How to recover your data from a dead Acer Aspire Easystore Raid1

The Acer Aspire Easystore NAS units come in a variety of versions.  The latest unit uses a windows OS, but the earlier versions used a dumbed down Linux OS.  The units are, if not especially cheap, at least low priced.  This article is about the earlier versions using the Linux OS and recounts how we recovered our data from a failed unit.

The problem with the Linux based Acer Aspire Easystore is that while the unit will happily allow drives to be replaced, if you lose the motherboard or the Ethernet port you are in serious trouble.   It surprisingly easy to suffer a catastrophic problem.  For example, if you upgrade the firmware from 2.0 to 2.5 your unit can stop responding.   Further you can lose the motherboard  for a variety of  other reasons – for example, they seem especially sensitive to minor DC power spikes.  If the dreaded red light indicating “unrecoverable software” lights up or the unit simply stops talking to the network, you will rapidly discover you  are essentially screwed. 

Acer’s maintenance support, seems excellent when you contact them.  They will happily replace the unit for you (in fact that is all they will do!) and even send out a technician to swap your old still working drives into the new unit.  Unfortunately that is when you discover you have a serious problem.

The replacement unit will not read the RAID array from the old drives – even if your drives are otherwise OK.  If you are lucky, it will recognise the user accounts – but it will not give you back access to your data.  Acer’s helpful response is that you must rebuild the array.  Do not under any circumstances do this or you will lose your data!

This is what you must do…

In our case we always use RAID 1 on low cost RAID systems.  This essentially gives 2 copies of each disk without co-dependence across multiple disks for data recovery.

Recovering your data from the Acer becomes quite simple in this situation.

What you will need:

A spare computer (a Windows desktop is fine) with:

  •  at least one spare SATA port,
  • a spare SATA cable, (or just unplug an existing drive from the desktop computer and use its cable),
  • a spare HD drive  in FAT32 or Linux disk format so it can be accessed easily under Linux (or other NAS on the network) with enough space to store the files you recover from your Acer Easystore drive(s)
  • a CD ROM. 

Either the on the same  machine, or another, you need a writable CD drive, a spare blank CD and an internet connection.

Now follow these steps:

Step 1  Assuming you do not have a way to write ISO formats onto a CD ROM go here and download the ISO writer:

http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm

Just double click to install it and once installed you merely right-click on an ISO image and choose “Copy image to CD”.

Step 2: Get a copy of the latest version of Knoppix Linux from here (or other Knoppix mirror).   I used Knoppix 6.4.4

http://www.mirrorservice.org/sites/ftp.uni-kl.de/pub/linux/knoppix/

You do want the ISO image and unless you are visually impaired you do NOT need the ADRIANE version.

Step 3.  Put your blank CD into your writable CD drive and right click on the ISO image you just downloaded.  Choose “copy image to CD”.  This will give you a bootable version of Knoppix Linux on a CD ROM.

Step 4.  Turn off and open up your spare desktop computer and plug the first RAID1 drive from your dead Acer Aspire Easystore into the SATA data cable and the SATA power cable and plug the other end of the SATA data cable into a spare SATA port on the motherboard (or SATA sub-board).  Note the number written on the motherboard this will help you find the drive later.  You only need to plug in one drive from each RAID1 pair.  The drives are arranged in pairs making one volume each in the easystore – so the top two are one volume and the bottom two are another volume.  You want one drive from each volume.  We will just do one volume in this sequence, and you should repeat the following steps for the second volume after completing the first.

Step 5.  Turn on the computer and if it does not already boot from a CD ROM, trigger the BIOS setup on startup and change the boot order so that it boots from a CD ROM first.  Save and exit and allow the computer boot up.

Step 6.  Once Linux has started (you may have some minor config steps to work through), click on the little filing cabinet in the bottom left hand corner of your screen.  This will show you the mounted devices.  If your machine also has NTFS drives in it or even an existing RAID array in it there will be some drives marked OS which you will not be able to access.  Ignore these.  Your FAT32 drives and your Acer EasyStore Raid1 drive should be visible.  The mounted Acer drive will show as something like “sdc4″, where the “sdc” part might be sda, sdb, sdc, etc.  The number refers to the partition on the drive that could be read.  This will not have your data in it – so don;t get excited just yet.

Step 7.  In the bottom left hand corner of your screen, beside the filing cabinet icon is the Knoppix logo.  This is the equivalent of the windows “start menu”.  Click on this and from “preferences” choose “GParted”.  Let this do its stuff and when it has finished opening select the GParted menu, and from that the “Devices” submenu.  From this look for and select your Acer drive.  In my case it was on /dev/sdc -  yours may be different – but will be the one that was showing the “4″ in its name when you looked in the file system display.

