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Question

Data Recovery Options?

by MPoort / March 7, 2013 12:55 AM PST

I need to recover data from a Dell NT Server 4.0 (SP6) system that has a blown container. The system has a RAID 5 (5+1 hot swap) with SCSI drives and NTFS, and a functioning CD-ROM and floppy drive. The system can see the RAID controller and boots to the point where it tries to read the boot sector, then stops at the usual F1 (try again) / F2 (go to BIOS) options. The SCSI Select utility (to examine the container, create a new one, etc) does not show any container.

I have tried Spinrite 6.0, which essentially ignores the container and re-writes data from bad sectors to good ones until the system is functional again; Spinrite couldn't even see the drives, so I assume at least two have failed. Does anyone have any ideas on software (or other recover options) that might enable me to recover a couple of 25MB files on the server?

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All Answers

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Answer
For this one.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 7, 2013 1:11 AM PST
In reply to: Data Recovery Options?

I fear we are calling http://www.drivesavers.com

Data is recovered from our backups. Once in awhile you encounter an IT staffer or business that got suckered into "Oh, this is RAID 5 so you don't need to backup often" or some, not at all.

Spinrite seems to be a bad idea if it moves sector contents as, well, you know how RAID works. Spinrite would not be a good idea at all on a RAID drive out of its set.

-> There's also the problem of SCSI termination. Besides that, I find folk today totally unaware of SCSI setups, where the termination goes and such. Finding support or even another person that used such is now rare. Those at Driversavers do know this.
Bob

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Answer
What do the lights show?
by hudgins77 / March 24, 2013 11:40 PM PDT
In reply to: Data Recovery Options?

I've only used HP so I'm not sure about the Dell, but HP has a light for each drive in the "container" and they change color to denote their health. If I remember right, you can fix the array if only 1 drive has gone bad, but not if 2 have gone bad at the same time. If you can find out which drive is bad, you would still need another drive that matched the bad one, replace the drive then rebuild the array. Old SCSI drives are still available - just Google them by their make and model number. I would first also try uninstalling all of the drives and cables, noting where and how they connect, then reinstalling and making sure they all are seated okay. Even re-seat the SCSI card by taking it completely out and reinstalling it. I had an old HP Windows NT server that this happened to and this did the trick for it. Old PCs and servers tend to have card and cable creep where the connection gets partially dislodged, especially if the computer is moved. Also, I know Dell PCs have diagnostic lights on the back of the unit, but I'm not sure about their servers. I do know that you can decipher the color codes by looking at the info files on Dell's website.

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You remind me of an electronic designer's joke.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 25, 2013 6:33 AM PDT

Not you but the issue. Here's the one liner:

-> Why do they call them "connectors"?

I've lost count over the years where I turn off the power and simply clean up the machine then unplug and plug cards and such back in to bring it back.
Bob

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Answer
Recovered For Now
by MPoort / March 25, 2013 4:38 AM PDT
In reply to: Data Recovery Options?

Dell has drive lights, all of which were green (I think they turn yellow when the drive is bad). I was able to get it working again within a couple days by subbing in an identical old hard drive (so apparently the hot swap and one other drive were bad?).

I too have had to resurrect these old servers by unplugging / replugging cards and such.

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