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Deleted raid 0 dynamic disk span by accident, how to recover?

Posted on 2005-04-13
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Basically, I have a win2k3 server in my basement.  I have a total of 10 scsi drives on it.  5 of the drives are dynamically spanned as one logical drive (raid 0 my friend told me).  4 of the other drives are also spanned as one logical drive.  My main system drive is a single drive all by itself.  

My friend gave me a new drive so that I could add it to my span.  It was supposed to be added to my internal array of 4 hot swap drives which are spanned already.  The 5 drives are external and are enclosed in a single case so I didn't want to add the hotswap drive to the external enclosure incase I ever needed to move the external enclosure.

I then put the new hotswap drive into the system and then proceeded to add it to the wrong span, i added the internal hotswap drive to the external span array of drives.  I figured, "Oh, i will just delete that one volume that I just added and add it to the other array."

Well dumb move, I didn't realize that deleteing the "volume" was in a sense deleting the entire span of 5 drives.  

That is the point that I am at now.  I have the 5 drives stiill showing up as "unallocated" and I haven't done a thing with them since I deleted the volume.  No, i don't have any backups, doh.  Is it possible without sending the drives to a data recovery service to recover the span and copy the data off of it?  I dont' want to spend any huge amounts of money, the data isn't really worth that much, but i sure would like to save it.  I looked into "active undelete" but i was highly confused by the program.
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Question by:bobo_tech
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nobus earned 800 total points
ID: 13779394
can any of those help you?

http://www.runtime.org/                                    GetDataBack
http://www.stellarinfo.com/                                    Stellar
http://www.bitmart.net/                                    Restorer 2000
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/restoration.html                        Restoration
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/activeundelete.html                        Active undelete
http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/UK/welcome.htm                  pc Inspector
http://www.snapfiles.com/get/smartrecovery.html                        flash recovery
http://www.ontrack.com/                                    ontrack
http://www.ontrack.com/easyrecoveryprofessional/                  Easy Recovery
http://www.cgsecurity.org                                    Test Disk + utils
http://www.z-a-recovery.com/setup.exe                              zero assumption
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by:huntersvcs
ID: 13780078
Without a backup, you're probably in big trouble.  Quote:

"RAID-0. This technique offers striping but no redundancy of data. It offers the best performance but no fault-tolerance and if a drive fails in RAID 0 only repair and reassembly of the volume will result in a recovery."

By this, they mean totally recreating the stripeset and restore from backup.

Sorry!
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by:huntersvcs
huntersvcs earned 400 total points
ID: 13780118
Don't know if this will help:

http://www.unistal.com/products.html

They have a demo download for RAID 0.  Haven't read the specs, but who knows!
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by:al-hasan
ID: 13780541
bobo_tech: I assume you confirmed your steps already, or - by chance - do you happen to have the menue still open where you realized the mishap? Stupid question, I know, but maybe... maybe you have not much trouble at all. If you did all in the disk management of Windows, assuming you have a software raid, unless you confirm all the steps finally, nothing happens. Get out with 'Cancel'. Or do you have a hardware raid controller in your server?

Just my thoughts,
has.
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by:bobo_tech
ID: 13781246
Actually, al-hasan, I thought of the same thing.  It is a software raid using the motherboards standard scsi port and 2 adataptec scsi cards.  I was in disk manangement and I hit delete and it just deleted it then I realized what I did.  I then checked my computer and sure enough, the drive letter for the volume was gone, so I just hard powered the server down and started it back up hoping that the deletation wasn't confirmed.  I was never asked to confirm the erasure of the volume.

Someone told me that I could possibly recreate the span the same way I did when i first built it and then run some undelete programs on it.  Later today, I'm going to look into some of the programs that are listed above.
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by:al-hasan
ID: 13781305
if it is running already again... you have access to the disk manager. Assign a new drive letter, if the volume is visible.

What is 'hard powered' down, please? I would have used the famous ESC or - in the worst case - pulled the power plug.