Step 8.  After GParted has scanned it, you will notice this has 4 partitions.  The Linux swap and the system – both of which will be mounted and then two others – which will not be mounted.  The big one has your data, and the little one is just some spare space.  The big one will probably have a “2″ in its name.  In my case it was “sdc2″.  It will also be showing the file system type – probably “ext2″.  Note both the name (eg. sdc2) and the file system (eg “ext2″) – you will need them in a second.

Step 9.  Select this line by left clicking on on it and then right click to bring up the context menu.  From the context menu that displays choose “Manage Flags”.

Step 10.  In the “manage flags”  window that opens tick the “Raid” flag.  Then open the “Manage Flags” menu again and untick the “Raid” flag.  Close GParted.

Step11. From the “start menu” in the lower left hand corner of your screen choose “Accessories / Root Terminal”. 

Step 12.  When the console window opens type the following:

mount   /dev/sdc2   /media/sdc2 -oro -text2

NOTE:  change the “sdc2″ to the device name (and partition number) you saw in GParted earlier and the  “ext2″ file system type to the one you saw there as well.  It will most likely be ext2, but it might be ext3.   You have just mounted your lost data as “/media/sdc2″  – or whatever sd you entered above.

Step 13.  Click on the filing cabinet icon in the bottom left of the screen and in the address bar enter (adjusted appropriately for your device name):

/media/sdc2/

Your lost files should now be visible. 

Step 14:  Copy your lost files to your spare drive or other network store.   The Acer drive was opened in read-only mode by the mount command so you will can only copy or read them.

If you have two RAID1 volumes in your Acer EasyStore you should repeat all the steps  from step 4 for the second volume as well.

Good luck!  Feel free to drop me an email (or a comment here) if you have a question.  You can also rebuild a RAID5 array in a similar fashion – but it is a little more complex than the process for RAID1 recovery.


43 Comments to “How to recover your data from a dead Acer Aspire Easystore Raid1”

  1. Antoine says:

    Hi there,
    Having some issues accessing the shared folder on my Aspire Easystore I thought upgrading the firmware from 2.0 to 2.5 would provide some help. Not until AFTER I did this did I find a doco that said “you will lose your data”. Oh please no! I no longer even see the share folder on any system and I’m so scared I’ve lost all our photos and videos. Can you pleeeaase help me! I had the system setup as a Raid 5 and it was full of data. I haven’t done anything else to it, like re partition, but I don’t know how to recover over the network. Please help?

    • OK. This first thing to understand is that you have most likely NOT lost your data as long as you do NOT format or rebuild the array on the easystore. So the first thing to do is to not panic, and the second thing to do is to turn off the easy store and not try to use it or do anything with it until you have fixed the drives in a separate box. If you try and fix it in the easy store itself, as far as I know, it will be a disaster.

      The procedure for fixing the drives is essentially to use another computer booted under Linux with as many spare SATA ports as your easystore was using. RAID 5 requires at least 3 drives, so that is probably what you were using in the easystore. You will therefore need a computer with 3 spare SATA ports, an DVDROM drive (from which to boot Linux) and one or more spare internal or external USB drives onto which to copy the recovered data.

      You can use a windows computer with the windows drives removed and the easystore drives plugged in in place in the SAME ORDER as they were plugged into the easystore – the computer SATA ports are numbered. From memory, the easystore numbers go from 1 to 4 from the bottom to the top.

      The procedure is very similar to the process for RAID 1 above except that instead of doing each drive separately you will have to do all the drives together and get Linux to rebuild the array for you. Then copy the data off to the spare (external) drive and then put the drives back into the easystore and get it to rebuild the array – at which time it will promptly format the drives and wipe the existing data.

      Before you do anything, try reading the following links which deal specifically with the RAID5 configuration:

      http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1058603

      http://forum.synology.com/wiki/index.php/How_to_retrieve_data_from_RAID_Volumes_on_Linux

      http://forum.nas-portal.org/showthread.php?2823-RAID5-Platten-unter-Linux-auslesen

      The last one is in German so you will need to use a translator unless you speak German. Google made a hash of it for me so I used http://www.babblefish.com/ and translated it a comment at a time.

      http://www.babblefish.com/

      All the stuff in my article (Steps 1 to 4) about getting Linux, setting up the boot CD and core usage of the environment is relevant EXCEPT that the way I handled the drives is not suitable for raid 5 – you must do them all together, not one at a time.

      As far as I know, the strategy of using another computer under Linux is the only strategy that will work. I dealt with the ACER techs directly because we had priority customer status and they could not help.

