Recovering files from a Lacie Ethernet Disk

Recently my LaCie Ethernet Disk Mini failed to switch off. A quick search around the Internet suggests that the power supply had to be replaced.

Now the appliance requires a special power supply which costs about $50 to replace. This is too expensive, so I rather void the warranty and try to recover the data on the drive myself.

The Ethernet Disk Mini is essentially a standard ATA hard disk, coupled with a firmware running on a variant of Linux. Opening up the casing revealed that the disk uses a standard Serial ATA interface. (Some older disks may still be using a Parallel ATA interface.

So far, so good. I disconnected the drive from the casing and connected it to my PC. The next challenge was to discover how the data is stored on the hard disk.

The hard disk is divided up into 5 or so partitions, with one of them holding data, and the remainder holding the firmware and the Linux swap partition.

Originally I thought that the data partition was formatted as a FAT32 partition, but I was mistaken. It turned out that the more recent Lacie drives are formatted using the XFS file system.

Windows can't read data from XFS file systems, which meant I had to somehow install Linux to read the data. Although quite involved, the instructions provided by polishlinux.org on installing coLinux on Windows did the trick.

And now I have all the data restored, and a spare 500GB SATA hard disk!

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