Archive for the ‘RAID Reconstructor’ Category

What Product Do I Need?

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

You have so many products, what product do I need to recover my data?

Let us start with the basic questions, is the drive a single drive or do you have an array of drives?

Let us start with single drives. If the drive is a single drive, was the drive originally an internal or external drive?

If the drive is internal, then you should use GetDataBack for NTFS. Download the demo version and let it scan the drive and see if your data is recoverable.

If the drive is external, then it is formatted out of the box as FAT32 most of the time. However if you have ever formatted the drive yourself, then the drive would be NTFS as Windows XP and above only allows you to format drives over 32GB as NTFS. So if the drive has not been formatted, then use GetDataBack for FAT, otherwise use GetDataBack for NTFS. Either way, if it does not find your files, the software will recommend that you use the other version. So download the demo version and let it scan the drive and see if your data is recoverable.

Lets talk about arrays now. There are quite a few different options
for arrays. Is the array from a PC or a NAS?

If the array is from a NAS, you will need to follow the instructions located here in order to run any of our RAID software. Once the drives are all attached to the non-raid controller, you can see if the demo version of NAS Data Recovery will find the parameters. Start the software and select the drives that are part of the array and click next. If it finds the parameters, click next in the software to see if it can mount the volume. Did the volume mount successfully?

If the volume does mount, you have the ability to test certain file types by right clicking on them and selecting view. This works with jpg files, so test a few files and see if the data can be recovered successfully, then you will need to purchase the license key in order to save the data.

NAS Data Recovery software reads the file system and gives you access to it, so if your data does not appear when you click next, it is just because there is some type of file system damage. We do not have a file recovery tool for any of the NAS file systems, so if your data does not appear, you should find another solution for recovering your data.

If the array is from a PC, you will need to follow the instructions located here in order to run any of our RAID software. You will have multiple options now on how you can recover your data and view it. So you will need to choose the correct software. We will go over all the options with the easiest to the hardest.

The easiest option is to use the demo version of RAID Recovery for Windows software. Start the software and select the drives that are part of the array and click next. If it finds the parameters, click next in the software to see if it can mount the volume. Did the volume mount successfully?

If the volume does mount, you have the ability to test certain file types by right clicking on them and selecting view. This works with jpg files, so test a few files and see if the data can be recovered successfully, then you will need to purchase the license key in order to save the data.

RAID Recovery for Windows software reads the file system to give you access to the data, so if your data does not appear when you click next, it is just because there is some type of file system damage. At this point you will need to use RAID Reconstructor followed by GetDataBack for NTFS for the recovery. That is covered next.

If RAID Recovery for Windows does not mount the volume successfully, then you should move to RAID Reconstructor. Add all the drives that belong to the array and click Open drives, then click Analyze. Allow the analysis to complete and the software will say give you one of two responses. It will say either “Recommendation” or it will say “This Result is not Significant”. Which response did you receive?

If you received “Recommendation”, then the parameters of the array were found successfully. You will need to purchase the software in order to save any of the outputs listed in step 3. Once you have purchased the license, you can save to three different options, a virtual image, a full image, or write the data to a new physical disk. If you want the quickest option of these three, you will choose the option for the virtual image. It is a small 1kb XML document that tells the rest of our software how to pull the data from the drives on the fly. The second option is to create a full image. It will make an image file that is the size of the array. So if you have a 3TB array, you will need 3TB of data to save the image to. The third option is to write the data to a physical disk. This will require you to have a drive or array that is the same size as the original or larger. It will erase all data on this drive. Now if you ran Raid Recovery for Windows and it did not produce any files, this will only result in a new volume with the same issues your current array has, so it is not recommended in this case.

If you receive “This Result is not Significant”, there are a number of reasons this could happen. The first reason is the drive uses a proprietary rotation. The second reason if there is major file system damage that prevents the software from determining the parameters correctly. The third reason is there are drives that are missing or do not belong to the array. This could happen if you think you have a 4 drive array, but in actuality, you have a 3 drive array with a hot spare. If you include all 4 drives, then the analysis will fail. Luckily we have a RaidProbe service that can resolve most of these issues and we can give you the parameters of the array so you can continue your recovery. You can find more information about it at

Once you have created your output in RAID Reconstructor, you can install the demo version of GetDataBack for NTFS. Then choose your scenario in the first screen, but do not use the default option. Choose the option for Systematic or Sustained file system damage.

