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We have a server which has a single 2TB drive in it (it was part way through an upgrade).

During this upgrade, the engineer had moved all the Virtual Machines from the main drive set on to this 2TB disk so that the main drive set could be swapped for a bunch of much bigger disks and then the VM's moved back again.

Unfortunately, during this process the engineer has put the new disk set in and gone in to ESXi to initialise them - only he's clicked on the live 2TB disk and re-initialised it rather than the new drives.

The question is - is it possible to recover the data on the 2TB disk in this scenario? Are there tools that will help? I think there are three or four VM's on there, but realistically there's a pretty small subset of data that I really would like to get off there if we can't get the whole VM's back up and running again some how.

The machine is running VMWare ESXi 4.1.

Please let me know if there's any more information I can provide. We are going to try and contact some 3rd party recovery companies for their advice also however if there's a simple option somewhere (which I know one or more of you will be able to point out) then I'd like to explore that first. Of course of prime concern is not making the situation any worse.

(yes I am aware backups are the obvious answer to this and all I can say is that there are going to be searching discussions tomorrow to find out how on earth we've managed to have a string of catastrophic failures both in hardware, software and wetware that leave us exposed like this)

Thanks in advance for your advice.


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm afraid I don't have a fix for recovering the file-system, but I would recommend at this point that you make a disc image copy of that drive before you try anything else on it. In that case, if you try something and make it worse, you can always go back to where you are now. If it's important to get the data back, take the time now and make a backup copy.

I did this with a VMWare system we had, and was eventually able to recover 100% of the data I thought we had lost. My recovery situation did not involve re-formatting the partition though, so I can't offer any assistance there.

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I've seen co-workers use UFS Explorer on a Botched RAID 1 to partially restore VMDK files.

VMware Communities

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