How to recover RAW USB drive?

USB drive in this case means a disk connected to a computer via a USB port. Typically, we are talking about an external drive - a box with 1 or 2 hard drives inside, which, for the user, is just a storage that is conveniently connected to any computer (desktop or laptop) via a USB port.

Since such devices are designed to be frequently connected and disconnected from computers, they are prone to the so-called RAW disk problem associated with corrupted file system metadata on a USB disk. Such a situation may arise, for example, at the moment of incorrect ejection of the disk, when it was actively used by the operating system. Copying or deleting data changes some of the metadata records that need to be updated (written) to the disk: if you remove the disk at such a moment, the metadata may remain inconsistent, and the next time you connect the drive, the operating system may refuse access to it.

RAW USB disk is not accessible

In Disk Management, your RAW USB drive most likely is marked as having RAW file system.

RAW USB disk in Disk Management

You can fix this problem in 2 different ways:

  1. Editing metadata, such as those taken from backup boot sectors. Extremely dangerous and not recommended, but if you really want to, then read more in our research on the RAW problem for an NTFS volume and a FAT volume.
  2. Data recovery from a raw USB disk using a data recovery utility. The recommended and safest solution that works in read-only mode.

Refer here for the detailed comparison of these two methods in order to choose the one that suits you best.

As for the recommended data recovery, ReclaiMe File Recovery does an excellent job of extracting data from a raw USB disk in a few minutes; refer here for the step-by-step instructions on what to do and how to do it.

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