ZlinG
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ZlinG asked on
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How can I get Windows 7 to read RAW hard drives without having to format the hard drive due to important work on it?

Original Title: External hard drive file format is RAW and not NTFS. How can I get Windows 7 to read RAW hard drives without having to format the hard drive due to important work on it?

I have put the hard drive onto a XP and Vista machine and can read the hard drive but not with Windows 7
Shawn - Support Engineer
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Shawn - Support Engineer replied on

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Hi Zling,

Does this work on other OS's? When did you last read the disk and with what OS? If you can read the disk and make a backup of the data on it, I would suggest you backup the data on the drive and then format it using the NTFS file system.

Hope this helps!
Shawn - Support Engineer - MCP, MCDST
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Job Sam Varkey
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Job Sam Varkey replied on

Hi Zling,

Welcome to Microsoft Windows Forum.

You may convert RAW External hard drive file format to NTFS file format . Windows 7 doesn’t read the files until it is formatted.

Hard disks , which are the primary storage devices on your computer, need to be formatted before you can use them. Formatting a disk means configuring the disk with a file system so that Windows can store information on the disk. Hard disks in new computers running Windows are already formatted. If you purchase an additional hard disk to expand the storage of your computer, you might need to format it.

For more information on formatting hard disk and drive, you may visit the links mentioned below:

Formatting disks and drives
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Formatting-disks-and-drives

Create and format a hard disk partition
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Create-and-format-a-hard-disk-partition

Note:The above mentioned links talks about Windows Vista but it applies to Windows 7 as well.

Hope this information is helpful.
 
Regards,
Sujan – Microsoft Support
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Bob Headrick
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Bob Headrick replied on
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I have put the hard drive onto a XP and Vista machine and can read the hard drive but not with Windows 7
So you can read if you boot into XP but not Windows 7?  If there is important information on the disk DO NOT format it as you will lose all the information.  I would suggest going to Disk Management (go to the Start Orb, in the Start Search box type Disk Management) and see if the volume show up.  If it does right click on it and select "Change Drive Letter" and assign a drive letter.


Bob Headrick,Microsoft MVP Windows Expert - Consumer
ZlinG
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ZlinG replied on

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Thanks for the reply, but still no luck with the drive.
Shawn - Support Engineer
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Shawn - Support Engineer replied on

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Hi Zling,

Does this work on other OS's? When did you last read the disk and with what OS? If you can read the disk and make a backup of the data on it, I would suggest you backup the data on the drive and then format it using the NTFS file system.

Hope this helps!
Shawn - Support Engineer - MCP, MCDST
Microsoft Answers Support Engineer
Visit our Microsoft Answers Feedback Forum and let us know what you think
Mark [MSFT]
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Mark [MSFT] replied on
Microsoft

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If it works on XP/Vista, it should work on Win7 without needing a format.  
Want to know if your current hardware & software will work with Windows 7? Check out these links: **Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor ** **Windows 7 Compatibility Center**
Anushan R
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Anushan R replied on

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If it works on XP/Vista, it should work on Win7 without needing a format.  
I've got a Western Digital Passport 500GB.

It works on XP flawlessly, but when put into Windows 7. It doesn't recognize the hard drive, and attempts to format it each time...

In disk manager on windows 7 it sees the disk as RAW.
On windows XP it shows NTFS and reads and writes prefectly fine.

... I know it should work, but it's not.
I've tried more 3 Windows 7 Box and none of them will read it, but all XP machines read it fine.

Any solutions would be very helpful...

(Also please note that moving/copying the files off the drive then formatting it and putting them back on isn't a solution I'm looking for... It's a big drive and I don't have that amount of time.)

Visit www.isupportyork.com/blog for my IT related blog :D
nishkarsh
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nishkarsh replied on

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i have same problem with my segate 250GB portable drive.
worked fine when used on the same machine on windows 7 a few months back but i reinstalled windows 7 today and file-system shows RAW in disk management now.
drive works fine on xp and linux.
thnx in advance...
Heydude
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Heydude replied on

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i know this is a windows fourm but I'm trying to help and this method worked for me before.

