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Old February 25th, 2012, 12:13 PM
ExoZed ExoZed is offline
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Red face Successful SC101 data recovery, but £350 poorer.

I just thought I'd post my experience of going through pretty much every possibility in this forum for recovering data from an SC101 (which was reporting 'No drives available to attach') - all of which failed - resulting in me sending to drives to a data recovery company and a happy ending.

In summary my advice is pretty simple: If, like me, you're not an expert (I'm pretty handy with a computer, but this stuff really is complex at the data level), try some of the basic techniques, but don't go too far before giving up and sending it to Tierra Data Recovery (http://tierradatarecovery.co.uk/). They are specialists with the SC101, and successfully retrieved every last bit of my 78gb in what turned out to be quite an unusual recovery.

Here's an outline of what happened to the drive:
I had the SC101 set up with two Seagate 120gb drives, mirrored. One drive stopped attaching a couple of weeks ago, so I was only writing to one drive. The XP Laptop that was running the Storage Central Manager (SCM), died with a 'Windows did not start successfully' loop. A knackered drive in a nutshell.

Here's the steps I took:

1. My other computer was a Windows 7 machine, so installed the SCM in XP in Virtual PC. It found the SC101, but would not attach the drives. It could see them in the 'Create/Manage Drives' section, but it only listed Unused partitions which represented the small un-partitioned parts of the drives.

2. Performed a reset on the SC101 as decribed in Jack's post here. This didn't have any effect.

3. Using the drive which had stopped attaching a few weeks ago (since it's older data was less precious), I decided to try a few more options. First I used the SFSExtract.exe recovery tool which should be in the same directory as the SCM. Because I could not mount the drive via the SC101 I attached it dircetly to my Windows 7 laptop using one a SATA to USB adapter. SFS Extract is run from the DOS command prompt, here's some instructions.

After running the VALIDATE command, it told me the drive had a corrupt superblock. I attempted the recovery command WDISK, but whilst watching it apparently searching the drive, I calculated it would have taken a year to complete the process so I cancelled it. I haven't actually read about a successful retrieval using this.

4. I downloaded R-Studio, and scanned the drive, took about an hour for a 120gb drive. Nice program, but although it said it had found some files, they weren't readable - it was just gobbledegook.

5. I decided to try the 'Wrapper' technique in which you delete the partition from the drive using Netgear's z-scan application, then use the SCM to make a new one the same size as the original or bigger, therefore wrapping the data. You then run the SFSExtract WDISK command on the disk. Didn't work for me though, same nonsense from SFSExtract.

6. So I called Tierra, posted them the drives and the rest is history. Weird thing was though, the first time they came back to me the file list looked perfect, except it was missing the three biggest directories of photos (30gb!). They worked some more magic and found them, not where or how yet though.

I'm now planning to get a Netgear Stora - reviews seem to say they're very good, and I'll be backing up to Dropbox!

Stuart.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 11:53 PM
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Default Re: Successful SC101 data recovery, but £350 poorer.

It seems your data recovery service did exactly what you did in step 3 to recover your data, except they most probably did not use a laptop and a USB-SATA adaptor.
The instructions for using the SFSExtract utility are not meant for interpretation : it says you need to INSTALL the SC HD in your PC. This means a direct connection (IDE or SATA) to the MoBo. It seems that the SCM drivers need a direct datalink to the HD controller which becomes the front head of the SAN system.

Because you probably got a drive letter from the Windows system, the wrapper procedure was not necessary and could have lead to total data destruction.

Still, all well that ends well…
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 12:20 AM
ExoZed ExoZed is offline
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Default Re: Successful SC101 data recovery, but £350 poorer.

Thanks Jack, I guess you've just illustrated my point about not attempting this unless you're an expert!

I knew I'd struggle with my limited knowledge, but since I had a safe option of the second drive to give it a try with I figured it was definitely worth trying to avoid spending £350!

It's a nice feeling having the data back, regardless of how it happened
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 04:19 AM
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Default Re: Successful SC101 data recovery, but £350 poorer.

The point I tried to make is to ask others, more experienced users, before running to service bureaus and forking out £££££s.

If you read all the posts regarding use of the SFSEXTRACT utility (obviously you did read several) and got stuck at your step 3, you should have posted a request for help here.
Quit sure we would have been able to get your data back at considerable less expenses…
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 05:36 AM
ExoZed ExoZed is offline
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Default Re: Successful SC101 data recovery, but £350 poorer.

The first line of my previous post was intended as a humble acceptance that you were correct. You're not making me feel any better about it by laboring the point.

The reason I didn't make a post on here when my attempts failed was because I simply didn't want to risk trying anything more myself, even if I was guided by expert advice - I was just too nervous to trust that I would get it right.

So the only thing I'd add to your point about asking others, is that anyone in my position should probably not wait until they fail - before you do ANYTHING post your problem and see what people recommend.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 06:34 AM
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Default Re: Successful SC101 data recovery, but £350 poorer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExoZed View Post
So the only thing I'd add to your point about asking others, is that anyone in my position should probably not wait until they fail - before you do ANYTHING post your problem and see what people recommend.
You got that right, mate
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 04:06 AM
Tierra Tierra is offline
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Default Re: Successful SC101 data recovery, but £350 poorer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack™ View Post
It seems your data recovery service did exactly what you did in step 3 to recover your data, except they most probably did not use a laptop and a USB-SATA adaptor.

Still, all well that ends well…
Hi,

I am the engineer that recovered ExoZed's data from his unwell SC101 drive.

I just want to say that we don't use Netgear's hardware or software at all in our SC101 recoveries (clients that use our service tend to have tried those before they contact us).

We really do use a combination of hardware forensic cloning to get a true image from unstable hard drives, in-house code to extract most of the file system and a good old hex editor to get us the rest of the way.

SC101 drives get borked in all manner of ways and SFSExtract.exe has its limits. Intimate knowledge of the file system takes you past those limits, but few people are prepared to invest the time necessary to attain the required level of knowledge.

Some clients come to us after they have thoroughly thrashed their drives and the results tend to be not so good.

Tom
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Old April 7th, 2012, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: Successful SC101 data recovery, but £350 poorer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tierra View Post
.......We really do use a combination of hardware forensic cloning to get a true image from unstable hard drives, in-house code to extract most of the file system and a good old hex editor to get us the rest of the way.
Hi Tom,
good to hear from an "old-time" pro knowing his tools of trade.

Of course, cloning the disk data before working on the data is basic.
Read my post #8 referring to users that explained the tools available for this.

Then remains the issue of the swapped bytes on a SFS HD.
This has been explained by Azurlake's post #11.

So it seems that you used a good old hex editor and then interleaved the data-parts to transform the data into FAT/NTFS type of data, after which any recovery software will be able to get back the files in RAW-mode.

Wouldn't it be much easier to use the recovery tool that the owners of the San File System (SFS), Dataplow, have made available for free to everybody?
It's called SFSExtract and you don't have to be a data recovery expert in order to use it.
Read ukspamuk's post #3 for a short but precise report how to get about it....
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