Last week I had a laptop failure. I’m not sure yet if it was software or hardware based but basically I couldn’t get anywhere past the BIOS booting up. This laptop has a RAID 0 configuration. Hard drives didn’t appear to be going out so my guess is the RAID controller failed (as I could never get it to work properly with two brand new hard drives). Still have yet to diagnose all that. At any rate the array was broken and I didn’t have a backup that was recent enough for some of the files I needed so a data recovery was needed. Most companies will start out at about $500 – $2000 for this kind thing and could go up to $3000+. I did find a local company that would do it starting at $500. So shop around. This was a fare bit cheaper then other numbers I’ve heard tossed around in the industry.
At any rate I wasn’t keen on spending that much to get the latest data back. I was able to pull an exact cloned image from the two hard drives. But putting them back together is quite complicated (something I haven’t figured out how to do yet). I had downloaded and messed with GetDataBack and RAID Reconstructor but was running into a dead in on RAID Reconstructor finding the correct parameters for the array. That is until after I had time to really sit down and look through everything the software was feeding back to me. The key was increasing the number of sectors to probe (the default is set around 10,000 but increasing that to 500,000 seemed to get the results that was needed to give a match. Once you’ve rebuilt the array parameters you have to use GetDataBack to recover the data. This is a bit tedious as it does fine a bunch of files (most likely things deleted on empty sectors) that isn’t important but you want to check for sure. Of course if you are looking for stuff deleted then that would be good!
Over all I’m happy I spent the $179 for the software (I got the RAID Recovery pack I think it was, included Captain Nemo, GetDataBack and RAID Reconstructor) to do the retrieval and was overall a lot less then having to pay a company to retrieve it or pay Runtime Software to analyzed the data to see if they could find the parameters. I just wish the sectors to probe was more clearly indicated or mentioned to increase as I’d have been able to do the recovery quite a bit sooner and use the data for an event last week.
Overall though it’s better then a complete data loss and sometimes you wonder about companies that sell software to do this kind of thing. I did quite a bit of research on recovering RAID 0 arrays like this and Runtime Software’s option was the only one I’d have come close to buying to see if it worked. There was nothing else I found that was even close. So if you have something like this where the hard drives themselves aren’t failing and you have an image you can pull I’d say try it.
Feel free to comment if you have any other thoughts, comments or questions on this and I’ll do what I can to help. 🙂 Data recovery can be fun yet frustrating at times! I do enjoy learning about it quite a bit although I know so little.