      Do NOT under any circumstances just plug the drives into a windows machine running windows as it will write to the drives and they are NOT windows formatted drives – they are Linux formatted drives.

      If you are not confident working with this level of technology you should get a Linux professional to do it for you. You do not have to be a Linux expert to do this (I am not – but I am a degree qualified computer scientist with 30 years of experience), but you do need to be confident and computer smart so that you can make sensible judgement calls about mounting drives in read only mode, and what an operating system command is likely to be doing, etc. This is not something I would get your teenage son who thinks he is a computer expert to do, for example (unless he is the kind of kid that builds his own Linux boxes for fun, maybe).

      If you are going to try yourself then feel free to email me or comment here. I have your email address so if you want me to reply directly let me know. Bear in mind, I have only had to deal with the RAID 1 scenario, but I am happy to help if there is no one else to whom you can turn.

      • Antoine says:

        Thanks for your help Jonathan, I really wish I saw your post sooner, I did the only thing I thought would give me a good chance; I took it in to work and let the IT guys try to recover the data. Unfortunately they are only Microsoft technicians and tried unsuccessfully to recover the data by putting the drives in another computer (Win 7) and running recovery software on it. We could see the partitions but nothing could either create or restore the RAID5 to read anything. These guys are very smart with Microsoft, Citrix, VMWare etc but know nothing of Linux. I think the best thing to do as per your suggestion is to take it to a Linux expert. Otherwise, I do work with IT people but as I said, none are Linux so before any more damage is done I’m thinking a recovery company at this stage if it really is that difficult.

        • Yes, probably wise under the circumstances. Your problem now is going to be whether the Win7 environment and disk recovery software wrote to your drives. A disk recovery specialist can be quite expensive ($1800 – $3000), but a normal Linux guru might be cheaper as they will not be disassembling the drives down to the platter level in a clean room, and maybe able to recover the drives just from Linux itself. In the absence of the Win7 attempt, this is all that would have been required – and may still be all that is required. Since the drives can be mounted in read-only mode under Linux it should be quite safe. It might be an idea to get your Linux guy to read this post, and use the links in my earlier reply to you to get the details for RAID5 recovery as those links go to discussions from people who have already done it.

  2. Antoine says:

    Thanks again Jonathan, I’ll let you know how it goes.

  3. Antoine says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    It seems I had someone at work who was Linux after all and he was able to recover the data quite easily. You were very much correct; you MUST use Linux to recover the partition. Windows programs will not work even if it claims it can. Thank you again for your advice and help.

    • Excellent news. It is good to hear that the Win7 and the recovery software used in the first attempt did not write over any critical part of the disks. The warnings elsewhere were that it could. It is surprisingly easy to recover the disks, when you know what you are doing and it makes your wonder why Acer did not think to put the recover facilities into the Easy Store software in the first place.

      Make sure you give your Linux guru a nice present.

      Now you need to consider how you will use the easy store going forward. Now that you have upgraded the ROM OS to 2.5 and have the data, it might be worth considering rebuilding the array as RAID 1 – straight disk mirroring. This is what we use on ours. The main reason being that disk recovery is very simple as described in the post above.

      The later Easy Stores use windows home server and do not support raid directly, but achieve a similar effect by duplicating the files over multiple drives without duplicating the same file on the same single drive. An interesting approach, and it will be interesting to see how resilient the approach is in a disk failure or drive controller failure.

      We go further and use multiple NAS stores to replicate each other so every piece of data has effectively four copies plus the original. The best of the RAID systems we are using are the Dells, but these are power hungry beasts, drawing some 1800 watts each and comparatively expensive. The low end NAS’s have an advantage in purchase and running costs and therefore you can get more of them and have terabytes of backup storage and use multiple NAS’s to duplicate each other, which is the option we have more recently been employing. Of course you have to expect a higher failure rate and expect that you will loose each NAS every few years, whereas the DELL’s just never fail – but ever quarter’s power bill could buy a new low-end NAS with twice the storage.

  4. jee67 says:

    Hi Guys,

    I had the problem of a dead Easystore after a power failure. After that I did all the tricks described by Jonathan except for one little stupid thing. I recreated the raid array using –create –assume-clean and after that pressing the little “Y” button.
    My computer is now trying to retrieve data using Photorec. So far a few photo’s are back, but not the majority (nevertheless, Photorec is only at 25% so I have good hope). Anyway, there’s a lot of other data on the discs so I wish I could access the drive as a normal raidset again.
    Is there a any change to recover from my stupid action and if so, do you know how?