If you created the virtual image, in step 1, choose the selection Virtual Images (Load more…). Then click next to scan the virtual image. Once the scan finishes, choose the best file system in step 2 and click next to see your data. You will have the ability to double click on certain files to ensure the data is recoverable. If you wish to recover your data, you will need to purchase a license.

If you created a full image, in step 1, choose the select Image files (Load more…). Then click next to scan the full image file. Once the scan finishes, choose the best file system in step 2 and
click next to see your data. You will have the ability to double click on certain files to ensure the data is recoverable. If you wish to recover your data, you will need to purchase a license.

There are a few other scenarios that have not been covered. The first is an array that just has file system damage but is still structurally intact, meaning the drives are still attached to the controller and in working order, but for example the volume was formatted or damaged.

In a Windows array, you can just use GetDataBack for NTFS as the array will show as one physical drive that you can select in step 1 of GetDataBack for NTFS.

In a NAS array under these same circumstances, we do not have a recovery option. You will need to find a different way to recover the data.

The second scenario is for an array that the controller has just died. The drives are intact and there is no file system damage, just the controller has died.

If the array is a windows array and if you just want the data, you can run Raid Recovery for Windows. You should be able to see your data and recover it all. However if the array was bootable for example, it will not be after the data is copied, as the software does not copy the partition table or boot sector.

If the array is a windows array and it matches the scenario of the controller being dead, and you want to restore the array to a working volume, then you should use RAID Reconstructor and in step 3, you will want to choose the option for physical disk and you will need a physical volume that is exactly the same size (Be careful here, A 2TB Western Digital is not the exact same size as a 2TB Seagate or any other brand) or larger. Write the array volume back to the drive, and then you will need to restart the computer in order to see the data! If you do not restart, the volume will show up as blank. A restart is required for the OS to see the new data on the drive. You should have full access to the data after the restart and if the array was bootable, it should be so now as well. If for some reason, after the restart, the drive is not showing correctly, this is due to some type of file system damage and you should run GetDataBack for NTFS on the volume to recover the data.

If you encounter a scenario that is not listed, contact us and we can tell you the best way to recover the data. Email us using our email address or call us; 808-329-2202.

The difference between the demo version and the full version.

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

We get this question a lot. What is the difference between the demo version of your software and the paid version? The demo version is only there so you can see your files and even open some of them. The only time you should ever purchase the software is after you have run the demo, you can see the files you want to recover and you are ready to recover them.

The only difference between the demo and the full version is the ability to save your data. This is true for GetDataBack, DiskExplorer, Captain Nemo, RAID Reconstructor, NAS Data Recovery and RAID Recovery for Windows. If you are purchasing the software, you have already tested it and are sure it can do what you need it to do.

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I upgraded to Windows 7 and now I can not see any of my drives in your software!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Q: After upgrading to Windows 7, I can not longer see my drives in any of your software.

A: This is due to the UAC that Windows Vista and Windows 7 have in place. In order to bypass this, you can simply right click on the icon of the program you are running and selecting “Run as administrator”. You will then have access to the physical drives at this point.

You must do this even if you are the administrator of the computer. If you have any questions regarding this, feel free to contact us.

Captain Nemo vs GetDataBack for NTFS

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

When recovering the data after Raid Reconstructor has finished and you have a virtual image, we give people two options; You can use GetDataBack for NTFS or you can use Captain Nemo.

If your controller card went out or you had a drive physically fail in a raid 5, then you can generally use Captain Nemo. Captain Nemo is a file system mounter. It’s only job is to mount the file system. If your file system is in good shape, then you will see your data and directory structures almost immediately and copy them at that point. If the file system is damaged, then Nemo will give you an error about the partition or file system and will not present you with any of your data.

This is where GetDataBack comes in. GetDataBack is a data recovery tool.

  • If you need to recover deleted files, then you must use GetDataBack.
  • If your file system is damaged, then you must use GetDataBack.
  • If Captain Nemo give you any problems at all, then use GetDataBack to recover your data.
  • If you see your data in Captain Nemo but can not see the files you are looking for, use GetDataBack.

Here is a breakdown of the differences between GetDataBack and Captain Nemo. You can easily see where and when you would want to use GetDataBack vs Captain Nemo.

