Synology NAS Data Recovery

Synology NAS, set up with SHR. System notified me that 2 separate drives were failing (not failed), so I purchased 2 new drives and started using the onboard system to transfer one drive to another. During this process the system crashed, taking out the system partition and making the system unreadable.

synology nas

I contacted Synology who have done what they can, but have advised me that any further action on their part could lead to data loss, as the system contains all out photo’s from before my daughter was born, all our documents (and also all our videos and TV recorded programs) we are not willing to potentially loose that data.
The DS2415+ system currently has the following config:

Bay 1: WD 6TB Red
Bay 2: WD 6TB Red Pro
Bay 3: WD 4TB Red
Bay 4: WD 6TB Red Pro
Bay 5: WD 3TB Green
Bay 6: Empty
Bay 7: WD 3TB Green
Bay 8: WD 2TB Black
Bay 9: WD 2TB Black
Bay 10: WD 2TB Black
Bay 11: WD 2TB Red
Bay 12: Empty

The system advised me that drives 3 and 7 were failing and I have already got 2 new WD 6TB RED Pro drives ready.

The engineer also informed me that all of the smaller drives (Bay 7-) are showing considerable SMART failings, so as part of the recovery process I would like to consolidate my data onto Drives 1,2 &4 and the other 2 6TB Red Pro drives that I have. I understand that this may be insufficient and am ready to purchase additional drives.
I live in Preston, Lancashire, this has already been down 5 days, so I am looking for an urgent turn round, but also one which I can afford. Please contact me, so we can determine the best next move, and also give me an idea of the potential cost.

Authors Note: In all cases of data recovery from Synology NAS systems, my recommendation is to take the system straight to the experts – in this case Data Clinic.

Data Clinic are a UK wide data recovery company who specialise in RAID and NAS hard drive recovery. Their NAS recovery page for Synology RAID hard drives can be found at


Data Clinic Open Day

Data Clinic’s ( latest open day was held on Friday 1st August 2015. Designed to assist people with troubleshooting their hard disk and smartphone problems, the event attracted a moderate attendance with people arriving throughout the day.

Before the event, a questionnaire was sent to potential attendees which asked them to provide details of what equipment they were intending to bring along. Some of the replies are listed below.

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex

“I have a Seagate Freeagent GoFlex 2.5 inch 250GB external hard drive (HDD) that has failed – it makes a clicking noise when plugged in to USB and never appears so presumably it is a mechanical failure.

It belongs to a nurse working for the Huntington’s Disease Association. Can you give me a quote for recovery, if possible I would bring it to you later today and have the recovery done on site.”

Western Digital My Passport 2TB

“Hello, I was hoping I could bring my 2TB WD My Passport hard drive to you to see if you could recover deleted files. I backed up my memory cards to this small hard drive whilst away in Hong Kong in June, I then transferred the memory cards to my large hard drive at home when I returned, however I now notice there is a folder missing and I have since deleted these pictures from my small hard drive. Please let me know if this is something you could help with. I am based in Liverpool so could bring it to you.”

Macbook Pro

“I have a 2010 model MacBook Pro, which had stopped working, and has been seen to by the guys at Apple. They advised the Hard Drive had stopped working, and the flex cable needed repaired as well.

They have replaced the hard drive, but I still have the old one, and would be keen to know what the cost could be to recover the data from it? There are a lot of photos on there of my son which mean a lot to me.”


“We have been burgled and the burglar have deleted the footage from the CCTV Systems and I do like to have it recovered.

HDD failure, now unresponsive (attempted to recover by connecting to external USB-SATA caddy – drive is not detected by the system). Need to recover data from it.”

The day ended with 15 enquiries serviced: potential costings given and the likelyhood of successful recoveries explained. All in all, advice regarding some 25TB of data was given to some 20 people.

Data Loss: The Golden Rules of what to do when you lose your data

It’s a scenario many of us are familiar with. We attempt to access some data only for the hard drive to crash. Perhaps the drive has emitted a strange noise, or perhaps we’re faced with the dreaded “blue screen of death”. Either way, we are faced with a situation of data loss that needs to be addressed.

Open hard driveUsually the first emotion we experience is one of panic. What should we do? Switch the machine off and hope that by switching it back on the problem will resolve itself? Leave it to cool down and hope that in half an hour it will be OK to switch it back on? Try and find a software utility that will enable access to the data? Google the problem you have experienced and see if you can find a solution on the web? Take the hard drive out, open it and see if you can see a problem?

In the nine years’ experience of running a data recovery company, we have found that many of our clients will attempt some or, in some cases, all of the above, before finally contacting us and asking for advice. We have used this experience to create the seven golden rules of what to do in a data loss situation:

1. Try not to panic

We’re starting with the hardest rule first! Whether someone has lost their wedding video, or the company accounts for the last five years, the initial reaction is to panic. It is important to try and stay calm; the fact is that in the majority of data loss cases, it is possible to fully or at least partly reconstruct the data. Panicking will only lead to poor decisions being made.

2. Power off the device

This is for the simple reason that if the device does not have power running to it, no further damage can occur to the data.

3. Don’t restart the device

Restarting a device with a malfunction is likely to compound the original data loss. This is particularly true if the read-write heads of the drive (an “arm” that hovers above the platters inside the disk) has crashed into the disks.

4. Don’t install new software, or reinstall existing software

Doing this can overwrite some of the data that you have lost, possibly rendering it unrecoverable.

5. Don’t open the disk

The internal mechanisms of hard drives are very delicate and extremely sensitive to motes of dust, temperature changes and air currents. In addition, if you open a drive you will almost certainly invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty. Data on disks sent in to data recovery companies that have been opened in someone’s house have often been rendered unrecoverable by this action. Disks should only be opened in a certified clean room.

6. Don’t use any auto recovery tools

Certain proprietorial tools often do more harm than good, especially if the file system is damaged. This is because they are trying to communicate with the disk through the language of the operating system (eg. Windows), which relies on trying to access the data that may be already damaged. Reputable data recovery companies use specialist hardware which bypasses the operating system and interacts with the disk by using the disk’s own command structure.

7. Speak to a reputable data recovery company

Do an internet search (on another computer) to find a data recovery company. It is advisable to ring several, and to bear in mind that the cheapest may not be the best choice. For example, companies that do not charge a diagnosis fee are liable to either put very little effort into diagnosing the problem, or to put hidden costs in the recovery fee. To ensure you are choosing the right company, ask a lot of questions to try and get a feel for their level of technical knowledge.