‘RAW’ Hard Drive Status – Its Effects, Causes, and Resolution

Every hard drive, whether it is internal or external, has set of advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage of a hard drive is it is used for storing your valuable data, such as your precious videos, alluring photos, favorite audios, personal files, and Operating System. Despite its usefulness and great value, hard drive users are often found suffering from data loss issues. This happens when the hard drive gets corrupt and causes inaccessibility of all the data stored on it. There can be various reasons that may result in the corruption of your hard drive.

These reasons may range from virus infection to incomplete disk read/write operations. Therefore, backup of your invaluable files and folders is always recommended, as the problem becomes more troublesome when you do not have backup and you have to format your drive in order to make it accessible.

One such issue occurs when your hard drive shows ‘RAW’ as its ‘File System’ under ‘Disk Management’ that you usually access from ‘My Computer >> Drives’. This causes complete inaccessibility of all the data stored on your hard drive or hard drive partition, and hence results in data loss. Some of the common symptoms that you experience when your hard drive shows RAW status are:

Symptoms of hard drive having RAW status:

  • The ‘file system’ field under ‘Disk Management’ shows ‘RAW’ status.
  • The name of the hard drive or drive partition having RAW status has weird characters.
  • Windows OS is completely unable to read such drives and asks you to format the drive. The pop-ups that you get when you see RAW status on your Windows XP and Windows 7 computers are: 


In such situations when you try to use inbuilt disk checking features of Windows like CHKDSK, you get an error message, such as:

chkdsk cannot be run on the drive
The type of the file system is RAW.
CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives.

To understand such unexpected behavior of your system, you need to know what RAW status is and why it occurs.

What is RAW status? And why it happens?

The data storage devices like internal or external hard drive of your system come pre-formatted with a file system. The file system on your hard drive defines how the data will be stored on it and its working mechanism. In addition to this, every file system has its records in the partition table or in Master Boot Record, which defines the status of the drive and is responsible for its proper functioning. Therefore, any corruption or damage to the record or partition table can result in complete inaccessibility of all the stored data. This type of damage usually turns the file system of your hard drive to ‘RAW’.

This situation occurs due to various reasons, such as sudden power outage, removing the drive improperly from computer, dropping it on the floor, or virus infection. If you are using an external hard drive, then make sure that the system to which it is connected is not infected by viruses. Moreover, always remove your drive using ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ option and take all the necessary precautions to safeguard them.

How to recover data from hard drive showing RAW status?

When your hard drive or drive partition is showing RAW status, you should not think that your data is lost. Instead, your data is on your drive only and the problem is with the partition table or master boot record. Therefore, you can easily recover your data with the help of a professional Windows data recovery tool. Efficient data recovery software recovers files and folders that become inaccessible due to RAW status.

In order to perform successful recovery of your files in such situation, it is recommended not to format your hard drive (as asked by the pop up during this message). Instead, you should use a professional tool and perform the recovery of your inaccessible data with it. For analyzing a professional tool before purchasing it, you can download its free demo version. The free download HDD recovery software scans your affected hard drive or hard drive partition (you have to select the affected drive by following the simple steps of the tool for recovery) and shows the preview of recoverable files in its interface. Therefore, for complete recovery of your files, you have to purchase the license of the software.

Apart from this, if you have accidentally formatted your hard drive by following the pop-up message that appears when you try to access such drives, then too you should not worry as a professional hard drive data recovery software also recovers files from formatted drives. However, in the cases of hard drive formatting, the successful recovery of formatted files is not confirmed.

After performing the recovery of files from RAW hard drive with professional tool, you can format it to reconstruct its file system, and hence make this drive or drive partition accessible for reuse.