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RAW Hard Drive into NTFS Hard Drive

Posted on 2010-09-09
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Last Modified: 2012-09-09

I have a 2 TB hard Drive that was working perfectly fine for back-ups but one day I could not access it. When I try to access it I get a message asking to format the hard drive which is one thing I dont want to do. I looked in disk management and it list the hard drive file system as RAW but it says that its healthy. I have tried to do a check disk but it states that ot it cant perform that task. I have tried different utilities to see if I can fix the table but even my back-up table looks screwy.

Is there a way I can change the hard drive from Raw to NTFS without formatting? Any good tools that can help me with this situation?
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Question by:jamar_roland
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by:noxcho
ID: 33636706
Do not try to run CHKDSK on it. You can turn the things worse.
Download trial version of Paragon Backup & Recovery Home http://www.paragon-software.com/home/brh/
Then run it with HDD connected and see if the program detects your HDD as RAW. If yes then find Volume Explorer in vertical tabs and browse this drive. Does it see the data inside the drive?
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by:nobus
ID: 33644173
you need recovery software to recover the files; this says it does recover it :  http://www.ptdd.com/            
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by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 33645393
Yes first and foremost treat it as read-only and try to get a backup of all your files.

noxcho's Paragon suggestion is excellent for that.

Another way you could try is one of the many other so-called "live CDs" which boot an OS, be it Linux, Unbutu, WinPE, etc.  The one I would try is ease download and burn the Parted Magic Linux live CD: http://www.partedmagic.com   After booting off it, first test if this specialized Linux recovery system will recognize your drive per se, by clicking the 'Mount' icon on the desktop and trying to mount the drive. If this shows your files, they will be accessible; so simply connect an external drive, mount it as well, then copy.  That way you've got a backup of your content.
Should it turn out to be more complicated, the TestDisk (http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk) is your tool of choice; you will find it installed inside the Parted Magic applications menu.
Please refer to this guide: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Step_By_Step
TestDisk claims to even be able to repair a damaged MFT.

But first see if you can get a backup of your content.  Some experts would even take the precaution of making a low-level disk to disk copy of the drive as it is exactly now, and then try making the alterations to fix it, that way if whatever program they try makes it worse, then they have an exact copy to copy and try again.
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by:jamar_roland
ID: 33662669
Well, I have tried all of your solutions with no luck. At this point I dont care about the data on the hard drive but want to get the drive back useable. I have tried to format it but it wont allow me inside disk management. Any ideas how I can force it to format the drive so I can get it back to a NTFS hard drive?
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nobus earned 350 total points
ID: 33662933
use  ubcd, and run dban on it, then you can initialise it from disk management
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/      
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by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 33663072
I seem to remember someone had a similar problem when they lent their hard disk to someone to attach to an Apple machine, and the person borrowing it went ahead and "prepared" the drive for Apple.  That's why trying something like a universal boot disk, a Linux boot CD has advantages because as you may have gathered it uses different techniques for recognising the content of the drive and recognizing different formats.

Okay, let's say Paragon did not see the content in raw.  There's several tricks you can try.  One may be to copy the last block to the first block, as the last block is like a rendundant backup copy of the first.  Another, you might save block 0 to a file and upload the file here, we may be able to see if the partiton is messed up or what.  Another may be a "fake-out" where you tell it to remove the unrecognized partition and then you use the feature it offers to reconstruct an accidentally removed partition, and what it does is look deep at a low level and try to reconstruct the partiton filesystem MFT from the raw block information that's presumably still there.  If it was NTFS before then the NTFS recovery should succeed, or if it was FAT32 before (as some external drives sometimes are for cross-compatibility) then the FAT32 recovery would be the one that succeeds.

Well, if you want to force the issue, then I'd suggest running a command prompt as Administrator and then using the DISKPART command-prompt command.  WARNING: unlike disk management, diskpart doesn't have certain options greyed-out to prevent accidents, it will do prettymuch whatever you instruct it to do, so, if you do commands on the wrong drive or the wrong partition, big uh oh.

I'd start out using DISKPART to see what partitions it lists on the the disk in question, and see what TYPE of partition it thinks it is.  You may be able to change the type of the raw malfunctioning partition to NTFS or FAT32 (do you remember what it was before?) and see if that helps solve the problem.
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by:jamar_roland
ID: 33664879
Which command should I use. I have never heard of DISKPART but it seems like it may do the trick. Should I use the "clean" or the "convert" command?
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by:jamar_roland
ID: 33666106
UBCD got me closer than any other software but the hard drive has seen its last day. Thanks for the comments
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by:nobus
ID: 33669497
>>   UBCD got me closer than any other software    <<  can you tell what happened? we can help better if we know what is going on
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by:Tobelieve
ID: 38379420
I'm late to this posting but need similar help.  I have a primary server 2003 hard drive that I need to recover the data off of and fast.  The drive is attached via USB docking to a computer running win7, it spins up, display on my computer screen 2 partitions needing formating, shows in the windows explorer as a H and J drive, shows in the disk manager as RAW and when I try to use several different data recovery tools they say that there are sector issues.  I'm trying to follow your instructions above but need more details to see if I can rebuild/change the partitioning, re-initialize the disk or just plain get the data off.  This is the second drive I have had this happen to me on in the past few months.
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by:nobus
ID: 38380420
Tobelieve,  - if you have a question - please post it in your own thread; don't piggy-back on another one
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by:Tobelieve
ID: 38381861
I wanted to but couldn't find a way to do and ask you specifically a question about the solution you produce in this post. I will post a new question and hope you see it.
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by:nobus
ID: 38381983
then post the link here, if i don't answer your Q
did you post it today?
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