Recovering Information off of a RAID Hard Drive

Recently I was asked to get some information off of a Hard Drive from one of my friends computers. The computer could no longer boot and it had 2 80gb hard drives setup with RAID. I believe it was RAID 1 and they were both mirrored drives. It was a Linux Server, so I'm not sure if this has anything to do with it too. Anyways I haven't worked much with RAID hard drives so I did what I would normally do with another hard drive, take it out of the computer and put it into another one to get the information off of it. When i put it into the other computer and booted into my own copy of windows. I found the hard drive under diskmgmt and saw that it had 3 seperate partitions on it. All of which had no drive letters. So I figured if I assigned a drive letter to it i could see the contents of each partition. In order to assign the drive letters I had to convert each partition to a dynamic drive(not sure what this meant) and so i did thinking it would help me see the files. In any case once I tried to open any of the partitions it said they needed to be reformatted, so I stopped here not wanting to hurt the information. The other RAID hard drive in the original computer has still not been touched or converted to a dynamic drive.

So now what I am wondering is, is there any way to recover the information off of the drive that was converted to dynamic or is it lost forever?

And the other hard drive that hasn't been touched yet, how can I get the information off of that one without potentially messing it up also?

I could really use your help guys because my friend that I am doing this for was storing all of his clients information on the computer and in order for him to continue doing business we're going to need the data off of this computer. (I know he should have had some kind of online backup before hand, but I guess he assumed the RAID would be enough and I'm hoping it will be too)

Thank you in advance for any information you guys may have for me.
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  1. Windows does not natively support reading the EXT file system. You will not be able to read the data from a drive that was used as a Linux server in a windows based machine. You must use a 3rd party disk recovery application to explore/read/recover the data from the linux drive when using a windows based machine.

    Do not quote me on this one, but even turning the linux partitions into windows dynamic disks may have damaged the data.

    I would get a cope of the Ubuntu live CD and boot into Ubuntu to see what data is on the disks and then attempt any recovery from Ubuntu rather than Windows. You can build a Ubuntu Live CD with recovery apps slipstreamed into the image and then copy/recover any data from the linux drives to another drive/media/USB thumb/external drive.

    Good luck!

    Also, tell your friend that he should be making regular back-ups of his important data! If he had been doing that all along, he could have simply re-imaged the array after replacing the hard drives. He should consider this a lesson learned!
  2. Thanks guys for the info

    I'll give it a try Chunky Monster and let you know how it works out *crosses fingers*
  3. By converting them to dynamical drives, you may have wiped all RAID config from the disks. If its really a mirror doesn't using one of those disks with an Ubuntu livecd get your data visible?

    PS if you need to do this from a windows PC, try using Virtualbox so you can run Linux to access your drives.
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