    • Not quite enough information, I am afraid.
      1. Were your drives RAID 0, RAID 1 or RAID 5 configured?
      2. Where did you issue the rebuild array command – on the EasyStore or elsewhere (eg in a Linux application)?
      3. If in linux, which application?

  5. Howard says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Easystore configured as RAID10. This morning no access to data shares and the web management page shows all four drives but has defaulted to System Initialization. Haven’t touched it, except to shut it down.

    Just wanted to check that the same process work to recover data from a RAID10?

    • If you meant raid 10 (or raid 1 + 0 ) and not raid 1.0 then these instructions are not necessarily right for you. I believe that raid 10 is effectively what the WHS uses, which would imply a recent aspire easy store running WHS, not Linux. These instructions are for the Linux based easy stores, which were the easystores released prior to the WHS easystore. In any case raid 10 duplicates blocks, not disks and stripes the blocks. You would need all 4 disks to effect a recovery and software able to identify the blocks and their duplicates across multiple disks.

      is this a WHS based aspire easystore? If so you will need to investigate WHS disk recovery, but it is worth noting the WHS is essentially just a slightly crippled W2003 server. All of the bits are there and add ins can reveal a lot – including the conventional windows desktop, start menu, etc. Of course installing add ins now involves writing to the disk, so it might be disastrous now.

      My understanding is that WHS is very smart about disk failures, but I have not yet had to test that understanding.

      JGB

  6. Howard says:

    Now you have put doubt in my mind as to whether it was RAID10 (ten) or 2 x RAID1 !

    The Serial numbers and SNID’s (Altos easystore s/n: STEASYS2TC907008D31800 and SNID: 90700225918), are rejected by the Acer web site and they ask whether it’s an H340, H341 or H342, which it does not say anywhere.

    The only other info on the box is:
    Model:- NS04: – 41108 – ACE(Altos easystore)
    Part NUmber: – LA.DISKS.001

    Does that throw any light on it?

    • Well that serial number is for a 2 Terabyte easy store from around 2008. The one with the four visible drive bays and the green led. That one did support RAID10 so it is quite possible you disks are RAID10. I am not sure what OS it runs internally, ‘though. The instructions I have supplied relate to the RAID1 configuration on the later Linux based easystores, but before the latest which is WHS based. As noted raid 10 is a different kettle of fish and you would need an OS capable of reading it. Ubuntu is one such, but there are bound to be others in the Linux world.

      However, before that, you really need to find out what OS the STEASYS2TC uses because that will make a big difference to the decision as to how to recover. It is even possible that the automatic recovery on that model works. You need to do some research on the web about “altos easystore 2 terabyte” or STEASYS2TC and see if there are other recovery tales for that model in the forums. The first part of that search is to find out the proper way to refer to this model. All the easy stores have similar names so you need to be able to exclude the others as much as possible.

      Now, on the plus side, RAID10 is an incredibly tough format which can survive multiple drive failures. So it is highly likely your data is on those disks – as long as you don’t wipe it. The problem is using an OS to access them out of the box that can read the drives and will be kind to them. So you need to know a bit more about this box, and the underlying OS used will tell you a whole lot. It doesn’t remove all issues, and a significant one is whether it uses software or hardware raid. I understand that hardware raid can present a real problem for data recovery if the hardware has failed as the disks may not be readable by a software raid controller. This is a very strong case for getting a complete low level backup of each drive before you try rebuilding.

      Oh – and if you take the drives out make sure you remember the order so you can put them back in in exactly the same order. The order matters a lot.

  7. Hardeep says:

    Hi,

    My Easystore have simply failed. I am using RAID0 with 4 units of 1.5TB HDD.

    I have removed all 4 drives and install to an empty PC with 4 sata ports. I can see all 4 HDDs are mounted in Ubuntu.

    How do I mount the RAID0 partition?

    • Sorry for the delay in replying to this comment. I didn’t notice it until today.

      I have not dealt with a RAID0 setup in this situation, but the first thing is to confirm which EasyStore you are using. If you have the new one then your base OS is Windows Home Server which uses a unique method of “simulating” RAID behaviour on a single logical drive spread across 4 physical drives – see my other replies to comments on this post. If not, then you have a linux based ES and the post is more relevant.

      So next we need to consider the nature of the problem causing the failure. The problem with R0 setups is that the entire drive set makes one non redundant drive. If the failure is that a drive has been lost, you might still be able to assemble the array, but lots of data could be lost. Further if one of the drives has failed you might have to fiddle super block details to assemble a faulty array. You will need to get more specialised advice (and look up the mdadm command) if this is the case. Assuming the drives are actually ok, and it is just the ES that failed then read on..

