Cannot get access to the NAS disks

If you cannot access data stored on your NAS, first you need to find out the cause of failure – NAS box failure or NAS disks. Sometimes it is difficult to identify the problem, but if, for example, your NAS does not turn on, most likely you deal with a NAS box failure. If your NAS works normally, but you hear unusual sounds or see unusual LED blinking most likely it is a disk failure.

Getting access to the NAS with Linux

In case of a NAS box failure, you can try to use Linux. For most NASes Linux is a natural environment because they are formatted to Linux filesystems. To copy data from NAS disks you need to:

  1. Get the disks out of the NAS box.
  2. Connect them to a Linux computer (or use Linux virtual machine or Linux boot CD) directly.
  3. Type in a set of Linux commands.

Note that the above will not work for some NASes, for example because block sizes in filesystems are different or because a NAS vendor uses a slightly modified EXT version; however, such NASes are rarely met.

The Linux route is recommended only for those who are familiar with Linux and have already done similar troubleshooting before.

Reading NAS data on Windows

If you are not so good at Linux or you deal with a failure not associated with NAS box, which is the majority of cases, you can read NAS data using special NAS recovery software - ReclaiMe File Recovery. Note that reading NAS data with ReclaiMe does not require a Linux computer, no matter what filesystem was used in your NAS: EXT in QNAP or Synology, XFS in Buffalo, or BTRFS in NETGEAR ReadyNAS. All the recovery actions are done on a Windows PC.

Read BTRFS volume

To read a NAS filesystem on a Windows PC you need to:

  1. Pull the disks out of the NAS.
  2. Connect the disks to the Windows PC directly using SATA cables.
  3. Download, install, and launch ReclaiMe File Recovery.
  4. Select your NAS volume and click Start.
  5. Wait till the software completes the analysis and copy the recovered NAS data to prepared storage.

This approach can be applied to various NAS failures – NAS box failure, disk failure, NAS metadata corruption and others. Additionally, ReclaiMe NAS recovery software is the read-only tool meaning that it cannot make things worse which cannot be said about the Linux route.

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