RAW file system

How to fix it

Data recovery software and RAW file system

The typical way to get the data back from RAW file system would be to use one of the data recovery utilities available on the market. This method is

  • the most simple, most effective, and most reliable,
  • slow, requires massive amounts of free disk space.

We recommend one of those data recovery tools, depending on your preference

www.ReclaiMe.com icon Simple,
no configurable settings.
ReclaiMe at www.ReclaiMe.com
ZAR data recovery software More configurable,
requires more skill to operate.
ZAR at www.z-a-recovery.com

If you want the instructions with a little bit more fun, please visit this site where each recovery step is illustrated with real-life photos and commented by data recovery experts.

Other repair options for a RAW file system

The options below might be a little bit more risky than working with a read-only data recovery software. Make sure you understand the risks associated with in-place repair operations.

In case a RAW file system issue occurred when you transfered the drive from the RAID controller to a normal one or vice versa, you should try to connect the drive back. If it is not possible, e.g. due to a failed controller, you need to look for the same model or a similar controller. If you managed to use a suitable controller and the drive is recognized correctly, you need to copy data off, connect the drive to a new controller (where it will be used), and format the drive. This often happens with Promise controllers (see example at this page).

In a strange way, the boot drive can become a RAW filesystem. In this case, Disk Management can report various error messages or show odd state of the boot volume, e.g. Dynamic Unreadable, and when the computer starts up AUTOCHK (the startup version of CHKDSK) will report the message "The type of the file system is RAW. Autochk is not available for raw drives". Nevertheless, Windows loads from this partition properly and works without any visible problems. Despite what they say "don't fix it if it ain't broken", it's still an undesirable state. You should back up all the data, delete the partition, then recreate it, reformat the partition, and restore data using the backup copy. Another solution concerning the dynamic disks, per Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 236086, deals with editing the partition table and the registry which is rather complicated and requires certain skill.

Other widespread problems

These days, digital cameras become very wide-spread and sometimes they do fail. If you have lost photos on a digital camera memory card, check the photo recovery section on the ReclaiMe web site.

More and more people start using RAID, because they need to store more and more data. Some of the PC vendors sell computers already configured with a RAID. It is assumed that RAID is more reliable than a single hard drive. However, it can still fail - due to controller failure or a human factor. Fortunately, there is a free RAID recovery software, ReclaiMe Free RAID Recovery.