What is File system RAW vs FAT32 and NTFS

I plugged in an external hard drive and noticed the property of the drive is File System RAW, but it also says FAT32, it's quite confusing.... anyone can explain to me what does that mean? I am able to access the drive no problem.

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Hello okamon..this may indicate the drive has been damaged in some way, although not physically visible.  The 1st things to do is to assess and verify if you have lost data.  IS the data on another HDD, assuming there was 4Gb on it from your image?  If no critical data was on it then you can try to recover it as RAW refers to the Unformatted state of the drive, vs formatted Fat32 in which a MS system can read and write to it.  If you do recover it..test it thoroughly and ensure you have backups of your critical data that you transfer to it.

Step 1 : Assess loss, identify if you need to recover data...if not
S2: format using Fat32 or NTFS, although if that fails you can always try to recover it using some software, which may or may not work. This may be the case if it was squashed and the hdd drive heads came in contact with the platter.

Plan B

head to squidoo for some information  http://www.squidoo.com/raw-drivesquidoo

Plan C

raw to ntfs
What's the OS?  It looks old - it might not support your drive if it's a modern one?
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
That looks like Windows XP.  Windows XP can't format a FAT32 disk larger than 32GB so your drive must have been formatted by another OS or utility.  Maybe it is just not understanding something about your drive setup or partition.  Note also that the maximum file size for FAT32 is 4GB.

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good call DaveBaldwin I forgot to mention that little fact...  To okamon you may also try this link to overcome your issue
okamonAuthor Commented:
this is windows 2003 server running NTFS. there is no critical data on this external drive. everything can be formatted. I can format it to NTFS. My question here is what is RAW? and why it says RAW while it says FAT32 in DISK2..... this is my main question.
"RAW filesystem" issue typically occurs when the filesystem type information is missing or inconsistent between several system tables. Such an issue is often associated with external drives unplugged without "Safely removing" them first. The tables often get damaged during unsafe removal.  RAW is unusable to windows.

FAT32 is the bit it CAN read.   since the limits is 4gb, you are only seeing 4gb. That is why you need to repartition and format using a file system that is suitable for "large devices" ie NTFS

To REINSTATE the whole drive with a system that can be used by your machine you will need to use your control panel, administrative tools, computer management, disk management.  Select that drive only, delete the partition on it, create a new partition for the whole drive,  reformat using ntfs...and there should be no more raw...

unplug all other external drives before you start this process to make sure you have the right one..

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fat32 in disk manager shows 1tb drive...but your drive can be damaged
best run a chkdsk on the drive
if you want to run diags  on it, i would connect the drive direct to a Sata cable - for speed (about 5x faster than over usb) - run the diag for your drive, and best use UBCD:
Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD
 i suggest the UBCD  to run some diags first - to be sure about the basics
go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page
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