D-Link 320L NAS repair

I have had a cheap-ish D-Link NAS running at my home for years. Last week, it broke. The drives were audibly still spinning up, and the activity light was blinking, indicating that it booted, but then went dark. Nothing on the network, no way to tell what was up.

There are two 4 TB drives in the enclosure, configured as RAID1. My immediate suspicion was that the mirroring might be out of sync. A bit of Google research told me that the box is a tiny Linux machine using Linux RAID partitions.

The first thing I did was to remove one of the drives. That made the other one the only drive in the array, and with no discrepancies, the NAS showed up on the network again, and allowed me to take a backup of my data. Which only confirmed my earlier suspicions.

Next, I put both drives in an old Linux desktop that had the required SATA slots, and Linux’s mdadm recognized them as being formatted for a RAID, but out of sync. dmesg said something about kicking sdb2 out of the array, so I used mdadm -a to put the array back together, and the array began rebuilding, which took a few hours, but eventually gave ma a working RAID1 array again. I was able to insert the drives back into the D-Link enclosure, and now it boots up and works just as before.

Lessons learned:

  1. My D-Link NAS cannot recover on its own.
  2. Linux skills pay unexpected dividends.
  3. I should have configured remote syslog logging before this happened. Fixed that first thing.
  4. It is probably time to buy a new device. This one is out of service, has never been 100% reliable, is pretty loud, and has no fancy extras.

Now that I know the disks are still in good shape, I’ve ordered a 2-bay Synology. I’m looking forward to the built-in Plex server, support for more than SMB 1.0, and hopefully a better management interface, too.

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