Recovering a RAID 1 drive

I have a couple of the My Book dual drive RAID 1 devices.  It all works great.  My question is what do I do if the chassis fails? 

Say I get a power surge that fries the chassis electronics, and perhaps one of the 2 drives.  What are my options on recovering the data on the good drive given that the chassis is now useless?

I ask because I’ve been told there is no standard for how RAID 1 drives are formatted, so a drive from one manufacturer RAID 1 chasis may not be readable in a RAID 1 chassis from a different company.  That all RAID 1 drives are not necessarily formatted in the same way.

So if the chassis is fried, how can I recover what’s on the drive(s)?



Put the drives in a new chassis.

By the time I need to recover my data, Western Digital may no longer exist, or no longer sells compatible chassis.

Well, the short answer is, if it’s that critical, you need to back up your data.   (And no, RAID is *not* a backup.)

Long answer:  No one can predict the state technology at some point in the future.  So it’s very difficult to tell you how to recover your data X years from now…

Does anyone else know enough about how Western Digital RAID 1 format to be able to confirm it is either possible or not possible to get the files off a still good RAID 1 drive with no Western Digital chassis?  Hardware wise, the drives are standard SATA drives so could I put the remaining good one in a PC using a SATA cable and use Windows be able to access the data?  Linux?


The drives are Linux formatted. They should be accessible with DiskInternals Linux Reader-

It shoulld also be possible to get at them with a Linux Live Boot CD.  (use the Linux boot option, default settings.)


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Thank you very much!  Just the info I was hoping for.  I’m downloading the programs from those sites.  The Windows program looks very easy to use.


You are welcome! I hope things work as they should.

Well, this turned out to be easier than I thought.  As I said, I was told by multiple techs that RAID drives are proprietary and non-standard, and so are useless without the chassis it was written in.

To test if the Linux reader solution was going to work (before I needed it), I bought a very cheap (<$20) SATA drive to USB docking station so I wouldn’t have to disassemble my PC.

I have 2 of the mirror devices from Western Digital, a My Book Mirror and a My  Book Studio Edition.  I removed drive B from the My Book Mirror.  I started the Disk Internals Linux reader program and plopped the drive in in the docking station.

Much to my surprise Windows mounted it without needing the Linux reader.  It showed up as a very standard NTFS volume with the whole drive accessible without needing the reader and using the standard Windows Explorer.

Thinking there might be a difference in the 2 boxes, I then tried the B drive from the Studio Edition.  Same thing.  It reads just find without needing any help from Disk Internals.

So, the RAID advice I got may not be entirely true, at least not for these Western Digital RAID 1 mirror drives.  They appear to be entirely standard NTFS volumes.

It may be that the chassis is using a reserved area of each drive to work this magic, but whatever they’re doing doesn’t seem to affect Windows at all.

So this is very good news and makes recovery of my data MUCH easier even if the chassis goes up in smoke.

Quick note to the Googlers, the drives are a very tight friction fit in the chassis and require substantial effort to slide them out.


a “divorced” RAID1 partition is readable as standalone partitions in almost every case I’ve seen.

The difference between the MBLD, Studio Edition, and Mirror is the format of the partitions.

The MBLD use EXT4 for the data partition, while the SE and Mirror use NTFS.

You WILL need LinuxInternals to read the partitions of the MBLD.

Ok, thanks.  Do you know if the WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo is Linux or NTFS?

Oh, I see.  The Thunderbold one is MAC only at this point.

And there is no  PC RAID 1 USB 3.0 model of the My Book line.


Thanks for sharing your discoveries. There are so many models out there it is hard to keep track. I am glad to pick up another piece of information.