You've just returned from an unforgettable vacation, camera in hand, and can't wait to relive those precious moments by viewing the photos stored on your SD card. But as you connect the card to your computer, you're met with a frustrating surprise – your computer can't read the card, and it's displaying as RAW format instead of the familiar FAT32! What's going on, and how can you fix it?

Don't panic! This comprehensive guide delves into the reasons behind the RAW file system issue and, more importantly, provides you with a simple, step-by-step process to convert your RAW SD card to FAT32 format. Regain access to your cherished memories and ensure seamless compatibility with your devices by following our expert advice.

In this article

What Does RAW Drive/Partition Mean?

Every operating system supports different types of file systems – Windows supports FAT and NTFS formatting. If your drive isn’t formatted in one of these systems, your operating system may not recognize and label it as a RAW drive. When that happens, you cannot access the data stored on your drive or partition using your Windows device.

Even if you have previously formatted your drive/partition to the FAT or NTFS system, some issues may cause it to become RAW and unreadable on your device. You may have attracted a virus or incorrectly formatted the drive, or your drive may contain bad parts that influence your whole disk while not allowing you to access your data.

In these scenarios, you will receive a notification stating you cannot access your drive’s content. Depending on the issue you have, you can receive different messages. For instance, if your drive isn’t formatted correctly, the system will ask you to format it.

an sd card asking to be formatted

Alternatively, you may receive a message that your file is corrupted, indicating that you may have contracted a virus or have bad disk parts.

a corrupted file

Why Convert RAW to FAT32?

convert raw to fat32 file stystem

As explained above, there are times when SD cards or other storage devices unexpectedly turn into a RAW file system, causing difficulties in accessing and managing files. Converting RAW to FAT32 is a practical solution to address these issues. Here are several compelling reasons why you should consider converting RAW to FAT32:

  1. Compatibility: FAT32 is a widely recognized file system that is compatible with most devices, such as computers, cameras, smartphones, and gaming consoles. Converting your RAW storage to FAT32 ensures seamless data access and management across various platforms.
  2. Data recovery: When an SD card or other storage medium displays as RAW, it becomes challenging to access or manage the files stored on it. Converting the RAW file system to FAT32 can help recover and restore access to your valuable data, such as photos, documents, and videos.
  3. Prevent data loss: A RAW file system may indicate corruption or other issues that could potentially lead to data loss. Converting to FAT32 can help mitigate these risks and secure your data against potential loss.
  4. Better file management: FAT32 provides better file management and allocation, making it easier to organize and access your files efficiently.
  5. Error resolution: Converting RAW to FAT32 can help resolve common errors, such as "SD card needs to be formatted," "SD card Invalid," or "Sector not found," allowing you to regain access to your files and continue using your storage devices without issues.

Overall, if you want your SD card to start working and access your content, you should use some of our methods to quickly convert the drive without damage or causing more significant problems.

However, many conversion types may delete your valuables from the RAW card. You should recover and back up your data to protect and preserve your memories. Here’s how to do it.

Ways You Can Convert RAW SD Card to FAT32 Without Losing Data

Several methods can convert your RAW SD card to the FAT32 system. You can choose the option that fits your preferences best. Below, we have mentioned some of the most reliable solutions that will quickly and efficiently turn your SD card into a readable unit.

Way 1. Format RAW SD Card to FAT32 Quickly Using File Explorer

One of the quickest and easiest ways to format your RAW SD card to FAT32 is using the default File Explorer option. This built-in tool has numerous customization options, including converting your RAW SD card. If you have no formatting experience, this method may be the perfect option for you.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1: Open your File Explorer/Windows Explorer.
  • Step 2: Find your RAW partition and right-click on it.
  • Step 3: Select the Format option from the drop-down menu.
format the raw sd
  • Step 4: From the File System section, select FAT32. You can customize other features, such as the capacity and quantity label.
  • Step 5: Tick the Quick Format box for the best conversion experience.
  • Step 6: Press Start.
choose the file system in file explorer
  • Step 7: The pop-up window will notify you that all items will be deleted. Select OK to proceed.
erase data from the sd card

After you complete these steps, you will have a formatted card. As you can see, using your File Explorer will erase all the data from your SD card, so you need to get your data back.

