Recovery Guides: step-by-step iRecover operations:
Creating and using a disk image file.

The situation:
  • A disk needs to be imaged (in this example, to replace a bad disk in a RAID5 recovery scenario).

What we need before we begin:

  • A PC that runs Windows and has all the necessary disks attached (preferably directly, but USB works too).
  • An iRecover license (the trial version can be used to analyze the disks and see if data can be recovered).
  • Enough space to hold the recovered files.
  • A disk big enough to hold the image file (so at least the size of the disk that needs to be imaged).

What we assume before you begin:

  • You have a working knowledge of Windows.
  • You have read the RAID Recovery Guide, or you know enough about RAID to safely perform the recovery.
  • You know what the state of your former RAID disks is. Confused? Read the RAID Recovery Guide.
  • You have iRecover (or the trial version) installed.

Some thoughts before we get going:

When a disk shows signs of failing (lots of read errors) you should create an image file of the disk. You can then work with the image file as if it was a disk, to prevent the disk from getting any worse. Any disk device can be imaged, whether it's part of a RAID set or a USB memory stick.
In this example we'll image a RAID disk and then perform the RAID recovery with the image file, to show that iRecover is quite versatile.
The target disk that will hold the image file must have a volume on it that is big enough to hold the image file, and it must be formatted as NTFS.
You can also clone the disk to another good disk, and then work with the new disk. Both imaging and cloning are valid options, but the DiskPatch cloning feature is a much more in-depth process.

Here we go:
The Beginning: Start iRecover, you'll be greeted by the Main Screen.

Select "Data Recovery for Windows and Linux".

Select Disk: iRecover will display all the disks (*).
In our example we will create an image of disk 1 (the first disk of a former RAID5 set).

Select the disk (not the volume on it) and...

Create Image File: ...right-click, then select "create image file".
Select Target Location: A file selection window will be displayed.

Select the correct location for the image file, enter a name for the image file, and select "Save".

Imaging: iRecover will now read the disk and save the disk's contents to the image file.

If needed you can change how the image process runs by working with the options displayed in the right-side window. All changes to these settings are immediate. Changing the cache settings when creating an image is not advised.

This completes the process of creating an image file.

Now we will show you how to use the image file in a recovery situation.

Start The RAID Recovery: Re-start iRecover. Select "RAID Recovery".
Select Disks: iRecover will display the disks. We will now add the image file we created earlier.
Add The Image: Right-click on empty space in the left-side window (you can also click "More functions") and select "Load image file".
Load Image File: A file selection window is displayed. Browse to the image file we created earlier, select it, then click "Open".
Select Disks: The image is now added as if it is a disk. Select all the disks that were part of the RAID5 we need to recover. In this example: disk 2, disk 3, and the image we created of disk 1. Specify RAID5 as the RAID layout type and click "Next" to continue.

From here on the procedure is the same as for a conventional RAID5 recovery. You can continue here to see the rest.

(*) - the more observant among you will notice that we've used VirtualBox to create this guide. The reason for this is simple: it allows us to create a situation that is custom-made for the guide. So, while perhaps not all too realistic, it helps us get the point across. I'm sure you understand.
Please note that the disks used in the guide are very small, again for demonstration purposes. The larger the disks, the longer some of the steps will take. Anywhere from a few hours to a few days is possible, so be patient. Keep an eye on the process to make sure that there is progress. And remember, you can contact us for any questions you may have.