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How to Fix a RAW USB Drive and Recover Data

If you've noticed that your USB flash drive is inaccessible or came across a RAW message, we're here to help. Check out how to resolve this issue and recover your valuables in this text.
Theo Lucia
Theo Lucia Originally published Mar 25, 24, updated May 14, 24

USB flash drives are one of the most convenient ways to store and carry your memories. You can quickly transfer your files to this small device and take them anywhere. Although these sticks are built to last, they may sometimes experience issues, such as becoming raw.

Realizing something's wrong with your portable USB flash drive may be stressful, so we're here to help. We'll teach you how to identify and fix your raw USB flash drive and recover what has been lost. Stay tuned to learn how to avoid such scenarios in the future.

In this article
    1. Repair a RAW USB Drive Using Checking Device in File Explorer
    2. Fix a RAW USB Drive Using chkdsk CMD
    3. Fix a RAW USB Drive using Diskpart
    4. Fix a RAW USB Drive by Formatting It
    5. Using a Third-Party Tool

What Is a RAW USB Flash Drive?

Every hard drive, including USB flash drives, must use a particular file system to be recognized by your device. You can choose from numerous file systems, such as NTFS, exFAT, FAT 32, and APFS, depending on the device you're using.

File systems will ensure your device can use and recognize your USB flash drive. If the file system fails or gets corrupted, your USB flash drive becomes raw, meaning the file system data is missing.

Numerous reasons may lead to raw USB flash drives. We'll present a table below to help you identify such issues.

Reasons Signs
Corruption The USB will show the RAW or unknown file system.
Malware and viruses The Windows device won't recognize the drive or display the RAW message.
Ports If you're using fault ports, you won't be able to connect your drive to the PC.
Physical damage Physical damage may lead to file system corruption, so you'll see a RAW message or won't be able to access your drive at all.
File system errors The computer can display messages or state that you have space 0 bytes and free space 0 bytes.

If you're unsure whether your USB flash drive became raw, you can use Disk Management to identify the issue. We'll present the guide below.

  1. Right-click on the Start Menu and select Disk Management.
    open disk management
  2. Find your USB flash drive and click on it.
  3. If it says that the drive is RAW, you know what you're dealing with.
    raw hard drive

How to Recover Data From a RAW USB Drive

The first thing that may come to mind when you discover that your USB drive is raw is your files. You may be searching for ways to recover your valuables before starting the repair process.

The best way to get your precious files back is by using a reliable, professional tool for raw flash drive recovery. We've researched the market thoroughly to find the most universal recovery tool to fulfill all your recovery needs. You can check out more details about the tool below.

This is a powerful, all-in-one recovery program that can retrieve data from the most stressful data loss scenarios, such as your drive becoming RAW. No matter how the flash drive became raw (for instance, corruption, errors, virus attacks, or others), it'll surely bring your files back. It covers thousands of file types, so you won't have to worry about your specific files getting lost forever.

The software is compatible with most operating systems and devices, so you won't have to check the specifications before using the tool. Its incredible success rates (around 98%) will surely bring comfort and retrieve all your valuables in minutes.

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To use this tool to recover data from a raw USB flash drive, head to the official Wondershare Recoverit website, download the tool, and follow the steps below:

  1. Open the app and choose the Hard Drives and Locations option.
  2. Select your raw USB flash drive from the available options.
    select the location
  3. After selecting the drive, the program will start scanning. You can pause this process if needed.
    scan the location
  4. Once the program completes the scanning process, preview your files and select the ones to retrieve. Click the Recover button.
    preview and recover
  5. Choose where to save the files.

How to Fix a RAW USB Drive

You can try several methods to fix your raw USB hard drive and get it back into the working state. We've prepared some of the most efficient solutions and guides for each to help you get back on track and repair your valuable USB drive. Let's jump into the fixes.

Repair a RAW USB Drive Using Checking Device in File Explorer

One of the easiest ways to fix a raw USB drive is through File Explorer. You can discover numerous tools this program offers to help you resolve minor issues leading to the raw state. Follow the steps below to perform the checking device in File Explorer:

  1. Open File Explorer and right-click on the raw USB flash drive.
  2. Select Properties from the drop-down menu.
    open properties
  3. Open the Tools tab.
    open the tools tab
  4. Click the Check button.
    checking the disk

Once you click this button, the program will start scanning and resolving issues. You can run this device multiple times to detect all potential problems. If this method doesn't work, you can jump to the next solution.

Fix a RAW USB Drive Using chkdsk CMD

Command Prompt is one of the most versatile and powerful tools, able to fix even the most complicated issues. Although it doesn't have a graphical user interface, it's still one of the best solutions you can come across today.

It'll only take you a few minutes to run the command and resolve the raw difficulties your USB flash drive is facing. Follow the steps below to learn how to run this command:

  1. Search for cmd in the Start Menu and select Run as Administrator.
    open command prompt
  2. Type the chkdsk x : /f command and press Enter. Replace x with the letter of your USB flash drive.
    running the chkdsk command

After this, the program will start checking for errors. It may take some time to complete the whole process and fix the raw issue. You can also run this command a couple of times for the best effect.

Fix a RAW USB Drive using Diskpart

If one of your partitions is raw and is affecting the USB performance, you can use Diskpart to resolve this issue. It's another command you'll need cmd for, so you should be careful when performing these actions. Follow the steps below for the most efficient and successful journey:

  1. Search for Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator.
    opening command prompt
  2. Type diskpart and press Enter.
  3. Type list disk and press Enter.
  4. Find your USB flash drive and memorize its name.
  5. After that, input select disk followed by the name of your USB drive. Press Enter.
  6. Type list partition and press Enter.
  7. Input select partition, followed by the number of the raw partition. Press Enter.
  8. Type the format fs=ntfs quick command and press Enter.
    follow diskpart commands

This process will delete everything stored on the partition, so we advise you to perform raw USB data recovery first to avoid losing data.

Fix a RAW USB Drive by Formatting It

If none of the abovementioned solutions worked, you can format your drive to give it a new life. However, this should be your last resort since formatting will delete all of your files from the drive.

We advise you to recover and back up all of your valuable files before formatting the drive to avoid data loss issues. We also advise you to perform a quick format instead of the full one since there's a higher chance of retrieving your valuables.

After backing up your data, follow the steps below to format your USB flash drive:

  1. Open File Explorer and right-click on the USB flash drive.
  2. Select Format from the drop-down menu.
    start the formatting process
  3. In the next window, select the preferred file system.
    selecting the file system
  4. Select the desired format option (we suggest a Quick Format).
    performing a quick format
  5. Press Start.
    start formatting
  6. Click OK in the next window to initiate the process.
    confirm formatting

Using a Third-Party Tool

Third-party software solutions can be efficient in resolving raw USB flash drive issues. They can detect even the most complex issues and solve them within minutes. However, one of the downsides of this method is that it may be a pricier option, and you can expect to pay anywhere between $10 to $50 a repair.

Some of the most reliable repair solutions include TestDisk, HDD Low Level Format Tool, and AOMEI Partition Assistant. These tools should be able to meet your repair needs.

You should be careful when choosing your tool since not many are safe. You may not be able to get your USB back into working condition if you opt for a faulty, inefficient tool.

Before you click the download button and start the repair process, check user reviews. You'll learn what you can expect from the said tool and whether it can fulfill your repair requirements.

How to Maintain Your USB Drive in the Future

You may have seen how difficult it can be to see something's wrong with your USB flash drive. After you repair your device, you should take all the preventative measures you can to protect yourself and your USB from stressful scenarios. We've prepared a few tips you can try to keep your USB in working condition.

  • Handle the device with care – improper ejection can lead to numerous issues, such as physical damage, bad sectors, and corruption. You should always gently remove your USB from another device to preserve its condition.
  • Use the correct file systems – if you use improper file systems for your USB flash drive, it'll eventually fail and become raw. Instead, research the best file system type for your USB's make and model to prevent potential issues.
  • Use antivirus software – viruses and malware can create chaos within your system, wiping away everything from your drives and corrupting your USB. Using an antivirus can help you detect early attacks and keep your USB healthy and enemy-free.
  • Keep your system up-to-date – if your operating system isn't updated to the latest version, it can represent a security threat. Always update your system when available to protect your internal and external hard drives.
  • Back up your files – keeping a backup of your most precious files is crucial. You can always rely on the copy in case your USB flash drive becomes raw and you end up in a data loss scenario.

If you follow these tips, you'll surely decrease the chances of your drive becoming raw and losing your data.


USB flash drives are among the most popular storage solutions in the tech industry. They are small, easy to carry around, and they come with large capacities able to store all of your memories. Although convenient, USB flash drives can face numerous issues, such as becoming raw, which will affect your experience and the data stored on the device.

In today's guide, we've covered all the basics of raw USB flash drives and how to identify whether your device became raw. We also covered the most effective recovery and repair solutions to get your USB back on track.

You can try some of the abovementioned methods to bring your device back to life and make it as good as new.

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Theo Lucia
Theo Lucia May 14, 24
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