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What is Raw Hard Drives and How to Recover Data from Unrecognized Partitions [Guest Post]

A hard drive is recognized as ‘Raw’ by the Windows operating system, if it has not been formatted. These hard drives are the ones that are purchased independent of the computer systems. They do not have a filing system and an operating system.

Formatting is typically done to prepare a storage device for reading and writing data. This process involves examining all sectors of the disk, searching for and marking bad sectors, and generating internal address information to be used for locating data. The formatting process builds a file system on your hard drive. There are two basic file systems for Windows, i.e. ‘FAT’ and ‘NTFS’. The file system type information is placed in partition table and volume boot sector. If either of these gets corrupt, Windows fails to recognize the disk or partition as either FAT based or as NTFS based and declares it as type ‘Raw’.

While trying to use a ‘Raw’ hard drive in Windows, you may come across a series of errors as shown below:

  • Sector not found
  • Invalid media type reading drive Abort, Retry, Fail?
  • Disk not formatted.
Do you want to format now?
As a consequence, you fail to access your valuable data stored on the hard drive. The data on a raw hard drive remains intact until the drive is reformatted. This data can be easily recovered using any professional or free data recovery software. Based on experience, in these sorts of cases you should always preferred to use only professional software as it runs in read only mode and recovers data with maximum accuracy without overwriting the deleted data.

Professional software offers a simplified and safe approach to data recovery. You need to follow the procedure described below to easily extract data from any raw hard drive using professional recovery software's:

Note: Most professional software's follow the simplified and ease set of steps to recover data from damaged or inaccessible hard drive data.

  • Launch the Data Recovery wizard once your downloaded and installed the software. Probably, you'd find an option called ‘Drive Recovery’ devoted to recover data from different type of storage media devices including hard drive, USB, flash drive etc.
  • Now, click on ‘Search Lost Volumes’ link.
  • Under ‘Select Hard Drive to Search Lost Volumes’ section, select your raw hard drive.
  • On the right-hand side flying pane, choose the scan method (Quick or Deep) and click ‘Search Lost Volume’.
  • All the lost or deleted partitions will be listed under ‘Select Volume to Recover Data’ section. Choose any partition in this list and select ‘Advanced Recovery’ option on the flying pane. You should specify whether to scan the partition as FAT or NTFS.
  • The software scans the selected partition and displays all the recoverable data in the left pane. You can choose to preview each file individually in the interface.
  • Select the files you need to recover, specify a destination for saving the recovered data, and then click ‘Recover’. After completion of the process, all the recovered files will be saved to the specified location in your system.
P.S.: It's always recommended to have another hard drive of more or equal size of external or internal hard drive to store the recovered hard drive data.

This post was written by: Abhay Jeet Mishra

Abhayjeet is an enthusiastic writer and trained professional for troubleshooting various hardware and software related Windows PC Problems. You can follow him on Twitter @powellstellar

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