Recover Data from RAW File System, RAW Partition and RAW Drive Efficiently

Brief Introduction to RAW Hard Drive

what is raw What’s RAW? To be specific, RAW is the default file system of CD-ROM recognized by Windows. In DVD burning methods, there is a RAW mode referring to burn after reading the complete sector data. It can extract not only users’ data, but also data of sub-channels. However, not all burners give support for RAW mode. 

Literally, the hard drive which has not been formatted by NT file system, such as FAT and NTFS, is called RAW hard drive. However, from this perspective, nothing should be included in a RAW hard drive because no drive can be put into use for saving data before it is actually formatted. 

Then, why are there so many questions related to how to recover data from RAW hard drive? In fact, that is because a hard drive can turn into RAW after suffering from problems like virus attack and improper operations. 

RAW hard drive problem includes two situations. One is that the whole hard drive has become RAW; the other is one partition of a hard drive turns into RAW. 

raw drive

RAW Hard Drive – the Whole Disk Is RAW

If the operating system you are running now can’t recognize the file system of your hard drive at certain moment, the state of hard drive becomes RAW. At this time, no one is allowed to access any part of the hard drive. Meanwhile, its capacity, used space and unused space will all be shown as “zero”. That is to say, all data originally saved in that “RAW” disk are lost. You can neither see them nor transfer them to safe place for further use. What a tragedy it will be if it includes files of great importance. 

It is worth noting that both internal hard drive and external hard drive can become RAW because of inappropriate operation or virus invasion. 

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RAW Partition – Only One Partition Is Inaccessible

raw-partition When damage is only brought to one partition on a hard drive, you’ll find except for this partition, whose file system is RAW now, other partitions are in normal state. You click on the drive and an error message – “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable” or “You need to format the disk before you can use it” – will pop up to show that this drive is not accessible. 

In this case, choosing to format the drive will help you enter it successfully. However, the formatting will do harm to data in it and possibly all data will be gone because of that. So quit the idea of formatting the RAW partition to make it work properly since this will be done at the cost of losing useful data. 

6 Possible Causes for a Hard Drive to Become RAW

In general, the cause for a result can be various. For instance, you are late for work today. The result is that you are late, but the reason is not clear. Traffic jam, illness, emergency and a lot of other things could be the reason why you didn’t arrive at the workplace on time. Likewise, the state of a hard drive could turn into RAW due to different factors. Now, we’re on the way to sum up the common reasons and write them down. 

1.Hard disk drive cable problem: in rare cases, a hard drive may be shown as RAW in computer because of cable issues. For instance, when the cable is broken, hard drive can’t be listed in computer with normal state. In addition, if the interface of an external hard drive has bad contact, we get no chance to see it listing in computer. 

2.Bad sectors: if you click on the letter of hard drive, only to find the responding speed is very slow, it means that there are bad sectors in the key area of hard drive. Under this circumstance, professional tool is required to mirror the hard drive. We are supposed to carry out data recovery only when this step has been done for security consideration.

3.File system structural damage: if the RAW problems occur without an obvious sign or reason, users need to analyze the causes manually. If users are not proficient in such work, they can resort to professional tools like WINHEX. 

4.Partition table damage: no matter what the reason is, once the partition table of the hard drive has been damaged, the whole hard drive will become RAW. The OS can only identify different partitions with the help of partition table, which records the size, location, type and other information of every partition in disk. 

5.Reinstallation or restoration of operating system: users may choose to reinstall the OS they are running now or restore it to the initial state for different reasons. And the hard drive may become RAW.

6.Virus attack: computer viruses are widespread throughout the world. They should be responsible for many undesired problems, such as documents loss, photo missing, partition loss, system crash and file system crash. The hard drive will be turned into RAW state after viruses attacked the hard drive and changed/deleted some vital parameters and information of the hard drive. 


3 Possible Causes for a Partition to Become RAW

Users may see the following errors when they are trying to getting access to a hard drive partition so as to make use of data in it.

how to recover data from raw hard drive 2 “The disk in drive F: is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?”
how to recover data from raw hard drive 3 “You need to format the disk in drive D: before you can use it. Do you want to format it?”
how to recover data from raw hard drive 4 “This volume does not contain a recognized file system. Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted.” 

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Please don’t format the partition as the prompt suggested and there’s no need for being freaked out when above errors show up. You need to calm down and do the best you can to try to recover data from RAW hard drive. However, before taking actions to get back missing data, we’d better have an overall analysis of the probable reasons leading to RAW partition trouble. 

1.Virus invasion: if part of the hard drive partition table with partition information like partition starting position and ending position has been damaged or corrupted because of computer viruses infection, the corresponding partition will be given a RAW file system. 

