above part. In addition, there’re some related and pertinent tips for you.

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.