Question What is the difference between a "RAW" file system and a "NTFS" system?

Nov 11, 2020
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I purchased second-hand HDDs that I intended to use with an HDD enclosure.

Both HDDs came in a “RAW” file system, and needed to be reformatted to an “NTFS” file system first to fit my purpose.

However, I had trouble reformatting one of the HDDs – I couldn’t get it to complete the reformatting progress.

I kept in touch with the seller who made it seem that it was “assumed knowledge” that the HDDs they sold me can only be in a “RAW” file system, and that I shouldn’t have expected to reformat it.

Here are my questions:

How do I tell if an HDD is capable of being reformatted or partitioned? How do I tell that an HDD model is only capable of being in a "RAW" file system?

Which models should I look for when buying an HDD that can be reformatted and partitioned?

Can HDDs only be sold in a “RAW” file system? Shouldn’t they also be able to be formatted if needed? And wouldn’t the inability of being able to do that indicate a problem with the HDD?

I was under the impression that HDDs are multi-purpose, and that they can be reformatted to be used with an enclosure: what is the purpose of an HDD that cannot be reformatted and is only capable of a "RAW" file system?
 
Sep 12, 2020
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RAW means that the file system is either unknown to Windows, was known but is now corrupt, or the drive is damaged. Therefore you obviously can't read or write to such a drive - despite what the seller implied.

There's probably something wrong with the RAW drive that can't be formatted completely so you should return it.

Buy a new blank drive if you want to know for sure that it can be partitioned and formatted.
 
I purchased second-hand HDDs that I intended to use with an HDD enclosure.

I kept in touch with the seller who made it seem that it was “assumed knowledge” that the HDDs they sold me can only be in a “RAW” file system, and that I shouldn’t have expected to reformat it.
What did the add say?! If they sell used disks as is or as job lots and mention that they are raw it means that they are not selling you 100% working disks.
 
Nov 11, 2020
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What did the add say?! If they sell used disks as is or as job lots and mention that they are raw it means that they are not selling you 100% working disks.
It didn't mention anything about the state of the disk (whether it is a "RAW" or otherwise).

I agree with your second point. They have assured me that the disk has passed SMART tests, and I don't doubt that! The disk has perfect results in Hard Disk Sentinel when I checked it... the problem is that it just doesn't take into account whether it can be formatted or not.
 

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It didn't mention anything about the state of the disk (whether it is a "RAW" or otherwise).

I agree with your second point. They have assured me that the disk has passed SMART tests, and I don't doubt that! The disk has perfect results in Hard Disk Sentinel when I checked it... the problem is that it just doesn't take into account whether it can be formatted or not.
If it cannot be formatted, it is broken.
You, the buyer, should not have to jump through hoops to make it usable.
 
If the drives were formatted inside an PC and are then placed inside an enclosure which is configured with a 4KB sector size, then they will be seen as RAW.

You can see this in the Partitions window in DMDE (a free disc editor).
 
How do I tell if an HDD is capable of being reformatted or partitioned?
How do I tell that an HDD model is only capable of being in a "RAW" file system?
Which models should I look for when buying an HDD that can be reformatted and partitioned?
Every HDD has to be partitioned and formatted before it can be used. This is basic functionality.
You must be able to partition/format every functional HDD. If you can't do it, then there's something wrong with your hardware or HDD.
Can HDDs only be sold in a “RAW” file system?
HDD can be sold unformatted (RAW format). This is nothing unusual.
 

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