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One of my colleague's computer broke and they sent me 5 disks.

One has the OS and is making the click of death and the others might have been in a RAID configuration.

I don't know the RAID configuration for the other 4 disks. Is there a way to get the raid configuration? Perhaps some clever information from dd?

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First thing to do is ask the colleague about his computer. Was it connected via hardware RAID (if so, did they sent the RAID card along with the disks)? If it was software RAID then you want to know which OS and which drivers were used. Without knowing that you are going to get a very wide range of answers (like the two below, one for Linux, one for windows). -- Also has a good point, if the data is important it should have been backed up. That might not help this time but it is an important point to make which might help in the future. – Hennes Jun 29 '13 at 14:46
Ah. yes. Hardware RAID. I totally forgot about that because I never use them. Reasons: (a) the kernel is faster and has more capabilities, (b) moving disks to a new RAID controller (even if it's the same brand) and expecting the RAID to continue working is an exercise in futility. – Matthias Urlichs Jun 29 '13 at 16:41

When dealing with this problem I restore from the regular backups.

If there isn't regular backups, the data's probably not important. (Important data gets backed up, regularly.)

If the data needs to be recovered, and it's important and there's no backups, generally I fall back to two tools.

The first is DiskInternals RAID Recovery which can be used to determine the order of the disks in the RAID array.

Detecting the right type of an array is vital for correct recovery. Raid Recovery supports both manual and fully automatic detection of essential parameters such as type of array, type of RAID controller, stripe size, and disk order.


The second is R-Studio Network Edition. This allows you to create a "virtual RAID" out of the disks and access the data.


R-Studio doesn't find RAID parameters automatically, however.

Conveniently, the trial of RAID Recovery allows you to identify the RAID parameters.

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Assuming Linux:

mdadm -E /dev/sda1

or wherever your RAID partitions are stored.

Alternately, call mdadm --assemble --scan to let the OS piece the info together on its own, and then call mdadm -D /dev/mdWHATEVER to get detailed info about the RAID volume.

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+1 considering OP says Perhaps some level information from DD, if we interpret DD to mean dd your answer is likely very helpful relative to mine (mine is for Windows). – Jun 29 '13 at 12:11

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