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How NAS Data Recovery Works


Your Network Attached Storage could last you 10 years if you maintain it well. But don't count on that. You should probably be replacing your NAS every few years and making sure you've got a good NAS data recovery plan at hand.For enterprise companies, you could be talking about millions of dollars of work that's stored on some NAS devices. A storm could cause a power surge that zaps your NAS. If you have a shared device with lots of people checking in code, you could open yourself up to malware and need to wipe it.Data loss is frustrating because of lost information, lost productivity, or lost profit. Thankfully NAS data recovery is possible.Here is a rundown of how NAS devices and data recovery work then how to prepare yourself for emergencies.


NAS Device Overview

NAS has a broad meaning, defined by pretty much any kind of storage you can connect to over a network. Some people have them in their homes for storing their media, games, and family photos. Businesses use them so that teams dispersed all over the building or the world can check in code to build software.These can be great tools for collaboration between teams. But like any other kinds of storage, they are dangerous when you trust in them too much.Always back up your data. And always back up your backup.For enterprises and large companies, it's important that you have a strong network admin team on hand to deal with issues. Your team could struggle with a NAS down for even just a few hours.


NAS versus External HD

One of the first visual differences you might notice between a NAS and an external HD is that there is no USB port to connect your computer to. Instead, your NAS will have an ethernet port to plug into your router. If you see a USB port, it's intended to connect to another NAS device.This allows multiple devices to exchange and store data to the NAS. A smaller NAS will have one large-capacity hard drive stored inside. More heavy duty enterprise models will have more than one. NAS devices with two drives can be configured as a mirrored array to automatically backup the storage on your first.Most will be set up in a RAID 1, 5, or 6 Configuration.Any individual or company working in media might want to consider having multiple drives in an array. As images, video, or audio can't always be recaptured, this will allow your data to be protected.


What's Inside A NAS Device

External hard drives are typically just one high-capacity, heavy-duty hard drive. That's it.A NAS is typically constructed like a small computer with a daughterboard and other hardware to process data.

Because connecting to a network takes a lot more work than tethering directly to a computer, there's some additional hardware a NAS needs. It will have its own CPU, RAM, and a fan for cooling down the drives inside. There will also be a small receiver/transmitter for connecting via Wi-Fi. If you're so inclined, you could even build your own NAS with the right tools.


Recovering Data From A NAS Device

Data can be deleted by accident or on purpose. You could have an automatically scheduled data deletion process where you take images of all of the data every 6 hours and delete the oldest backup. This is great for preparing for human error.This is also a problem if you decide to roll back the project to a previous time, before the oldest backup.Human error can also get in the way when dealing with an IT department. Perhaps your IT staff was supposed to re-image NAS number 123ABC but accidentally wiped NAS number 123XYZ. This happens all the time with large companies.This is where data recovery software steps in.When data is deleted, it's often overwritten. But often, traces of the data are left behind and might be usable. Whether its half of a text document or spreadsheet, a single image that was part of a large folder or a short video clip, traces could be left.Data recovery software crawls through the hard drive and searches for pieces that might be left. It can match and combine pieces, presenting them in a repairable form.Data recovery software can find executable files, media, and compressed files. Strong NAS data recovery software should be able to put together files regardless of the storage method or organizational pattern used.Most often, people seek to recover data from USB or HDs, but data can be recovered from anything from a NAS to a DVD, an old iPod, or your new phone.If a file is partially overwritten, you might have a challenge recovering and restoring it. But if the window between delete and overwrite is small enough, there might be traces left for NAS data recovery software to put it back together.


Preparing For NAS Data Recovery

If you're facing issues with your NAS and need to recover some old data, it's important to prepare your system and everyone connecting to the NAS. Anyone still connecting to the NAS should cease checking in data and plug into either an external drive or another NAS for the time being.Then set up a Windows computer to connect your NAS devices. Choose your most powerful computer because you're going to need a lot of resources. If you have an option with SATA, go with that as its the fastest connection. Be sure you've got plenty of free space to copy your data to. You can't just rewrite the data to the NAS that you're repairing. You can write your recovered data to any kind of storage system in any kind of configuration.Feel free to copy it over the network to a new NAS if that works best for you.Give yourself time and be patient. It can take several passes to comb through the data. Since you want your data to come back to you as flawlessly as possible, let your NAS data recovery software do its job.There are cases where it takes several days for the process to work. You won't need to necessarily be at the computer at all times but be sure to check in on the process.


Find Software That Works For You

Like any other tech product, you'll need to shop around for the data recovery software that works for you. There are options that are better for smaller budgets, but they might not give you what you need.Recovering data from a NAS device is more complicated than recovering from a USB or an external hard drive. To deal with the physical device, you may need to seek help from a professional.If you're trying to figure out which NAS data recovery software works for you, contact us for a nudge in the right direction.

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