2.System reinstallation: if the current system partition is formatted with FAT, but it is changed to NTFS when we replace the old operating system with a new one, you may find the file system of system partition can’t be recognized by OS anymore. 

3.Number of hard drives and partitions: the fact that too many hard drives and partitions have been used in one computer simultaneously will probably bring RAW partition issue as well. 

To sum up, the reasons for a RAW partition various a lot and we can hardly know the accurate cause of it. All we need to and can do is sparing no effort to try to figure out the real reason. 

Note: sometimes, we may find a partition in the Windows Disk Management without a file system type (rather than with a RAW file system). Actually, both cases are similar to each other and timely damaged drive data recovery should be carried out to minimize or even eliminate data losses. 

3 Ways to Recover Data from RAW Hard Drive

Let's start with a true example on how to recover RAW drive:

"Hi, I had extra space on a hard drive so I extended it in disk management but I did not format it as I had data on it. And now it is showing as a RAW HD and I cannot open it without formatting the drive. Is there any way to recover the date that I know is still on it? "

how to recover data from RAW hard drive

Ok first of all you must stay calm even if the whole hard drive becomes RAW. And you need to know two things:
  • It’s no use wasting time on regret. A worried mood can’t help you make the right decision on what to do next.
  • Just remember not to write or save data to the raw drive before you got data restored.

Instead, you may organize an analysis of hard drive properties. Remember, don’t rush to restore or install the OS since it is not helpful at all for you to recover data from RAW hard drive. In addition, it will make things worse and this is a result no one is willing to see. 

Therefore, you should choose one of the following ways to complete RAW drive recovery step by step. 

The first way: call the system built-in fix program after discovering RAW problem -> download practical tool to repair the hard disk boot record -> rebuild hard disk partition table with special tool -> recover data from RAW hard drive by employing professional data recovery tool (MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a good choice even for green hands). 

"MiniTool Power Data Recovery (Free Edition) is my top pick as it proved to be way ahead of the competition. It comes with a very intuitive interface which is suitable for all users. It has recovered 1GB in 85 seconds and managed to recover all 106 files after the disk was formatted…"
--By Gizmo's freeware

The second way: make use of the powerful tool – WINHEX. The installation way will not be introduced here. RAW data recovery process is roughly: choose the RAW hard drive -> scan for lost partitions -> open found partitions -> select the files that can be and need to be recovered -> set a location to store files. 

The third way: install and run MiniTool Power Data Recovery -> choose “Lost Partition Recovery” from main window -> choose the RAW hard drive and scan it -> select a partition to recover files from it (Note this step can be carried out repeatedly to get back missing data from different partitions). 


note Note that the free edition has 1 GB data restoration limit. To recover more data, click the Buy Now button to break this limit.

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3 Ways to Get Back Missing Data from RAW Partition

There are also several ways that can be adopted to help recover data from RAW partitions. 

The first way: right click on RAW partition and choose property -> select security settings -> delete useless users and messy codes -> add a local user. 

The second way: click “Management Tool” from “Action Panel” -> find “Local Security Policy” and “Security Settings” respectively -> find the sharing and security model for local accounts -> change guest only to classic. 

The third way: install and run MiniTool Power Data Recovery -> choose “Damaged Partition Recovery” from main window -> full scan RAW partition -> select a partition to enter -> check needed files and recover (the appointed storage location for recovered data can’t be the original RAW partition). 

damaged partition recovery

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Whether you want to recover data from RAW hard drive or just from a RAW partition, you will need the help of MiniTool Power Data Recovery Boot Disk as long as the system is crashed and can’t be started as usual. The main functions of that boot disk are basically the same to that of the normal software edition. The only difference lies in that the boot disk doesn’t provide “CD/DVD Recovery” module.

For more information about how to use the boot disk, see this tutorial. Hope you can solve the RAW data recovery issue without any obstacle. 

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This is the end of introducing ways to recover data from RAW hard drive. After reading above content, you must have noticed that lots of factors can lead to the hard drive RAW problem. To avoid bringing secondary damage to data in RAW drive, we strongly advise you to analyze the possible causes carefully with WINHEX before taking measures to try to recover missing data from it if it is feasible. 

Tips: though the damaged drive data recovery can be finished completely sometimes, it is still advisable for all users to back up important data regularly. In this way, they can get rid of the terrible feeling of worrying about losing valuable data permanently. What’s more, just by resorting to the backups directly, all of us can get back missing data quickly and easily. In a word, data backup is a very important way to protect significant data. We all should form the habit of making backups at fixed periods to avoid annoying losses as much as possible.

Common problems related to partition recovery and our solutions: