Data Recovery from Dell XPS desktop using RAID 0

We recently recovered data from two       S-ATA disks removed from a Dell XPS desktop. The two Seagate Barracuda (ST31500341AS) disks were configured in RAID 0 mode. Instead of using a hardware RAID controller such as PERC or Adaptec card, the host system was using RAID BIOS. This type of RAID utilises the BIOS along with Intel chipset software (installed on the operating system) to manage the RAID.

Our hard disk diagnostic tests revealed that disk # 0 was in rude health. However, disk # 1 had defective read/write heads #2 and #3. The disk heads are a crucial component of an electro-mechanical hard disk as they read the data from the disk platters. When two or more heads fail, the only way to recover all the data is to remove the head-disk assembly and replace it with a part of the exact same specification. Near-matchs will not suffice. In this case, we already had a donor HDA in stock.

The Process

We opened up the faulty Seagate 1.5TB    S-ATA disk in our clean-room and used a device known as a “head-comb” to carefully remove the head disk assembly from the disk chassis. The new head-disk assembly was delicately inserted and was then secured using a Torx screwdriver. Just the right amount of torque pressure needs to be applied – too much or too little can result in the head-disk assembly mis-aligning with the platters. The disk then had to be slowly imaged (onto another disk) which would be used in the next stage of the recovery process. It is always preferable to work with disk images as opposed to the original disks to maintain data integrity.

The RAID rebuild process

With disk images of disk 0 and disk 1 attached to our RAID data recovery system, we started the rebuild process. After determining the block order and block size and other parameters, we inputted these into our RAID data recovery system. The rebuild process started and 6.5 hours later and we had a complete and fully mountable NTFS volume. Using random sampling, we checked the integrity of files. Word, Excel, PDFs and Jpegs all opened up perfectly.

Notes on this case

Dell brought out their XPS range of desktops aimed fairly and squarely targeted at the consumer market. A substantial number of the mid-to-high-end models in this range (from around 2008 to 2014) came with RAID 0 (in a two-disk configuration) enabled by default. So, while some owners are (understandably) comforted by the fact that their system has two disks instead of a paltry one, not all realise these disks are joined at the hip using RAID 0. Dell really should have put a health warning sticker on these systems. “Dear User, You have two disks inside your system in RAID 0 configuration. This is for a larger storage volume and should not be considered a backup…”

Data recovery from WD My Cloud Personal Cloud Storage

We recently helped a Dublin marketing company recover data from their Western Digital EX2 My Cloud Personal Storage drive. The NAS device was no longer recognised on their network. Unfortunately, it stored marketing materials for several clients stored on it which was not backed up elsewhere. File types which needed recovery included .INDD files (InDesign), .PSD (PhotoShop), .HTML, .MOV and .JPEG files. They really needed these files salvaged and fast!

While WD My Cloud storage devices are popular and relatively reliable, occasionally things can go wrong.

Why your WD My Cloud NAS is no longer recognised

  • The EXT4 file system which your My Cloud device is using has gone corrupt.
  • The RAID array has degraded. Depending on your model of My Cloud, some of these devices can be put in RAID configurations of 0,1,5,10 or in JBOD mode. When the RAID array fails or degrades the My Cloud device will no longer be recognised by your network or on client computers.
  • One or more of your disks has head disk assembly issues.
  • One or more of the disks has firmware issues which is causing your device to be unrecognised.
  • One or more of the disks have extensive bad sector issues.
  • Your My Cloud device may have a damaged PCB (controller board) due to a power surge.

In this particular case, the users tried to access their My Cloud data but kept on receiving the error message:

 “We’ve detected that you may not be able to recognize the device on your network”.  

The 6TB disk (WD60EFRX) which we removed from their My Cloud EX2 device had firmware issues and extensive bad sectors. We first resolved the firmware issues (corrupt translator) and then proceeded to resolve the bad sector issues. We succeeded in an 98% recovery rate.  The workflow of our delighted client was not interrupted and their reputation for delivering quality work, on-time was kept intact.

Need to retrieve data from a My Cloud drive? Drive Rescue Data Recovery Dublin (Ireland) offer a complete data recovery for all WD My Cloud NAS devices, including the DL4100, DL2100, EX4, EX2 Ultra, Mirror Gen2, WD My Cloud Mirror and PR2100. Phone us on 1890 571 571 or visit www.datarecoverydublin.ie or www.nasrecovery.ie