RECOVERING A SENTINEL DX4000 – Important Details Not in the Documentation

You will need to know all this information if you are planning to recover a WD Sentinel DX4000 or build one from scratch. Only, these details are either not in the documentation, or hidden in various corners where they don’t become significant until you are trying to solve a failure. Here are the items that, had I known, would have foreshortened the recovery process for me by three days. NOTE: You still need to follow the recovery process on the WD Support pages (WD Sentinel DX4000 or RX4100: Reset to Detault (Recovery)). These notes merely augment that process.

  1. ISO IMAGE AND VIRTUAL DRIVE: You will need a valid image (ISO). You can download the image from WD Sentinel DX4000 or RX4100: Reset to Detault (Recovery) , selecting your own region (mine was PAN/AM). If you don’t have a blueray DVD burner and dual layer DVDs, then you will need to find and load virtual disk software. I used Gizmo and mounted the ISO as a virtual drive. There are a number of free ones out there. The RECREATE MY STORAGE and RECOVERY applications are on the virtual drive. Navigate to the drive and double click on SETUP.EXE to start the process.
    As for the image itself, there are those who urge you to check the hash code. Personally, if the download was clean, then the Hash is almost always fine. And that is usually not the problem.
  2. CLEAN the disks. If your disks are new or you don’t care about your data, you will need to CLEAN the drives (i.e. wipe the disk configuration information). . To do this, connect each disk to a worker PC (both the power and SATA cables). Then, in the command line on Windows, run diskpart (the disk partitioner). Use these commands:

list disk (find out which disk is the new one you just attached)
select disk n (where n is the disk number. It is usually disk 1)
clean (It is nearly instantaneous)

  1. USB THUMB DRIVE: Regardless of what the documentation says, you can only use a 16 Gb or 32 Gb drive. Nothing else will work. (I lost a day because I didn’t know this). You will be creating, first, a RECREATE MY STORAGE thumb drive and, when that is completed, a RECOVERY thumb drive. These processes go pretty quickly. You can use the same thumb drive for both, if you don’t mind regenerating the drive. If you don’t use a 16 or 32 Gb thumb, the recovery process will hang at “INITIALIZING OK STARTING RECOVERY”. If you do everything correctly, the whole storage creation process takes about 5 minutes. If you go any longer, your process is hung. Stop it, find and correct your error and start over. I lost a day on this one waiting for STARTING RECOVERY to complete.
  2. WHITELISTS: On each thumb drive, in the WDRECOVERY directory are two whitelists: WHITELISTK.XML and WHITELISTS.XML. Make sure the drives you have are listed in here. The likelihood is, if you are using new disks, they will not match the whitelist. Your storage recreation will fail unless you edit BOTH whitelists on BOTH the RECREATE MY STORAGE thumb drive and the RECOVERY thumb drive. My drives were WD2002FYPS-01U1B1. That isn’t in the whitelist. Edit the whitelists (I use notepad) and add a line using the format of one of the other lines to include your drive type in the list. If you don’t, you will get an INVALID CONFIG error.
  3. If you have RECREATED STORAGE successfully, and then start to run the RECOVERY process, you should know that it takes a long time to format the drives. Just to format two 2Tb drives took eight hours, setting up as RAID 1. Setting up a RAID 5 box with four 4 Tb drives will take several days.
  4. LEAVE THE worker PC ON. You should be following the Recovery process on your PC where you have the ISO image virtually mounted and where you created the thumb drives. A dislog box will open on the PC, find your DX4000 and connect to it. You will follow along with the drive format, copying software and setup. When the process completes, you will go to a website (actually a webpage from your new server), which will guide you through additional setup, like server name, password, and other details. The URL is something like http:// where server ip is the IP address of your new server, which should be visible on the blue display on the DX face. Don’t skip this step.
  5. Also, you should know that you can log in to your new server using RDC (Remote Desktop Connection) to either the server name or the IP address and …
    Username: Administrator
    Password: .

These DX4000 are pretty finicky and “brittle” as we used to call it in software development. There is little or no leeway for error and little error handling. But, if you do it exactly right, it will work.

Thanks for making this clear -when you edited the whitelist did you you edit all the information ie. size and etype


Sorrrrrrrrry for the very late response. Yes, I edited all the info to make the size and type match. If you say your 4 TB drive is a 2 TB then that’s all it will use. So, you have to correct the ssize and type.

Fort those who are not IT professionals, it important to understand the difference between :

  1. Restoring the system, which involves the risk of destroying data that would otherwise be recoverable.
  2. Restoring the data, which must be done first (unless you don’t care about the data you lost)

Even if you renounce recovering lost data, checking the hard drives individually for possible S.M.A.R.T. errors is advised before reinstalling the system. Crashes of the system are often caused by some bad sectors (= unreadable data) in the system partition. If a hard drive is defective, it must be replaced by one of the same model.

For those interested, we offer professional data recovery service and have (sucessful) experience with recovering data in RAID 5 from the Western Digital Sentinel DX4000.
You can and contact us (no matter your country).

Just wanted to say Thank you. your information was the missing piece in getting my DX4000 up and running!!!


THANKS! After 8 years of dedicated service, my DX4000 was stuck on Loading OS and would never boot up. I’m fairly positive it was because the C: drive was out of space. My space was getting limited after years of doing updates. I really had no additional applications on C:. I think it my DX4000 did a reboot and the OS couldn’t load.

I followed your process and the process in the link and eventually got my DX4000 back up and accessed all the data!! The only issue the first time was at “Initial Config. 93%” one of my drives failed and things froze. I took it out and put it back in. I eventually got a “Startup Failed: 0xD9” error and re-ran the rebuild from scratch and it worked. Now it says drive 4 failed, but I’m at least up an running and got all my data off the drives (which was the goal).

The only note is that during the Initial Config process, it would go back to Startup Initializing and Loading OS a couple times.

Overall this old workhorse did what is was supposed to do…i.e. not lose data! I purchased a Buffalo Windows NAS to replace it as I like Windows NAS. I’m going to fix the other drive and keep it as backup.

Once again thanks for ALL the help.


One thing to add, it appears the flash drive to recreate the storage (the RAID) works only once and then needs to be recreated for another attempt, as it saves some data on it and errors on a second attempt. Took me also one day to find this out :slight_smile: Now I am stuck with a 16GB flash drive that refuses to start recovery, I find some log file on it that partitions were not found or so :frowning: However earlier it used to work with this flash drive.

I am using the original WD hard disks that came with this crazy box, and I remember that I used the very same USB flash drives two years ago or so, when it all worked just fine.

This weekend I was tempted throwing this crazy thing out of the window, 2nd floor :)))


I confirm from experience every time you need to create a new USB drive from the recovery DVD. This is valid especially to re-create the partitions. It is also advisable to have all files “clean” by using on a separate PC diskpart (dos)