Opening RAW files

Have a problem opening a .RAW file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what RAW files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .RAW file type?

The main association of the .raw filename extension belongs to the generic Raw Image (RAW) file type/format. A raw image is a snapshot of unprocessed data received from the CCD or CMOS sensor of a digital camera when a picture is shot. Most digital cameras of different makes are capable of saving RAW images, often using different make-specific proprietary sub-formats (NEF by Nikon, ARW by Canon, etc.).

A .raw file is a large binary file (usually, tens of megabytes), containing a RAW photographic image. RAW files retain maximum picture information, even redundant, and serve as highest-quality master images. Most advanced bitmap image editors allow non-destructive editing of RAW images.

Many multi-format image viewers are capable of reading and displaying RAW images.

Alternatively, the .raw extension also relates to the uLaw (G.711) audio file format, serving to identify unprocessed uLaw waveform audio files. The uLaw (u-Law) format is primarily used to record speech in telephony, thanks to its very narrow bandwidth (8 kHz, 8-bit, mono, 64 kbps). A uLaw .raw file is a headerless binary file that is basically a stream of PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) waveform data. RAW audio files can be opened, played back and edited with several waveform editors.

The .raw extension is also employed to denote raw images of block (disk) devices. A raw image is a sector-by-sector copy of physical contents of a disk drive, regardless of any filesystems and/or operating systems possibly present on the disk. RAW images can be used to reproduce the original disk (e.g., burn a CD/DVD copy, or create a clone HDD), or mounted as virtual disk drives. There are many utilities that can create, save, and otherwise handle RAW disk images.

Besides, the .raw extension can be used in association with electronic circuit simulation files created with LTspice, a free advanced circuit design and simulation tool by Linear Technology. LTspice uses .raw files to save running circuit simulation data, such as voltage, current and frequency diagrams on a timeline.

Lastly, the .raw extension is generally assigned to files that contain various kinds of unprocessed (raw) readings obtained from sensors, transmitters/receivers, imaging devices, sound recorders etc. Such .raw files basically contain headerless streams of binary data to be programmatically processed by appropriate software.

Software to open or convert RAW files

You can open RAW files with the following programs:
Winamp by Nullsoft, Inc
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop by Adobe Systems, Inc.
CyberLink Power Media Player
CyberLink Power Media Player by CyberLink Corp.
IrfanView by Irfan Skiljan
Adobe Photoshop CS2
Adobe Photoshop CS2 by Adobe Systems, Inc.

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