How to Recover the RAID Array Configuration for Free

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Introduction: How to Recover the RAID Array Configuration for Free

So, you faced the array configuration failure and you lost the access to the data although it is still stored on the member disks. In this tutorial I am going to show you how to recover the array configuration for free.

You may use this instruction for the disk array created using RAID controller or any NAS device. Just note that you will have to extract the disks from the NAS. If you are not sure how to do this, you can find a lot of tutorials on Youtube.

I am going to tell about my case. Be sure, you can apply this method for other array configurations.

I have a 3-disk array that was created using RAID controller. Each disk has 2TB volume. They were configured to RAID5 that is 4TB of my data and 2TB of parity data necessary for fault-tolerance.

Step 1: What You Need:

1. Array member disks

2. PC that has enough SATA ports for disks connection

3. Screwdriver

4. SATA cables to connect the disks to the motherboard

5. A large disk where you will copy the data to from the array

6. Free software for the array configuration recovery – ReclaiMe Free RAID Recovery

Step 2: Disconnect the Disks From the RAID Controller

Step 3: Remove the Cover From the Computer.

I miss this stage because I have some kind of workstation without a PC box but with all PC components. But if you are a home user, take a screwdriver and open the box.

Step 4: Connect the Disks to the Motherboard Using SATA Cables.

Step 5: Connect Power Cables to the Disks and Turn on the PC.

Step 6: Download the Software

Go to www.FreeRaidRecovery.com, download the software there, set it up and run.

Step 7: Start the Scanning

Select all array member disks in the software window and run the recovery by clicking the needed RAID type. In my case it is RAID5. You should choose your RAID type.

What to do if you don't know your RAID type? The only way you can determine it is just to guess. Of course, trial-and-error method can take you much time but there is a tip:

  • 2-disk arrays are usually configured into RAID0 or RAID1;
  • 3-disk arrays are most likely configured into RAID5;
  • 4-disk arrays can be configured into RAID5, RAID6 or RAID10.

Step 8: Wait

Wait until the software completes the recovery. It may take from a few minutes to several hours or even a couple of days to determine RAID configuration. In the worst case, the tool will have to scan the whole array.

Step 9: Save a Copy

As soon as ReclaiMe Free RAID Recovery brings the array parameters, it offers several free options. I chose “Save copy to disk”. To use this option you are supposed to have additional storage whose volume is not less than the source array volume. As a result, you will get a copy of the array that is stored on a usual hard drive.

I prepared a 6 TB disk, so, all the data from the array are now recorded there. In my case I got the access to the data at once but sometimes it is additionally needed to use free TestDisk utility to rebuild the partition table.

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