Recovery Guides: step-by-step iRecover operations:
Broken RAID5 Data Recovery.

The situation:
  • A former RAID5 setup that is no longer functional and has fallen apart into X separate disks.
  • The disks are in good health.
  • All RAID5 member disks are available for recovery (3 in this example scenario).
  • The RAID5 was in use for Windows and contains the NTFS file system.

What we need before we begin:

  • A PC that runs Windows and has all the former RAID 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.

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:

This situation is essentially the best one to have when faced with a broken RAID5. All the disks are present, they are healthy, there is no reason the expect any trouble. That also makes this an exceptional situation; RAID5 setups don't just break, there's usually a reason. So this scenario is perhaps not all too realistic, but it is provided to give you an idea of how the whole procedure plays out. And, to be fair, we come across this "ideal" situation more often than you'd think.

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

We have highlighted the 2 options that are of interest to us. "RAID Recovery" will start the recovery process and "Advanced configuration" brings you to the settings screen. In almost all circumstances you will not need to change any settings when starting a Windows based RAID5 or RAID0 recovery. If changes are required we will indicate this in the support dialogue.

Select "RAID recovery".

Select Disks: Here you will select all the disks that were part of the RAID5. In our example the 3 appropriate disks have been selected (*). The order of the disks is not important, iRecover will figure that out by itself. You will also need to select the correct RAID type, RAID5 or RAID0. We selected RAID5, as indicated.
Please note: for RAID5 iRecover is capable of reconstructing the RAID data when 1 disk is missing (one of the disks failing is a common cause for broken RAIDs). Suppose you have 1 disk that has physical problems and is in too bad a shape to be processed. Simply don't include that disk in the selection. No more than 1 disk may be omitted; if more than 1 disk is unusable you can not recover any data.

Click "Next".

Parity Check: The RAID5 parity check starts. iRecover will now determine the parity details for the RAID disks. This is normally a relatively quick procedure and often does not need to run to full completion.

When this is finished the next screen will automatically appear.

RAID Analysis: Now the RAID5 disks are scanned and analyzed. This may take quite a while, depending on the amount of disks and the size of the disks.

When this step is complete the next screen will appear.

Pick a RAID: Now it's your turn again. iRecover has determined that there was a RAID5, its details are displayed in the right-side window. Select the RAID5 (named "Virtual RAID #0" here) and click "Next". Now the data analysis starts.
Data Analysis: iRecover is now scanning the disks and looking for files, folders etc. This may take quite a while depending on the size of the disks.

Once this scan is complete iRecover will show a results screen.

Validation: You can now take a look at what iRecover has found. Use the explorer-like window on the left to browse and select files and folders. The selected files and folders will be copied to a new location once you decide to continue. As you can see iRecover is also validating files at this point. Validation is there to help you determine what the status of a file is. Files displayed in red are most likely corrupt and will not be in good shape after they have been recovered. Files displayed in green are likely to be fine. The validation will run in the background while you are browsing and selecting files. You do not have to wait for validation to finish, and you can select any file at any time (even the files that are not yet validated). Not all file types are validated, just a selection of common types.
Select Files: On the right are some extra functions that can help select and/or find files. To select a file or folder simply click the appropriate check-box in the left-side window.

Once the selection is complete you can click "Next".

Select Target Location: Now the "file copy" screen is displayed. Select the target destination for the recovered files and click "Start copying..." to initiate the copy process.
Copy Files: Once the process has finished you will see the completion screen.

This completes the recovery of files from a broken RAID5.

(*) - 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.