Let’s have a look at the situation when there is some data on such disk that should be saved if there is no important information on a hard disk or USB drive and formatting them is not a problem at all. If a disk switched to RAW, Windows will show it together with other partitions.

But if you try opening it, the computer will show an error and suggest formatting it, or you will see a notice that the file system of this volume cannot be recognized. If you open the built-in Windows tool – Disk Management – you will see that its file system is shown as RAW. Actually, there is no such file system as RAW. If the disk receives such format type, it means that Windows can’t understand whether its file system is NTFS, FAT or FAT32. It happens to new or faulty hard disks.

When it happens to disks which have been used for some time already, the reasons include system failures, power issues or switching off the computer in a wrong way. If the volume containing the operating system is damaged, Windows won’t boot, and you will see messages like “Reboot and select proper boot device” or “Operating System not found.”

Recover Data From RAW Partitions

Let’s begin with a USB drive or a non-system disk that has switched to RAW format, and such partition doesn’t have any important or valuable data, or the user has already copied all important files. Another case is that the data on the disk is not important, so you can fix the RAW disk or USB drive by formatting them. You can do it in any way that you find convenient: by clicking the Format button when trying to open a RAW disk, right-clicking on it and selecting the Format option, or by using the Disk Management tool.

When you do it, all data will be erased, but the disk will be working again. If Windows doesn’t suggest formatting the disk when you try opening it, and you can’t format it in any other way, you can fix the problem (without keeping the files) by using the command “Clean” and the Diskparttool. It’s much more unpleasant when the disk that suddenly turned into RAW had contained important data – then you have not only to format it but also to restore the partition containing the data. In this case, don’t format the RAW disk as it will erase all the information. Enter the command chkdsk required_disk_letter: /f.

Ø Launch the Command prompt as Administrator.

Ø Instead, do the following to have your files back.

After the check is complete, the computer will restore the damaged sectors and the NTFS file system in the damaged volume. Let’s go back to the disk. As we can see, it is working. All the files it had before the failure are still there. If the file system of the RAW disk was FAT before, you will see this error when trying to perform the command chkdsk.

What if the command chkdsk didn’t work properly for some reason, or the RAW disk had FAT file system before? Nevertheless, your files from such disk can be recovered. In fact, they are not deleted yet. It’s just a file system failure. How can you do that? Here is a RAW disk, and naturally, we can’t access the data on it.

Hetman Partition Recover

To restore the data, run Hetman Partition Recover. Select the disk having a RAW format. Click on the disk and select “Full analysis.” After the analysis is over, the program will show all partitions. Click on the one you need, and you can see the files stored there in the right-hand window. If there are many files on the RAW disk, and you need to find and recover a particular one, click on Content-Aware Analysis. It groups the files into folders by their format.

You can use the preview windows if you want. To restore them, drag the necessary files to the Recovery List and click “Recovery.” Select the method to save files and specify the path Recovery. The files have been recovered. If you have already formatted such a disk, and only then did you understand that important data is gone, you can restore it anyway with the method I have just done. What to do if the system disk is damaged and Windows won’t boot? There are two options.

  1. Take this hard disk out of your computer and connect it to another PC. When it’s there, you can do all those things you do to a non-system disk: fix the problem with the command chkdsk, or restore data like I showed you in this video.
  2. Option two will be your choice when there aren’t any other computers.

In case you have a Windows installation disk of the same bit. In this case:

  • Start the computer with a bootable flash drive or disk In the wizard, select “Repair” instead of “Install.” Windows Recovery Environment will open. Select “Troubleshooting / Command Prompt”
  • Enter the command chkdsk required_disk_letter: /f. In the Recovery Environment, partition letters may differ from names of logical disks. To make sure there is no mistake, open the list of partitions in the command prompt. To do it, enter diskpart / list volume. In the list, you will see which disk is the system disk.