How to recover data from Synology Diskstation DS120j NAS

Is your network drive gone, and you are wondering what to do? Has a RAID system crashed, and your files are no longer accessible? Does your device display an error while booting? Have you accidentally rebuilt your RAID system? Are several hard disks out of order?

How to recover data from NAS Synology Diskstation DS120j

Synology Diskstation DS120j NAS Data Recovery in 2024

In this step-by-step tutorial, we’ll show you how to rebuild your RAID and recover data from Diskstation DS120j.

How to recover data from NAS Synology Diskstation DS120j

Recover data from damaged RAID arrays inaccessible from a computer.

Why can’t ordinary software tools restore files from RAID?

Conventional hard disks keep user’s data by writing it to their surface in a consecutive way, and this is how an entire file is stored on a single hard disk. However, when data is written to a RAID system, a file is divided into several parts. Then these parts are written consecutively to all hard disks within such array. The size of such parts may range from 2 KB to 2 MB, so each file is stored on several hard disks at the same time.

Such approach helps to speed up read and write operations, and it is evident that saving two parts of a file having the size of 1 GB to two hard disks simultaneously is much faster than saving the same 1 GB of data to one hard disk. However, this peculiarity makes file recovery more complicated.

Various RAID levels store information in different ways. Additionally, manufacturers like Synology also introduce some modifications to this process, and that is why data can be written to hard disk in a wide variety of ways.

Can device firmware rollback or downgrading impact data loss risks for NAS Synology Diskstation DS120j devices?

Rolling back or downgrading the firmware on a NAS Synology Diskstation DS120j device can potentially impact data loss risks.

When you perform a firmware rollback, you are reverting the device to a previous version of the firmware. This can introduce compatibility issues with newer software, security vulnerabilities, or bug fixes that were addressed in the updated firmware.

If the firmware rollback process is not performed correctly or if there are any issues during the process, it can lead to data corruption or loss. It is essential to have a proper backup of your data before attempting any firmware rollback or downgrading.

Additionally, it is recommended to consult the manufacturer's documentation or seek assistance from their support team to ensure that the rollback process is done correctly and to minimize the risk of data loss.

How to take hard disks out of the NAS and connect them to a PC?

Although NAS Diskstation DS120j can be accessed over the network, you still need to take the hard disks out of the storage device and connect them to a Windows computer. Only in this case will the software be able to scan them properly. Here is what you should do:

  1. Turn off the storage and disconnect it from the power supply.

    WARNING! Before you start taking hard disks out of your NAS device, read the manual carefully. Incorrect actions may damage your network-attached storage and/or the hard disks within the RAID system.

  2. Take the hard disks out of the NAS one by one, carefully removing them from their slots. Remember that the disks are extremely vulnerable: hitting or dropping them may result in serious physical damage.

  3. Make sure to mark each hard disk in accordance with how they were installed inside the NAS.

  4. Remove the hard disks and connect them to the computer. In this video, we have explored what ports are used to connect hard disks, and what to do if there are not enough ports or connectors.

    Go to view
    How to Order Remote Data Recovery

    How to Order Remote Data Recovery

Restoring data with Hetman RAID Recovery

Hetman Raid Recovery

This program recovers data from damaged RAID arrays and is fully compatible with Synology Diskstation DS120j. The hard disks that make up the RAID contain technical information about the algorithm used to save files. When launched, Hetman RAID Recovery reads this information and puts the damaged array together. Then you can open the disk and save your files. Also, you can recover the files accidentally deleted from the network drive.

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How to recover data from a Synology

How to recover data from a Synology

Diskstation DS120j has 1 HDD slots, and it supports the following array types:

  • Basic;

NAS supports:

  • EXT4;
  • EXT3 (External Disk Only);
  • FAT (External Disk Only);
  • exFAT (External Disk Only);
  • NTFS (External Disk Only);
  • HFS+ (External Disk Only);

Safe recovery from disk images

This utility lets you save an entire copy of the disk to file and then work with this image instead of the actual disk. Such feature helps to protect data on the disk from:

  • Overwriting during the recovery process;
  • Loss resulting from bad sectors;
  • User mistakes.

