When you turn on your computer, the last thing you want to see is a RAW partition. When one of your partitions has become RAW, it either means there’s something wrong with the file system or your operating system doesn’t recognize it. In most cases, your data will still remain intact, although it will be inaccessible.
While formatting the partition with a new file system like NTFS will fix it, you will lose all of your data in the process. Instead, we’re going to show you ways you can convert RAW to NTFS without losing data.
Why Do You Need to Convert RAW to NTFS?
A partition in a RAW state cannot be used to read or write data as it’s unrecognizable to the operating system. Before we discuss methods on how you can fix RAW partition without losing data, it’s good to know how it has happened. There are three common reasons why the partition is being read as RAW:
- Unsupported file system – If your drive is formatted with a file system that’s not supported by Windows (for instance, Apple’s HFS+), Windows will automatically suggest formatting the drive when it’s connected, even if there’s data on it.
- Corrupted file system – In the event of your system experiencing unexpected power failure during a write operation, this interruption could result in the file system becoming corrupted. If so, the partition will be read as RAW by the operating system.
- Missing a file system – When your file system is deleted or altered incorrectly, Windows will automatically label it as RAW until it’s formatted with a supported file system.
If you had data on that partition before it was converted to RAW, that data will still remain there until it’s deleted or overwritten. This is why everyone should strive to convert RAW to NTFS without formatting, as there’s a good chance you can still restore all your files.
Steps to Make Before Converting a RAW Drive to NTFS
Making any changes to a partition in a RAW can be detrimental to the data that’s on it. Before doing anything to your partition structure, it’s important that you either create a backup of the RAW partition or recover data from your hard drive using data recovery software. This is essential if you want to fix RAW hard drive to NTFS without losing the data.
For both steps, we’re going to be using Disk Drill, a data recovery tool that can restore deleted or lost data. It also allows you to create a backup of the RAW partition to ensure your data is safe before attempting any fixes.
Create a Byte-to-Byte Image
While Disk Drill’s main feature is data recovery, it also comes with a feature that allows you to create a byte-to-byte image of the disk. This is helpful in ensuring your data is backed up for when we convert the partition from RAW to NTFS.
- Download, install, and open Disk Drill.
- Click Drive Backup, then click OK, let’s do it.
- Click the dropdown on the disk that contains the RAW partition, then click on the RAW partition. Click Byte-to-byte Backup.
- Choose a location where you want the backup saved.
This image will include all of the data contained in the RAW partition. Having a complete copy enables you to fix RAW drive without losing data.
Recover Data Using Disk Drill
Even though you can’t access your data using Windows Explorer, it can still be recovered using Disk Drill. This is perfect for RAW data recovery, as recovering your files through Windows Explorer is impossible when it can’t be accessed.
- Download, install, and open Disk Drill.
- Expand the dropdown of the disk that contains the RAW partition, then select the partition. Click Search for lost data. The scan will start.
- When the scan has finished, click on Review found items.
- Go through the list of discovered files and mark what files you want to recover by ticking the box next to the file name. You can use the search feature to find specific files to be recovered. When ready, click Recover.
- Specify where you want the files recovered to. When ready, click OK.
Once your data is recovered, you’ll have the ability to recover RAW partition to NTFS without worrying about losing your data in the process.
How to Format RAW Drive Using Disk Management
Once you’ve created a backup or recovered the data using data recovery software, your next step is to fix the partition by formatting it with a new file system. To do this, we’re going to use the Disk Management tool that’s included with Windows.
- Right-click Start and click Disk Management.
- Right-click the RAW partition, then click Format.
- Provide a name for the partition. For the file system, choose NTFS from the dropdown. Press OK when ready.
- When the warning dialogue appears, click OK to confirm your selection.
How to Convert RAW Drive to NTFS Using Command Prompt
If you’re more familiar with a command-line interface, you can achieve the same results using Command Prompt, the built-in command-line terminal that comes with Windows.
- Press Windows Key + S and search Command Prompt. Right-click the top result and select Run as administrator. If prompted to allow access, click Yes.
- Type diskpart and press Enter.
- Type list disk and press Enter.
- Type select disk 1 and press Enter. Replace the number with whichever number appears for the applicable disk.
- Type clean and press Enter. This will wipe the disk so it’s ready to accept a new file system.
- Type create partition primary and press Enter.
- Type format fs=ntfs and press Enter. This will format the drive with the NTFS file system.
- Finally, type assign and press Enter. This will apply a drive letter so that the partition becomes accessible.
How to Convert RAW to NTFS Using File Explorer
The File Explorer in Windows provides a streamlined way of formatting your drive with the NTFS file system to repair RAW partition.
- Open File Explorer.
- Right-click the drive that contains the RAW partition, then click Format.
- Specify a volume label (or leave it blank), and select NTFS as the file system. Ensure that Quick Format is enabled, and click Start when ready.
- When the warning dialogue appears, click OK to finalize the format.
Seeing a RAW partition upon boot can instantly make you think that all of your important data is gone. Thankfully, through the methods outlined in this article, you can restore your RAW partition to NTFS without losing your files.
To avoid this going forward, it’s important to make regular backups of your data. Keeping backups allows you to restore a copy of your files in the event of catastrophic data loss.