To recover your data, you need third-party data recovery software, such as Wondershare Recoverit. This versatile tool covers numerous data-loss scenarios and can recover all types of files from your SD card. Here’s how to use this tool for the best memory card recovery experience:

Free Download
Free Download
  • Step 1: Download and install Recoverit on your computer.
  • Step 2: Open the software and select your formatted SD card under the Hard Drives and Locations section to start scanning for lost files.
choose the formatted sd card
  • Step 3: Let the software scan the files from your SD card.
scan lost files in sd card
  • Step 4: Preview the files you want to recover and click the Recover button to store them in another location safely.
recover files from sd card
Free Download
Free Download

After this process, you will successfully restore your valuables.

Way 2. Convert RAW SD Card to FAT32 Using CMD

Using your Command Prompt may be one of the most reliable ways of converting your RAW SD card to the FAT32 format. You will quickly and efficiently transform your files with a few easy commands.

This option will also delete your files from the SD card. However, as explained above, you can use Wondershare Recoverit to retrieve your lost files easily.

Free Download
Free Download

Here’s how to convert your RAW SD card to FAT32 using the Command Prompt:

  • Step 1: Search for the Command Prompt on your Windows PC and select Run as Administrator.
  • Step 2: Type format F: /fs:fat32 and press Enter on your keyboard, then press Enter again.

After a few minutes, the CMD should format your RAW SD card to FAT32. To exit the program, type Exit and press enter.

However, the aforementioned method can only function if you have a drive letter. If not, you can follow the steps below to convert your RAW partition to FAT32 using diskpart:

  • Step 1: Open your Command Prompt and Run as Administrator.
  • Step 2: Type in diskpart and press Enter.
  • Step 3: Type the following commands:
    list volume
    select volume n (where n is the volume number of the RAW SD card)
    format fs=fat32 quick
  • Step 4: After a few minutes, you should have the formatted SD card. Type Exit into the Command Prompt to exit the program.

Way 3. Convert RAW to FAT32 Using Disk Management

The Disk Management tool may be your perfect choice if you want a quick and easy solution. This tool allows you to control and format your drives as you wish. To convert your RAW SD card to the FAT32 file system, you should follow this guide:

  • Step 1: Find and open the Disk Management tool on your Windows PC.
  • Step 2: From the list of drives, select your RAW SD card.
  • Step 3: Right-click on the drive and select Format from the drop-down menu.
  • Step 4: In the pop-up window, select the FAT32 from the File System option.
  • Step 5: Tick the Perform a Quick Format box and hit OK.
choose raw sd card
  • Step 6: The program will notify you that the data from your partition will be deleted. Press OK to continue.
formatting using cmd without a drive letter

After a few minutes, you will have a new, formatted SD card. As you can see, this method will also delete your files. But don’t worry, Wondershare Recoverit can help you recover files from formatted SD card in only three steps.

Free Download
Free Download

Way 4. Using an SD Card RAW to FAT32 Converter

Since many tools are available for the conversion process, it is essential to choose a reliable solution. After all, some valuables are stored on your RAW SD card, and you wouldn’t want to endanger them. Before you jump to this method, ensure you are using trustworthy software.

The guide will differ for every tool. To explain how this method functions, we have chosen the AOMEI Partition Assistant. Here’s how to use this tool for the conversion process:

  • Step 1: Open the software and select your RAW partition.
  • Step 2: Right-click on the Unformatted file and select Format Partition.
  • Step 3: Select FAT32 from the File System option.
  • Step 4: Press OK to complete the process.
preview and recover files from sd card


Using an SD card to store your valuables is a popular option. However, you may encounter issues when you insert your card into your Windows PC. We have presented possible scenarios that may occur, causing your SD card to appear as RAW. You can use some of the mentioned methods to fix this issue and quickly convert your RAW SD card to FAT32.

However, all the methods involve formatting which means your data in the SD card will be erased. We have presented one of the most reliable recovery methods, Wondershare Recoverit, to help you get your data back, so that you can convert your RAW SD card to FAT32 without losing data.

David Darlington
David Darlington Mar 06, 24
Share article: