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How to Recover Data from Failed RAID 5 Drives

Updated on November 20, 2012

RAID drives, also known as a redundant array of inexpensive disks, are a type of technology that is used for data storage and protection. These disks distribute data across all of the hard drives in the unit. RAID drives have been developed and have evolved over time making them more user friendly and recover from a disk or system failure more readily than in the past. The RAID 5 is a specific type of RAID system that evenly spreads data across all of the disks in the array. Failure of one of the disks in the RAID 5 array will not result in data failure of all of the disks in that unit. In fact, RAID 5 drives have a recovery option that, if initiated, will rebuild and restore the data on the corrupted disk. While this process will slow down the functioning of the non-corrupted disks while the data is being restored, the entire array should return to normal functioning following the system rebuild.

The total system-rebuild and data-restore process is fairly simple and can be broken down into three easy steps. However, it is important to keep in mind that this rebuild will be successful only if one disk in the array has failed. If more than one disk becomes corrupted, the entire array will fail to function and all of the data stored on those disks will be lost.

Instructions for Rebuild of the RAID 5 System

1. In order to begin the rebuild process, you must first shut down your computer and allow it to cool down for several minutes. While the computer is cooling off, disconnect its power source. It is also important to unplug all other cables that may be connected to your computer. This includes monitor cables, network cables and any other connections that may be attached to your computer’s monitor or tower. After all of the cables have been disconnected, remove the front cover of your computer tower so that you can access the inner components of the tower itself. It may be necessary to unscrew the back cover of the tower in order to get inside however; most tower cases are fairly simple to remove without the use of tools.

2. After you have removed the tower cover, you will be access your computer’s hard drive. At this point, you will need a screwdriver. Locate the hard drive and unscrew it from the drive bay. Remove the corrupted hard drive and replace it with the new one. Screw the new hard drive back into its proper position. It is also important to reattach all of the cables that were connected to the original hard drive. Make sure that each cable is attached to its proper port or the new hard drive will not function. Reattach the tower cover as well as all of the power and network cables that were previously removed.

3. At this point you may turn on your computer. While the computer is starting, you may have the option to access the third-party RAID software, if you do have this option, select it. This software should have an selection to repair or recover your hard drive. If no such option presented to you, simply click “Start” and then right click on the “Computer” option. From here, choose “Manage” and go to “Disk Management”. You will see your newly installed hard drive on your screen at this point. Right click on it and select “Repair Volume”. At this point, all of your lost data from the RAID 5 drive should rebuild and your computer should return to its normal functioning.

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