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Thanks for reading this thread and I thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

So this is what happened... I noticed that my MDADM RAID 5 array with drives ordered: /dev/sd[EFGHIABCDKJ]1 reported a failed drive -- /dev/sdb1. I stopped the array and ran smartctl -t long /dev/sdb1 and received a pass.

So I added /dev/sdb1 back to /dev/md0 with mdadm --add. In the process of rebuilding, /dev/sdh1 went offline (the data cable must have been knocked loose while I was moving from FL to MI) and now the array state is degraded. I checked both drives using smartctl again and received 2 passes.

I read advice on some forum about using mdadm -C /dev/md0 /dev/sd[efghiabcdkj]1 but the array resynced with the drive order messed up (sd[abcdefghijk]1 as opposed to sd[efghiabcdkj]1). I tried to mdadm -Af /dev/md0 but got a missing superblock error message.

Came across another post stating that I should do mdadm -C --assume-clean /dev/md0 /dev/sd[efghia MISSING cdkj]1 and then add /dev/sdb1 and then mdadm --assemble /dev/md0 --resync=update but I had a flashdrive plugged in my server which got assigned /dev/sdi1 (OPPS)... Anyways, I pulled the plug quickly, halted the system, removed the flash drive and repeated the steps.

================================================================================
fdisk -l reports:

Disk /dev/hda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *           1        3187    25599546    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hda2            3188       60801   462784455    5  Extended
/dev/hda5            3188        9561    51199123+   7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hda6            9562       28045   148472698+  83  Linux
/dev/hda7           28046       28835     6345643+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/hda8           28836       60801   256766863+  83  Linux

Disk /dev/sda: 1500.3 GB, 1500301910016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 182401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1      182402  1465138552+  83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdb: 1500.3 GB, 1500301910016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 182401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *           1      182402  1465138552+  fd  Linux raid autodetect

Disk /dev/sdc: 1500.3 GB, 1500301910016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 182401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdc1   *           1      182402  1465138552+  83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdd: 1500.3 GB, 1500301910016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 182401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdd1   *           1      182402  1465138552+  83  Linux

Disk /dev/sde: 1500.3 GB, 1500301910016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 182401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sde1   *           1      182401  1465136001   83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdf: 1500.3 GB, 1500301910016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 182401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdf1   *           1      182401  1465136001   83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdg: 1500.3 GB, 1500301910016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 182401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdg1   *           1      182401  1465136001   83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdh: 1500.3 GB, 1500301910016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 182401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdh1   *           1      182401  1465136001   83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdi: 1500.3 GB, 1500301910016 bytes
16 heads, 63 sectors/track, 2907021 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 1008 * 512 = 516096 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdi1   *           1     2907021  1465138552+  83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdj: 1500.3 GB, 1500301910016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 182401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdj1   *           1      182402  1465138552+  83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdk: 1500.3 GB, 1500301910016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 182401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdk1   *           1      182402  1465138552+  83  Linux

Disk /dev/md0: 0 MB, 0 bytes
2 heads, 4 sectors/track, 0 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 8 * 512 = 4096 bytes

Disk /dev/md0 doesn't contain a valid partition table

================================================================================

So I am guessing that me inserting the flashdrive messed up the # of heads on all the other drives except the drive that did not get assigned the first mdadm -C because its assignment was taken by the flashdrive.

So.... bottom line is... now the resync is completed (diskstats shows reads but no writes to disk) and I am unable to mount the array. I get a "VFS: Can't find ext3 filesystem on dev md0" message.

Current status: R-Studio reports some data, testdisk is still analyzing my partition, I aborted Raid Reconstructor cause it reports taking like 20 days to complete...

Any hints on how I can recover my data? Any suggestions you can offer will be greatly appreciated cause I am starting a new job and cannot afford to look disorganized despite the bad run of events this past week. Thanks... J

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2 Answers 2

i had a similar case and i just used the command with exact the same parameter i used to create the raid with the --assume-clean parameter and this worked for me

the disk order is vital, if your drive letters (sd[a-l]) get messed up e.g. my unpluggin and repluggin in different order you can use

mdadm -E /dev/sd[a-l]1

to examine the the "RaidDevice" number. this tells you the order in which to specify the disks when invoking mdadm -C ...

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I previously had similar issues with just the same setup. md RAIDs seem to be very robust. I re-created my RAID several times with the drives in the incorrect order and observed the same error you do every time. The original order of drives was lost due to a previous, failed recovery attempt.

But you can just try to re-create the RAID with a different order until you finally get it right. Although with that number of drives it could take you ages to find the right order.

One of the most important things I learned from that disaster is that the drive names (sda, sdb, ...) can change. Like when I replaced a drive, the names for all other drives changed as well. This led to a lot of confusion. One of the most important steps is to get the drives serial numbers with smartctl and note what names are assigned to which drives. This should help avoid confusion during the recovery process.

It took me several days to recover my data and I had pretty much already given up of getting anything back. But I finally got the driver order right and the RAID mounted fine and everything was intact. Never give up on recovering an md RAID.

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