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RAID 5 Data recovery after OS drive reformat - Windows

Posted on 2012-09-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-12-08
This may be a stupid question but it appears my understanding of raids may not be what I thought.

I have a computer with a ssd drive for the os and a raid 5 with 3 2TB disks in RAID 5 configuration.

The raid controller is integrated into the motherboard.

I setup the computer, installed windows, then configured the raid 5 with the 3 disks using the Intel raid utility before booting into windows.

My windows OS install was corrupt so i did a re-install of the windows os (SSD) disk. I did so thinking that if I left the raid 5 volume un touched once i reinstalled the os i would be able to access the volume just like you would a regular additional drive.

However after the reformat it is now asking me to format the raid 5 data volume in order to access the disk in windows.

Is my assumption incorrect? when you re-install the OS does it kill your raid array? Is there any way to recover the data on the raid volume? From the looks of it the volume is intact I just cant access it in windows.

Thanks for your help.
Question by:Suigenris85
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Accepted Solution

Christopher McKay earned 1600 total points
ID: 38399100
I've had great success with getdataback by http://runtime.org 
They have a raid reconstructor if you've actually broken the raid, or if the raid is recognized, but showing as unformatted, you should be able to use getdataback for NTFS.

The nice thing about getdataback is it is relatively inexpensive, and will allow you to see what it can recover, before you purchase.

Hope this helps!



Author Comment

ID: 38399105
excellent I will download that and try it now. Thank you!
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Expert Comment

by:Christopher McKay
ID: 38399119
One thing you will have to note, the getdataback software allows you to see the deleted/lost data, and copy it to a known safe location. It will not rebuild the array. This means, you will have to have an alternate location to recover the data to, rebuilt the array, then copy the data back.


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Author Comment

ID: 38399217
I see.... if i select the option to "reset disks to non raid" will it delete the data on them?

It may just be easier to rebuild the entire raid i have the data i can copy back...

I just was certain i could reformat the OS and it wouldn't affect the raid

Expert Comment

ID: 38399242
IMO you may want to recover your RAID before rebuild that way if something goes amiss, you can fall back to your backup.  Just sayin'  :)
LVL 18

Assisted Solution

by:Don S.
Don S. earned 400 total points
ID: 38399258
If the raid array is truely hardware based, then your original assumtion would be correct.  If, however, it was software based, then killing the OS will kill the array configurations that were configured in it.  Third party software raid tools often have the same behavior - being reliant on the boot disk to store their configurations.
LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 38399301
just out of curiosity,how big was the RAID array?


And if so,how did you format it,MBR or GPT?

What kind of drives were you using?

Model number and brand please?

What mobo model?

Author Comment

ID: 38399342
Thanks everyone for your help. I greatly appreciate that tool I will use that in the future.

For this case I just reset the Raid disks and rebuilt the raid. It was the quickest option as I had a data backup.

The issue may have happened because the controller was integrated into the MOBO or it may have been because after the OS re-format I set the Bios to "optimal defaults" which set the SATA hard drives to "ACHI" rather than "Raid" Type.

Either way lesson learned in the future I'm just going to not thanks for the explaination and the help.

pgm554  Here are the answers to your questions:




LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 38399360
Are the drives the ES (RAID qualified)?
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Expert Comment

ID: 38399479
Nope,those are good for RAID 1,not for 5.


Here is a caveat on those type of drives.

Those are desktop drives that have an error recovery mechanism that can take up to 30 seconds to timeout if it hits a bad sector.

This is OK on a desktop .

If a RAID controller sees a disk not respond within about 7 seconds,it will mark that disk as failing and move it off line.

So then you got to run a rebuild to get the disk back on line.

If it just so happens that this occurs on another disk during a rebuild,your data is toast.

If you value your data,I would not use those drives in RAID 5.

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