Solved: Unable to Format External Hard Drive in RAW

July 6, 2018

Do you feel frustrated because you are unable to format external hard drive in RAW? Read this article patiently and find effective solutions here.

The issue: unable to format external hard drive in RAW

External hard drives are widely-used in our daily life. We use flash drives, memory cards and other kinds of external hard drives for photos, videos, documents and so on. There is a possibility that external hard drives gain bad speed performance and storage errors after a period of use. Formatting external hard drive can be a good choice to recover perfect performance. However, some people find they are unable to format external hard drive because it shows as RAW in Disk Management.

External Hard Drive RAW

Why does an external hard drive become RAW?

You may be confused with the external hard drive becoming RAW. Let me make it clear for you. Following are possible causes for that:

  • Disconnect the external hard drive without using the “Safely Remove Hardware”.

  • A sudden power failure.

  • System crash which may also have bad effects on the external hard drive.

  • Virus infection which breaks file system directly.

Thus, it is important for us to develop good habits of using computers—always use “Safely Remove Hardware” to disconnect the drive and check virus regularly. If you already have the problem that the external hard drive becomes RAM, learn how to convert external hard drive from RAW to NTFS in the next part.

How to solve “unable to format external hard drive in RAW” efficiently?

To solve “unable to format external hard drive in RAW” problem, there are three efficient ways you can try:

Solution 1: format external hard drive in RAW via cmd

I’ll show you how to format RAW external hard drive in cmd step by step:

1. Tap the Search button on the taskbar and type “cmd” in the search box. Right-click “cmd” and select “Run as administrator”.

2. Type diskpart and press Enter.

3. Type list disk and press Enter.

4. Type select disk # (ex: disk 1) to select the external hard drive to be formatted and press Enter. You may get indication from the size of the disk.

5. Type clean to remove all information on the external hard drive.

6. Type create partition primary to create a partition.

7. Type format fs=ntfs label=# (ex: label=new) quick to format the partition as NTFS.

8. Type assign letter=# (ex: letter=F) to assign a drive letter.

9. Double type exit to exit Diskpart and Command Prompt successively.

Format via CMD

Tips:

  • CMD is unable to format a FAT32 partition over 32GB, so you will need to limit the partition capacity to 32GB or less or just format the hard drive as NTFS.

  • The format process may fail if you are using Windows XP because it doesn’t support Diskpart.

Solution 2: format external hard drive in RAW with a handy freeware

In addition to Windows built-in tool cmd, you can also use AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard to format RAW external hard drive in large size. It is easy-to-use and totally free. Find how to fix external hard drive from RAW to NTFS below:

Step 1. Download, install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right-click the external hard drive that you need to format and hit “Format Partition”.

Format Partition

Step 2. Reset the partition label, file system and cluster size (smaller cluster size makes less wasting of disk space, and we usually recommend you use the default size if you don’t know which one is better) in the pop-up window. Select NTFS as file system here and click “OK” to confirm the changes.

Format Partition Settings

Step 3. Confirm “Pending Operations” and click “Apply” to execute the operation.

Format Partition Preview

Solution 3: format external hard drive in RAW by special command lines

If you want to format RAW external hard drive by AOMEI Partition Assistant command lines, please upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional which owns more powerful functions, such as converting system/boot disk between MBR and GPT Styles, recovering deleted partitions and so on. Following are detailed steps to convert external hard drive from RAW to NTFS by command lines:

Step 1.Tap the Search button on the taskbar and type “cmd” in the search box. Right-click “cmd” and select “Run as administrator”.

Step 2. Input following command lines and press Enter after each:

cd C:\Program Files (x86)\AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro Edition 7.0 (You should change the path after “cd” with the installation directory of AOMEI Partition Assistant on your computer.)

partassist.exe /fmt:F /fs:ntfs /label:new (You may change the label as you want.)

Format via Partassist

exit

Exit Partassist

Tip:

You can learn more command line operations from AOMEI Partition Assistant command lines.

Summary

When you are unable to format external hard drive in RAW next time, follow the guidance above. You will make the external hard drive usable again either via cmd or with AOMEI Partition Assistant. You can also convert GPT to MBR, clone bootable USB drive to another USB drive with the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant.