Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Nikon internal memory

If you need to access Nikon's camera (similar to Nikon Coolpix S200) internal memory for photo recovery, just eject the memory card from the camera and connect the camera to the PC using the USB cable. You'd better not to lose the cable supplied with the camera - Nikon USB connectors are something non-standard and spare cables are hard to come by.

Friday, 24 September 2010


Broken parts should be marked clearly and unambiguously so that no one uses them once again by mistake.

Actually, broken parts should be thrown away. If for some reason, e.g. for a subsequent data recovery, you have to keep them, you need to mark them clearly.

If it is determined that the cable is bad, it makes sense to cut it in two immediately.

On the larger parts, you can draw a cross with a marker (it is better to mark all the sides). In such a way we keep old power supply units in case the connectors will be needed or hard drives queued for secure erase.

Another option is to tape over the connector, for example, if one port of the router has burned but the rest are working and you don't want to throw out the entire router.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

QNAP revisited

For reference, we were using QNAP TS-639 Pro with six WD20EADS disks.

After about half a year of use, the web-interface was running slower, so that we needed to wait for several minutes to obtain the list of the disks. Gradually, we noted that the array performance decreased significantly.

It seemed obvious to assume that one of the member disks has been dropped from the array and a RAID5 was working in the degraded mode. However, all the member disks were marked as GOOD in the web-interface.

It was suspicious that LEDs on the disk bays indicating the state and activity of the disks were blinking unevenly. Logically, for RAID5 one should expect almost symmetric load on the disks, but in fact, one of the disk LED was blinking much more frequently.

Once we had run the bad blocks check on this disk through the web-interface, the disk dropped from the array in less than half an hour and its bay LED turned red. At this point, the web-interface began to work properly again. The disk taken from the array doesn't stay online for longer than a couple of minutes when connected to a Windows PC.

RAID 5 is designed to be redundant in order to improve reliability but a single disk failure destroys the redundancy. If the second disk fails before the first failed disk will be replaced, the data loss occurs. In our case, the disk failed but all the obvious diagnostic tools reported that the RAID was OK. So two weeks passed before we realized that the disk had to be replaced.

The hot-swapping did not work properly too. When we put in the new disk, we expected the array would detect it and start the rebuild. Instead the web-interface hung once again, showing the strange indications like "Disks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 are not present", though read-write operations worked fine all the time. The reboot was required to detect the new disk and start the rebuild.

If you happen to have one of the QNAP units, note that the LEDs on the device indicate the state of the array correctly. If there is a discrepancy between LEDs and what the web interface tells you, go with LEDs.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Finally a free RAID recovery software

We have released ReclaiMe Free RAID Recovery which is available for downloading at As the name implies, this is absolutely free RAID recovery software. The tool reconstructs most widely used RAID layouts - RAID 0, RAID 5, and RAID 01/10. ReclaiMe Free RAID Recovery is capable of recovering the following array parameters:
  • start offset,
  • block size,
  • member disks and data order,
  • parity position and rotation.

Once you recovered the RAID parameters, you can:

  • Run ReclaiMe data recovery software to recover data from the array;
  • Create the array image file;
  • Write the array to disk;
  • Save layout to the XML file;
  • Get the instructions and recover data using other data recovery software.
In addition to the fact that the tool is absolutely free, it is really simple to use - no Settings button at all. All you need to start RAID recovery is to select the available member disks (our tool can reconstruct RAID 5 with one disk missing), decide on the array type, and click Start.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

QNAP sucks

We have a QNAP 639 Mega Hyper Super Turbo Station NAS unit. Long story short, web interface now refuses to work. Earlier, it was more of an intermittent PITA, but now that completely ceased to work. To be precise, the AJAX part of the interface never responds, leaving us without the array status, SMART data, whatever. It would just sit there displaying "Loading" message along with a stupid rotating AJAX thing for no end.

Not exactly the performance one would expect from a $1500 unit.
Maybe we should use it for a RAID 6 recovery as a practice target, because we have no RAID 6 recovery yet.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Difference between RAID 0+1 and RAID 1+0

The diagrams of RAID 0+1 and RAID 1+0 are shown above.
As you can see they seem to have different data organization.

Here, four drives are shown. Can you determine what type of the RAID this is?
Actually, RAID 0+1 and RAID 1+0 are the same when it comes to data recovery.