Tuesday, 26 January 2016

How to recover X-Raid (Netgear) drives after a chassis failure.

A while back I used to have a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo. For the time, it was pretty good value for money and proved to be a reliable little NAS for streaming and backing up files.
What I never really considered was what I would do should the chassis fail and I'm left with numerous drives running a 'proprietary' RAID type (X-RAID) and potentially no source for a replacement chassis other than eBay or CEX.
I assumed it would be a matter of plug drives in through a number of SATA > USB adapters and just dragging the files off once the OS magically picked up and decoded whatever X-RAID was.
Luckily, I never had to find out but a friend's house recently caught a lightning strike which took out his router and the ethernet port on his NV+ (the NAS took the lightning, not the friend). The drives looked to be safe in the NAS but with no way to access them - the only solution was to put them in something else and see what we could do.

The thought was to add all the drives to machine with plenty of SATA ports available (four for the drives from the NAS plus one for the OS and restoration drive) and see what happens, X-RAID seems to be pretty close to RAID-5 so I doubt Netgear / Infrant messed around with it so much as to make it unreadable by anything else.
Ubuntu 14.04 is my go to OS here - so I installed that on a spare drive (at this point the NAS drives were absolutely nowhere near this machine for fear of overwriting them accidentally).
When your'e happy it's installed and running, power down and add the old X-RAID drives in. Once connected, boot up again.

WARNING: Don't run DF once you've mounted your drives with Fuse. There appears to be a bug that causes the fuseext process to crash and consume 100% CPU time. The 'du' command is slow (like, really slow) but won't crash your system.

Next, we'll need to make sure we've got the FUSE module installed for Ext2 filesystems. First we'll cheat a little and go into a root shell.

 sudo bash  

(Warning: this will put you in to a root shell. Be very careful what you type outside of this list as you can cause serious damage to things).
Next install the Fuse Ext2 package.

 apt-get install fuseext2  

Then, load the fuse module.

 modprobe fuse

Next, we'll scan our connected drives for LVM volumes with


Now we'll activate the volume we need

 vgchange -ay c 

(vgchange will search for all LVMs, '-ay c' will activate any volume named 'c' which is the name for the main volume on a ReadyNAS).

Make sure you have a mount point created to mount the reassembled volume in

 mkdir -p /mnt/readynas 

(just an example, call your directory whatever you like under /mnt/)

Then finally (fingers crossed here)

 fuseext2 -o ro -o sync_read /dev/c/c /mnt/readynas

All being well, you're data will all be available under /mnt/readynas (or whatever you called it). You're free to copy it off to a non RAID drive, thumb drive or whatever you have to hand.


  1. Thanks! You saved my life and my life's treasures!

    1. You're most welcome - hope you got all your data back!

  2. This worked like a charm for me. I was able to recover the 3TB of data off my bombed-out NV+ with no problems!

  3. Amazing, glad you didn't lose all your data!

  4. Thanks Stuart, you're a star.
    I have moderate sys admin competency in Ubuntu Linux (enough to build RAID with mdadm) but my fried ReadyNAS Duo had thwarted my attempts to mount the disk and recover the data until I came across your article. I knew it was possible but your script and narrative saved me much time and stress.
    BTW, the df/fuseext bug is still there in Ubuntu 16.04LTS - I tried it once the successful data recovery was complete.

  5. I doubt Netgear / Infrant messed around with it so much as to make it unreadable by anything else.recover deleted data

  6. Bit of a Linux newbie, so sorry if this is a stupid question: When you run the mkdir command, does it need to be on a drive with enough space to accommodate the NAS? I had a ReadyNAS with 18TB crash, so I want to make sure I can recover that.

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