QNAP devices now are very popular both among home users and small organizations, so, first, a couple of words about the device and how it stores the data. There are several disks inside the QNAP: mine has 6 disks but they can be diverse – with 2, 3, 4 or even 12 disks. Disks in QNAP are combined into a single storage using RAID technology. QNAP devices support different RAID levels, but typically RAID5, RAID6 or RAID10 are used because they are fault-tolerant. 2-bay QNAP devices create mirror configuration because it is fault-tolerant, too. As far as file system goes, QNAP devices have been using EXT file system for years. Often people search for QNAP data recovery solution if one of the array member disks fails.
Theoretically, you need to replace the failed one and everything should work fine. However, once in a while something goes wrong during the rebuild resulting in data loss. Another situation involving data loss is when QNAP partitions turn to RAW due to file system metadata damage. To recover data from QNAP you need QNAP disks, a computer you are going to connect the QNAP disks to and new blank disks which you will use to copy the recovered data to. Disks connection is an additional pain. The simplest case involving 2-bay QNAP devices requires maximum of 4 ports on the motherboard, 2 ports are for the source drives and other2 ports are for copying the data.
Modern motherboards have at least 4 ports, usually 5, but what to do if you have a 6-bay QNAP device like mine? Here you have several options.
- Take the disk of large capacity. For example, I have a 6-bay QNAP NAS equipped with 2TB disks. As far as I know, there is about 6 TB of data stored on it. So, I can get one large disk of 8 TB to copy the recovered data to.
- The second option is to use Host BUS Adapter allowing connecting more disks to a PC. For example, I have LSI Adapter and Adaptec Fan-out Cable which working together give me 4 additional SATA connections. If you are absolutely sure that the failure was not caused by the QNAP, you can use the very same QNAP to copy the recovered data.
Besides, I think that most people at the end of the recovery want to get the working configuration as it was before the data loss that is the data stored on a single NAS storage. If you are going to use your QNAP to copy the recovered data, the first thing you should do is to set it up. So, you need to put the disks into the QNAP, choose the configuration and connect the QNAP to your network. But if you suspect that something is wrong with the QNAP box, do not use it. One more note: if you lack, say, only one free port on the motherboard, consider using USB-to-SATA cable. But remember that USB connection is not stable. So, we have discussed all the preparations except last but not least – NAS recovery software. There are few tools, including our ReclaiMe File Recovery, which is capable of recovering data from broken NAS devices and, predictably, we will use our software. So, let’s proceed with the recovery process.
Here is my QNAP with a failed disk and incomplete rebuild, here is the disk I am going to recover data to and here is my computer. As you can see, this is not a typical PC but some kind of workstation: there are all PC components but not inside the box. This is power supply unit, motherboard. As you can see, there are 5 ports but I need to connect 7 disks, so, I use LSI Adapter. Pull the disks out of the QNAP, label them to be aware of the correct disk order if something goes wrong. Now we need to connect disks to a PC. Connect SATA and power, turn on the PC. Go to the ReclaiMe’s site, download and install the software. Once disk scanning is finished, you are able to see your QNAP disks and partitions in the available devices list.
This is a typical picture of QNAP partitions having names CLAIM, SWAP and so on. I select the largest partition and click Start. Now ReclaiMe starts analyzing file system metadata on the partition and in a short time we see the recovered folders and files. Check the quality of the recovery by previewing files, preferably images. If they are correct, all other files are, most likely, correct, as well. The software lets you copy the files once immediately – before the end of scanning.