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Raid with external hard disk cases

Posted on 2009-05-18
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Hello experts,

I (used to) have this external disk:

http://www.wdbrand.com/images/products/hero/wdfMyBook_Mirror_H2U.jpg

The capacity is 1 TB but it has 2 500 GB disk inside that box. The electricity died on me yesterday - I know the data inside is ok. As you might guess, I desperately want to save the data from those hard disks as soon as possible. I believe those two disks are configured as Raid. I tried to attach one of them into my PC (not both but one because I have one space for an extra SATA disk) The hard disk is visible as 500 GB in Disk Management but of course the data is not reachable.

My question is if I buy 2 SATA external cases and connect them via USB at the same time to a PC, will they work as before? Or is there a way to break the raid configuration and get the data out?

Thanks
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Question by:bozer
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Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 24418008
That's a RAID 0 - if either drive fails, you CANNOT recover your data without sending it to a data recovery service (one reason I NEVER recommend that particular drive).

You MAY be able to recover the data using RAID Reconstructor - it will run for free and if it can identify the drives, it can recover to another drive (the paid version, the free version will recover to a file compatible with another of their products, GetDataBack). - I've used it a few times very successfully.  www.runtime.org (to get RAID Reconstructor).  The program is $100 (or at least it was when I bought it).  

Otherwise, you can try gillware.com as a data recovery service if the data is important to you.
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by:bozer
ID: 24418203
Thank leew,

But I strongly believe both hard disks are healthy - that's why I am trying to get rid of the box itself and try to find a way to get them power up.

Do you think 2 sata cases will work?
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 24418248
They may well be healthy.  You may be able to partition and format both and use them for years.  BUT, you won't be able to access the data because they are in a RAID 0 that divides the data up between the two disks.  They are almost certainly not readable without either special software (RAID Reconstructor or the like that can determine the block size of the striping and reconstruct the data) OR a compatible controller.  In this case, the controller is almost certainly in the Western Digital electronics - if that's fried, you're not going to get access to it.  You MAY be able to find another one on ebay and try to put the drives in that, but short of those two options, you're not going to get the data.  

So no, USB isn't likely to make a difference whatsoever.  (I never say never because I've seen weird things, but I'd put your odds of success at well below 1% without purchasing a second device and/or using RAID Reconstructor).

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by:bozer
ID: 24419800
Thank you so much,

I took the disk somewhere - they check and verified the disks are healthy however, they warned me about having them both plugged into the same PC via SATA cables.

They also told me that they need to create a full imaging of those disks and it will take a while. But it's very likely that they will save %100 data.

I am never going to touch a raid configured disk(s) in my amateur life again. Even if it was given free :)
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 24419839
There are several different kinds of RAID.  In my opinion RAID 1 is fine - that's a MIRROR - meaning if one drive fails, the other drive is exactly the same.  But in terms of external drives, no way I recommend using RAID on your average USB attached drive - ESPECIALLY not RAID 0.
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