How to recover data from Synology DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j 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 DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j

Synology DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j 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 DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j.

How to recover data from NAS Synology DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j

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.

Are there any common mistakes or oversights made by users that can lead to data loss on NAS Synology DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j devices?

Yes, there are several common mistakes or oversights made by users that can lead to data loss on NAS Synology DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j devices. Some of these include:

  1. Lack of regular backups: Many users fail to regularly back up their data stored on the NAS. This can result in permanent data loss if the NAS experiences a hardware failure or if the data becomes corrupted.
  2. Failure to update firmware: Synology regularly releases firmware updates that address security vulnerabilities and improve system stability. Neglecting to update the firmware can leave the NAS vulnerable to attacks and potential data loss.
  3. Inadequate security measures: Weak passwords, open ports, and lack of firewall protection can leave the NAS vulnerable to unauthorized access or hacking attempts. This can result in data theft or loss.
  4. Improper shutdown: Abruptly powering off the NAS without properly shutting it down can lead to data corruption or loss. It is important to follow the correct shutdown procedures to ensure data integrity.
  5. Mishandling of hard drives: Removing or inserting hard drives while the NAS is powered on, or mishandling the drives, can cause physical damage or data corruption. It is crucial to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for handling and installing hard drives.
  6. Overloading the system: Running too many applications or services simultaneously on the NAS can overload the system and result in data loss. Users should ensure that the NAS is not being pushed beyond its capacity.
  7. Ignoring disk health warnings: The NAS provides disk health monitoring and alerts for potential issues. Ignoring these warnings and failing to replace failing or damaged drives can lead to data loss.

To avoid these mistakes and prevent data loss, it is essential to follow best practices such as regularly backing up data, keeping the firmware up to date, implementing strong security measures, properly shutting down the NAS, handling hard drives carefully, avoiding overloading the system, and addressing disk health warnings promptly.

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

Although NAS DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j 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 DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j. 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.

Go to view
How to recover data from a Synology

How to recover data from a Synology

DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j has 2 HDD slots, and it supports the following array types:

  • Synology Hybrid RAID;
  • RAID 1;
  • RAID 0;
  • Basic;
  • JBOD;

NAS supports:

  • EXT4;
  • EXT3 (External Disk Only);
  • FAT32 (External Disk Only);
  • NTFS (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 DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j 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


We will be happy to answer your questions!

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 DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j, 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

  • How do I set up my NAS Synology DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j to automatically save photos from my digital camera?

    To set up your Synology DiskStation to automatically save photos from your digital camera, you can follow these steps:

    1. Connect your digital camera to your DiskStation using a USB cable.
    2. Log in to your DiskStation's web interface using a web browser on your computer.
    3. Go to the "Control Panel" and click on "External Devices" or "External Devices & SMB" (depending on your DiskStation model).
    4. In the "USB" section, click on "USB Copy".
    5. On the "USB Copy" page, click on the "Create" button to create a new USB copy task.
    6. In the "Task Name" field, enter a name for your task (e.g., "Camera Backup").
    7. Select the source folder where your camera's photos are stored. This may vary depending on your camera, but it is typically located in a folder named "DCIM" or "Pictures".
    8. Choose the destination folder on your DiskStation where you want the photos to be saved. You can either select an existing folder or create a new one.
    9. Set the copy options according to your preferences. For example, you can choose to copy only new files, copy files with specific file extensions, or delete files from the source after copying.
    10. Click on the "Schedule" tab to set up a schedule for the USB copy task. You can choose to run it manually or set a specific time or interval for automatic execution.
    11. Once you have configured the settings, click on the "Apply" button to save the changes.

    Now, whenever you connect your digital camera to the DiskStation, it will automatically copy the photos to the specified folder. You can access these photos through the File Station or any other file management application on your DiskStation.

  • What are the advantages of using a NAS Synology DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j to store and organize my photos compared to other storage options?

    There are several advantages of using a NAS Synology DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j to store and organize your photos compared to other storage options:

    1. Centralized storage: With a NAS, you can have all your photos stored in one central location. This makes it easy to access and manage your photo collection from any device connected to the network.
    2. Data redundancy: Synology NAS devices support various RAID configurations, which provide data redundancy. This means that even if one hard drive fails, your photos will still be safe and accessible.
    3. Easy backup: Synology NAS devices offer built-in backup solutions that allow you to easily backup your photos to external hard drives, cloud storage services, or another NAS. This ensures that your photos are protected against data loss.
    4. Remote access: You can access your photo collection stored on the NAS remotely, from anywhere with an internet connection. This is particularly useful if you want to share your photos or access them while traveling.
    5. Organization and indexing: Synology NAS devices come with powerful software that allows you to organize and index your photo collection. You can tag photos, create albums, and search for specific images based on keywords or metadata.
    6. Media server capabilities: Synology NAS devices can also function as media servers, allowing you to stream your photos to smart TVs, media players, or mobile devices. This makes it easy to view your photos on different screens without the need for manual transfers.
    7. Expandable storage: If you run out of storage space, you can easily expand the storage capacity of a Synology NAS by adding additional hard drives or upgrading to larger drives. This scalability ensures that you can accommodate your growing photo collection.

    Overall, using a Synology NAS DiskStation for storing and organizing your photos provides convenience, data protection, remote access, and powerful management tools that make it an ideal choice for photographers and enthusiasts.

  • Are there any specific settings or configurations I need to consider when using a NAS Synology DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j to save photos from my digital camera to ensure data integrity and easy access?

    When using a NAS Synology DiskStation DS212+ / DS212 / DS212j to save photos from your digital camera, there are a few settings and configurations you can consider to ensure data integrity and easy access. Here are some suggestions:

    1. RAID Configuration: If your NAS supports RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks), consider setting it up to provide data redundancy and protection against drive failures. RAID 1 (mirroring) is a common choice for two-drive NAS devices like the DS212 series.
    2. File System: Choose the appropriate file system for your NAS. The default file system for Synology NAS devices is usually ext4, which is reliable and widely supported. However, you may also consider using Btrfs, a newer file system that offers advanced features like data checksums and snapshots for improved data integrity.
    3. Backup: It's crucial to have a backup strategy for your photos. Consider setting up a backup routine to create copies of your photos on another storage device or cloud storage service. Synology NAS devices offer various backup options, including local backups to external drives or remote backups to another NAS or cloud storage.
    4. User Access Control: Configure user access control to ensure only authorized users can access the photos on your NAS. Create individual user accounts with appropriate permissions and passwords to protect your data from unauthorized access.
    5. Photo Organization: Create a well-structured folder hierarchy on your NAS to organize your photos. You can create folders based on date, event, or any other criteria that suit your needs. This will make it easier to locate and access specific photos in the future.
    6. Metadata Preservation: Some NAS devices, including Synology, support preserving metadata (such as EXIF data) when transferring photos from your camera to the NAS. Check the settings in your NAS software to ensure metadata is retained during the transfer process.
    7. Photo Viewing and Management: Synology NAS devices offer various photo management applications like Synology Photos, Moments, or third-party apps like Plex. Explore these options to find the one that suits your preferences for viewing, organizing, and sharing your photos.
    8. Regular Maintenance: Keep your NAS firmware and applications up to date to ensure you have the latest security patches and features. Regularly check the health of your hard drives and perform disk checks to identify and resolve any potential issues.

    Remember to refer to the user manual or documentation provided by Synology for detailed instructions specific to your NAS model.

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