As soon as your computer hard drive becomes RAW, you cannot use it normally anymore. When you attempt to open it, you will receive an error message saying “You need to format the disk in Drive *: before you can use it”. Please think twice before you click any button. If you receive the message when you access your external hard drive, please find the solutions in this related article: [Fix] You Need to Format the Disk before You Can Use It.
If you do not think there are any important files in it, you can immediately format the drive to a normal state and then use it as a new one. If that hard drive stores some important files that you do not want to lose, you are not recommended to format it directly. You might consider finding a way to fix the issue with the help of CHKDSK or other Windows built-in tools. However, you won’t succeed because Command Prompt only shows you an error message that says “CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives”. Even after trying the Windows built-in Error Checking Tool, you still find that it doesn’t work for a RAW drive（the following image shows that result).
The fact is clear. You cannot use the Windows snap-in tools to fix RAW drive, without losing any data. You might wonder if there are other methods to fix this CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives issue? How shall I fix a RAW drive without format? So far, the only feasible method to fix a RAW drive is to format it to normal. But you can think out of the box. You could use the file recovery tool such as MiniTool Power Data Recovery to recover data from a RAW hard drive, when it is done, format it without worrying about the files in it. The following instructions will walk you through how to fix the issue.
First Step – Recover Data from RAW Drive
MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a professional, easy-to-use data recovery software for users to rescue data from nearly any types of data storage drives like traditional HDD, external hard drives, SSDs, SD cards, memory cards, pen drives, and more.
Open the program, and you can see four recovery modules, including This PC, Hard Disk Drive, Removable Disk Drive, and CD/DVD Drive. You can use this software under different situations, for example, when your hard drive is inaccessible, the hard drive fails to function properly, the hard drive becomes RAW, etc.
The trial edition is available for download on MiniTool official site. If you haven’t used this software yet, you can first test this trial edition to scan the RAW drive and then check whether it can find all the files you need. If yes, you can get the full edition and use it to recover data without any restrictions. Go ahead, install the trial version on your Windows computer. Then please read the tutorial to do data recovery, you will find it not difficult to retrieve data from a RAW drive.
1. Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery program, you will access This PC immediately.
2. Stay in the recovery module of This PC, and then select the RAW drive and click Scan. If you only want to recover specific types of files in this step, you can click the “Settings” button, and then select your needed types.
3. After the scanning process ends, you can check the scan results and see whether the software finds your needed files.
4. Upgrade this freeware to a full edition, and then recover all your needed files to a proper location.
You can use all the recovered files immediately after data recovery.
The Second Step – Format the RAW to Normal
After retrieving your important files, you can format the RAW drive to normal at any time. Now we are going to introduce three methods for you to format a RAW drive.
Method 1. How to use Disk Management to format a RAW drive
1. Right-click This PC on your Windows computer desktop –> select Manage.
2. Click Disk Management under Storage (from the left list). Alternatively, you can use Windows search to search for disk management, then select the first result to directly open Disk Management.
3. Find the RAW drive, and right-click it –> select Format … from the pop-out menu.
4. Now please type the Volume label, File system, and Allocation unit. If you want to perform a quick format, please ensure that the Perform a quick format option is selected (see the image below).
5. Click OK –> click another OK on the new pop-out window to begin the driver formatting process now.
Also read: You could find more Windows tips and the latest software reviews on TechSCSI website.
Method 2. How to use the Windows File Explorer to format a RAW drive
1. Go to This PC, Find the RAW drive and right-click it –> select Format… from the pop-out window.
2. Select the file system, after that, type the Volume label. (Optionally, You can also select other information if necessary.)
3. Click Start and wait for a little while till the formatting process completes.
Method 3. How to use MiniTool Partition Wizard to format a RAW drive
MiniTool Partition Wizard includes many partition management tools that cater to the needs of Windows users. Among which, Format Partition is one important free feature. You can follow this simple tutorial to format a RAW drive to a file system you want to use.
1. Open the software, right-click the RAW drive, when it is done, select Format from the pop-out menu.
2. Type and select the drive parameters, confirm and then click OK.
3. At last, click Apply to execute the formatting operation immediately.
After formatting the RAW drive, the issue of CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives gets resolved, and you can use your drive as a new one.