Intel RAID5 Disaster Data Recovery ICH10R

Wow! What a crappy, crazy, scary, devastating, terrible, sad AND THEN HAPPY week. Last Sunday night my file server started acting up. A disk started to report some failures and then I was unable to access a good portion of my files. At this point I was already really concerned. I won’t go on to tell you every single step I took after that point to now but I will give you a quick summary.

  • I tried swapping out the drive that was having issues
  • I tried unmounting and mounting the drive
  • I tried running some unix tools such as “fsck” and “gparted”
  • I tried using the command “atacontrol”
  • With “atacontrol” I used several commands with it, such as “attach”, “detach”, “reinit”, “list”, “status array”, etc. etc.
  • After which some point the system stopped booting normally and froze up on the Intel MatrixRaid screen.
  • I reset the BIOS settings several times, still kept getting locked up.
  • I even upgraded the BIOS to a newer version in high hopes this would fix the issue.
  • I would unplug the hard drives, boot into FreeBSD, plug the drives back in, and use the “atacontrol” command to detach their virtual presence and then reattach their physical presence.
  • I tried plugging one drive, rebooting, and then repeat, until all the drives were plugged in.
  • I tried several different versions of FreeBSD.
  • I tried installing Windows XP on a second hard drive
  • I tried install Windows 7 on a second hard drive
  • I am pretty sure I fried the usb hub built into the motherboard as nothing works properly. I had to attach a usb header device to the motherboard directly to get things to work properly.
  • Still NO luck
  • I eventually came to realization that my RAID5 setup was entirely lost and ALMOST gave up.
  • I began doing some extensive research on Intel RAID5 recovery.
  • I found a couple posts on Intel’s support forums, came across this post that helped the most.

Here are the steps I took-

*I am not responsible for any data loss blablabla, I’m just giving you a possible sollution; from my experience it tends to work*

1) Enter the Ctrl-I configuration utility. Write your raid level, array size, stripe size and everything else that can be configured on a piece of paper, you’ll need this info later.
2) Delete the Raid-array. Yup, that’s right, just throw it away.
—- I ended up not deleting the RAID but marking all the drives as “non-raid drives” and then going to the next step
3) Reboot and create a new array identical with all the specifics you wrote down in step one.
—- I then rebooted into my second hard drive with Windows 7 installed and Intel Rapid Restore 9.6
4) Reboot. Don’t enter the drive system manger panel in windows. Download and install testdisk. http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk
5) Start testdisk. The program ask you whether or not it should create a log file. It doesn’t matter for all I know, so choose whatever you like. Select your brand new raid array. Select ‘Intel partition’ if you have a regular
Windows partition. Next choose ‘Analyse’, then ‘Quick search’. If your old array doesn’t show up, try ‘Deeper search’. Now your partition should show. Select the old partition and press Enter, then ‘Write’. Testdisk now writes the old partition table on your new array.
6) Close the program, reboot and everything should be fine.

I did learn alot about myself (staying calm about losing ALL of my data, and making sure I have my data backed up TWICE), FreeBSD, various RAID setups, and how to recover a RAID system successfully. The one thing I would advise to anyone out there seeking help is… BE PATIENT and NEVER give up!

*I am not responsible for any data loss blablabla, I’m just giving you a possible sollution; from my experience it tends to work*
1) Enter the Ctrl-I configuration utility. Write your raid level, array size, stripe size and everything else that can be configured on a piece of paper, you’ll need this info later.
2) Delete the Raid-array. Yup, that’s right, just throw it away.
3) Reboot and create a new array just like your old one. If you do not use the full disk for your array, make the array slightly (0.5GB or so) larger than the old one, so you’re sure the old one fits on the new one.
4) Reboot. Don’t enter the drive system manger panel in windows. Download and install testdisk. http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk
5) Start testdisk. The program ask you whether or not it should create a log file. It doesn’t matter for all I know, so choose whatever you like. Select your brand new raid array. Select ‘Intel partition’ if you have a regular
Windows partition. Next choose ‘Analyse’, then ‘Quick search’. If your old array doesn’t show up, try ‘Deeper search’. Now your partition should show. Select the old partition and press Enter, then ‘Write’. Testdisk now
writes the old partition table on your new array.
6) Close the program, reboot and everything should be fine.

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