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February 6, 2008 5:39 AM   Subscribe

How to recover from sync-ing a RAID 1 the wrong way?

So I bought a couple 300G drives a while back, put 'em in RAID 1, and one of them died. Ijust now finally got around to RMAing the defective drive back to Seagate. Mind you, for the last nine months I've been using this single drive as a repository for all my photoshop work (all the RAW files are on another RAID pair).

So last night, I hooked up the fresh drive, turned on RAID in the bios, designated the two drives as a RAID group in the POST ("hit F10...") doohickey, and went to Windows. There, I ran the Nvidia media manager, saw both drives, and told it to sychronize the drives. This morning, I woke up and looked at the drive letter represented by these drives....and it's empty. In fact, Windows sees an unformatted drive. Best I can tell, the Nvidia program synced the drive with all my beautiful data to the empty drive, instead of the other way around.

WTF do I do now? First thing, I shut the machine down, and turned off RAID in the bios, so I can see both drives, both looking to Windows like unformatted drives. I'm unsure what I can do now to save my data! (Yes, I know I should have backed the fuck up. I didn't.)

Other information: ASUS M2n-SLI, Seagate 300G drives, Phenom/8G RAM. I'm not near the computer until this evening, but wanted to get y'alls thoughts.
posted by notsnot to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You're going to need good file recovery software, more than likely. I had something similar happen -- an external HD of mine that I move between work and home got fried, and wouldn't mount the drive properly -- showed it as an unformatted drive. I installed and ranFile Scavenger and it worked like a champ. You'd probably be best off getting an external drive, restoring everything to that, then setting up your RAID and copying the files off the external HD back to the RAID.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:09 AM on February 6, 2008


I think you're screwed. A data recovery firm MIGHT be able to help, but that will be very very expensive. very.
posted by jrishel at 6:10 AM on February 6, 2008


i don't think File Scavenger will do it - "Files can only be restored if the disk areas allocated to the files have not been overwritten by new data." - I expect that if it spent all night syncing the drives, it wrote over ever byte of your data with whatever was on the new drive. Like jrishel says, you're probably screwed, unless possibly you want to spend a lot of money. Even then... i don't know.
posted by duckstab at 6:20 AM on February 6, 2008


Pull the original drive and try one of the many File Recovery tools out there that are non-destructive. Some place like Drive Savers could probably get your data back, but it will cost you thousands.

Is there any possible way you can get that RMA'd drive back from Seagate? Recovering data off that drive is probably your best bet. More often that not, when a drive fails, it's the mechanism that moves the head around the platter, and if you replace that, you can get all your data off the drive.
posted by AaRdVarK at 6:21 AM on February 6, 2008


The RMA'd drive has been dead for a long time, and had very little data on it when I pulled it.
posted by notsnot at 6:35 AM on February 6, 2008


It's a bit late now, but RAID is not backup. You can see the recent discussion over at LifeHacker for more on this.

Your only realistic bet is to restore from backup. Otherwise, you SOL.
posted by chengjih at 6:53 AM on February 6, 2008


The RMA'd drive has been dead for a long time, and had very little data on it when I pulled it.

I'm confused. If you were using this in a RAID 1 configuration it should have been a mirror image of the good drive.

Are we to understand that you used these drives in RAID 1, one went bad so you got rid of it, then continued to use the single drive in RAID 1? Or did you turn RAID off and used the drive as a stand alone?

If you moved the drive around that might explain why the RAID BIOS was confused when syncing. Unfortunately I'm not familiar enough with RAID 1 to even guess if what you were trying to do would have been successful, but you should follow some of the advice above regarding file restoration.

And RAID isn't for backups, only for maintaining high rates of up time in critical environments. A RAID 1 solution would be good for you if you absolutely can't loose a few hours to doing a restore from another media in the event your drive goes bad. Incremental, nightly backups to another drive would probably be a better solution in the future.
posted by wfrgms at 7:13 AM on February 6, 2008


Your data is gone. No hope of recovery. Sorry.
posted by Malor at 7:16 AM on February 6, 2008


I used the drive standalone, stupidly.

I'm now seeing the wisdom of doing nightly backups vs RAID. Aiya.
posted by notsnot at 7:23 AM on February 6, 2008


Followup: yeah, the drive was random ones and zeroes. However, it turns out that before I did some hardware swapping back 'round Xmas, I backed up most of the contents of the drive (everything except a bunch of mp3s from the Napster days) on another drive that is now being saved to put in another PC. On a lark, I checked all my spare drives, and found...well, all of my photos. There's a two-week gap, but I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything those two weeks, anyway. Lucky ME!
posted by notsnot at 7:08 PM on February 7, 2008


Good news for you! A lot of people find out about RAID not really being a backup the worst possible way....
posted by Malor at 3:23 PM on February 9, 2008


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