NAS, short for Network Attached Storage, is a file-level storage providing access to the data to various clients, be it a PC, a laptop, or a tablet. A typical NAS consists of several disks combined into a single storage by the means of the RAID technology. Another typical thing with NAS is that it is a fault-tolerant storage surviving single or in some cases double disk failure and allowing to replace the faulty drive on-the-fly.
Most known NAS vendors are NETGEAR, QNAP, Seagate, and Synology, which offer both home- and enterprise-level NAS solutions.
When it comes to the inner NAS organization, all NAS devices use Linux to operate. However, this is fully transparent to a user – you can connect your NAS to any network (Windows, MacOS or Linux-based) and mostly often you don’t even know how your NAS stores data – what RAID layout is involved, what filesystem is used, and the like.
Although NAS is considered to be a reliable data storage server – RAID technology, crash alert system – sometimes disaster strikes. Most common NAS malfunctions include:
- disk failure
- incorrect rebuild after disk failure
- logical errors in NAS filesystem
A typical scenario is that your NAS stops providing access to the data and you are looking for a way to fix the issue and get your data back.
Surely, in case of a NAS failure, data recovery is not the only choice – you still can try to “revive” the NAS device mostly using Linux commands; however, that kind of troubleshooting requires you to be at least a Linux (and storage technology) guru. More than that, your wrong action leads to irreversible data loss because the very nature of the “Linux” way implies modifying NAS data.
If data stored on a NAS is valuable for you, the safest way is NAS data recovery. In this case, you work with read-only recovery software, which tries to pull your data off the NAS.
Why regular data recovery software won’t help:
When it comes to NAS data recovery, the most common misconception is that any data recovery software, for example Recuva or PC Inspector, can do the job and extract data off the NAS. No, they cannot. Firstly, such tools cannot work with NAS filesystems meaning that they cannot give you folder tree and file names; secondly, tools like Recuva do not support parsing RAID metadata without which NAS recovery is impossible. Using Recuva and its capability of searching file headers, you still can recover some small files but overall it’s still not a good recovery.
Top 5 NAS Recovery software:
ReclaiMe File Recovery:
ReclaiMe is an easy-to-use but still powerful data recovery software, which is also capable of NAS data recovery. The software can parse a bit damaged NAS metadata, reconstruct a virtual NAS volume, and then recover data from the NAS volume filesystem.
The main advantages of ReclaiMe are its simplicity and a couple of exclusive NAS data recovery options like parsing NETGEAR filesystem; the main disadvantage – its price – for the NAS recovery capability you should pay $199.99. Quite expensive but still much cheaper than data recovery service.
Zero Assumption Recovery (ZAR):
ZAR is a time-tested data recovery software (since 2001) which is primarily known for its free photo recovery capability. However, ZAR also can recover data from various NAS devices – Buffalo, QNAP, Synology, Seagate, and others.
The main advantage of ZAR is its price – the cheapest among paid NAS recovery solutions ($69.95); the main disadvantages are its complex interface – there are too many settings and configuration buttons – and the overall slowness of the recovery.
Runtime NAS Recovery:
This is a very popular data recovery software and is the only tool combining parsing NAS metadata, and reconstructing NAS volume based on the data stored. The main advantages are its reasonable price ($99) and fairly quick recovery.
The disadvantages are that the software doesn’t work with modern NETGEAR devices and doesn’t support complex NAS configurations like those involving hot-spare disks.
Home NAS Recovery:
Home NAS Recovery is an easy-to-use software, which is specially designed to recover data from various NAS devices. Unlike ReclaiMe and ZAR, which rely upon NAS metadata, the software tries to reconstruct a NAS volume and then recovers data from the NAS filesystem. Such an approach allows Home NAS Recovery to produce a more general recovery solution.
The main advantage is its free NAS recovery capability: 1- and 2-disk NAS devices, which look most popular, can be recovered for free. For the rest, they offer a per drive price model.
The main disadvantage is that in case of large NASes (3-disk and more) you should have a license key to actually see the recovered data.
Free RAID Recovery:
Although this is not a pure NAS recovery software, it still can be used for NAS recovery. As it was said above, NASes use the RAID technology to store data on their disks. Free RAID Recovery can recover a failed RAID configuration and then offers free options for NAS data recovery.
Surely, the advantage here is that it is free; the disadvantage is that Free RAID Recovery doesn’t provide files but only NAS configuration and you should then proceed with file recovery.
That’s it..These were the top 5 NAS Recovery Softwares you must consider if you have a NAS device. If you know any other popular NAS software then you can mention it in the comment section below.
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