Hard drive become RAW format
“My 320GB WD external hard drive works properly, but I want to delete all partitions
there and create a new big one. I connected it to my Windows 7 and it is recognized
as usual. In Disk Management I deleted all existing partitions and it shows up as
Unallocated. Then I right click the unallocated space to create a new simple volume.
Initialized to MBR and I started to format the HDD with normal format (not Quick
Nevertheless, it says it is formatting but there is no % process appear. Around four
hours or so, it still shows no progress. I cancelled it by restarting my computer
and the hard drive becomes RAW since then. Helpless! Any suggestions on how to fix
RAW hard drive to NTFS or other formats that is readable under Windows will be
It is a post about external hard drive becomes RAW after unsuccessful formatting.
Actually, the same problem also happens on portable hard drive, USB hard drive,
flash drive and micro SD card, even internal hard drive sometimes. If you run CHKDSK
/f on the RAW format drive, chances are that you’ll get this error message: CHKDSK
cannot be run on the drive. The type of the file system is RAW. CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives. Well, what is RAW format hard
drive and why it emerges?
RAW format hard drive and its possible causes
A RAW format hard drive refers to a drive has not been formatted to any readable file
system such as NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, FAT, Ext2, Ext3, etc. Data on that drive cannot
be readable because Windows does not know how to access. Say it plainly, that drive
is corrupted or lost. The commonly seen symptoms would be: Disk not formatted, the
parameter is incorrect, or Sector not found, even though the drive showing up as
Local Drive and Healthy in Windows.
What caused RAW format problem? In fact, the answer depends. Generally speaking,
following reasons may account for why hard drive switched from NTFS to RAW.
Format suspended. As described in the post at the beginning.
Unexpected system shutdown or meltdown. System error or hard disk error has
the same bad effect.
Virus infection, which breaks file system directly.
Inappropriate computer behaviors like unplug the drive without rejecting.
Power failure. Suddenly power outage.
Surely, there are other possible reasons that can lead to hard drive partition
corruption and change NTFS to RAW. However, it is more important to figure out how
to convert RAW hard drive to NTFS or other file systems.
How to fix external hard drive from RAW to NTFS in Windows 10/8/7?
Note: Following methods will change RAW file system to NTFS by completely formatting
it. If there are important files you need to recover, please turn to professional
data recovery software and get data back first. Please remember to backup hard
drive on a regular basis in the future.
There are many approaches to format a drive in Windows. But in some cases, you may
encounter such errors when you format a RAW drive, “The format did not complete
successfully” in Disk Management and “Windows was unable to complete the format” in File Explorer. If you run CHKDSK on
that drive, you’ll get “CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives”. In that case, try these two recommended solutions to fix RAW external hard drive to NTFS.
Format RAW drive using Command Prompt
You cannot directly format RAW drive by using format H: /FS: NTFS command because
chances are that it may fail. Therefore, you need to do more changes before
1. Connect the external drive to Windows and make sure it can be detected. If it is a
data partition on internal disk, skip this step.
2. Press Windows key and R key combination to open Run. Inputdiskpart and run as administer. Type following commands in sequence
and each command has an Enter followed by.
select disk n (where n is the RAW hard drive)
online disk (if it is not online)
attributes disk clear readonly
convert mbr (or “convert gpt” based on the disk capacity)
The RAW hard drive should be changed to NTFS successfully, and you can Change Drive
Letter and Paths to assign drive letter in Device Manager as well as resize partition using Diskpart later if you want to. However, the formatting process takes too
much time in a few cases. Or, it does not work for some RAW drives that caused by
serious damage. Fortunately, a free and powerful formatting tool will be introduced
for Windows 10, 8, 7, XP, and Vista.
Format RAW hard drive to NTFS with professional tool
AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is free
hard drive partition manager that will help you fix external hard drive RAW format
issue. Except for NTFS, you’re allowed to format RAW drive to FAT32, exFAT, Ext2 or
Ext3 as well. Download it and refer to steps given below:
1. Connect RAW hard drive, install
and launch the RAW drive formatting tool. At main interface, right click RAW drive
(it will show up as Unformatted) and select Format Partition.
2. In the pop-up dialogue, choose NTFS file system and do other
changes if you want to.
3. Confirm the operation by clicking on Apply and then Proceed.
To format internal hard drive from RAW to NTFS, especially system installed
drive, it is suggested to format it without booting Windows. You can create a WinPE bootable device and format disk there.
To avoid hard drive becomes RAW in the future, please install anti-virus
software on your computer, and plug and unplug the device within proper
Convert RAW to NTFS using CMD
Other than aforementioned methods to fix RAW drive to NTFS, some users tried to
convert RAW to NTFS using CMD. They typed convert F: /fs:ntfs (where F: is
the RAW drive) only to get the error: Convert is not available for RAW
Frankly speaking, the convert command only applies to convert file system from FAT32
to NTFS in command prompt. As a result, you need a different command, format. The
advanced version of AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, the Professional, supports
format RAW drive to NTFS in Command Prompt. Upgrade to have a try.
1. Open Command Prompt and run as administrator as instructed. Type cd + the
installation path of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional and hit Enter. For
example, input cd C: \Program Files (x86) \AOMEI Partition Assistant
Pro Edition 6.6 and press Enter.
2. Type: partassist.exe /fmt: F /fs: ntfs /label: External and
hit Enter. That means format partition F to NTFS and specify the partition label as
3. Click Yes at the User Account Control pop-up dialogue.
And the formatting will be completed in a short while. Then, typeexit to leave CMD.
*/fmt: format; followed by partition number or drive letter.
*/fs: file system; can be followed by fat16, fat32, exfat, ntfs.
*/label: new partition label for the selected drive.
For more command line operations, please visit AOMEI Partition Assistant CMD.
Above solutions on how to fix RAW hard drive to NTFS actually point out how to format
RAW hard drive to NTFS file system successfully. No matter Diskpart in Windows or
the third party software AOMEI Partition Assistant, the purpose is to make RAW drive
usable again. After performing hard drive formatting, you can move OS to new drive or copy partition to new disk to store data.