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End User Raid Zero Array Crash

I had a client call me the other day and tell me that her two year old two terabyte drive had crashed and all of her pictures of her children, as well as her wedding were on the drive. She did not have a backup and was very upset. I knew that there was a 99.9 percent chance that the ‘two terabyte’ drive was really a RAID 0 with two one terabyte drives. After a little inspection, and a BIOS walk through, sure enough, it was a RAID zero. I quoted her our standard price and if she was upset before, she was beside herself now. I will give her credit though, at least she didn’t shoot the messenger.

I spoke to her a bit more and found out that both drives seemed to be working, and the BIOS had registered both drives, it was just that the RAID was down. I asked her if the data on the RAID was worth the price I had quoted her, and she was very honest. Of course the data was worth the money but in this economy there was no way she could come up with that kind of money. I felt bad for her. She was on the verge of tears, so I offered these set of steps to recover her crashed RAID 0.


1. Take both drives out of the computer making a note as to the order of the drives.

2. Do a complete surface scan on each drive. This is to help ensure that the problem is not bad sectors on the drives. There are several free surface scanners on the internet.

3. In order to ensure the data on each drive would not be compromised a sector by sector image was made of each drive. There are many pieces of free software on the internet that will allow the end user to create a complete image of a hard drive.

4. Place both hard drives back in the computer in the same order they were taken out. This is critical as the drives are striped in a certain order and must remain in that order.

5. Reconfigure the array. This part can be tough. If you did not configure the array then use the default settings. If you did configure the array hopefully you remember the setup. If however none of this is true then use a 128 KB stripe size for the configuration. This is the only real parameter you need to worry about.

6. Bring up the array. If you cannot see the file system, or the array will not mount, or the data is garbage then go back into the configuration and change the stripe size from 128 KB to 64 KB. This usually works.


If after all this the array still does not come up, call me. I give a huge discount if I have clean images to work from and don’t have to mess with the drives, or the drive order. Just remember, make the backup, do the scan, or all your work could go up in smoke. By the way, she got all her data back.



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