Solutions

UFS Explorer is developed as the most comprehensive solution for fast access and easy recovery of valuable data

Download software

How can one recover data from a NAS device?

NAS (Network-attached storage) has emerged as a handy technology enabling shared access to a general centralized storage available for several computers, workstations or any other devices featuring network connection capabilities. Being much smaller, less expensive and easier to maintain than traditional file servers, such systems can boast the same functionality and reliability which has led to their wide popularity among both corporate and home users who rely on them to serve their data storage and backup needs. Still, like any device, NAS units are exposed to failures and outages resulting in the loss of crucial information. Moreover, unlike typical PCs or Macs, they usually don’t have inbuilt undelete functions. Recovering data from them though possible, requires taking into account the peculiarities of this very storage type.

Whilst some NAS boxes contain only one drive with a single volume, such devices are found very rarely even among ones oriented towards personal use – as a rule, NAS units are multi-disk storage systems, with their hard drives linked together with the help of the RAID technology, which also serves for increased performance and provides protection against drive failure. RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 5 are by far the most common layouts used in NAS, yet, some manufacturers, like Drobo and Synology, provide their own developments in this regard, which open up new possibilities but at the same time, add significant complexity to the process of data recovery.

In fact, NAS is not merely a digital storage, but a networked appliance with its own CPU and a customized Linux operating system. Such a device is plugged into a router with the help of an Ethernet cable, providing access to its files via network file sharing protocols (NFS, SMB, AFP, etc.), and cannot be connected directly to the PC via USB. Owing to the lack of low-level access to physical disks arising from the storage specifics and mediocre CPU characteristics of such devices, data recovery from NAS requires taking the disks out of the NAS box and connecting them to a computer.

There are also several other factors to be kept in mind before starting the procedure:

  • overwriting operations which may be performed by the user, system, TRIM command on SSDs or full format permanently destroy the data deleted or lost from the NAS disks;
  • encryption of NAS drives in most cases doesn’t hinder data recovery as long as the encryption key is available and the area on the disk containing critical decryption metadata is intact;
  • though the failure of one drive (RAID 3, RAID 4, RAID 5, RAID 7, etc.) or two drives (RAID 6, etc.) can be compensated by the system, the rest of the drives involved in the process must be in working order. If you assume any physical issues, contact a reliable data recovery center or clone the disk and work with its copy instead of the storage itself. Attempts to replace a failed drive and rebuild the array before data recovery may cause data overwriting.

Recover data from NAS based on RAID of various complexity

If the critical files were lost from the NAS drives due to some kind of logical failure, like mistaken deletion, formatting, corruption or different software issues, the right data recovery instrument will be able to return the missing information. SysDev Laboratories offers UFS Explorer and Recovery Explorer  as effective software solutions which allow working with RAID of various levels and types, including standard RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1E, RAID 3, RAID 5, RAID 6, RAID 7, etc.), nested arrays (RAID level 10, 50, 60, 50E, etc.) and custom RAID layouts along with vendor-specific configurations, like Drobo BeyondRAID or Synology Hybrid RAID. The programs support most Linux-based file systems, including Ext, XFS and Btrfs, which are generally responsible for managing data on NAS volumes.

To restore files from NAS with the help of UFS Explorer RAID Recovery, you will need to do the following:

  1. Prepare a computer which will be used for data recovery. It is recommended to use a Windows PC, as it doesn’t support Linux file systems and won’t be able to write any data to the problem disks. Download and install the program onto it, ensuring that the currently running operating system matches the version of the program.

    UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

  2. Find a storage large enough to place all the recovered files. This may be any internal/external disk mounted in the OS or a network location.

  3. Turn the NAS hardware off and get the disks out of the box. Pay attention to the order of the drives and label them according to the bays they belong to.

  4. Power off the computer and connect all the removed NAS disks to it – the best option is to use SATA ports found on the motherboard. If the system doesn’t have enough vacant SATA connectors, it is possible to use USB to SATA adapters or disk enclosures, though the latter approach will considerably affect the speed of the process.

    Note: Please refer to HOW TO section for detailed instructions.

  5. Start the computer and launch UFS Explorer RAID Recovery. If needed, change its parameters in the corresponding pane.

    UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

  6. If you’ve created disk images to use them instead of the physical drives, open all of the disk image files with the help of the "Image file or virtual disk" option from the "Open" main menu item.

    UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

  7. Explore the list of connected devices in the left pane of the main screen:

    1. 7.1 If the RAID metadata wasn’t severely damaged, you will be able to find the assembled storage among the options in the list. It can usually be identified by the corresponding icon, RAID level and the number of the drives.

      UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

    2. 7.2 In case the program didn’t reconstruct the RAID configuration, you can assemble it manually from the member disks/disk images.

      1. 7.2.1 Click "Build RAID" and add each component to RAID using the respective storage context menu option. For most NAS models the largest "data" partitions are to be chosen rather than entire drives: as a rule, such volumes have the same size on each drive and the same non-zero offset.

        UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

      2. 7.2.2 If the array is in the degraded mode, add a placeholder to indicate the missing constituent using the respective tool from the toolbar.

        UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

      3. 7.2.3 Adjust the order of the drives using the arrow-like buttons from the toolbar and define the correct RAID configuration in the RAID parameters sheet.

        UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

      4. 7.2.4 When finished, press the "Build this RAID" button.

        UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

        Note: If you don’t know which RAID configuration your NAS is based on, refer to the NAS documentation. You may make any number of reconstruction attempts, as the software operates in the read-only mode without modifying any information on the source disks. For this use the “Edit RAID configuration” storage context menu option which will open the array in RAID Builder for revision.

        Note: The procedure may slightly differ if your NAS makes use of a specific RAID configuration instead of conventional RAID.

  8. Select the volume mounted under the assembled RAID and check its content. If the files seem damaged, this may signal that RAID parameters were defined incorrectly. Right-click the RAID storage in the left pane, choose “Edit RAID configuration” and try adjusting them. Press “Build this RAID” again upon completion.

    UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

  9. To scan this volume for lost data use the respective button or the storage context menu option.

    UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

  10. Specify the desired scan parameters, press "Start scan" and wait for the process to end up.

    UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

  11. Examine the presented result: you may sort the files by name, date, type, employ quick or advanced search and preview images, videos, audio files or PDF documents.

    UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

  12. Click "Define permanent selection" and mark the items you would like to copy by putting ticks right next to them.

    UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

  13. Press "Save selection" and select a destination folder for these files in the opened window.

    UFS Explorer RAID Recovery screenshot

Last update: August 7, 2019

Rating: 4.6 - 9 votes
Share: