Professional data recovery in a “clean room” can be extremely costly, ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars for a single RAID. For offices on a budget, you may want to consider using RAID recovery software. Attempting a RAID data recovery using commercially available software isn’t free—but depending on the value of your data, it may be worth the opportunity to recover some or all of your data.


When a RAID fails due to multiple failed member disks or corrupted RAID meta data, the conventional course of action is to virtually rebuild the original RAID configuration. This may involve some or all of the following steps:

  • Imaging healthy member disks.
  •  Imaging and repairing failed member disks.
  • Determining the RAID parameters.
  • Configuring and mounting a virtual RAID.

To accomplish this, you’ll need software that can perform each of these tasks.


To recover a RAID, you’ll need to do more than simply copy the data over to a technician’s computer. You’ll want to create a sector-by-sector image of the disk so that it retains the file structure and other meta data from the physical disk.

Creating an image of the disk preserves the data and allows you to work with the disks without risking further data loss.

When a member disk in a RAID experiences a mechanical failure, you may be able to salvage and image the data. Be very careful when attempting to image a failing disk, as you may cause irreversible damage by attempting to access the data. If you are lucky, you’ll get at least one shot to mount the drive and image it. If not, you may want to send just the one failed disk to a professional lab to image the disk for use in your virtual RAID.

For logical failures, you may be able to repair the disk using a partition recovery or disk repair tool. Then, you can image it and use it in your virtual RAID.
One of the biggest challenges to creating a virtual RAID for data recovery is recreating the exact RAID parameters from the failed RAID. This is essential, otherwise the virtual RAID will not be recognized as a valid volume and will not be mounted. You will need to know the correct disk order, block size, block order and offset. Some RAID recovery software claims to be able to detect these parameters automatically, but in practice, the results are mixed. Fortunately, with a little bit of savvy and a hex editor, you can recreate most unknown RAID parameters by following the steps in the RAID recovery manual for another reliable software Restorer Ultimate.
Once you have valid disk images and valid RAID parameters, the last step is to put them together and mount the volume. Advanced data recovery software will let you do this. Once you mount the volume, you can run data recovery operations on it as if it were a single disk. Note that virtual RAID volumes are typically read-only.
With the right software, you can recover data from some failed RAIDs. There are free utilities available for disk imaging and disk repair, but you’ll usually have to turn to paid software for rebuilding your RAID. Fortunately, good data recovery software will have all of the above features built in.
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