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Removing JBOD or FauxRAID

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June 4, 2010 9:51:59 PM

I made the mistake of buying a Comstar external 1TB drive (HDE1-1TB)... it was huge and heavy and with my lack of knowledge I thought it was just a big fan and enclosure. It had a 1 yr warranty and because of this i never opened it up. Like clockwork, as soon as my year was up, the enclosure failed.
I opened it up and found that it was two Western Digital 500GB SATA drives raided together... or so i assumed. I went online and found out its JBOD and not a RAID.
I eventually gave up on recovering the data and went to get a new single HD enclosure. I plugged in the first HD and tried to format it, but my computer detects it as 931GB when its a 500GB.. I then tried to format it, but it wont finish because its formatting as a 1TB so when its finished, the computer is still expecting 500 more gigs to format.
i then tried to connect the second hard drive and nothing shows up at all....

can anyone tell me how to set it back so it will its own separate drives?

More about : removing jbod fauxraid

a c 342 G Storage
June 5, 2010 4:38:47 AM

So you are trying to take each of the two 500 GB HDD's from the Comstar case and, in turn, see if you can make each work as a separate HDD when mounted inside a new single-drive case. It appears you are NOT going to try to recover any data from either, so it is OK to wipe it clean.

The basic issue that's causing you trouble is that the JBOD controller system in the Comstar case wrote as a Partition Table on each drive a non-standard set of data that Windows cannot understand correctly. When you try to use Windows' Format utility it is still using the faulty data in that odd Partition Table. I think you need to get rid of all records of the old information and start as if each drive were empty.

Try this on each drive. Do it FIRST on the one drive that appears almost to work. Mount it in the new case and hook up. You will use Disk Manager for this. Click on Start at lower left and RIGHT-click on My Computer in the menu. In the mini-menu that comes up choose Manage. A new window will open. In the left column expand "Storage" if necessary and click on "Disk Management". This will open two new panes on the right hand side. The Upper Right pane shows you all the drives that Windows can use now. The LOWER RIGHT pane contains all the hardware drives in the machine, including those that Windows does not understand yet. It SCROLLS to show you all its units.

Each HDD in the machine is represented in the LOWER RIGHT pane by one horizontal block. At its left end is a small sub-block with a label that says its name is something like Disk_2, and shows its size and a few other things. To the right of that are one or more sub-blocks, each representing one Partition on the HDD. Windows treats a Partition as a "drive" with its own letter name, etc. Although an HDD could have 1, 2 or several Partitions on it, Windows recognizes each of them as a separate "drive". Yours may have only one.

Now look at the information on that Partition sub-block. It should show a letter name like E:, a volume name it was given like "Comstar22", a size, a File System, and a status. Yours probably shows itself to be a 970 GB "drive", which is wrong.

If there is more than one Partition sub-block on this HDD, start at the right and RIGHT-click on it. Choose to Delete this Partition. If there is another Partition, Delete it, too, until all of the HDD is just identified as Unallocated Space. Now, to be cautious, back out of Disk Management and reboot your machine.

When running again, go back to Disk Management and the external drive you're working on. This time RIGHT-click on the Unallocated Space and choose to Create a Primary Partition. You will have a few choices to check off. You do NOT need it to be bootable (it's for data, not to boot from). If there's a place to make it the Active Partition, do so. If you see options on File System and Format type, these are options for the second step, just integrated into one setup menu. Choose the NTFS File System and I suggest a Full Format. That last choice will force Windows to test EVERY part of the HDD for errors, which will take MANY HOURS, so let it just run! With all options set, run the task.

IF the choices above had none of the Format options, run the Partition Creation task, which won't take long at all. Then RIGHT-click on that Partition you just created and choose to Format it. Set options as above and run that task. When done back out of Disk Manager and reboot again so that Windows can update its Registry. This time you WILL find the drive in My Computer, and with this process I expect it will show up as the proper size.

So, that gets one drive done. Now, what about the second one? There's a puzzle here about why the "enclosure failed". MAYBE that 2nd HDD inside had a hardware problem, or software. We don't know. What I suggest as the simplest procedure is the same as above - mount the second unit in the new external case and try to Delete any and all its Partitions, then Create a new one and Format it. If the HDD actually had no hardware problems this should do everything you need, and you'll have two 500 GB HDD's available to use.

However, if this procedure works for the first HDD but fails on the second, then MAYBE that unit has hardware problems. In that case I'd recommend using the free disk diagnostic package from WD's website called Data Lifeguard. Personally, I prefer the version "for DOS", but there are versions for use in Windows. When you download the one I prefer you then have to burn your own bootable floppy disk or CD. You actually boot from that disk into a mini-DOS that loads into RAM, and under which you run all the tests completely independent of Windows - you don't even need a functioning C: drive to boot from to use it. Anyway you can run many tests on the HDD to detect hardware problems, and there are a few tools that can help fix some. Most of the tests are non-destructive of data, but some DO destroy your old data on the HDD and they warn you before asking permission to proceed.
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June 5, 2010 7:04:15 AM

thanks for the detailed response.
I had read elsewhere to use disk management, but it was not reading the drives when i had first tried... after i read your post it seemed to run extra smooth (its like you sent some techy magic with your post)
i deleted the partition in the first drive that was reading as 931GB and it instantly disp itself to 465GB.
i got anxious to see if the second drive would read so i did not add a partition or format this drive.
i slid my 2nd HDD in the enclosure and ran disk management. it had a red X over the icon for disk 1 (my C: is disk 0)
so i right clicked that and brought the HDD online and added a new partition. it is now formatting as i am replying.
I think the second drive was not reading initially because of the way the drives were partition when it was JBODed. (i dont know the proper term). I'm assuming because the partition was written on the first drive, the second drive was just the "remainder" of the drive.

I'm still crossing my fingers. Not quite at the finish line yet. Currently still waiting for the drive to format. I will let you know if things are successful.

thanks again for your help.
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a c 342 G Storage
June 5, 2010 3:31:05 PM

Glad to hear progress, anxious to hear final outcome. Thanks for updating.
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June 5, 2010 6:28:27 PM

everything is perfect.. thanks to your help i now have 2 perfectly working drives. all i gotta do now is make my rounds to all my buddies' and recollect the data i lost..
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a c 342 G Storage
June 5, 2010 7:23:33 PM

Hurray for you!
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!