      I have not had to do this with RAID0 (so you still might want to get advice from someone who has), but I think In your case when you look at the drives in GParted don NOT flip the raid switch – you need the array flags intact. The best command at this point is probably mdadm which will try and assemble the array. So assuming the rest of the info shown is as described above (ie Ext2, data partition 2) you just want to try to assemble the array. Using the mdadm command, assembly is done with the -A switch. (Note the captial A here). I would expect it to be this:

      First try automatic assemly (using scan):
      mdadm -A -s

      if this doesn’t work try to specify the devices and partitions (note the sd[abcd]2 form states the disk and partion number, which might also be sd[abcd]3 )

      mdadm -A /dev/md2 /dev/sd[abcd]2

      After the mdadm command check to see if the device has appeared using:

      cat /proc/mdstat

      In the second mdadm case the device should appear as “md2″

      If it has appeared you can try to mount it:

      mount /dev/md2 /media/sda -oro -text2

      (note: your linux system might use mnt instead of media). The -oro switch mounts the device in read only mode.

      Hope this helps. There is also a –force option for the mdadm command which will attempt to force the assembly of the array.

      • Hardeep says:

        Hi there,

        Thanks for the reply. However, I did managed to get recover the data from RAID shortly after asking the question. I have followed the method in one of the links you have provided. (using the forced mode).

        http://forum.synology.com/wiki/index.php/How_to_retrieve_data_from_RAID_Volumes_on_Linux

        I am using the earlier Acer Easystore (using EXT2 partition) with 4 units of 1.5TB Seagate HDD.

        First Step
        Attach all 4 HDDs to the 4 empty SATA port.
        Must follow original sequence with the NAS (example SATA0 = HDD1, SATA1 = HDD2, etc)
        Boot using KNOPPIX in USB mode. Once its booted up, go to Terminal Emulator.

        Second Step (Force mode)
        mdadm –assemble –force /dev/md2 /dev/sd[a-d]3

        Third Step
        mount –o ro /dev/md2 /mnt

        Fourth Step
        Attach an external USB HDD and copy the files off the mounted volume.

        Million of thanks for the information and tutorial provided in this site. I have struggled with other windows based RAID recovery softwares and they did not work well. And the LINUX way works best for EXT-based RAID systems.

        Cheers.

        • Glad to hear you recovered OK. The –assemble switch and the -A switch are the same thing (just different ways of writing it). It is interesting that it worked using partion 3, as I would have expected it to be partion 2 in the ES case. Good to know this for future reference.

          Thanks for taking the time to detail your solution steps as it will, no doubt, help someone else with the same problem in future.

          I would expect essentially the same steps to work in RAID5 configurations as well.

        • Kendrion says:

          This seemed to be the answer to all my prayers except that I could not get the mdadm command to work until I worked out that the RAID support wasn’t being loaded automatically when Knoppix started.

          Typing “modeprobe md” on the console solved this and I could then proceed as described.

          Thanks you all.

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  10. Hardeep says:

    Hi,

    This article haves saved my data… TWICE!!! and after I recovered the data on the corrupted RAID, I got rid of my Acer Easystore.

    Have upgraded to Synology products ever since, and I must say, they are much more better designed, stable and good performance, even for a low end model DS-411J, with it running Torrents and media server 24/7 in my home network.

    This method should work on most Linux-based NAS.

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  14. Brett says:

    Thanks for your post. Has given me hope after my Easystore RAID5 has died.

  15. Rey Waskin says:

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  16. Eric says:

    I’m running an old 4*250GB Easystore using 3 disks in RAID5.

    The machine isn’t showing the red light, but the network connection is intermittent. I’ve tried using different cables and ports on my Netgear Gigabit switch. The unit seems to be OK but isolated.

    When the switch sees it, the light flashes orange, implying only 100Mbps, so I’m wondering if the problem is failure when it tries to negotiate up to 1Gbps. I’ve got a 100Mbps hub somewhere, and will report back if that bypasses the problem.

    I have a fairly recent back-up of the data, so probably won’t try to recover the disk contents if the Easystore turns into a paperweight. The only machine I have with 4 SATA ports is the one I use for WHS2011, and that’s not one I can afford to borrow for Linux.

    Do you know of any way to fix the networking on the Easystore?

    • Well, I would have first gone for a failed cable or switch port failure as being the most likely causes – but you seem to have covered those off. Next I would consider dirty contacts on the Ethernet pins in the Easystore network socket. If cleaning the contacts does not help (use a proper spray electrical contact cleaner or pure alcohol and a cotton bud – but if they have oxidised you might be better replacing the socket unless you are really good with a jeweller’s file), and the 100MB router doesn’t give you a connection it is sounding like a failed Ethernet chip (which is pretty unlikely unless you had an external event like a power spike or over heating).

