Recover RAID Volumes in Windows Storage Spaces: Parity, Striping, Mirror, Composite

What if your hardware RAID 5 is down (and it was built in Windows Storage Spaces on Windows Server 2019)? Have you reinstalled the operating system, and now one or several disks don’t work, or the whole disk array is inaccessible? In today’s article, we’ll tell you how to get it back to normal again and recover your data.

Recover RAID Volumes in Windows Storage Spaces: Parity, Striping, Mirror, Composite

Windows Server features an integrated technology to let you create a hardware RAID system and protect your files from accidental loss. This function is used to keep your data intact in case one or several disks fail, depending on the array configuration. Unfortunately, issues related to data loss in Windows Server systems do not always boil down to a mere disk failure: other possible causes may include software errors, incorrect settings, damaged metadata, accidental formatting or removing files and so on. All these things may cause a loss of important information, and leave the poor user wondering how to extract or recover files from such a faulty array.

An array based on Windows Storage Spaces
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💽 Recovering RAID Volumes in Windows Storage Spaces (Parity, Striped, Mirrored, Composite) 💽

💽 Recovering RAID Volumes in Windows Storage Spaces (Parity, Striped, Mirrored, Composite) 💽

To have your data back, you have to use specialized data recovery software that supports this specific RAID type. Hetman RAID Recovery supports almost all known sorts of RAID systems, and it will help you recover any lost files without effort. It works perfectly with all popular file systems, fixing errors in the logical structure of hard disks and displaying disk contents.

Reinstalling Windows Server or Encountering a Hardware Error

Errors in the work of the operating system (like those you may encounter during the update process) can cause a critical error, which may leave your system stranded and unable to boot again. If that’s the case, the easiest way out is to reinstall your operating system. But what should you do with the RAID 5 system and all the information that is still inside it?

After the operating system is reinstalled, it may have issues in recognizing the disks, and display them in the Disk Management as ”foreign”.

The operating system failed to recognize the disks

Try importing them first. Right-click on the disk icon, then choose Import foreign disks.

Importing foreign disks

Specify the group and click OK.

Specify the group for the imported disks

In the next window, the system will list the volumes it has found on the disks, so click OK to confirm it. After that, all disks will appear in File Explorer.

List of volumes after search

There could be situations when the import operation fails and some arrays remain inaccessible – just like this RAID 5 system.

A failed import attempt

One more scenario is when a hardware failure or another emergency damaged a part of metadata, or there is a never-ending process of resynching which makes the disk unavailable for read and write operations. Similar things occur when you accidentally remove a part of the data or format the disk.

This is when Hetman RAID Recovery comes to the rescue. It will scan the selected disks automatically and display all the data it can identify. Now that the program displays correct array properties, Al you have to do is to scan the logical volume and recover the information.

Recover data from damaged RAID arrays inaccessible from a computer.
Correct array  properties are displayed

Right-click on the volume icon, choose Fast scan.

Fast scan

Check the scan results, and if the utility hasn’t found the data you need, run “Full analysis” instead.

Full analysis

After the scan is over, select the files you want to restore and click ”Recovery”. Give the path to the directory where to save them, and make sure this is the different disk from the one you are recovering from (it can be a memory stick or network drive as well), and click ”Recovery” again.

Saving the recovered information

When the saving process is over, you’ll find all the files in the directory you have selected before.

When One of The Disks is Down

If one or several disks are damaged and Hetman RAID Recovery is unable to identify accurately your RAID 5 properties, there is the integrated RAID Constructor to help you.

RAID Constructor

Select Manual Mode – click “Next,” and specify the properties used when creating this RAID 5. Give the array type, its size, order of blocks, and select the drives that were included into the array, and make sure you specify the order in which they were arranged.

Give RAID properties

Fill the missing positions with empty drives by clicking on the plus button.

Add the missing drives

After you’ve filled in all the properties you know, click “Next.” Now the rebuilt array will be displayed in the Drive Manager.

The rebuilt RAID system is displayed in the Drive Manager

Right-click on the icon to start the scan. After that, follow the steps described above: select the files and folders to be recovered, and click “Recovery”.

Recovering data in case of one faulty disk

Even if several disks within this RAID5 are damaged, the program is still capable of recovering its data. There is one thing to be considered, though: losing more than one disk is critical for this RAID type, and that is why some data can be damaged.

Having two disks damaged is an emergency

In fact, the maximal number of disks that can be missing is determined by the types of resiliency supported by Storage Spaces RAID, and they are as follows:

  • Simple resiliency (stripe) require all disks to be available,
  • Two-way mirror and parity types can compensate the absence of one disk,
  • Three-way mirror types can keep on working even if they lose two disks at the same time.

Conclusion

If more disks are missing than the storage configuration can handle, the files can be damaged or inaccessible due to lack of redundancy data. In this case, recovering all and every lost file is very difficult. Your best precaution against massive data loss is to back up important data regularly, so keep that in mind.

Vladimir Artiukh

Author: Vladimir Artiukh, Technical Writer

Vladimir Artiukh is a technical writer for Hetman Software, as well as the voice and face of their English-speaking YouTube channel, Hetman Software: Data Recovery for Windows. He handles tutorials, how-tos, and detailed reviews on how the company’s tools work with all kinds of data storage devices. Read more

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