We have been using the marvellous DLINK DNS323 NAS (network attached storage) device on our family network for years now. This device has become the most important part of our digital record keeping. A week ago one of my sons lost his hard drive on his Ubuntu Linux box as the motor died. I felt quite sorry for him and order some new parts, but in the meantime I decided to expedite the recovery process of his Linux box.
Since our DNS323 stores very important information I had setup two Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB hardrives in a RAID 1 configuration. I decided to take the backup drive out of the DNS323 and use it as the replacement drive for my son’s Ubuntu and got him up and running within a few hours (he was very happy). A number of days later our shipment of replacements parts arrived (one of which was an identical Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB drive). I placed the drive into the empty slot (the one on the right hand side) of the DNS323 and followed the prompts in the web configuration page to format the drive as a RAID 1 backup drive. After a few hours i came back to see it seemed stuck at 94% so I checked out on google to see if this was a known issue. Indeed this was a known bug in firmware v 1.06 and the suggestion was to keep trying the format until it works.
Here is where things went bad quickly! After trying the format process 2-3 times and still getting stuck at 94% I thought I would swap the drives place in the DNS323 and did so. I used extreme caution (writing down the new hard drives serial #) while going through the entire process. The next format attempt the firmware said it would format the drive with the NEW serial number but unfortunately due to ANOTHER NASTY BUG in the firmware it formatted the drive in the right hand bay (with all of our data).
Here is what the drive looked like after it was reformatted when I viewed it in Ubuntu’s Partition Manager:
Sadly I tried using a number of data recovery tools like testdisk, gparted, ddrescue etc… but nothing was to help us out of this dilemma. Well we lost a LOT of important stuff to say the least but we all agreed it was a lesson learned and would never be repeated again. We would use FANATICAL caution from now on when dealing with the DNS323 and never use its components for anything other than it sole purpose.
I should mention that afterwards I downloaded the v1.08 beta firmware and it did NOT suffer from the original 94% bug and formatted the second drive just fine. I wish I had known about that before as it would have saved MUCH GRIEF.