      Other things to check are changes in your immediate environment – that might cause electrical interference: bad power board (very common) or new RF source (new heater, micorwave, etc).

      The problem is that without ethernet comms you are pretty much dead in the water. The ES has no way to talk with the world except through the ethernet port. It that or nothing.

      Also – make sure that you are actually not connecting. IE. Has the thing just forgotton it’s IP addess? Check the default IP address for that device just incase it went back to the factory default IP address. You will need to check the manual to see what it was set to when it was first turned on. Probably best to try isolating it completely and plugging a computer directly into the device.

      Now this is where it gets messy. I am not sure what they did in all the various ES versions but the Ethernet chip is probably mounted on the motherboard and Acer will probably just replace the mother board if you get it serviced. Replacing the motherboard seems to screw the ES’s memory of the RAID array config and it doesn’t seem to be able to read and rebuild it from the disks – so you lose the data if you replace the mother board and let it do its thing in rebuilding.

      Now ignoring your backup for the moment, you do not have to permanently convert a windows machine to a Linux machine to do the array repair. I used a production windows server in the example in the article and left all the windows disks in place – except that I disconnected the one that had the C drive (and the OS) and another because I wanted to use the socket. The article suggests an Linux OS that boots entirely from CD – you never install it. Just change the boot sequence in the BIOS to boot from the DC ROM and put in the CD with Linux on it and you have a Linux machine. That is how we did it. When we finished the restore I just took out the CD reconnected the old drives and restarted the computer and it was back to being an MS Windows server – sublimely unaware of its brief sojourn to the dark side.

      • Eric says:

        Thank you so much, Jonathan.

        I used the two cables that had previously failed to connect the EasyStore to the same switch via a 100Mbps hub, and it burst into life. At present, I’m copying all the data to a 2TB external drive, to make sure it’s safe whatever I do next.

        That will certainly include a bit of Electrolube and cleaning all the contacts. I’ll let you know if that works. If it doesn’t, I guess the likely problem is deterioration of the Ethernet processor, in which case it’s probably time to thank the ES for several years of good service and clear its space on the rack.

        When I got the WHS2011 server with RAID, it replaced the ES on my UPS, but the ES is still fed through spike protection. Powerchute hasn’t reported any overvoltage, but did handle 5 seconds of “electrical noise”, so maybe that squeezed through the filters.

        Thank you for the reassurance about booting Linux. The server has easy-swap trays for SATA disks, so it would have been a good way to get the data off if the 100Mbps hub hadn’t worked.

        Eric

  17. Scott says:

    replacing the mb on the easystore can be done without losing data.
    the only issue you will have is when you replace the MB it may be running a different firmware to your previous MB.
    changing the firmware on the easystore requires that you reformat the box.
    after replacing the MB if you upgrade/downgrade the firmware to what you were previously using then the HDDs will pick up and work correctly.

  18. ahmed radwan says:

    i hade the same isuee 4 hard drive in acer altos easystore with raid 5
    i install knoppix v 7.04 just fine and i run GParted. the GParted see the 4 hard dirve but each one say;s (unallocated) for the partion i can not see any partion on any hard drive any one have an idea.
    i need this data

    • RAID5 is a little different from RAID1 so you need to look at the discussions relating to RAID5 as well. Make sure you have read and followed the comments and replies from Hardeep above (he/she had RAID0 but the process he followed is essentially the same as for RAID0) and my reply to Antoine.

      Broadly (from Hardeep for Raid0, but similar should work for Raid5):

      First Step
      Attach all 4 HDDs to the 4 empty SATA port.
      Must follow original sequence with the NAS (example SATA0 = HDD1, SATA1 = HDD2, etc)
      Boot using KNOPPIX in USB mode. Once its booted up, go to Terminal Emulator.

      Second Step (Force mode)
      mdadm –assemble –force /dev/md2 /dev/sd[a-d]3

      Third Step
      mount –oro /dev/md2 /mnt

      Fourth Step
      Attach an external USB HDD and copy the files off the mounted volume.

      In the third step, the -oro switch mounts the drives as read only so they won’t be written over.

