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Promise Raid 5, 3 drives with 2 down... can I recover.

I have a Promise Raid 5 system with 3 disks.  When I booted the system, I noticed the array down.  When I tried to rebuild the system from the Windows utility, it didn't do anything.  No error, no message of any kind.

So I rebooted into the BIOS utility and see that 2 drives are there but no longer part of the defined array.  Only one of the drives is still part of the array.

Is there any way to get the data back?  I have not done anything else to the drives, and have not turned the system back on.
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FSYR
Asked:
FSYR
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2 Solutions
 
mcp_jonCommented:
Try to boot into the Promise Controller BIOS and try to Rebuild the Raid from it !

If not, boot again to the Promise Controller BIOS and had them again to the Raid 5 container !

Best Regards !

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FSYRDirector of ITAuthor Commented:
Are you saying to add them back to the Array?  Will that not erase their data?
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rindiCommented:
That depends somewhat on the raid firmware and if anything got changed while the raid wasn't running. Is this a SATA controller or an IDE controller? If recently had problems with SATA raid on different controllers (one was raid 1, the other raid 5) where the array went down because of bad quality SATA cables, so if this is SATA I suggest you first get new cables before trying to recover the array. In my case I got the raid 5 array running again using the bad cables 3 times, the 4th times I had to restore from a backup. Since I changed the cables I haven't had any problems anymore. This was an intel controller, so I can't say if you'll be able to recover the array without loosing the data (and in my case the statistics show it'll work in 3 of 4 cases).
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FSYRDirector of ITAuthor Commented:
The controller was a Promise FASTTRAK SX4000 LITE, it is an IDE controller.  Once again I ask, if I add the "FREE" drives that were previously part of the array back to the array, it will not erase the data and might even complete the array again?
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jdietrichCommented:
No.  Raid V can only handle the loss of 1 drive at a time.  It will not recover 2 drives.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it can not be done.  Once it is not part of the array (1 drive) it takes the 1st new drive (hot spare) and rebuilds on it.  Losing 2 of 3 from the array more than likely means it is shot.  You can try what they mention above, you have nothing to lose at this point.  Sorry.
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rindiCommented:
All you can do is try, it might or might not work, it depends on what caused the array to break and also whether anything got written to them while the array was broken.

If your backup is corrupt you can check the following software which should be able to recover data from broken arrays. You will need other HD's to copy the data to, and also check the manual. I'm not sure whether you should first try to recover the data before recreating the array or not.

http://runtime.org

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FSYRDirector of ITAuthor Commented:
I think both drives are good.  I believe that the failure was due to heat build up in the system, causing the drives to fail.  Could that be correct?  The 2 that failed were WD and the still working one was a Seagate.

The software from http://runtime.org sounds promising, has anyone had experience using it?

Does anyone know if there are services out there that specialize in this?  I've used a service once for a harddrive failure (not mine :), but it wasn't in a Raid Array, just a back drive.
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rindiCommented:
http://www.gillware.com/

Is probably one of the best services, and you are only charged if succesfull (which they normally are). I guess they should also be able to recover from raid, but you'll probably have to nake sure they know the specifics before starting.
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IPKON_NetworksCommented:
First, pull the two failed drives and boot. The switch off, and insert the failed drives back in and boot.
I would boot into the RAID controller and reload the RAID config from the one good disk. If this does not work, then add in one of the failed drives. If that is OK, then proceed to the last. If it wipes the disk, then you still have one left which may be able to save your data. Finally, you would need to try one of the free software above or rebuild the array and restore data from your most recent backup (last nights obviously).


Hope this helps
Barny
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gliebetronicsCommented:
I have almost exactly the same problem.  Today I got home and when I checked my e-mail I had about 157 e-mails from my file server as it was gasping and dying.

I have a Promise FastTrack SX4060 IDE RAID card.  I have Four 200GB Seagate ST3200822A IDE drives in a RAID-5 configuration.  It is my file server and contains all my personal files, drivers, utilities, software, music, projects, documents, photos, etc.  The only data I have backups of is my digital camera photos.  I was at least smart enough to back those up to DVD's.  I would VERY VERY much like to restore my array as well.

