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.
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Lost RAID5 on Thecus

Trying to rebuild lost Raid5 on Thecus

I have lost a raid 5 in a 4200PRO and now I am desparatly trying to revive the Raidset.

What happened: The Raid5 over 4x 2TB WDGreen Disks degraded and I accidently marked the wrong disk as spare (this was definately my mistake, failure before always happend on drive #3, this time it was #4…), next boot the raid was gone.

[tried to fix the problem using Linux commands but to no avail].

Has anybody any experience how to get further than this?

Yes, but the success depends on what exactly was done during troubleshooting. Unless the rebuild was forced on a wrong disk order, Home NAS Recovery is a definite answer to the question.

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

People seem overly concerned about how to do the recovery should their NAS go down. These two cases (first, second) concern Thecus NASes.

If I create RAID 1 and the N3200Pro hw fails beyond repair (for whatever reason), can I take out one of the HDDs out and read the files on it in a Linux or Windows PC? I am only interested in reading the data once at that stage, rebuilding the RAID is a non-issue …

and

Assuming that I have a Thecus N2310. Assuming that I have a disk that *was* part of a RAID1 but the other disk is missing. What steps do I need to do with the disk and the N2310 to rebuild the RAID array and get the data off please?

I was describing this at some length in another post, but just for a short repeat, if you are worried about recovering data should the NAS dies, why not have a backup for it? The data may get damaged for reasons other than a total and utter NAS hardware failure. Lightning strike, software issue, or a number of other reasons will damage both sides of the RAID1 at the same time. RAID does not replace a backup.

Fixing an array with mdadm goes wrong

Now this is complex.

I have an mdadm-created RAID5 array consisting of 4 discs. One of the discs was dropping out, so I decided to replace it. Somehow, this went terribly wrong and I foolishly succeeded in marking two of the (wrong) drives as faulty, and then re-adding them as spare.

Now the array is (logically) no longer able to start:

mdadm: Not enough devices to start the array.

Degraded and can’t create RAID,auto stop RAID [md1]

As I don’t want to ruin the maybe small chance I have left to rescue my data…

This sure is complicated. Obviously, if you fail two array members, RAID5 goes down. Worse yet, once this happens, it stays down. You can’t tell it to accept the spares back in a normal way. Theoretically, some more fiddling with mdadm can force the array back into shape, but I doubt it is safe given a DIY environment. If your unit is still under warranty (this particular case was with Thecus), then by all means open a ticket and ask them to fix the issue – they are pretty good with mdadm. If the case is beyond Linux repair, fall back on our Home NAS Recovery – we are pretty good too.