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Rescuing files from an Iomega NAS drive

I've learned that Iomega became part of Lenovo EMC only after my 2TB Iomega NAS died, and I started my search for a solution to rescue my precious files. Most of the information found dealt with resetting/rebooting the NAS as-is, with assumption that  something was wrong with the configuration; it did not help a bit - the lights continued blinking indicating permanent "booting status". It was time to bring in heavy guns 🙂

I have disassembled my 4 years old NAS, took out Seagate 2TB SATA HDD, and got to work.

First, I needed some docking device, to plug the HDD into my computer... but all I had at my disposition was a Windows 7 laptop. So I got myself a SATA-to-USB cable from Amazon - it connected the HDD but somehow failed to power it; Windows did not even recognized the partition. Then I picked up a powered device (EZ-dock, EZD-2335) from Fry's Electronics for $20, with USB/eSATA interface. It worked - the drive sprung to life, and Windows prompted me to format the RAW partition!

Not quite what I was looking for.

A bit more searching told me that Iomega NAS is using Linux file system (XFS/EXT#). Following this lead I tried a variety of tools out there that supposed to make Linux file system accessible under Windows (explore2fs , Diskinternals Linux reader, and some others). None of these mounted the file system though they did see it as a RAW partition.

Then I decided to use Linux to access the files. There are several ways to run Linux OS under Windows but I already had Ubuntu Linux VM running in Oracle VirtualBox; it had extensions installed - including USB support (if I did not, I would probably use bootable Linux flash drive)

The EZDock was recognized by my Linux VN ad "JMicron USB to ATA/ATAPI bridge [0100]" but still refused to mount the partition.

To find the volumes on the system I used fsarchiver  utility. I tried to mount them manually; it failed with "unrecognizable file system error".

NB: to install any of these on Ubuntu (in case they are missing) use the apt-get  with install option (e.g. [prompt] ~: sudo apt-get install fsarchiver)

[prompt]:~$ sudo fsarchiver probe


So, the drive was configured as RAID (duh! - it was NAS to begin with... and it even said that much with fsarchiver utility), and this called for a RAID system running to mount these logical partitions. Enter MDADM utility. It has to be installed as it is not a common attribute of a desktop Linux distribution, and it asks a few questions along the way - I opted for "No Configuration" every time for Postfix.

After the installation I run the following command

[prompt]:~$ sudo mdadm --assemble --scan

mdadm: /dev/md/hmnhd-TICF8C:1 has been started with 1 drive.

mdadm: /dev/md/0_0 has been started with 1 drive.

And voila - it worked! Both disks (logical) are working as a single unit...moreover, Ubuntu immediately recognized them and I was able to access the files.


Hope that my happy end story could help someone facing the same challenges: NAS controller failed but disk's still working.