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RAW Win10 Disk Report Thankfully Transitory

OK, then. I was working along merrily yesterday cleaning up my office to get ready for another week’s work. Looking at my Downloads and Documents folders, I saw items as far back as August. Normally, I sweep out these folders every 30-60 days. Given that yesterday was November 3, August 1 was 94 days ago. Thus, it was highest time to make my sweep. I keep an “Archives” folder on my G: drive for just that purpose, with both named sub-folders inside. Normally, I highlight the chunk of stuff I want to move, right-click and select “Cut,” navigate to the target Archives folder, then right-click and select “Paste.” It works nearly every time. But yesterday when I tried that I got a very scary response from Explorer that the target was inaccessible (see below for what chkdsk told me when I started investigating). The RAW Win10 Disk Report, thankfully, turned out be purely transitory. A quick restart, and all my drives reported properly in DISKPART. In the meantime, I was seriously concerned!

This is information that nobody running Windows wants to see for any drive on which they store data of value or use. Ouch!

With a RAW Win10 Disk Report, Don’t Panic!

The tendency when seeing something like  the foregoing is to jump immediately into repair mode. Sure, I could’ve jumped into DISKPART and used the command
to try to force the drive back into the right file organization. As I tried to access another Archive on the J: drive, the same thing happened again. And when I couldn’t find either drive in Disk Management or Minitool Power Data Recovery (even though they showed up in Diskpart “List vol”), I decided to try a reboot first to see if the problem persisted or not. I’m deliriously happy to report that whatever bug bit my storage subsystems and the file systems it handles, it disappeared. Nor did I find any error reports in Reliability Monitor, either. And a complete chkdsk investigation into all drives showed nothing amiss. Here’s what DISKPART says about my production PC drives right now, in fact:

The basic take-away from this DISKPART “list vol” output is “Nothing to see here.” What a relief!
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Should Murphy Strike with a Real RAW Win10 Disk Report, Then What?

If an initial report of a RAW disk persists through a reboot, the problem is real rather than transitory. Numerous repair operations are possible. Data loss may be inevitable on an affected drive, unless (a) those repairs succeed or (b) you have a recent backup from which to restore drive contents. There are lots of file recovery tools out there. I’ve personally used Piriform Recuva (free) and MiniTool Power Data Recovery ($$$) to good effect in recovering from file and or partition loss (a RAW report is most likely some kind of partitioning or disk organization problem). There’s a September story on TechRadar entitled “Best free file recovery software of 2019…” that’s probably worth looking into. Ditto for the October 2019 Lifewire story “20 Best Free Data Recovery Software Tools.”

If none of these repair tools does the trick, you may have to pony up big bucks (fees of US$200 and up are not uncommon) for a commercial data recovery service to try and get what it can from your drive. Otherwise, you’ll have to walk away from that data. Moral of the story: always good to have a some-what current backup around. I backup my production PC’s OS and data drive daily, and back up all other drives monthly, with both local copies and into the cloud. It’s the only way to be sure drive failure — and even persistent Windows weirdness sometimes — doesn’t render that data forever lost and inaccessible.

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