RAID Data Recovery – How It Works

May 7, 2018


RAID data recovery is probably one of the most complex processes any data recovery firm can perform. More often than not, the problems are compounded by the actions of the client prior to sending the drives in for recovery. Many users feel that it is important to try and recover the data themselves or repair the array through various system utilities, and this may be fine if the data is not critical. However, it has been our experience that when you have a RAID failure that has resolved in substantial data loss, more often than not, somebody's job is on the line if that data is not recovered. The largest piece of advise this article can provide in the event of a RAID failure: LEAVE IT ALONE.

IT professionals have a lot of pressure placed on them when a catastrophic system failure occurs. It is their job to make sure that all systems are up and running. Many times, out of panic, troubleshooting processes are initiated in order to correct the problem. Often times these processes only make a bad situation even worse, and in many instances they can render the data unrecoverable. Let's keep in mind what this data can consist of in an average corporate environment. You are probably dealing with information that cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars in labor and resources to create. Much of the data probably can not be duplicated. The intellectual value alone could have been in the many millions of dollars. Corporate executives really do not care to hear about how the failure occurred, or what unbelievable string of events led up to the server crashing. They do not care to hear the technical jargon as you try to explain to them what happened, and hope they understand that it was not your fault. They only want to know one thing … "Why was this data not backed up, and how can we get it back?"

Instead of taking chances on your own, call a data recovery professional. RAID data recovery can be expensive, but in most cases it is much less costly than trying to recreate the data that has been lost. There is a set procedure that most data recovery professionals follow when it comes to performing any recovery work. These procedures are followed and expanded upon when dealing with a RAID recovery. The first step of any RAID recovery is to make sure all of the drives are functional. In order to properly complete the recovery it is essential that all drives are fully functional (this is especially true with a RAID 0). This may involve taking any physically damaged drives into the clean room, in order to make the necessary repairs so that they function normally again. Once that is completed the next step is to make complete, sector-by-sector clones of every drive. This is not "Ghosting", but a very low-level process that allows the recovery technician to work around bad sectors, and have complete control over how the drive functions. During the cloning process, the original source drive that you sent in, is generally put in a "write protect" mode so that no data can be written to the drive. This insures that the original source data is not altered in any way.

Once the cloning process is complete, the original drives you sent in are set off to the side and are no longer touched. The actual recovery process is performed on the cloned copies, so nothing that is done during recovery can make the situation worse. After the drives are cloned, they will be loaded into an emmulator and destriped. Destriping is like taking the scattered pieces of a puzzle and putting them together neatly. Simply stated, destriping is taking the data scattered among the multiple drives that make up array and placing it onto a single destination drive. From there we have a single drive in which we can complete what we would consider to be a "normal" recovery. We can complete this process even at the multi-terrabyte level. If the damage to the stripe is not too severe, in most cases a complete rebuild of the directory structure and all associated data can be completed.

As mentioned earlier, RAID data recovery can be expensive. Depending on the company you contact the prices can vary considerably. Typically a RAID recovery can be priced anywhere from $ 800 to $ 3,000 per drive. A number of factors influence the cost, such as RAID type, file system, total size, situation of failure, etc. Many times attempt fees and assessment fees are charged if the data is unrecoverable. This is understandable due to the amount of time and resources required to perform a single RAID recovery. However, in most cases the costs involved in recovering the data are not even 1% of the data's overall value. If you are reading this article and you have not suffered a RAID failure, what are you waiting for? Back up your data NOW.


  • Shafiq Ahmed May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm


  • Kevin Kearney May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Brilliant thank you easy to follow.

  • Mr mR May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    what about Windows re-activation after clean install if windows is pre-installed (OEM version)..I suppose there is no other way get back again genuine windows ??

  • Sneek Sheets May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    YOu left out, after you copy the files over, people, you need to incorporate the drivers into the WIM file that are unique to the computer, else it really isn't a custom recovery partition, it is just windows setup on a drive.

  • Joe Garza May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Awesome guide thank you VERY much!

  • The Dexterous May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    hey, tutorial is good. Also, I need to know that can we hide that recovery partition from boot?????? Because we have to select already installed windows 10 everytime.

  • Ivelin Ninov May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Sorry but the title and the Recovery term used is miss-leading. There is a big difference between reinstalling and recovery.

  • Juggernaut110 Gamer May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Does it install the original (ACTIVATED WINDOWS)?

  • sumeer shafiq May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    I have a window 10 32bit window now,can I install a window 10 64bit from recovery partition in window 10 32bit…plz reply me as soon as possible.

  • Faraz Ali May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Wow! So detailed and descriptive.. thanks

  • nathaniel williams May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Will Your Documents be erased???

  • scott patterson May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    This is not a recovery partition….it's just a re-install partition. You'll need to re-install divers and activate Windows again.

  • Ι don't understand what is the MediaMeta.xml file. This is not in download iso file when open it with winrar. Can you please explain me what is that?

  • Jonas Banea May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Anyone else have problems saying it wouldnt work due to EFI mode or something?

  • Patrick Murphy May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    I had the Ear phones out of my computer and your intro scared the shit out of my wife, keep up the great work lol

  • William King May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Simply excellent, sir. Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions that actually accomplish what you set out to do!

  • PSULionbacker May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Brian, Your instructional video was incredibly helpful to me. I have a new computer and wanted to wipe the drive of the old machine and at least put a copy of Windows on it. Thus, a little different process from what you showed here, but I gathered much confidence of how to do what I wanted to accomplish by watching this. Your explanation was extremely clear. Thanks, much.

  • nigger faggot May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    What if i choose USB flash drive instead of ISO file ?

  • Dave Humphreys May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    One other thing. I didn't see an EFI partition on your hard drive. I thought that this partition was vital for Windows.

  • Dave Humphreys May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    The only aspect of this procedure that makes me very VERY nervous is the idea of deleting the hard drive partitions!! Can I avoid doing that?

  • Bymrh crowe May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Dis uefi windows problems ?

  • craze col May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    great stuff been useing your channel while now explained brilliant thanks again brian

  • R S May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Thank you… Very good and useful video.

  • Sipho Ngwenya May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    AWESOME…. Just what I needed!!!

  • khochal2000 May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Well done Brian, excellent instruction and i am very hopeful it will help me. Now i have two issues:
    1). the EasyBCD upon installation shows a message "the boot configuration data store could not be opened, would you like to load a BCD registry for EacyBCD to manage?" and i said no because i don't know what to do. what you say?
    The second issue is the one specific to my PC, i want to go back to win8.1 after a revelation by microsoft & samsung that my pc (samsung NP350V5C-A0EUK) was not built for win10. when i installed win10, somehow my recovery partition was deleted. now when i want to factory reinstall it, it can't find the recovery partition and so can't reset it. So after watching your video, i thought the only change i need to do is to put win8.1 ISO (rather than win10 ISO) in the recovery drive and do the rest. what you say? do i have a go on it? also any good source for Win8.1 ISO please.
    Thank yo very much and i am looking forward to hear from you. it will save me my passion (of DIY) as well as £65.

  • MUPPETS SHOW UP AT SPEAKERS CORNER May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Brilliant Brian cheers.

  • CrazyMetal May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    you can just select repair, in the windows 10 installer and it will word like a recovery partition actually

  • Brett McAleese May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    I have done this method works great but would i have to enter my product key again? or will it activate by itself? and also how do you hide the partition in case of accidental erasure

  • おとめ座ひなたぼっこ May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm


  • Bradly105 Productions May 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    I got the Windows 7 Boot Menu instead

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