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Fantom G-Force Mega Disk NAS Disconnected from Win XP Network, Solid Red Light on Drive

Posted on 2009-05-19
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I just returned from a week on the road to find my main data drive, a Fantom G-Force Mega Disk NAS disconnected from my Windows XP network.  The little blue light was still glowing on the unit, and I've had the occasional instance where the drive has simply disappeared from the network, and in the past, a simple on/off power switch has done the trick.  This time, no dice, and I've had the red "activity" light turn on and glow a solid red.  Looking at the Fantom manual:  http://www.micronet.com/support/manuals/mdnas_manual_R4.pdf     it doesn't really indicated what it means if the activity light glows a solid red.  Listening to the device, it sounds like at the very least at least one of the drives must be spinning up.  

My question is this:  I configured this device as a RAID 1 NAS just in case I did have a drive failure, so can I remove the drives from this enclosure and put them one at a time in another hard drive enclosure to attempt to retrieve my data that way?  Once I do get my data back, can someone recommend a ROCK SOLID NAS where I won't have as many worries about product failure?  Since this has happened, I've read nothing but bad feedback from other Fantom drive end users.  I'd really like to get my data back so any help you can provide would be much appreciated!!
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Question by:jimmyz12
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by:rindi
ID: 24429265
Most NAS use a *nix based OS and therefore the disks will use such a filesystem (often EXT3 or XFS), so if you want to read a Disk from the NAS you will have to boot the PC to which you have connected that Disk as a 2nd Disk to with an OS that understands that filesystem in order to get to the data. There are many Linux LiveCD's you can try that are likely to work, like knoppix or the SystemRescueCD. You can find these on distrowatch. There are also some NAS that use proprietary Filesystems no one else uses, like snap servers.

http://distrowatch.com

Anyway, can you connect to the NAS using the web based interface? If not, it is more likely to be a NAS problem than a HD problem. If you can connect to it, check if it shows you any status or problems, sometimes a Firmware update may help. If you can't connect to it's configuration interface, check it's manual, there may be a way to reset it to a factory default state (often there is a small recessed button you have to press for a given number of seconds to do that). After that it is often possible reconfigure it to your requirements. This should not have any effect to the data on your HD's, but you may still first want to disconnect the drives first to be on the safe side.

If none of that works to get the NAS online again, make use of your warranty (If the NAS came with the disks built-in, first make sure with the manufacturer that you are removing them because you want he data, and that they should send the replacement NAS without disks inside. If you put the disks into the NAS, then there should be no issue in removing them yourself.
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by:jimmyz12
ID: 24434336
Thanks for your reply ... here are some answers:  I cannot connect to the NAS using the browser based interface.  Also, my router is not showing the unit as an attached device so it seems like maybe the problem isn't a drive it is the controller card in the enclosure.  Fantom will "fix" the unit under warranty, if I keep the drives inside, but that scares me quite a bit.  Frankly, I could care less about the warranty:  I just want the data back.  Seems to me then I have three options:

1.  Send the unit back to Fantom and hope they don't destroy my data (least attractive option)
2.  Obtain the SystemRescueCD and then try to recover the data that way.  If I do do that, can you provide step by step instructions on how I would read that data and then transfer it to another drive my Windows XP machine can read?
3.  I could buy another Fantom drive, pull the hard drives out of this one, put them in the "new" one, and get my data back that way.  I in fact did something similar with a Netgear SC101 device that stopped working:  I bought a used one off eBay, took the drives out of the disabled device, put them in the "new" device, and retrieved my data.  The only unfortunate thing with that was I transferred that data from the SC101 to this Fantom drive .... so I just can't win.

Thanks for the advice .... any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

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by:rindi
ID: 24435374
There is another option. Send the NAS to a recovery agency like Gillware (if Gillware is geographically out of your reach, google will help find you one closer). They would probably be able to recover the data without breaching warranty, as they have contracts with most manufacturers guaranteeing that. And then when that is done you could send the unit back to the manufacturer.

I could try helping with the rescue CD.
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by:jimmyz12
ID: 24435558
rindl, I had considered data recovery, but with this being a RAID 1 array, my guess is it would cost thousands of dollars.  Gillware is actually in the same state as me, so I will at least get a quote from them, but maybe the rescue CD would make the most sense.  Also, because of the success I had swapping enclosures with the SC101, I did order a new Fantom MDN1000 to potentially swap drives with ... as a possible last resort!
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by:rindi
ID: 24435604
RAID 1 is no different to recover data from as a single disk, after all it is just a mirror and one disk still alone would still be OK. It is different when it comes to other RAID forms, like 5.
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by:jimmyz12
ID: 24453396
Gillware gave me a quote of $1000 to recover my hard drive.  rindl, do you think you could give me step by step instructions to try using a Linux SystemRescue CD to recover the data myself ... or am I better of sending the drive to Gillware?  Or ... should I just attempt my original plan:  pull these drives from this non-working Fantom hard drive enclosure and insert them into a working matching Fantom drive enclosure? Yeah ... that will void the warranty but the data is more important to me than the warranty frankly.
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rindi earned 250 total points
ID: 24454185
The easiest would be to try the drive swap into the other NAS, but I can also try to help you with the systemrescuecd. I'd probably try that first, and if it proofs to hard, you can always use the other NAS later. I suggest you boot the CD and then tell me where you get issues, I'll then try to help from there.
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by:jimmyz12
ID: 31585604
rindl, thanks for your suggestions.  What I ultimately did is follow my instincts and ordered a second matching Fantom MDN1000, completely set that drive up so it was functioning on the network, power it down and simply stretch the hard drive cables from the working Fantom enclosure to the hard drives still sitting in the non-working enclosure.  When I powered up the working enclosure it of course booted up the still working drives in the non-working enclosure and the share showed up again on the network with the same name/letter it had previously.  Of course, this voided the warranty on both Fantom enclosures, but hey:  getting the data back was FAR more important.  I guess the lesson learned is I have now done this twice with two different NAS units (this Fantom and a Netgear SC101) where I have simply swapped out hard drives in faulty enclosures and have been able to access my data with no issues.  The SC101 was always a bit flaky so that one having issues didn't really surprise me, but this Fantom unit had been a good performer and was only a year old so having the logic board or whatever died in the enclosure after only a year is quite disappointing.
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by:rindi
ID: 24480246
Maybe in future get a NAS that doesn't come with the drives built in. You are then much more flexible with the size of disks, and if the NAS dies, you can remove the disks from it without voiding the warranty. I have had good experience with Thecus, but there are others that don't have the drives already built in. Of course it's also possible the drives themselves go bad, so along with that you need a good backup solution.
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