I bought a dual bay enclosure from NewEgg I'm guessing 2 years ago to set up a RAID1. It's now a discontinued model but it is from Sans Digital. I put two Western Digital 1tb drives in it. It's been working great for 2 years but before it suddenly disconnected. I got an error reading that the device had been unplugged and not properly ejected.. but it was still connected via USB. I tried it on my macbook pro and another macbook pro. I also tried other usb cables. I restarted/replugged/etc everything.. The enclosure turns on but nothing shows up on desktop or in Finder The blue lights which indicate the drives are on and in working condition come on and the fan runs..

When I run Disk Utility it appears - "1 tb External AL25744_12345678 Media" then a sub-line "BERNHARD" (which was the name I gave to my external raid hd)

Should two drives show up since I have 2 1tb drives in there? Or is this normal?

I do not know much about this stuff.

I am terrified to loose this - I am a photographer with years and years of work on these drives ... and I have no other backups. (I know - I am a fool)

My main question is - what do I do!? Do I buy a new enclosure and just pop them in? Also- Is it safe to unplug the drives?! Will I loose everything.. I took both of them out before when the power was off and things were unplugged - have I already ruined everything? I don't know how it works.

What would you do?!!? What can I do?! PLEASE HELP.

UPDATE -- JAN 4 2012 --

OK. So. I had a friend with an external docking station plug both drives into the same docking station. The bottom drive did not show up on his windows computer but the top drive did, but was still not accessible and could not be mounted. The enclosure's lights indicate that both drives are being read and are function. MacOSX disk utility "read" and "verify disk" say both drives are fine. My friend recommended I contact Western Digital about the drives I own because clearly this isn't the enclosures fault... the drives are just not reading/ non-accessible ..

What does one do from here? I'll be contacting WD tomorrow. But what would be the next step in retrieving my data?

  • Exact model for the array? How does one find this out? I am using a discontinued model of Sans Digital -dual bay enclosure - from memory I believe the model was called "TowerSTOR" or something.. which Sans Digital has revamped apparently.. ---- Also -- As far as what filesystems we are dealing with- I am ignorant to this.. is this a similar thing to journaling? I have it set for mac... or possibly both mac and pc "fat?" possibly.. Pardon my ignorance. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING! – rOB Dec 29 '11 at 5:46

When you have two drives in RAID1 it will show up as a single drive because the computer is writing data to them synchronously, so you have redundant storage.

Now, if it told you it wasn't properly unmounted before disconnecting, but you can see your data, it's likely that you didn't lose much, if anything. The last thing you wrote to the disk, if you wrote anything in the recent past to them, could potentially be corrupted, but that's all I'd expect.

If you cannot see any data on the disks, I would first try doing a physical scan on the drive (Windows uses scandisk, I don't know what Mac has) and have it apply any repairs it can. This won't destroy any data that is intact, and should let you see it. If data is damaged, then you're probably out of luck without any other backups.

If the scandisk option doesn't help, it may be prudent to use data recovery software to try and retrieve the files off the drive. There's a lot of different software out there if you Google for it. Then after you're certain you've recovered your files, I'd do a full reformat of the drive.

  • I am not able to see any data on the disks... and by that I mean that it does not appear on my desktop nor in Apple's Finder (file browser)- Apple uses "Disk Utility" in which I ran (a very fast 1 min scan) overview that told me "appears to be OK" with no errors.. --As far as data recovery software -- do you or anyone else have recommendations for MAC OS X 10.6.8 ? I'll do my own research of course.. – rOB Dec 29 '11 at 5:44
  • I've only had to use that kind of software once and it was a very specific use case, so the kind I got ended up being expensive. Recommendations on software purchases/downloads aren't really the goal of this site though so good luck on your research. – Ben Richards Dec 29 '11 at 6:01

Ben Richard's answer is sufficient for what it covers, but I suspect there might be something else he didn't cover.

To quote the OP "It's been working great for 2 years but before it suddenly disconnected."

I suspect, that may have been the RAID hardware in the HDD cradle failing. Overheating, power surges, there are many reasons why this might happen. The solution, in this case, is to abandon the RAID, remove the hard drives, and try connecting them each up via a non-raid cradle or something like this, one at a time, and trying to access them directly.

The reason this can work is because it was RAID1. Meaning no striping. Meaning all the data should be on both drives in a format not dissimilar from a non-RAIDed HDD. Often the computer will find the filesystem on the drive as is. As per updates by the OP, they tried this on a windows machine and couldn't make it work. The hard drive may not be using a format that windows understands (Mac defaults to HFS+ last I checked).

Failing that, with the drives hooked up to the computer via known-good hardware, one can attempt data recovery using specialized software. I personally suggest LSoft's Active@ Partition Recovery, which can search for and recover entire filesystems and save them as a disk image to be written to new media later. There are many other tools... some free, some pay... but, in this case, whatever tool is used must offer recovery of whole filesystems/partitions not just recovery of individual files.

And, given that this is a business and the data represents a potentially serious loss of investment, it may be worth while to consider professional data recovery services. And I do not mean your local Ma'n'Pah or chain computer repair shop. I mean specialists who do nothing but data recovery. Bring your checkbook.

protected by JakeGould Dec 10 '15 at 19:47

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