How to convert RAW HDD to NTFS without losing data?

How to convert RAW HDD to NTFS without losing data?
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This is how you work with a hard drive, you work and all of a sudden you turn on the computer and you see an error message: the disk is not formatted, the file system is RAW, there are no visible files and nothing of that can be copied. What to do in this case (By the way, there are many such questions, and thus the topic of this article was born.)?

Well, first of all, do not panic and do not rush, and do not agree with the Windows suggestions (unless, of course, you do not know 100% what these or those operations mean). Better to turn off your PC for now (if you have an external hard drive, please unplug it from your computer, laptop).

What is RAW file system?

A RAW drive is a storage drive that does not have a file system. Reading or writing data is impossible without a file system because the file system preserves the file information such as switching from RAW to NTFS with cmd without losing data, file size, and saved location. Therefore, access to data from the hard drive can be undone without a file system.


Reasons for the appearance of the RAW file system

The RAW issue can happen for many reasons, but most of the time it is:

  1. Abrupt shutdown when the computer is running (for example, they turned off the light and then turned it on; the computer restarted, and then you will see RAW on the disk and a proposal to format it);
  2. If we are talking about an external hard drive, this usually happens when, when copying information, the USB cable is disconnected (recommended: always before disconnecting the cable, in the tray (next to the clock), press the button to disconnect securely the disk);
  3. if it does not work correctly with programs to change hard disk partitions, format them, etc.;
  4. Also, very often, many users connect their external hard drive to the TV; formats them in its own format and then the PC cannot read it, showing the RAW system (to read such a disc, it is better to use special utilities that can read the file system of the disc, in which it was formatted by the decoder TV / TV);
  5. when a PC is infected with virus applications;
  6. in the event of a “physical” malfunction of the piece of iron (it is unlikely that anything can be done alone to “save” the data) …

Solution 1: Fix RAW partitions with iBoysoft Data Recovery

With this option that we are going to use, we will guarantee that you can change the format of your hard drive and recover your files. For this we are going to use iBoysoft Data Recovery, to solve these problems.

As a powerful file system repair tool, iBoysoft Data Recovery is not only capable of converting RAW to NTFS but also troubleshooting RAW item errors that the CHDSK command ignores.

Steps to change RAW to NTFS with iBoysoft Data Recovery:

  • Open iBoysoft RAW repair tool
  • In the menu, choose “RAW Drive Recovery”

iBoysoft Data Recovery software

  • Select the RAW partition from the list

Scan RAW hard drive

  • Click on “Fix Drive”

Check the found files in RAW drive


Solution 2: Format RAW hard drive to NTFS using Disk Management

If you can’t convert RAW to NTFS after trying the solutions mentioned above, the last option would be to format the drive. However, format raw file system presents on storage drive. Therefore, you need to recover data from RAW partition or drive before formatting.

iBoysoft Data Recovery can even save some of that lost data when the file system seems destroyed. What files is it capable of recovering? Text documents, photographs, images, videos, audios, emails and any other that had ever been stored on those devices.

And another advantage of this data recovery software is its compatibility, the same that allows it to work with versions XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10 and 11 of the Windows operating system, with hard drives formatted as NTFS, FAT32, exFAT.

Recover data from RAW hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery:

  • Open iBoysoft Data Recovery and click data recovery module.
  • Select the RAW hard drive which you want to recover from.
  • Click Next and the software will start scanning lost data from the disk.

Scan data from RAW drive

  • Preview the recoverable files and then click Recover.

Recover lost data from RAW drive

After data recovery, you can format the RAW drive in Disk Management:

Click on the start menu and type Disk Management, select the first option from the result

On the next screen, select the drive to format and right-click on the drive, from the pop-up window, click Format

Name the drive, choose NTFS as the file system and click OK format raw disk windows

Restart the computer, check the drive to convert from RAW to NTFS

Solution 3: Change RAW to NTFS using Diskpart.

Another option if with the above we have not yet been able to format the drive and we continue to see the message Windows cannot format this drive, is to use the Diskpart system tool.  Follow these steps to use Diskpart:

  • Connect the external HDD to your system
  • Go to Start> Type ‘cmd’ without quotes.
  • Select Command Prompt (Administrator) to open the prompt window.

Run diskpart

  • In the command prompt window, type ‘diskpart’, and then hit the ‘Enter’ key. This will open the Diskpart window.
  • Now, type ‘list disk’ and hit the Enter key to open a list of drives.

List disk with diskpart command

  • Type ‘select disk n ‘ in the Diskpart window and hit the Enter key. (Note: replace the n with the number of the external hard drive you want to select.

Select disk with diskpart command

  • Type ‘clean’ without quotes and hit the Enter key.
  • Continue typing the command ‘create partition primary’ in Diskpart and hit the Enter key
  • Finally, type ‘format fs = ntfs quick’ and hit Enter to format the external hard drive with NTFS (New Technology File System).


Storage devices can fail at any time, during such situations data loss on the drive is possible. If file system conversion is necessary to use the storage drive, the above-mentioned steps are helpful to convert RAW to NTFS without losing data. In case format is the only option left to you, always use iBoysoft data recovery software to repair RAW partitions and safely recover files before formatting.


Thank you for reading!