Captain Nemo
Shows deleted files
Shows Lost Files
Recovers from damaged file systems
Immediate Recovery

The New Captain Nemo Pro…

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

We have now released Captain Nemo Pro version 4.0. This is not the Nemo you are used to. You can now mount a reconstructed RAID in seconds, saving many hours over scanning the image in GetDataBack. Captain Nemo can still mount Linux and Netware devices.

Lets take a quick walk through the process.

You will need to start with RAID Reconstructor.

Now you will need to start Captain Nemo Pro Version 4.0.

Open a few files in order to test them. The fact that you see the folders, files, file names, the right file size, etc. is a good sign but does not necessarily mean that the file content is there and those files will be usable. You will not be able to test huge files or files that need to be imported correctly into their native application, like for example, Outlook PST files.

Select files that are easy to check – for example Word documents, pictures, or mp3. Open these files by double clicking them or by using the built-in viewer(F3). Please note: To open files by double clicking them, their associated application needs to be installed on the recovery computer.

Do the files open fine. meaning you can see the file content, the text, picture?
If so repeat the same process with a couple of more files in different folders.
If all or at least the majority of files open okay, your recover is looking good.

You should purchase the software from our website and copy the data to a different drive.

Running RAID Reconstructor

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Reconstructing a RAID is not a trivial task. There are many things that can cause the software to not produce the correct settings to ensure a properly constructed array. There are a few steps you will need to follow.

1. You will need to attach all the drives to a non-RAID controller so that the operating system can see all the drives as single drives inside of Windows.

2. You will need to start the software and choose your type of array at the top of the screen with the number of drives included in the array. If you have a RAID-0 with more than 2 drives or a RAID-5 with more than 11 drives, you will need to use our RaidProbe service. You can find more information about this service at If you have a 2 drive RAID-0, be sure to watch our tutorial about this type of recovery at

3. You will then need to enter all these drives into RAID Reconstructor by right clicking on the white space next to the drive number and selecting the drives that belong in the array. If your RAID is a RAID-5 with one drive missing, leave one field empty. Once this is done, open the drives by clicking the open button at the bottom of the drive list on the right hand side.

4. You will now need to analyze the drives in the step 2 box at the top right hand side of the software. When this finishes, you must look at the bottom of the analysis screen to see if you received a RECOMENDED ENTRY. If you received a RECOMMENDED ENTRY, then click finish and go to step 5 of this article. If it says RESULT NOT SIGNIFICANT, then the software did not properly put the array together because it does not have all the information needed. If you are unable to produce a RECOMMENDED ENTRY, do not make an image of this RAID because it will just produce non-working files. You should then consider letting us do a RaidProbe which will allow us to put the array together by hand. Once it is completed, we will send you all the parameters and detailed instructions on how to rebuild the array for you. You can find more information about the RaidProbe at

5. Once you have your settings, in step 3 of the software, you have the choice to make a virtual image, an image or write the data back to a drive directly. You would usually choose the virtual image. (If you are using a file system other than FAT or NTFS, there is no sense in making an image as we do not make data recovery software for file systems other than FAT and NTFS.) If you choose to write the data directly to a drive, this will only work if the reason for the RAID failure was a controller failure. Otherwise there is something wrong with the file system or partition table that has caused the array failure in the first place and you will need to run GetDataBack to recover the data at that point.

6. Once you created the virtual image or the image, there are two options to recover your data.

Option 1: Mount the image with Captain Nemo
You should use Captain Nemo if there is little or no file system damage. The advantage of Captain Nemo over GetDataBack is that Captain Nemo gives you immediate access to your files while GetDataBack will need to scan your image first. Download Captain Nemo ( and mount the image you just created. You can now copy the files to another location.

Option 2: Scan the image with GetDataBack
If there is significant file system damage or Captain Nemo does not bring the results you expect, you will need to download GetDataBack for NTFS ( to process the image you just created. We have also created a tutorial on how to do this at

If you run into problems with any of these steps, let us know right away so we can help you.

Runtime RAID Probe

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Runtime Software is proud to announce that we are now offering our customers a RAID Probe. What does this mean for you?

More and more people are setting up raid arrays at home and not realizing the potential for the array to become corrupt or damaged just like an ordinary drive. When that array does down, you can use our RAID Reconstructor to recreate the array to recover the data. If you can not get the software to find your raid parameters because you used a proprietary controller or just do not understand what is happening in the software, you can now let us do the hard part for you.

