My Cloud EX4 - all drives failed due to lightning strike


This is my first post, so please be gentle with me :slight_smile:. Sorry for the length of the post but I thought I would give you as much information as I could.

I am in the UK. We had a direct lightning strike on our house recently. It went down the TV aerial and into the TV, which was also connected to my wired internet system, which in turn was connected to the EX4. Everything connected to the local network was trashed.

The front panel of the EX4 says ‘Drive failure in bays 1, 2, 3, 4.’ The box has four 3TB WD Red drives in a RAID 5 (I think) configuration. I had about 3TB of data on it, including music and video files. I did a backup about 4 months ago, so I have some of the files, but not the most recent ones. It would be good to get the data back if I can.

I rang WD support but they said the box was out of warranty and referred me to one of their data recovery partners. I’m thinking that this could be an expensive option so I’ve been exploring other things first.

I removed one drive and connected it to my laptop (running Windows 10) via a USB caddy. It could not see anything on it and asked if I wanted to format it. I declined.

A friend of mine has a Linux PC. He was able to see data and partitions on the drives, but could not access any files. I am assuming this is because of the way that the data is written across all 4 drives. So it would appear that the data is ok on the drives, it is just the EX4 that is trashed.

I rang a local computer repair shop and they said they might be able to rebuild the array and extract the data, but no guarantee that it could be done.

My insurance company have authorised replacement hardware, so I plan on purchasing an EX4100 and four new 3TB Red drives.

My questions (at last!!) are as follows:

  1. Is there anything else I can try before I go any further?
  2. If I get the new EX4100 up and running and configured in RAID 5 mode, could I then insert all four of the old disks (in the correct order) into the new box and be able to see the data, or would it not recognise them?
  3. What are the chances of my local computer repair shop extracting any data, or does it need specialist software or WD software to do it?
  4. Should I just bite the bullet and get the data recovery specialists to try it?

Thanks in advance for your help

Hello edpearson,

As per the information you provided there could be two possibilities either the drive has failed or due to lightning the EX4 enclosure have failed. It seems you have already performed all the possible troubleshooting steps .

However, as the drive is getting recognized on a Linux pc and you are able to see the data then you may try the drives in a different enclosure configured in RAID 5 mode arranged in a correct order.

If you are unable to recover the data through a new enclosure then you may try contacting any data recovery company or local store to recover the data for you.

You may refer to the below link to know how you can move hard drives from one My Cloud enclosure to the same or upgraded My Cloud enclosure (RAID roaming)

Hello Peter

Thanks for this, it is very useful to know. Will I need to install 4 new drives in the new NAS box and configure them in RAID 5 before swapping in the old drives, or can I just install the old drives in the new box and it will recognise the existing RAID configuration?

I will be ordering the new NAS box today and will let you know how I get on.

Hi edpearson,

I would recommend you to first try installing all the 4 old drives in the new NAS box in the correct order in which they which they were installed before. Else, you can install all the 4 new drives in the new NAS box and configure it in RAID 5. You may refer to the link below:

Thanks Peter,

I did as you said and the new NAS recognised the old drives and the RAID Roaming conversion was successsful. I couldn’t get the PC to recognise the NAS once this was done, but a call to WD Support and a reset got everything running just fine (thanks Demi).

Thanks for all your help, much appreciated :smile:

Hi edpearson ,

Glad to hear that your issue has fixed. We appreciate your feedback.

Thank You!