Network Storage Recovery: Questions and Answers

What do NAS name colors mean?

If the name of your NAS is not displayed in the red color, the Agent service is installed and running on this NAS.

The red color of the storage means that the NAS can be found in your network and no agent service is running on this NAS. Connecting to a NAS with no network Agent will take more time because of the requirement of Agent software installation and may be unsuccessful because of possible software compatibility issues. Connecting to NAS with no network Agent installed will take more time because of requirement of Agent software installation and may be unsuccessful because of possible software compatibility issues.

How can I choose the right volume?

Most NASes contain a single data file system volume. If the software displays more than one volume, the possible reasons can be:

  • The NAS has multiple isolated data file system volumes;
  • The NAS is configured as a "mirror" or "span" and the components of this configurations also report a "duplicated" file system.

For multiple volumes, choose each volume one by one to open the file system in the Explorer mode. Revise the content of the volume (special attention should be paid to folders named "shares", "shared", etc.) to make sure the selected file system contains the shared folder of your interest.

In case of multiple instances of the same file system, the rule is to choose the largest reported file system from the list.

What if the volume is missing from the list?

This can happen if the volume is "lost". In this case, switch to the "Storage devices" tab, then (a) for a single-disk NAS – select the disk and (b) for a multi-disk NAS – select the largest RAID. After that you may be asked to select a partition. In this case select the largest partition from the list. Start the scan and wait for the data recovery result.

How can I build a custom RAID (volume selection)?

In case of RAID configuration loss or modification, the software allows building a RAID manually. For this:

  • switch to the "Storage devices" tab;
  • click the "Add custom RAID" button at bottom;
  • if the RAID is not detected automatically, click "Define RAID manually (advanced)";
  • the software will open the RAID builder dialog to define any custom RAID configuration.

Important: If the RAID was re-configured from lower redundancy to higher redundancy (e.g. RAID0 to RAID5, RAID5 to RAID6, etc.) or it was re-configured with a different drives order with the same non-zero redundancy (e.g. RAID5 to RAID5 with a different drives order), it's advised to shut down the NAS immediately if the rebuild is not yet completed. Finishing rebuilding configurations like this may lead to permanent data loss so data recovery using a PC is strongly recommended.

How can I choose the right partition?

In most cases the right partition is the largest partition on the disk or RAID. Some NASes, however, support creating multiple "logical volume" partitions to isolate the data for different purposes. In this case you should guess the partition by its size (the size of the partition should be equal or almost equal to the size of the shared file system). It is also possible to try the partitions one by one.

Small partitions (below 32GB) usually represent system files, firmware, installed software, etc., so they should be ignored.

Why does the RAID fail to be detected?

Most likely because the RAID metadata is damaged. You may try to "Define RAID manually".

How can I define a RAID manually?

If the RAID is not detected, use the "Define RAID manually (advanced)" button to open the RAID builder and define the RAID. This operation works in the read-only mode without modifying NAS disks, so you may make as many attempts as needed. In most cases a RAID is constructed by adding the largest (the "data") partitions of each disk to the RAID in the right order and specifying valid parameters (such as RAID level, stripe size, etc.).

What file names encoding should be defined for scan?

This depends on the language preferences configured on your NAS. In most cases it is UTF-8 Unicode, however, other encodings (such as OEM or Asian EUC/ISO 2022) are also possible.

How do the quick and the long scans differ?

The quick scan only searches for files and folders in special dedicated areas on disks (used for file system metadata), while the long scan analyzes the entire storage. Running the scan on the isolated area makes the scan much faster, however, does not allow to find any file "by known content" because the storage area occupied by the files content is not analyzed.

If the file system was severely damaged or formatted (erased), the "long" scan is recommended. Moreover, it's recommended to switch to data recovery using a PC to speed-up this process.

In case of file deletion or minor file system damages, the "quick" scan is recommended. Moreover, for the Ext3 and Ext4 file systems this is the only option if you want to get files with their original names. However, on the XFS file system the "quick" scan may produce an incomplete result.

If some data is still missing after completion of the "quick" scan, it's advised to copy the found data and continue with the "long" scan (and with the "raw recovery" option enabled).

Is it safe to run data recovery scan?

If hard disks have no hardware defects (such as surface scratches), running data recovery is completely safe: the software will not write anything to the disks. Bad blocks on disks can be identified by looking at disk "S.M.A.R.T health diagnostics" in the NAS web interface. If there are bad blocks, it's advised to employ in-lab data recovery of your local data recovery company.

Note that during data recovery the NAS may heat much because of higher load, so good (better) cooling is advised.

Why do file names consist of wrong symbols?

This may happen due to the wrong file system file names encoding being selected during scan. Even after the scan is completed, you may try changing the file names encoding by clicking the "Change file names encoding" button at the bottom and selecting the proper encoding from list.

The process of changing encoding is fast and simple, so you may try different encodings.

How can files be found in Explorer?

You may simply use left panel navigation to open folders and check if the file you are looking for is in place.

The top panel of the Explorer dialog allows switching between "current" and "deleted" files (by default the software displays both).

At the bottom, there is a "search" field. Select a parent folder in the left panel, type the file name or its part in the search field and press "Enter" to find the file. The file search will be performed in the selected folder and all its subfolders.

What is the $LostFiles folder?

After the scan is completed, some files may fail to be placed to the right location in the file system, usually because of lack of metadata or because the file system structure was changed since the file had been deleted. In this case such files and folders are placed to a special folder called "$LostFiles". These files still can be of good quality, so they should be analyzed as well.

Why do some file names consist of numbers?

NAS devices use Linux file systems that store file names and other file attributes separately. If the link between the file name and the file itself is broken or the file name is wiped, the software is unable to assign any valid name to the file. That's why such files are displayed by their identification numbers instead of file names.

Why is my target storage missing from the list?

There are some possible reasons:

  • the target storage is not connected properly, check it in Windows Explorer;
  • the storage doesn't have enough free space, even to store one single file you are recovering from your NAS;
  • the storage was recognized by your OS but not yet displayed in the software. In this case click the "Refresh storages" button at the bottom.

How can I use a network storage as a target one?

Simply map the shared folder as a "disk" to your system and it will be displayed in the list of target storages. You may press the "Refresh storages" button at the bottom to update the list with recent changes.

What are the trial limitations?

The trial software allows copying files with the size below 768KB. Copying bigger files requires software license activation.

WWhat do target storage colors mean?

There are the following colors:

  • the default navy color means the storage can be used without any limitations;
  • the violet color indicates that the storage cannot hold all selected the data but can be used to partially store files;
  • the gray color means the storage cannot hold all the selected files, moreover, some selected files are bigger than the entire free space on this storage.

Why do recovery errors occur?

The reasons for file copying errors can differ significantly: from the network link breach to simple trial limitations. It's advised to scroll down and read the error message completely for error reason diagnostics.

What should I do if some files are missing?

Return to Explorer and check once again if everything is selected. If the data is not there, try returning back and starting the full scan with "raw recovery" enabled. If the data is not found even after this, it's advised to consider using data recovery services from a local data recovery company or switch to data recovery using a PC.

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