To create an image, do the following:

  1. Make sure that you have enough free space to save the image. The image file size usually equals the disk size.

  2. Select the disk in the main window, and choose from the menu ToolsSave Disk. You can select multiple disks to be saved.

  3. When the image creation wizard starts, you can choose to save the entire disk or select only a part of it. Specify the parameters and click Next.

    Hetman Raid Recovery: Image Creation Wizard
  4. At this stage, you need to choose a directory where to save the image. Choose any disk connected to this PC, or save the image by FTP.

    Hetman Raid Recovery: hoose any disk connected to this PC, or save the image by FTP

Where are user’s files stored?

The Synology Diskstation DS120j network-attached storage keeps DSM (DiskStation Manager) operating system files on a separate RAID 1 (mirrored) array. Usually, all NAS systems create several volumes on every hard disk, and the first of them takes up to 2 Gb of space. This is where operating system files are stored. Other volumes are united into a RAID array where user’s data is written.

Comparison of software for RAID recovery

Product Operating system License type RAID controller support Supported file systems Virtual RAID controller support Data recovery from damaged RAID File preview
Hetman RAID Recovery Windows Paid Yes, over 100 controllers FAT, NTFS, Ext2/3/4, HFS+ Yes Yes Yes
DiskInternals RAID Recovery Windows Paid Yes, over 100 controllers FAT, NTFS, Ext2/3/4, HFS+ No Yes Yes
R-Studio Windows, Mac, Linux Paid Yes, over 200 controllers FAT, NTFS, Ext2/3/4, HFS+ Yes Yes Yes
UFS Explorer RAID Recovery Windows, Mac, Linux Paid Yes, over 1,000 controllers FAT, NTFS, Ext2/3/4, HFS+ Yes Yes Yes
EaseUS Data Recovery Windows Paid Yes, over 20 controllers FAT, NTFS, Ext2/3/4, HFS+ No Yes Yes
ReclaiMe Free RAID Recovery Windows Free Yes, over 100 controllers FAT, NTFS, Ext2/3/4, HFS+ Yes Yes Yes


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Comments (1)

  • Hetman Software: Data Recovery
    Hetman Software: Data Recovery 9.08.2022 12:31 #
    If you want to ask a question about data recovery, from NAS Diskstation DS120j, feel free to leave a comment!
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Vladimir Artiukh

Author: Vladimir Artiukh, Technical Writer

Vladimir Artiukh is a technical writer for Hetman Software, as well as the voice and face of their English-speaking YouTube channel, Hetman Software: Data Recovery for Windows. He handles tutorials, how-tos, and detailed reviews on how the company’s tools work with all kinds of data storage devices.

Oleg Afonin

Editor: Oleg Afonin, Technical Writer

Oleg Afonin is an expert in mobile forensics, data recovery and computer systems. He often attends large data security conferences, and writes several blogs for such resources as, Elcomsoft and Habr. In addition to his online activities, Oleg’s articles are also published in professional magazines. Also, Oleg Afonin is the co-author of a well-known book, Mobile Forensics - Advanced Investigative Strategies.


Questions and answers

  • What are the key features of the Synology DiskStation DS120j NAS?

    The key features of the Synology DiskStation DS120j NAS are:

    1. Compact and affordable: The DS120j is a budget-friendly NAS that offers a compact form factor, making it suitable for home users and small offices.
    2. Storage capacity: It supports a single 3.5" or 2.5" SATA hard drive, allowing you to store and share files, photos, videos, and documents.
    3. Data protection: The DS120j supports RAID 1, which provides data redundancy by mirroring data across two drives. This protects your data in case of drive failure.
    4. Easy setup and management: Synology's DiskStation Manager (DSM) operating system provides an intuitive web-based interface for easy setup and management of the NAS. It offers a range of applications and features to enhance productivity and data management.
    5. Multimedia streaming: The DS120j supports multimedia streaming to various devices, such as TVs, computers, and mobile devices. It can transcode media files on-the-fly, ensuring smooth playback on different devices.
    6. File sharing and syncing: It allows you to create shared folders and set access permissions for multiple users. You can also sync files across multiple devices using Synology's Cloud Station Suite.
    7. Backup and restore: The DS120j offers various backup options, including local backups to external drives, network backups to other Synology NAS devices, and cloud backups to services like Amazon S3 and Synology C2.
    8. Mobile apps: Synology provides mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, allowing you to access and manage your NAS remotely. You can also back up photos and videos from your mobile device to the NAS.
    9. Energy-efficient: The DS120j is designed to be energy-efficient, consuming very little power when idle or in use. This helps reduce electricity costs and environmental impact.
    10. Expandable functionality: You can install additional packages and applications from Synology's Package Center to expand the functionality of the DS120j. This includes features like surveillance, website hosting, and more.
  • How does the DS120j NAS facilitate data storage and backup for home users?

