how to rebuild raid 5 without formating

Dear all i have serious problem with my mail server ( domain controller) win 2003 r2 32 bit
i have three driver raid 5 and one nornmal drive. i noticed that the seconned drive red may be due to dust or some thing but the server was working then the first drive become red then i shut down and remove hard drives and return it back again it shows that seconned hard drive to be replaced then it asks some option accept data loss and continue i think i choosed that one but till now it didnt rebuild the drive when i run smartdrive it shows it building but it didnt built any thing now the replaced hard drive just blimking green when i start the server any help regarding that
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I am sorry, but you are going to need professional recovery, which will cost thousands of dollars.    You not only forced a rebuild with a failed drive that had stale data (the second drive), but you may have only done it part of the way.

Without specialized software to run XOR checks and figure out how bad it is, then it is just a guess.  

If you have a backup, restore. If you don't, then you better have a few thousand dollars to spend for a recovery (which will still only be partial).  

Krzysztof PytkoSenior Active Directory EngineerCommented:
What kind of RAID do you use, software (Windows 2003 built-in) or hardware (RAID controller in your server)?
SteveIT ManagerCommented:
If you can still boot the server, run symantec besr to a nas drive, take an image of your server then format, reinstall and restore
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mu3tasemAuthor Commented:
well in fact i cannot boot the server the replaced hard drive goes for to option either to press f1  rebuild the drive or f2 continue without rebuilding

the raid is hardware as long am using dl 380 g3 server with win 2003 r2
smart array used  if i choosed f1 it keeps rebooting
when i run smart disk it shows in the diagonistic drive needs rebuild
Krzysztof PytkoSenior Active Directory EngineerCommented:
OK, what happens if you insert that broken hard drive and boot server? Is it possible to run it? Do you have a spare hard drive with the same capacity?
mu3tasemAuthor Commented:
well i have spare hard disk
and i tried to return back the old hard disk but stil rebooting  with note  auto recovery started
then it goes to windows and then starting windows  then buildin active directory in... then restart again
if i put new hard disk the same
the hard disk start blinking green continously
Krzysztof PytkoSenior Active Directory EngineerCommented:
ok, it should blinking. recovery process could take a while. Please, place spawe hdd and wait for 1-2 hrs.

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mu3tasemAuthor Commented:
i think i did more than taht
i replaced it with new and now  1778- resuming data recovery process but it keeps rebooting is this normal
Krzysztof PytkoSenior Active Directory EngineerCommented:
You can find error codes here

but 1778 is nothing wrong :/
Let's wait a little bit more, ok?
For what i´ve understood from your statement,

You´ve got an Raid 5 Array with 3 hard drives

two of the drives went red (Failed), so you lost the parity bit, then when tried to rebuild with a new hard drive you the rebuild was not sucesseful.

I need to clarify you about the following:


    RAID Level 5 stripes data at a block level across several drives and distributes parity among the drives. No single disk is devoted to parity. This can speed small writes in multiprocessing systems. Because parity data is distributed on each drive, read performance tends to be lower than other RAID types.

    The actual amount of available storage is about 75% to 80% of the total storage in the disk array. The storage penalty for redundancy is only about 20% of the total storage in the array. If one disk fails it is possible to rebuild the complete data set so that no data is lost. If more than one drive fails all the stored data will be lost. This give a fairly low cost per megabyte while still retaining redundancy.(...)"

This article was copied from this site:

So in conclusion, if 2 of your disks fail you lost the data of the RAID 5, and i believe that was what happened here.

At this point i believe you need to get the backups of the data , system state and mailing data and restore

mu3tasemAuthor Commented:
in fact i checked out after cleaning the hard drive it shows only one hard drive is failed although at the begenning two show red but i cleaned the hard drive when i check from f8  the status of drives it show two ok and one replacement.
but it shows always when restart that error 1778  and then goes to windows and restart i tried to repair windows it didnt work ofcourse, but how to get the system state back up and exchange backup from the failed and broken raid 5.
mu3tasemAuthor Commented:
in fact i found this comment on similar problem but i didnt understand well

1.remove all drives
2.start server up, clear the controller setup
3.power host down, insert drives as they were
4.power host up, go into controller bios
5.create a new raid5 exactly the way the old one was
*make sure you do not reinitialise the new raid array!
6.mark the failed drive as offline
This should take you into a booting degraded raid array. From here on you can replace the failed drive and assign the ew drive as hotspare, so it can rebuild the array

how to clear controller setup and how to be sure of not initilizing the raid array and how to mark  the failed drive as offline
If two drives are down at a moment the is no longer working.

You can try to use that solution, but i´m afraid it wont work.
You need to destroy the raid and rebuild a new one exactly as the older one was.
mu3tasemAuthor Commented:
ok guys here is what happen the array issue resolved by using     smart cd of hp the first drive was ok and the third drive had problem not finishing data recovery so i used smart cd to resolve this issue
but am stucking now with another problem
the server keeps rebooting  is there any solution
mu3tasemAuthor Commented:
sorry the server hangs  on win 2003 screen and keeps there doesnt  reboot
in safe mode it hangs on acpi......dat hangs
i tried to install windows using repair option but didnt work
At this point you are just wasting time.  You lost any chance of recovery by moving forward with the things you tried.  The worst thing you could have done was trying a windows recovery as it wrote to the disks.  Not even professional recovery can get much of anything back.  The best you can now hope for is to get data in segments no greater than your stripe size via raw recovery techniques.  

There is no way that you can repair the damage yourself, and even if you gave somebody thousands of dollars, recovery will be limited.  You *probably* could have gotten it back had you paid somebody to do it who had the right software and experience at the beginning.  

Your RAID was degraded, had a partial rebuild, you forced a disk online. You then attempted several recoveries that wrote to the array further.   You created massive damage.  Accept it.  Move on. Never in a million years will you get it back.  It is too late.  Give up.  I hope I am being clear.

mu3tasemAuthor Commented:
i think you are right
but how to bring back my server since it was an exchange / DC   at the same time is there any solution guys  very urgent
i have the edb
I am sorry, but you absolutely destroyed any reasonable chance of getting it back.  Your data is effectively scrambled due to your actions.   A fair amount of data was written by parity from the new drive/rebuild.   Not even a data recovery firm can do much more than get files that may or may not be corrupted.   Had you taken advice earlier, a recovery firm could have taken raw copies of the individual disks, run some XOR parity checks, examined state of the other drive, and run a manual rebuild after determining where it left off.

That is now impossible.  

Best you can hope for now is to get chunks of files that will have massive damage.   No way will this be worth the time, unless you had some specific small files you want to recover.  Only think you could do yourself is to put more disks in the system, make that the new boot array, and load a fresh copy of windows on it and configure it as the DC.

Then the busted RAID will be the "D" drive, and you'll be able to copy at least some files manually.  (Or you could copy data by booting system to LINUX temporarily, and use a scratch disk big enough to hold the logical RAID) .. but you still have to start with a fresh new installation

mu3tasemAuthor Commented:
any advice for the fresh installation , what about the entries in the main dc for the same server and about other sites that was connected to
I've never had to reinstall a DC and "teach" the other computers that the new one is the real replacement DC instead of a rogue forgery.   I've seen write-ups before on how to do it, but best thing is to log another question in an appropriate group in EE.  Maybe somebody has a full step-by-step guide on what to do.  
mu3tasemAuthor Commented:
in fact the answer was a cumulative of all and in fact it wasnt the solution for the problem but it describe the problem and what happen

thanks every body and i will post a new question for the case i have now
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Windows Server 2003

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