Windows-based NASes do exist

This question is somewhat unusual. It is essentially about buying a Windows-based NAS, from some reputable vendor, as opposed to creating one.

I have issues with NAS failures. If an NAS fails due to a NON DISK issue then I cannot simply remove the disk and pop it in a windows computer and run it. The standard NAS I have run of some Linux OS so you can’t just pop them in the windows computer and expect to read them.( yes I know I can get a Linux box and recover the info. Not interested it that)

Is there an NAS out there that will allow me to remove the HDD from the NAS and install it in a standard windows computer?

Obvious way to have a NAS compatible with Windows, is to have a Windows-based NAS.

Well, you can find a NAS based on Windows Embedded, given that you look hard enough and then some. Thecus W4000 or WD Sentinel series are/were good example, depending on when you are read this post. Modern systems with Storage Spaces inside will give you almost unlimited flexibility at a cost of unlimited complexity.

So, there is really one positive side of having a Windows-based NAS, and that is: if the NAS box fails in some way not affecting what is on disks, one can plug the disks into any Windows PC and read the data.

Downsides and gotchas are also there

  1. If the failure affects data on disks, you are worse off than with a Linux-based NAS. Linux-based NASes are better known, and generally there is more experience floating around with those.
  2. If the Windows-based NAS is using Storage Spaces (which will probably be the modern trend; there is no advantage for the NAS vendor in having Windows inside except for Storage Spaces), the recovery from the failure affecting data on disks is not likely.
  3. Also, the standard Windows computer may turn out not-exactly-standard, depending on a system requirements for the disk pack.

NAS reset on a D-Link DNS-323

This case has a number of important things to learn.

The PC that usually access DNS-323 crashed and I have to replace it. However, with the new PC, I’m not able to detect DNS-323 using using the Easy Search utility. Thinking that the config of DNS-323 is corrupted, I reset the unit with the reset button.

Still unable to find DNS-323 on Easy Search, so access it using IP address and got a shock. My personal files are gone. Only those that I share publicly are visible. Conncet the HDD to PC using SATA-USB and tried reading the disk using R-Studio but it looks the same as reading it thru the DNS-323.

Can anyone advise how can I recover my files

First of all, if the system was not affected by the failure, it does not need repairs. It was the PC that failed, not the NAS. The NAS was in all likelihood fine before reset. The trick to figure out what is the IP address of the NAS and then access it by IP should have worked without reset.

Finding the right IP is sometimes tricky. Obvious steps are to look at the router DHCP assignments table, which lists IP addresses given out by the router, if the network is using dynamic IPs, or you can go as far as a ping/port scan if addresses are static and you do not keep track of addresses. In case of static IPs, the best place to write down the IP for the NAS is on the NAS itself.

You can try Home NAS Recovery to see if it finds missing files (if the undelete is better than that in R-Studio, this might work), but if not, the data is lost. EXT filesystem does not go easy on deleted files.

Creating RAID5 over existing data is bad

Irreversibly bad, in fact, if you do like here

I bought a Zyxel Nas540 … plugged my HDD’s with my data in them and created a RAID5 volume. I didn’t know it will change the file format completely. I tried to connect my hdd’s back to my computer to backup the data but all of the hdd’s are damaged. … Is there a way to restore last file system ?


The RAID5 has parity interleaved with data on all disks. Once RAID5 is first synchronized, every Nth block of data on each of N disks is overwritten. Given typical block sizes used in RAIDs, this prevents any practical recovery.


Single-disk Synology with bad sectors

A question of how – Mount, Find & Recover DATA in HDD outside of Synology Box

[With] a Synology … run into issues or Hard Drive corruption/ error in sectors etc. where I have had to pretty much remove the Drive which Synology refuses to read or work with. The question is, assuming I am able to detect the Hard Drive and assuming that hardware is still kind of functional, what way can I LOAD/ MOUNT the Drive (under Windows or Linux OS etc) on a PC/Laptop? (What tools/ software should I used to do that?)

Home NAS Recovery will work for you. Syngle-disk Synology is pretty standard setup. I have to recommend a PC, not a laptop. When the drive is suspected to have bad blocks, the common wisdom is that USB is to be avoided, and laptops are mostly limited to USB.

I’ve used several Partition Management tools and I can see 4 partitions inside the Disk as created by Synology.

That’s normal, and does not provide any significant additional information.

[various ext4 reading programs] none of which have been able to recover data (geeksnerds, stellar phoenix, linux reader, explore2fs, ext2explore, none of which allowed me to copy, recover or even see data files).

That depends on how bad the disk is damaged. Also some of these programs may be not quite compatible, especially if we are talking about modern Synology with EXT4. While EXT3 is identical to EXT2 in all respects concerning read-only driver, EXT4 is different.

[also] a Linux / RAID based solution that worked for someone, but not for me.

If Synology with its own, specifically adapted Linux, refused the disk, then most likely any stock Linux distro will also refuse the disk.

Undelete from a NAS requires locally attached disk

This is a recurring question indeed – Can I recover deleted files from a MyBookLive drive?

I have a 1TB My Book Live network storage drive and I accidentally deleted one of the folders that contained some video files I saved. …  lots of programs out there that claim to be able to recover the data … have been unable to access the drive.   I did map the MyBookLive drive as a logical drive to my computer and can see it there.

Seeing a NAS as a drive letter, E: or something, in My Computer is not good enough. The network-based connection protocols are only good for file-based access, that is, give me this or that file, or store such-and-such file. To undelete, one needs sector-by-sector access, that is, read me the filesystem block 0, 1, 123, whatever. So, some fumbling with a screwdriver is in order – remove the disk from the NAS, or the entire set of the disks if multi-disk, and connect them to the PC whichever way you prefer. After which, undelete software will work.