    The DS120j NAS (Network Attached Storage) facilitates data storage and backup for home users in several ways:

    1. Centralized Storage: The DS120j provides a centralized storage solution for all your digital content, including photos, videos, documents, and other files. It offers a dedicated storage location that can be accessed by all devices on your home network, such as computers, smartphones, and smart TVs.
    2. File Sharing: With the NAS, you can easily share files with family members or friends. It allows you to create user accounts with different access privileges, so you can control who can access specific files or folders. This makes it convenient for sharing photos, videos, or documents with others.
    3. Automatic Backup: The DS120j NAS helps in safeguarding your data by providing automatic backup options. It allows you to schedule regular backups of your important files from various devices connected to the network. This ensures that your files are protected in case of accidental deletion, hardware failure, or other data loss situations.
    4. Syncing and Versioning: The NAS supports file syncing and versioning, which means that any changes made to a file on one device will be automatically synchronized across all devices connected to the NAS. It also keeps track of different versions of the same file, allowing you to revert to previous versions if needed.
    5. Mobile Access: Synology, the company behind DS120j, provides mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. These apps allow you to access and manage your files stored on the NAS from anywhere, using your smartphone or tablet. You can upload, download, or stream media files, as well as perform other tasks like sharing files or managing backups.
    6. Multimedia Streaming: The DS120j NAS can act as a media server, allowing you to stream multimedia content directly to compatible devices, such as smart TVs or media players. It supports various media formats and can transcode videos on-the-fly, ensuring smooth playback on different devices.

    Overall, the DS120j NAS simplifies data storage and backup for home users by providing a secure and accessible centralized storage solution, along with features like automatic backups, file sharing, syncing, and multimedia streaming.

  • Can you explain the basic networking and connectivity options available on the Synology DiskStation DS120j?

    The Synology DiskStation DS120j offers various networking and connectivity options to ensure seamless connectivity and accessibility. Here are the basic options available:

    1. Ethernet Port: The DS120j has a Gigabit Ethernet port that allows you to connect it to your local network using an Ethernet cable. This provides a stable and high-speed connection for data transfer and accessing the DiskStation from other devices on the network.
    2. USB Ports: The DS120j has two USB 2.0 ports that allow you to connect external devices such as USB drives, printers, or UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) units. These ports enable you to expand storage capacity or share USB devices over the network.
    3. File Sharing Protocols: The DiskStation supports various file sharing protocols, including SMB (Server Message Block), AFP (Apple Filing Protocol), FTP (File Transfer Protocol), and WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning). These protocols enable seamless file sharing and access across different operating systems and devices.
    4. Synology QuickConnect: QuickConnect is a feature that allows you to access your DiskStation remotely over the internet without the need for complex router configurations. By signing in to your Synology account, you can easily access your files, manage settings, and stream multimedia content from anywhere.
    5. Synology Drive: Synology Drive is a file synchronization and sharing service that allows you to access and sync files across multiple devices. It provides a seamless and secure way to access your files on the go, whether you are using a computer, mobile device, or web browser.
    6. Mobile Apps: Synology offers a range of mobile apps (DS file, DS audio, DS photo, DS video, etc.) that allow you to access and manage your DiskStation from your smartphone or tablet. These apps provide convenient access to your files, multimedia content, and other DiskStation features.
    7. DLNA/UPnP Support: The DS120j supports DLNA/UPnP protocols, allowing you to stream multimedia content stored on the DiskStation to compatible devices such as smart TVs, gaming consoles, or media players.

    These are some of the basic networking and connectivity options available on the Synology DiskStation DS120j. The device provides a versatile and user-friendly platform for file storage, sharing, and remote access.

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