      • ahmed radwan says:

        frist of all thank you very much for your replay
        i would like to mantion that iam not lunix personal at all
        but i I Follow your step, I tried to (Boot using KNOPPIX in USB mode) I could not find this option in the 13 choice of the operating system I want to graphic choice and I used number 3 the operation system is opened and i wantto accessories and I user ROOT TERMINAL as (run as in terminal emulator).I enter the first command
        (mdadm –assemble –force /dev/md2 /dev/sd[a-d]3).
        I got the following massage
        (/dev/md2 has been started with 3 drivers out of 4)
        I execute the second command
        (mount –oro /dev/md2 /mnt)
        I got this massage
        (you must specify the file system type)
        so I modify the command to
        (mount –oro –f NTFS /dev/md2 /mnt)
        I got this massage
        (NTFS signature is missing faild to mount /dev/md2)
        So I stopped and I don’t know what I will do more so I asking you again if you can help to know what is wrong of what I am doing?
        thank you

        • OK a couple of things I see wrong here, but first -on the face of it, the first error message is telling you it built the array as device md2 but one of the drives you told it to use is failed or not otherwise used (Raid 5 requires only 3 drives). So this might be ok.

          The second message is saying it cant work out the file system from the drives. It is likely either ext2 or ext3. So the proper mount command would be:

          mount –oro /dev/md2 /mnt -text2

          or:

          mount –oro /dev/md2 /mnt -text3

          Now some other points:

          Firstly, the drives are linux OS drives, not NTFS so your mount command with ntfs will not work. In any case, the suggested mount command will have a problem because the mdadm command thinks it is missing 1 of the 4 drives required.

          Second, make sure you DO NOT boot the machine under windows with the 4 linux raid drives connected as windows may write to the drives thinking they are meant for it. Only boot the machine under linux while the drives are connected, and do not connect or disconnect the drives until you have powered down.

          Third, I believe it is essential that the drives be in the correct order – that is, the same order as the order in which they are mounted in the Acer box. (I have a vague memory that the order is bottom to top not top to bottom in the Acer box)

          Now, stepping through the comment…

          -Booting Knoppix in USB mode is simply so you have access to a USB port to plug in an external drive onto which to copy the data. It is not required if you are not going to do that, and in any case I think if is the default now (but I am not sure). So this step should be fine.

          –The mdadm command attempts to assemble a raid drive set from the supplied drives identified as a-d. If you are using 3 drives you want [a-c]. I think, however, that you mdadm command actually worked for 3 of the 4 drives supplied.

          You could try automatic assembly:

          First try automatic assemly (using scan):
          mdadm -A -s

          Now if this doesn’t work and assuming you are actually using 4 drives (if not change it to [abc]… If you do have 4 physical drives then possibly leave the command with all four drives lited for now as we do not know which should be excluded.

          Try the assembly command specifying the devices and partitions (note the sd[abcd]2 form states the disk (a through d) and partion number, which might also be sd[abcd]3 – trying either won’t hurt)

          mdadm -A /dev/md2 /dev/sd[abcd]2

          After the mdadm command check to see if the device has appeared using:

          cat /proc/mdstat

          In the second mdadm case the device should appear as “md2″. If you used auto assembly as stated earlier the cat command might show the device by another name, in which case change the md2 string in the next command for the actual name shown.

          –Now if all is good then you can try:

          mount –oro /dev/md2 /mnt

          or:

          mount /dev/md2 /media -oro -text2

          or:

          mount /dev/md2 /mnt -oro -text2

          Note: The ‘ext2′ refers to the file system, but it might also be ‘ext3′. Gparted shows this but you can just try them both.

          Your linux system might have the drive assembled in the /media or the /mnt folder – it should be obvious from looking at the screen whether you are using mnt or media. Mine uses media, but others seem to use mnt.

          After this, if all has worked, then you should be able to browse the files.

          Now, assuming you have 4 drives, and they are actually all used, and the above does not work, but you get the ‘only 3 of 4 drives’ message (remember that I suspect this is actually an ok message – but as stated earlier I have not had to do this with acer raid5), first verify that you actually have a good connection for each of the drives, and there are no awful repeating click noises comming from one of the drives – indicating a crashed drive. If your cables are all good and the message is the same, better come back here for some further discussion.

          • ahmed radwan says:

            Hi
            I did as you told me I really do have 4 hard drive each one is 500 gb and I do have a motherboard with 6 sata ports I attaché the 4 hard drive in the first 4 sata ports I can see them in the setup and I attaché another 2 tb hard drive in sata 5 for the recovery data and in the port 6 I attaché another hard drive for install the knoppix system I don’t have any windows at all last thing I do hare external dvd attaché in usb
            So executed the first command (mdadm -A /dev/md2 /dev/sd[abcd]2)
            I got massage say
            Mdadm: /dev/md2 has been strted with 4 driver
            I think this mean OK
            So I run the next command
            mount –oro /dev/md2 /mnt
            it is say
            not mounted mount : you must specify the filesystem type
            so I run
            mount /dev/md2 /mnt -oro -text2
            or
            mount /dev/md2 /mnt -oro –text3
            it is say
            wrong fs type bad option bad superblock on /dev/md2 missing codepage or helper program or other error in some cases useful info is found in syslog –try dmesg tail or so

            so I stopped and reyurn to you can you please help until this point

  19. george says:

    Hi there! This article could not be written any better!
    Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept talking about this. I’ll forward this post to him. Pretty sure he’ll have
    a very good read. Thank you for sharing!