 

if you have another external HDD or enough space on your main drive C: to copy all of the files in your slave drive you could easily repair it for free and without installing another OS.

first download a linux liveCD (ubuntu is your best bet, download the desktop edition it is the liveCD) and boot from it... it doesn't install but loads into ram without using the HDD..

from there plug in the external HDD or storage media and copy all data from the RAW drive to your just plugged in NTFS or FAT Drive (they appear on the desktop when plugged in).

after your done (the time it takes depends on how much you copied) go to the top menu in System>Administration>Gparted.

go to your slave drive, easily distinguishable if the size differs from your main but if not look for one that isn't formatted as NTFS (NTFS or FAT drives are marked with green boarders) and try to make sure it is the correct drive...

right click on the "RAW" fs and look for the Format to option and select Ntfs or Fat and make sure to label it (name it). click the check-mark and wait for it to format.

once its done, copy all the data from your storage medium back onto the drive and your set!

the exit is on the top right of the screen... remove the disk when prompted and reboot.

 

easy solution and i hope no one here bashes me for suggesting this because all I'm trying to do here is help people with a problem i have solved years ago.

thank you all for listening...

 

 

BABUPS
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BABUPS replied on

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i know this is a windows fourm but I'm trying to help and this method worked for me before.

 

if you have another external HDD or enough space on your main drive C: to copy all of the files in your slave drive you could easily repair it for free and without installing another OS.

first download a linux liveCD (ubuntu is your best bet, download the desktop edition it is the liveCD) and boot from it... it doesn't install but loads into ram without using the HDD..

from there plug in the external HDD or storage media and copy all data from the RAW drive to your just plugged in NTFS or FAT Drive (they appear on the desktop when plugged in).

after your done (the time it takes depends on how much you copied) go to the top menu in System>Administration>Gparted.

go to your slave drive, easily distinguishable if the size differs from your main but if not look for one that isn't formatted as NTFS (NTFS or FAT drives are marked with green boarders) and try to make sure it is the correct drive...

right click on the "RAW" fs and look for the Format to option and select Ntfs or Fat and make sure to label it (name it). click the check-mark and wait for it to format.

once its done, copy all the data from your storage medium back onto the drive and your set!

the exit is on the top right of the screen... remove the disk when prompted and reboot.

 

easy solution and i hope no one here bashes me for suggesting this because all I'm trying to do here is help people with a problem i have solved years ago.

thank you all for listening...

 

 


My old XP system crashed and it had a second drive NTFS, where I stored all my data and tried to use the drive using SATA dock on the laptop which runs Win7, but this drive is not accessible in Win7 eventhough I could assign a drive letter, because the drive is shown as RAW.  I struggled for more than couple of weeks to recover my data, by using many recovery menthods mentioned in many blogs on the internet, but could go nowhere.  Finallly as per the above suggestion I tried Ubuntu linux liveCD without installing it and it worked like magic wand. Could read and copy all the important data straight away without any hassle. I like windows, but not sure why such a simple thing could not be addressed in latest Windows7.

 

Blinger101
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Blinger101 replied on

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I've been having the exact same problem as OP, so I tried installing the HDD as an internal drive and Win7 recognized it perfectly without flaw. It appears that Win7 has serious problems with external HDD's. In my case, it's a 500GB Seagate that I put into a drive enclosure. I had previously been using it as an internal data drive on a Win7 machine (desktop), but I have since switched to a laptop (another Win7 machine) as my main device (sold the desktop parts as I no longer used it) and I wanted to still have access to my data. As an external drive, Win7 refuses to recognize it as it would be as an internal drive. The drive was also originally formatted under Win7.

Incidentally, trying to fix it myself with TestDisk, I found that the the MFT for the drive had been corrupted. I was able to correct it using TestDisk, but as long as the drive is an external, the MFT gets corrupted again when either the drive or the laptop is rebooted (or if the drive is left idle for a minute). I've seen this issue with multiple drive enclosures that I've got laying around. I've also confirmed that the issue is not occurring for XP or Vista machines - they all recognize the external drive perfectly and I can access my files perfectly.

To summarize:

XP:
Internal = Great
External = Great

Vista:
Internal = Great
External = Great

Win7:
Internal = Great
External = Unusable
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