The errors in the e-mails say that disks 3 and 4 were timing out, going offline, then plugged back in again over and over until the whole array went offline.  I suspect that the 2 drives had a bad power connection as those two drives were on the same Y power connector.  So now I'm in the same boat at you FSYR.  My HD's seem to be just fine physically.  There does not seem to have been any actual drive failure.  But the card's BIOS and Promise's PAM utility both say that disks 3 and 4 are marked as "Disk is free".  The first two disks still say "Disk is assigned to array PROMISE Array 1".

I have sent Promise and e-mail and they replied with an 800 number for me to call and said that it may be possible to bring the two drives back online.  I will call them tomorrow because they are already closed for today.  I have not attempted to repair the array myself yet because I don't want to screw it up.  By the way, my OS is on a seperate drive so I am able to boot the server.

If anybody here has some ideas, I'm all ears.  I will also let you all know how my talks with Promise go.  For now I'm just leaving my server alone.  It's powered on but the array is not online.
Thanks
   -Dan
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mcp_jonCommented:
Like Jdietrich said "  You can try what they mention above, you have nothing to lose at this point "

So, I guess you should give it a try !

Let us know how you're going !

Best Regards !
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FSYRDirector of ITAuthor Commented:
I'm still weighting my options and appreciate everyones replies.  Gliebetronics, I would really like to hear your results.  Can I get that 800 number?

For $99 dollars the "RAID Reconstructor" software being a Read-Only solution, it might be worth the money just to check it out.

After I here from Gliebetronics or talk to Promise myself, I will probably try IPKON_Networks idea.

Any other "tried and true" or best ideas are still welcomed, TIA.

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rindiCommented:
First I'd try the runtime.org link, that software should scan the drives, then show you what can get recovered. To actually recover you would then have to register the software, but that is after you know what is recoverable.
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gliebetronicsCommented:
I called Promise but due to high caller volume they will call me back.  
The number is 1 800 888 0245

I'm thinking I will see what Promise has to say first and if that does not work I will try Runtime's RAID Reconstructor and GetDataBack NTFS.

Still waiting on the call.
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gliebetronicsCommented:
Ok I have news.  I am one happy camper right now!  My data is safe!  Here's the stroy.

The guy at Promise was very nice and knew what he was talking about.  I HIGHLY suggest you talk to them and try their workaround first.  He says that the RAID information is saved on the last 64K of the drives.  I guess that last 64K on my drives 3 and 4 became corrupt.  He also said it was a 50/50 chance that this could work but if it didn't I can still try the software solutions later.  I mentioned the Runtime software but he'd not heard of it.  He did mention something called "R Studio?" I have not looked into it.

The fix...  He had me go into the RAID BIOS and tell him ALL the details on the existing array.  Then he had me delete the array and create a new one using all 4 drives again and using the exact same settings.  PLEASE call them and have them guide you through this process to be on the safe side.  There was a setting to watch out for that will erase all the data on the drives instead of only the array info.  

Now in my case the e-mails from PAM (Promise Array Management) said that drive 4 began a rebuild a few times but failed.  Drive 3 never had a rebuild start.  So he had me exit the RAID BIOS after making the new array and then shut off the system before it booted.  Then I had to disconnect the power to Drive 4 and turn the system back on.  When it got to the RAID BIOS it gave me a warning that the array is critical, because that one drive is disconnected.  After windows started (note my OS is not on the array but a seperate drive) PAM says that the array is Critical now and not Offline.  I checked in My Computer and my F: drive is back.  I opened some files and it all seems to be in tact now.  :-)

Next step: I am looking at getting a backup device of some sort to imediately backup all my data before I attempt to reconnect and rebuild Drive 4.  He suggested that I connect Drive 4 to a standard IDE controller and run the manufacturer diagnostics to be sure it is still ok.  Any suggestions on good backup devices?

Let me know if you have any questions and how your recovery goes.  I totally understand how you feel FSYR.  :-)
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FSYRDirector of ITAuthor Commented:
With the help of Promise I got.... no where.  I did find out that my raid was trying to rebuild the array when it dropped the second drive.  They did the same thing with me as gliebetronics, even said the same thing about 50/50 chance.  I used both the software from http://runtime.org, Raid Recontructor, and the Promise recommended r-Studio.  All of it came out about the same.  I got some about 10% of my data back.  Lucky I had back-uped my computer about a year ago onto CD's (just the My Documents folder), which is the info I really wanted.  Between the backup and the r-Studio software, I got back about 90% of what I NEEDED.

I'm splitting the point

Thanks all.
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