  20. bob says:

    great article, Jonathan. we recently had some terrible storms here and the network port on my easyStore was fried. I had two 1TB drives in there that were mirrored.

    I followed your instructions and had a problem when I went to read the files. Everything on this drive is showing up as a symbolic link and not able to be copied. I am not all too familiar with Linux, but am good enough to get around. Any idea why this would be doing this? I am worried that I have lost all my family pictures and videos although the data still appears to be there on the drive.

    the drive was /devsdb2 and the file system was NTFS.

    Thank you for your time writing this……hopefully I can get this working again soon. No more easyStore for me.

    • The good thing is that if you can spin the drives up, and you only fried the IO port, the data is most likely to be fine on the drives.

      If it really is the NTFS file system on the drives, then you will need a different OS from Knoppix for recovery – either Windows or Ubuntu, or another Linux that reads NTFS drives.

      Only a couple of the EasyStores use NTFS and these are mainly the WHS based ones as far as I know. (WHS is brain damaged Windows2003, or more recently W2011). I believe the multi drive WHS versions all use Raid10 which is not mirroring. On the plus side WHS/Raid10 is (I believe) really good at protecting data – so it is likely all there.

      The older easystores, however, used Linux, so I would not expect NTFS by default if you have an older EasyStore.

      So first we need to establish which EasyStore you are dealing with – to make sure it is actually the Linux OS that created the drives, and can read them again, or whether this is really WHS machines.

      A mirrored NTFS drive should be reasonably straightforward to recover – even possibly using a windows machine, but be careful as Windows can wreck a non-ntfs drive simply be connecting it to a Linux created drive.

      Why do you think it is NTFS and not a normal Linux disk format?

      Also, check the comments above to see more discussions on other situations – including the NTFS scenario. There are good comments about alternative scenarios and variations in the process when things don’t go according to plan.

      And – tell me what EasyStore you have and why you think it is NTFS. Then we may be able to make some headway.

      Lastly – it is better to be patient and take this slowly than rush it and screw up the data. The data is not going to get anymore lost than it is now be taking the recovery slowly and carefully, but rushing it could prove depressing.

      Where we aren’t sure with what we are dealing, the base advice would be to get a bit level duplicate of the drives before messing about, but whilever you are using Linux and mounting in readonly mode, the drive data should be safe to access under Linux.

      Oh and lastly, what do you mean by a ‘symbolic link’? This has a specific meaning in windows NTFS systems. After W2008/Vista these are a files system link to a data object (kind of like a windows shortcut, but at the files system level rather than the OS level). If these really are SL’s then it sounds like you are running one of the recent Easystores that use Windows Home Server. Is that the case?

  21. I found here a lot of interesting guidelines. To link to you may I use link text How to recover your data from a dead Acer Aspire Easystore Raid1 | Risk Think?

  22. Adam says:

    Hi Everyone.

    I’ve tried performing the steps from this article and unfortunately whenever I try to mount the file system it says that it’s not valid. I’ve tried specifying all the ones I can thing of (ext, fat, ntfs, zfs, etc) but it will just come back with errors like ‘not recognised’ or ‘cannot find super block’ etc.

    Has anyone got any ideas on how I could mount the drives?

    Adam

    • Not really enough information on which to comment here. Are you dealing with a RAID 1 scenario or something else?

      Are the drives OK or have they crashed? This article assumes that the dries themselves are (or at least one of the RAID 1 drives is) actually working and that all that has happened is that the controller is gone.

      If it is the standard linux situation I would expect ext.

      • Adam says:

        Hi Jonathan,

        RAID 5. The disks seem to be fine as they’re not clicking or anything and they seem to spin up when they’re powered. The array is also recognised when using md, it’s just I cannot mount the file system :( I too would expect ext, but I don’t know what to try next. Is it possible that the file system has been damaged? Is there a check tool I could run which might diagnose and repair the problem?

        I’m not sure what has happened to the actual NAS. I had a power cut and it wouldn’t boot back up afterwards. All LEDs on, no network activity.

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