Firmware upgrades

This post concerns a firmware upgrade on a WD My Book Live (single 2TB disk)

… help me recover the data I had on a “TWO MONTH OLD MY BOOK LIVE”. I [upgraded] the Firmware to the last version … [and now] my NAS could not be seen/found on the network anymore. … open the casing and recover the data. Attempting to do that under Windows 7 64Bit [you guess, the filesystems are not compatible]

Downloaded and installed UBUNTU 64Bit and … cannot be mounted, … something about a “bad block” … Gparted … shows clearly that there is data on the partition and that is EXT4 as format, but does not allow any data recovery when you try to do an “Attempt Data Restore” … the hard drive has also a specific partitioning, this new GPT used to replace the old MBR and its limitations over 2TB.

The post is dated sometime 2012, and GPT was hardly new even back then. And while Linux folk can sometimes lag behind the times, they usually keep up with trends in storage. So the problem does not look like Ubuntu’s fault. Gparted is the partition editor, not the data recovery software really.

Firmware updates on a NAS can sometime screw up the partitions and/or RAIDs big time. I’m not quite sure how this happens, because firmware upgrades do not routinely do massive changes. Filesystem upgrades with new firmware happen, but that’s more of an exception. Anyhow, this way or other, it is now broken behind the standard driver capabilities.

Single disk, most any data recovery software, starting obviously with Home NAS Recovery, should give you data back in no time. The failures associated with firmware reflashes do not usually much damage.


Various aspects of undelete, this time in MyCloud

So i’ve got about 1.7TB of files i want to recover on my cloud, which is proving to be problematic. I can’t use regular file recovery programs because they only work on local drives. I can’t find any working free alternatives for NAS drives, so i’m asking here. Is there freeware out there, that can scan and recover lost files on a NAS disk?

Regular recovery programs…. for a single disk and no RAID, they will actually work if you connect the disk locally; if you have multiple disks (with RAID), the list will shorted but still there is a choice.

Freeware… well, for EXT filesystem you may find some if you search real good. For any other Linux filesystem, not likely. For a single disk, or two disks for that matter, I have a free option of my own, you know, at least for a limited time.

If not, does the WD My Cloud work with a file structure my windows rig will understand, so i can pull the HD out of the cloud device and plug it into my pc and do a recovery that way?

Well, yes and no. Windows NAS recovery software, including, obviously, Home NAS Recovery, will understand this file structure. Windows alone does not. NAS inside uses Linux, and Linux file structures are not compatible with Windows.

Or would i be required to format it before i could get it to work, meaning the cloud device wouldn’t recognize it after i plug it back in?

That is a bad idea indeed, formatting anything which still has data on it that you want back.

Good encryption is not recoverable

If you set up something highly secure, you better have backup of it. Should it fail, more secure it is, more difficult it is to recover.

I have a QNAP NAS that had two large *.gho files (150GB – 200GB each) on a 1.5TB RAID Mirror 1 HDD.

These files are NOT Norton Ghost files but are True Crypt container files. I … managed to delete these two important files. I removed both HDD’s … in 20 secs of the deletion.

…. What do I do?

Nothing actually. If he’s really lucky, the EXT journal may still contain some leftover data; QNAP would use EXT3 or EXT4, both of them journal-enabled. If the journal does not have the original i-nodes, then TrueCrypt containers are no longer recoverable. The containers are specifically designed not to have any identifiable structure in them, or otherwise they would be breakable. Since there is no structure to work with, the fragments can’t be stitched together, and 150 GB is certainly larger than maximum practical limit for a contiguous file on EXT.

Rebuild fails to complete

This case is mostly about maintenance, when 220 Black Armor fails to complete resync

I have a Seagate black armor 220 which keeps trying to repair a volume after a had drive failed as part of RAID1. I replaced the disk, added the member drive ran the S.M.A.R.T checks on the drives and started to recover … it gets to around 80% and the restarts. There are no error messages and this has been looping for about a week now…

Any ideas as to why it wont complete the recovery process and rebuild the raid volume? or how I can trouble shoot it?

This one is easy. The NAS is still readable, so the troubleshooting consists of five steps,

  1. Back up data from NAS to some other location.
  2. Destroy RAID1 in NAS.
  3. Replace disk which is still not replaced.
  4. Reconfigure RAID1 and wait for resync.
  5. Restore from backup.

The problem most likely is that the second (non-replaced) disk has developed a problem; SMART test can sometimes miss a bad sector, or the interpretation of SMART data either by the customer or by the NAS firmware is excessively tolerant. The inability to complete the rebuild is more significant observation than a SMART test result.

Data recovery for Terastation

This case has a common mistake of calling Terastation with two Rs. The correct variant is with a single R, derived obviously from Tera- as in Terabyte.

I just [mistakenly deleted] 700GB on a Networked RAID drive (A buffallo Terrasation)

Does ANYONE have a suggestion as to what Data Recovery software/undelete software I can use to undelete software over the network off a 700gig RAID array?

The only thing I have seen so far is Active UNDELETE Enterprise 5 (enterprise version supposedly can do network and raid …)

Actually, I have. Home NAS Recovery ( is quite good in undelete on Buffalo NAS.

Nothing works over the network, though. Active Undelete works with RAID, sort of, if you know the parameters for the RAID. Home NAS Recovery, on the other hand, is fully automated.