Old server using a S1200BTS Intel mobo died and has been sitting in a closet for several years. I replaced the motherboard and found that it was originally configured using an onboard hardware raid controller.

Harddrives are still in their original configuration however the raid controller no longer detects any of the drives as being raid drives.

Is there a way for me to rebuild the array without destroying the drives? There are 3 identical hard drives inside of the chassis but I have no idea what raid level it was using.

I made a clone of of one of the drives and without initializing the drive was able to see that every file on the drive has 3 files with the same name but with each ending in 1, 2, or 3 as if each file had 3 parts. None of the files can be opened.

I don't know where to go from here. I'm being told theres close to 800,000 images that need to be recovered and at the moment they're paperweights.

  • 6
    Do you have backups ?
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 4:29
  • 1
    Lesson: never, ever use hardware RAID if a software RAID is at all possible.
    – fraxinus
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 19:24
  • 1
    That's bogus lesson actually. RAID metadata are pretty compartible nowadays, even across different HW manufacturers. Commented Jul 27, 2022 at 3:32
  • @fraxinus we spent decades encouraging the exact opposite, actually. Software redundancy has only become 'mature' and common-place in the past 10 years or so. Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 3:19
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    @MarkHenderson Windows 2000 happened to have pretty much acceptable RAID layer. I don't remember exactly about NT, but I think it was almost the same anyway. Linux MD was mainlined ~2000 and was stable some years before it.
    – fraxinus
    Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 6:18

2 Answers 2


Put all three disks into the Linux machine. Serously. Your RAID is likely using "intel matrix storage manager" (IMSM) on-disk metadata format, which is natively recognized by modern Linux Software RAID out of the box, and it will assemble it as a RAID array. Also if it happens to be a SNIA DDF, it will equally recognize it as well. You'll see some /dev/mdXXX devices — that's it. Also it is able to mount your Windows disks and, say, copy the data.

However, before you'll do this, I strongly advise to have clones (or images) of all three drives, to be sure that if something goes wrong, you have a recovery plan. Yes, that's expensive, but if you aren't ready to pay the expense, why are you so worried about the data?

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    Even if the Linux MD driver does not recognize them out of the box, in Linux one can try different RAID geometries and stripe sizes until something mountable emerges out of the ashes.
    – fraxinus
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 19:19
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    Yes. And one can also use device mapper overlays to not to alter data on hard disks and write any changes made during recovery to additional media. But I'd rather not require understanding of Linux that deep from Windows admin who supposedly doesn't have backups, who used fake RAID and doesn't even know which RAID level it has. Commented Jul 27, 2022 at 3:27
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    Just make sure to read the docs and maybe even test (on loop devices) to make sure that your attempts don't cause the kernel's RAID subsystem to start resilvering the array (in a wrong/broken configuration it might think the array is bad and needs resilvering) and nuking your data. Take snapshots of the drives with dd, uploading those to cloud storage (AWS, Backblaze, rsync.net, etc) if you don't have local drives to store them so you can restore those back onto the original drives and try again if you screw up. Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 11:52

That was end of life'd a decade ago dude! fortunately that's not a very clever disk controller, it's just a fairly normal Intel RST so there's only so many configurations it could be; R0 - unlikely, R1 - probably not give the three disks, R10 - can't be done with three disks, R5 - highly advised to move away from but probably quite likely.

I'd say try the R5 config, again fortunately there's no set role for any given disk in an R5 array so setting it to R5 I'd guess has a >50% chance of working.

If that doesn't work you're just going to have to wipe the array, restore from last backup and deal with the missing gap data.

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