RAID 5 data recovery is possible in most cases, but if two disks from the array fail, you will almost always need to engage a data recovery expert. 
With excellent redundancy for single disk failure, RAID 5 is a resilient storage solution, but for situations where multiple disks fail, the sooner you engage a professional the better. 
We are happy to recommend a qualified expert to increase your chances of a full recovery. 

RAID 5 data recovery 

Here we discuss various aspects of RAID 5 recovery, including how to recover data after a system failure, and what steps you can take to improve your recovery results. 
We also cover RAID 5 recovery software options, as well as some information regarding potential fees for data recovery from RAID 5.  

What is RAID 5? 

A redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID), is a data storage solution that blends efficiency and scalability with good redundancy in most cases. If the data is of high value, or the costs of downtime and restoration delays would be problematic, then a RAID array is a sensible investment. 
There are essentially two types of RAID, namely software RAID and hardware RAID. Software RAID benefits from the operating system organising data over a number of disks, hardware RAID sees a RAID controller carry out this function.  
RAID 5 is popular as an option because it uses a portion of your disk capacity (usually a third) to build redundancy by saving a parity checksum. This information is used to reconstruct missing data when a drive fails, by essentially telling the system what data needs to be added to the surviving data to get back to the state that the checksum describes.  
This means that (usually automatically) the system can recover from a single drive failure, and recreate the missing data on the fly (with a minimal degradation is data access speed in most cases). Usually the system administrator would heed the warning from the server after a drive failure and replace the faulty drive to reinstate the redundancy. 
When this doesn't happen, however, and the system is running in a degraded state, a second drive failure can be devastating and render all data inaccessible. This can also happen when two drives fail in quick succession. 
In summary, RAID 5 is a reasonably cost-effective storage solution with excellent resilience after a single drive failure. This redundancy quickly disappears when more than one drive is allowed to fail however, almost always requiring an expert data recovery company to resolve.  
RAID 5 data recovery provided by Data Recovery Compared

Is data recovery from RAID 5 possible? 

As with most data recovery scenarios, the cause of the data loss largely dictates the success of the recovery, but it is also important to pay attention to the first steps taken to rectify the situation, as the wrong approach can cause irreparable damage to your data. 
With RAID 5 systems, as previously mentioned, recovery after a single drive failure should be more or less automated as the parity checksum effectively carries out a data recovery on the fly. Provided the failed drive is replaced quickly, you should be back up and running at full speed with zero data loss very quickly. 
Major problems occur, however, when more than one disk fails, and this is when you would be well advised to speak to a data recovery expert. 
In many cases, a second disk will fail many months after the first, leading to data loss because the first wasn't replaced. In other cases multiple disk failure might be the result of a natural disaster like a flood, or the result of a building fire or similar.  
Under these circumstances, as with all physically or electromechanically-damaged media requiring recovery, the equipment will need to be sent to a facility that has a Class 100 (or better) clean room environment. 
Here, a data recovery engineer will attempt a temporary repair in order to get the media to a state where the data can be read and copied from the failed device to a more stable environment. It is imperative that the best possible percentage of the data is extracted at this stage, as this will make a successful data recovery more likely. 
This step can be exceptionally difficult, especially if the media is in a failing state that potentially causes more damage to the data area every time access is attempted, and should only be performed by a professional data recovery engineer. 
Once the best possible image of the data has been extracted, it falls on the data recovery software engineer to use software tools and a wealth of experience to rebuild the data structures and turn the raw data back into usable files for the customer. 
Often, this will require assistance from the research and development team, especially if the way the controller has configured the data is particularly complicated. 
It is not uncommon for all of the following RAID and system types to be recoverable after failure: 
HP ProLiant 
Dell PowerEdge  
SQL Server 
Most operating systems 
Most file systems 

 What can I expect to pay for RAID 5 data recovery? 

There are many different factors that influence data recovery from RAID 5 disk arrays, and as a result the fees you can expect to pay vary significantly, usually on a case by case basis. 
These variables include the severity of any physical damage to the disks, the nature of any logical data structure damage and what percentage of the data has been lost, the timescales you need to have the data recovered within, and whether or not custom-developed tools will be required.  
The table below therefore shows some common average or estimated fees charged by some of the more competent data recovery companies, so you have at least a ballpark idea as to what you will likely need to pay for a successful recovery. 
These fees will need to be balanced against the costs of recreating the lost data, or the impact simply of living without it - only you can know the value of your data, and in some cases paying for a recovery cannot be justified. 
Industry average* 
Standard service 
Emergency service 
Initial consultation 
Device evaluation 
RAID 5 recovery 
R&D surcharge 
On-site surcharge 
$1,000-$2,500 per day 
$2,500-$5,000 per day 
*Fees will vary, but beware selecting a company based on their price alone - you generally get what you pay for in the data recovery industry. Usually $1 = €1 = £1 regionally. These fees are common for all RAID arrays including RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.  
To summarise, you should expect the initial phone consultation to be free, with a modest fee charged for the evaluation -this is an important step that will largely determine the chance of recovery and associated fee. You can then make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed to the recovery itself. 
If the recovery quotation is excessive, or the result unlikely to be of a high enough quality, then you should be under no pressure to go ahead. Check whether or not the recovery charge includes any R&D fees however, as these are usually charged on top (where necessary), and can be significant. 
The cost of a RAID 5 data recovery service often represents a good outlay versus the value of the data however, but be sure to only engage with a qualified and credible company though as an amateur attempt can do more harm than good. 

Can I use RAID 5 data recovery software? 

There are many RAID 5 data recovery software products on the market, prominent ones include the offerings from Diskinternals, RecoverHDD, ReclaiMe, EaseUS, Stellar and Ontrack. 
In some cases, these can be very effective tools and are worthy of review. However, unless you have experience of using these products, we recommend only attempting to use them on a copy of your data.  
Frequently, commercial products are a little heavy-handed and therefore you need to know that you have a Plan B (or can at least roll back any changes) should the outcome be less than good.  
Equally it is imperative that you do not install any software product directly onto a disk that needs recovering, as you will potentially be overwriting valuable data in doing so, which would usually then be lost forever. 
Lastly, make sure you do not run a software tool on a system that is suffering from any physical damage - these devices need to be sent to a lab, and by continuing to attempt data access on a physically damaged device you are risking further data loss. 
So whilst RAID 5 data recovery software free or paid exist, and in some cases can be very effective, we would always urge extreme caution, and if the data is of value then call an expert first to make sure that is the right step. As mentioned before, this advice should be free, and might well be the difference between getting all of your data back, or none.  
To see our recommended RAID 5 data recovery software tools for your situation, simply click the button below:  

How do I increase my chances of data recovery from RAID 5? 

Do not underestimate the challenges of data recovery RAID 5 or any other level, because if data loss exists despite the in-built redundancy of your system then usually the cause and solution will be complicated. It takes 5 minutes to speak to an expert, and we highly recommend this as a very first step. 
Click below if you would like to speak to a recommended local expert, and improve your recovery chances: 
When selecting a data recovery company to assist you, there are a few things worth looking out for: 
Evidence of a class 100 clean room, to help overcome physical issues. 
Valid security / confidentiality credentials, to protect your valuable data assets. 
In-house R&D resources, as RAID 5 recovery can necessitate custom-developed tools.  
A good range of independent reviews, not just those from aggregator sites. 
A transparent pricing structure, which guarantees no fix, no fee. 
Due to the fact that data recovery is not an exact science, recovery can rarely be guaranteed. But by following the advice here you will increase your chances of a successful outcome. 
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