Anyway, I cross my fingers we do not have your RAID deleted yet.
has.
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by:bobo_tech
ID: 13783423
well yes, i pulled the power plug once i discovered that the dirve was gone from my computer.
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by:Carlo-Giuliani
Carlo-Giuliani earned 800 total points
ID: 13784834
Hooooo...boy.  You are in deep.  Actually, I think you have not lost the data.  Simply deleting the spanned volume should not delete any of the file systems.  The problem is going to be recreating exactly the same logical volume without disturbing the file systems.   Unfortunately, most "undelete" products do not support reconstruction of a RAID array.

With a hardware RAID controller, when you delete a RAID set you can usually just recreate the same RAID set using the same disks, and any data on the volumes will still be present.  However, I have never tried this with Windows' software RAID.    You basically have two options:

1) The simple - and very risky - method
Just recreate the spanned volume using the same disk, in exactly same order (if you can remember!).  Do *not* format the volume.  This method is risky because, if it fails, you will probably have damaged the data.  

2) The hard (but safer) method
Here are two tools that claim to be able to reconstruct spanned volumes:
-  http://www.active-undelete.com/
- http://www.runtime.org/raid.htm
Both of these play it safe by only copying data from the disks to be recovered....they will *not* modify the original disks to make your partition available again.  This is good practice for data recovery, but means you have to have a whole lot of spare disk capacity to dorecovery.

Please let us know how this turns out....I've never had to recovery from this scenario.

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by:huntersvcs
ID: 13785717
With a RAID 1 we might have had a chance, but with RAID 0 and everything that has happened since it happened, I think (as earlier mentioned) you are in hot water.  Many PARTS of files will be lost, thus corrupting the whole.  If none of the recovery software helps at all (at least getting part of your information back) I'd say it's a writeoff.

Sorry for the negative thoughts, but it's no use pounding your head against the wall if the data is already gone.  Just bite the bullet and remember:  BACKUP your data!

Rick
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by:bobo_tech
ID: 13785838
Well like i said, I haven't done anything with the system since I deleted the volume, the 5 drives are sitting in disk managment as unallocated.

I have active-undelelete but i am unsure how to work it.  And what I was wondering is if I should go ahead and recreate the span (I do know the exact order i creeated it in) and then try an undelete program from there?

My logic is along the lines that I never did any type of quick or full formats or overwriting of the drives so theroetically, i should be able to recreate the span and then not format it and then undelete the data, correct?
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by:Carlo-Giuliani
Carlo-Giuliani earned 800 total points
ID: 13786166
I disagree with huntersvcs.  Once you delete the partition, nothing will touch the disks.  The data on those disks should be undisturbed.  So, in theory, you could just recreate the partition and magically have all your data back.  But this will be a very risk operation....especially if you do not add the disks in the same order...and if it fails you may very well corrupt the data.

Most undelete programs will not help.  You have not deleted any files, and you have not reformatted a partition.  

If I were you I would try Runtime Raid Reconstructor first.  This program presents no risk of corrupting your data.  Then I would try Active-Undelete.  From reading the documentation, it is not clear to me if Active-Undelete work like Raid Reconstructor (that is, gives you access to the data without restoring the partition), or if it will recreate the partition for you.   However, it is clear to me that using Active-Undelete is much less risky than using the Windows disk management to recreate the volume.

I would recreate the volume using Windows Disk Managemenet only as an absolute last resort.

And, next time, make a backup before attempting any modfication of disk volumes!
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by:bobo_tech
ID: 13787289
LOL.. yup, i sure learned my lesson well on the making of backups!
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by:bobo_tech
ID: 13787598
I'm confused by this  Raid Reconstucter program.  My raid 0 span was made up of 5 scsi drives.  I launch that raid reconstruction program and it allows me to choose 2 of my drives but the rest of the drives are grayed out and i can't select the drives.  How am I supposed to add all 5 of my drives to the raid reconstructor program so that I can try to read all the data?

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by:Carlo-Giuliani
ID: 13792151
Ah....I vaguely remember reading that Raid Reconstructor was limited to 2 raid 0 drives....and I though it was a type because that would make more sense for Raid 1.  It looks like Raid Reconstructor won't work for you.  Let us know if Active-Undelete is any better.
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by:Carlo-Giuliani
ID: 14057026
Hey, bobo_tech,

It would be nice to know the outcome of your efforts....
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