Be sure you are using the newest version of RAID Reconstructor, click on Tools>Create RAID Probe.

Follow the directions and it will create a zip file once it is done. You can then send the zip file to a local FTP location or contact us for a place to send the file. We will then analyze this probe and attempt to find the parameters for you. Once we determine the parameters, we will send you a Virtual Image file that you load into GetDataBack in order to continue with your recovery. This is a manual service which we charge $299 for. You will only be charged if we find the parameters. Note: RAID Probe is currently only available for NTFS formatted systems.

What Is Data Entropy?

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

The concept of Data Entropy is greatly used in RAID Reconstructor. Invented by Claude Shannon in 1948, it provides a way to measure the average number of bits needed to encode a string of symbols.

When looking through an unknown set of raw data on a drive, we calculate the number of bytes needed to encode the content of any given sector. Since a sector contains 512 bytes, this is a number between 0 and 512. If we divide this by 512 we are dealing with a number between 0 and 1. A sector containing only ‘a’s has an entropy near 0. A highly compressed JPEG has entropy near 1.

Have a look at popular compression utilities such as Winzip or Winrar. If these programs compress a file with 1,000,000 bytes to 1000 bytes the entropy is around 1000/1,000,000 which is 0.001. A 1,000,000 bytes file compressed to 900,000 bytes has entropy of 0.9. Shannon’s formula enables us to calculate the entropy without actually performing the compression.

But how does this help us to reconstruct broken RAID’s? Most files have consistent entropy that does not vary much between sectors. For example, the entropy of the English language averages 1.3 bit per character. This means you need 666 bits (=83 bytes) to encode a sentence with 512 characters (stored in one sector). Our entropy of this sector containing English text would be 83/512 which is 0.16. You can assume that sectors with similar entropies belong together. This is how RAID Reconstructor decides what the drive order and the block size are for drives that previously belonged to a RAID. It also explains why sometimes RAID Reconstructor’s analysis fails. If the probed areas on the drives contain a huge amount of all the same kind of data, there is nothing RAID Reconstructor can “see”.

Next week I will have a look at RAID Reconstructor’s Entropy Test.


Scanning the image from RAID Reconstructor

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Now we will look at how to scan that image that was made using RAID Reconstructor in the previous post. An image is just a file copy of a physical drive. There is no difference in scanning a physical drive over scanning an image, they contain exactly the same data.

Start GetDataBack for NTFS and from the Welcome screen, choose what type of recovery you want to do and click next. You will now be presented with the available drives to scan for recovery. Under the physical drives and logical drives, you will see the option that says Image Files (load more…). You can click on Load More and you will be presented with a select file box. You can then browse to your image and select it to open that image as the drive to scan. Once you have done this, click next in the bottom right hand corner to scan the image in the exact same way as a physical drive.

Please watch the tutorial for more information and detail on how to do this exactly. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at

Watch the tutorial

Recovering from a broken RAID 0

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

The first thing to know about RAID 0 is that it is not a replacement for a RAID 5. This seems to be the biggest misunderstanding about RAID 0′s. People have a drive physically die and then think, “Well next time I will build a RAID 0 and not have this happen ever again.”, then they call us asking why it failed.

RAID 0 arrays will suffer the same issues as a single drive, if the drive physically dies, the only thing you can do is send it to a hardware recovery company. You will have the same issues with creating a RAID 0 that has more then two drives, if one dies, then the entire array will go down. This would be like having an airplanes with six engines and if one of them fails, the plane crashes. If you have more than two drives, make a RAID 5.

This is where RAID Reconstructor comes in. If your array is broken because of controller issues or you do not have the orignal computer you created the array in, RAID Reconstructor can help you. It will allow you to take a two drive RAID 0 and de-stripe it into a single image or back to a drive. If you make the image, then you can scan that image in GetDataBack for NTFS. If you write the data back to a single drive, the file system and partition table of the array must be intact, otherwise you will end up with an empty drive that you will need to also run GetDataBack for NTFS on to recover the data.

If you run RAID Reconstructor with the default settings on a RAID 0, you will not get the recommended entry as most RAID 0 arrays do not start at sector zero. Watch our video tutorial to see exactly what must be done to get a recommended entry.

Watch the tutorial