Does the Command Prompt refuse to change your disk's file system, displaying the "Convert is not available for RAW drives" error? The message is self-explanatory, but why has your drive become RAW? More importantly, can you fix it without losing data? You bet.

Join us on this data recovery adventure as we walk you through the causes of this error and the proven methods to fix your RAW drive. Let's get this show on the road.

In this article
    1. Format the Drive Using DiskPart
    2. Format the Drive Using Disk Management
    3. Format the Drive Using File Explorer

The Causes of the "Convert Is Not Available for RAW Drives" Message

The Convert command-line utility in the CMD is available only for changing the file system from FAT32 to the NTFS. If you run it on a RAW disk, you'll get the "Convert is not available for RAW drives" message.

What does that mean? Windows doesn't recognize the file system and can't read the drive. Here are the potential causes:

  • 💻File system incompatibility – Windows won't let you run the Convert command on an incompatible drive. For instance, attempting to change a Mac-supported file system like the APFS to the Windows-exclusive NTFS will make your disk RAW.
  • 🚨Interrupted file transfer – A sudden power outage while transferring data (if your PC runs on AC power) can cause corruption. The same goes for disconnecting an external drive while in use or not using the "Safely remove hardware" feature.
  • ⛔Bad sectors – Disks can develop bad sectors due to power surges, logical errors, and physical damage. That makes them appear as RAW since Windows can't read the affected partitions.
  • 👾Malware – Malicious software like viruses, worms, and rootkits can damage hardware components, causing data corruption. They can also delete files.

Regardless of the cause, you can fix your RAW drive without data loss, even if malware erased some files.

However, the only solution is to reformat the disk. Don't worry; that doesn't mean you'll lose data. You can recover it beforehand. Here's how.

Recover Data Before Reformatting the Drive

Reformatting a drive causes data loss. However, you can retrieve your files beforehand with a trusted data recovery solution. These tools enable data retrieval from RAW disks and other storage media, regardless of what caused file system changes and other issues.

Wondershare Recoverit is an excellent example. It's compatible with 2,000+ devices and supports 1,000+ file formats, retrieving lost data in 500+ scenarios with an impressive 98% success rate. It's intuitive, has free and premium versions, and can recover data even after formatting (if you don't overwrite it).
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However, use it before reformatting your RAW drive, just in case. Here's what to do:

  1. Download and install it on your PC, click Hard Drives and Locations, and select your RAW disk.
    data recovery from a computer
  2. Let the program run Quick and Deep scans to detect recoverable data. You can also use the search box or convenient filters like file type, size, tag, status, and time to find specific items.
    scanning and filtering recoverable data
  3. Preview your videos, photos, emails, presentations, PDFs, audio files, and other data, click Select All (or choose specific items), and hit Recover.
    a video preview
  4. Browse your PC for a secure destination (not your RAW disk) and click Recover.
    selecting a file path

Wondershare Recoverit has more features, making it perfect for everyone. For instance, you can restore data from a crashed computer or leverage the patented Enhanced Recovery technology to stitch scattered video and photo fragments. It can be a fantastic addition to your toolbox.

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Now that your files are safe, it's time to reformat your RAW drive so Windows can recognize it and let you perform read and write operations.

Three Ways to Fix the "Convert Is Not Available for RAW Drives" Issue

You can fix the "Convert is not available for RAW drives" problem using DiskPart, Disk Management, and File Explorer. Here are the steps for each.

Format the Drive Using DiskPart

DiskPart is a command-line utility in the Command Prompt and Windows PowerShell. It lets you create, resize, delete, and format disks and their partitions and volumes.

We'll show you how to use it in Windows PowerShell since it's the default shell in Windows 10 and 11. You can follow the same steps if you've changed the default setting to the CMD because Microsoft has brought CMD functionalities to PowerShell to make it more intuitive.

Here's how to format your RAW drive with DiskPart:

  1. Open Windows PowerShell as an administrator and launch the DiskPart utility by typing diskpart and hitting Enter (Enter runs all commands).
    diskpart in windows powershell
  2. Run the list disk command to see all the drives.
    display all disks
  3. Choose your RAW storage unit by running this command: select disk # (replace # with the corresponding number).
    select a raw drive
  4. Run the list volume command to see all containers across partitions.
    display all volumes
  5. Choose the one with the RAW file system by running this command: select volume # (replace the # with the corresponding number).
    choose a raw volume
  6. Run the clean command to erase the selected RAW container.
    erase the raw volume
  7. Make a new logical division by running this command: create partition primary .
    create a primary volume
  8. Reformat the RAW volume by changing its file system to the NTFS with this command: format fs=ntfs .
    format the primary volume
  9. Finally, set a unique identifier to make the disk accessible by running this command: assign letter T (replace T with any available letter).
    specify a drive letter

Reformatting a RAW storage unit using DiskPart may involve many steps, but they're straightforward. However, you can try another method if you don't want to use a command-line interface.

Format the Drive Using Disk Management

Disk Management is a Windows system utility for managing storage units, including creating, extending, shrinking, formatting, and deleting partitions and volumes.

Here's how to format your RAW drive in Disk Management:

  1. Open Disk Management, right-click your RAW disk or partition, and select Format.
    select a raw drive
  2. Choose the NTFS, add a volume label (optional), and leave the allocation unit size to default. Tick the Perform a quick format checkbox, click OK, and confirm your choice.
    format the raw drive

That's it. You can now access your drive as usual and transfer the recovered data to its original storage. However, we recommend backing it up to another location to eliminate the need for data retrieval if an unexpected situation reoccurs.

Format the Drive Using File Explorer

File Explorer is your most straightforward Windows file management app. It doesn't need an introduction; you know what you can do with it.

However, now may be your first time using File Explorer to format a drive, so here are the steps:

  1. Right-click your RAW disk in File Explorer and click Format.
    select a raw drive
  2. Set the NTFS, add a volume label (optional), and leave other settings to default. Tick the Quick Format checkbox, click Start, and confirm your choice.
    format the raw drive

As you can see, formatting a RAW drive (or any other) in File Explorer is child's play. It's identical to Disk Management, except the interface is more familiar and user-friendly.


The Convert command-line utility in the CMD is excellent for changing the file system from FAT32 to the NTFS. After all, it eliminates the need to format a drive, which causes data loss.

However, interrupted data transfers, malware, and bad sectors can make your drive RAW. The same goes for running the Covert utility on a disk with an incompatible file system. The result is the "Convert is not available for RAW drives" error.

Fortunately, you can fix it by formatting your RAW drive with DiskPart, Disk Management, or File Explorer. Remember to recover data beforehand with a trusted tool like Wondershare Recoverit.

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  • What is the RAW file system?
    The RAW file system indicates a drive with a non-existent or unknown (incompatible) file system. Its access at the binary level is impossible, meaning your computer can't recognize the disk and read its data.
  • What causes a RAW drive?
    The most prevalent causes of RAW drives include bad sectors and corruption. The former can develop due to logical errors, power surges, or physical damage. The latter can occur due to malware, unsafe hardware removal (external drives), or interrupted file transfers.
  • Can I recover data from a RAW drive?
    You can retrieve data from a RAW drive with specialized software like Wondershare Recoverit. It doesn't matter that your disk is inaccessible because data recovery software has advanced algorithms for pulling all data. It can restore files even after formatting or accidental deletion (if you don't overwrite them with new entries).
Theo Lucia
Theo Lucia Apr 15, 24
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