XFS Data Recovery – What Are the Best Options?

XFS is a popular 64-bit Linux filesystem, typically used in many brands and models of ready-made NAS devices, that was introduced in 1994 to better handle the large data storage capacities servers were having to deal with quickly and efficiently. As a filesystem, it is highly scalable and is designed to recover extremely quickly following a crash—necessary features in the world of enterprise storage.

However, while XFS is better than many filesystems at preserving your data, no system is 100% immune to data loss, whether due to device failure or human error or anything in between. Whether you’ve accidentally deleted files, erased a partition, or part of your filesystem has become corrupted, or your device has suffered a hardware failure, recovering data from a PC, NAS, or another storage device with XFS can be a tall order.

If you’re using XFS and you suddenly can’t access your data, don’t panic. There are plenty of options out there for recovering XFS data.

Read on to learn more about the best XFS data recovery methods and solutions:

Gillware recommends using any of these three XFS data recovery platforms:


ReclaiMe is an easy-to-use, highly-awarded and well-reviewed, and versatile data recovery tool with a 94% success rate. It supports most storage media, with a free add-on that assists in RAID reconstruction, and supports almost every filesystem, including ReFS and APFS.

There are two versions of ReclaiMe: Standard and Ultimate. ReclaiMe File Recovery Standard only works with Windows filesystems, so for XFS support, you will need to turn to ReclaiMe File Recovery Ultimate. There is a 30-day refund policy in the event that ReclaiMe cannot successfully recover your data.

Raise Data Recovery

Raise Data Recovery boasts complex capabilities with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. In fact, ease of use is one of its main selling points. Raise Data Recovery has a flexible, modular licensing scheme. You can purchase a general license with basic functionality that will last either 30 days or 360 days, then buy licenses for additional modules, including basic Linux support, RAID support, and XFS support.

It’s one of the cheaper options for XFS data recovery, at least in the short-term; the need to periodically renew your license if you intend to keep using the software can cause the cost to balloon in the long term.

UFS Explorer Standard

UFS Explorer is a general-purpose data recovery tool with a wide range of capabilities. This data recovery software was developed by the same developers behind Raise Data Recovery. The software supports all major filesystems and can be used to deal with all sorts of logical issues that can cause data loss as well as some minor physical issues.

UFS Explorer’s Standard version is designed to be user-friendly enough for beginners, while also featuring tools for more experienced users; the Professional version contains far more advanced tools such as a write-enabled hexadecimal editor to correct severe filesystem damage.

Always be very careful if you suspect your hard drive or NAS has a physical issue that is preventing you from accessing your data.

A minor physical issue can quickly snowball into something much more devastating and potentially destructive to your data if you continue to attempt to access it. If you suspect that your device might be failing, tread carefully and start looking for professional labs specializing in hard drive repair and NAS recovery.

What do you do when XFS data recovery software doesn’t work?

XFS is a complicated filesystem and recovering data, especially deleted files, could prove a challenge even for the above recommended XFS data recovery software tools. Furthermore, if you’re trying to recover data on your own and you notice frequent I/O errors or your device stops detecting altogether, you may be dealing with a physical issue, not a logical one.

In these XFS data loss situations, the only way for you to get your data back is is to enlist the help of a professional data recovery lab such as Gillware. Many professional data recovery labs use the same kinds of professional software you can find online. Gillware, however, has invented and refined its own proprietary software tools over the past fifteen years, resulting in Gillware’s own engineers having the most powerful, flexible, and versatile data recovery software solutions in the world at their fingertips.

This makes Gillware the best XFS data loss solution if your situation is related to an issue off-the-shelf XFS recovery tools cannot effectively deal with.

With a cleanroom lab that adheres to ISO-5 Class 100 air quality standards as well and engineers with tens of thousands of successful in-lab cases under their belts apiece, Gillware is the perfect environment to repair your failed storage media, whether it’s a single hard disk drive, a consumer NAS device, an enterprise server, or anything in between, and salvage the data from it.

Since 2003, we’ve recovered data for over 100,000 people with a over-98% success rate. Our XFS data recovery services are completely financially risk-free, with free inbound shipping, free in-lab evaluations by our engineers, and a “no data, no charge” policy. We show you a firm price quote for your approval before we recover any of your data, and we don’t charge you until we’ve recovered the data that’s important to you.

What XFS data recovery services does Gillware offer?

With some of the most skilled and experienced data recovery engineers and most powerful and effective data recovery tools in the world under one roof, Gillware can step in whenever you need data recovered from any XFS device in any situation.

Accidentally Deleted Files in XFS

Deleted files are typically the easiest kind of data to recover from XFS filesystems, but in some situations, successfully recovering deleted files can be a challenge worthy of our deleted data recovery specialists.

XFS File System Reformat

Wiping out the XFS directory tree structure due to a reformat may seem like the most destructive thing you can do to your data. But just like with most filesystems, it isn’t. Gillware’s technicians deal with filesystem reformats on a daily basis.


Regardless of the reason, a failure of your NAS device, server, or SAN environment can prove difficult, if not impossible to work around. Gillware’s RAID data recovery experts can get you back on your feet in no time.

Deleted VMDK in XFS

If you’ve accidentally deleted a VMDK or other virtual hard drive in XFS, rest assured that Gillware’s virtual machine data recovery specialists are on the case. We’ve pioneered groundbreaking methods to recover data from virtual environments and are one of VMWare’s trusted data recovery service providers.

Deleted iSCSI Target in XFS

iSCSI targets are a kind of “soft partition” used to more easily and efficiently dole out parcels of large storage volumes. It can be easy to accidentally erase an iSCSI target while attempting to modify it, or simply lose access to it due to logical corruption. If you need help recovering iSCSI targets or LUNs from your XFS server or NAS, you can turn to Gillware’s iSCSI data recovery experts.

What makes XFS data recovery difficult?

In order to understand why XFS data recovery can be such a tall order and why you might run into trouble doing it yourself, it’s important to understand how XFS functions in the first place.

How XFS Works

When XFS first emerged on the scene, it filled a growing need for a filesystem that could handle higher-capacity devices and organize large amounts of data quickly and easily. Other filesystems were buckling under the pressure of dealing with growing volume sizes and ballooning filesystem metadata as the amount of data people needed to sift through began to grow at a faster and faster pace. Now, many other filesystems, especially Linux filesystems, build upon many of the features XFS pioneered.

XFS allows you to store very large numbers of files and access them with great ease and speed using a B-tree balanced tree algorithm, which allows it to allocate data to disk space as rapidly as possible. With a tree structure, branches point to various inodes, which in turn point to the extents, or group of blocks, which make up a file. By following the tree, the filesystem can find every file on the disk in a snap.

While XFS isn’t the only filesystem to use inodes and extents, the way it groups them together using allocation groups. Allocation groups are what makes XFS so scalable. By grouping the inodes and extents defining the filesystem’s structure into multiple groups, it can run multiple processes simultaneously.

Another one of XFS’s helpful features is its use of delayed allocation. When you write data to the XFS filesystem, it makes all of the changes in the buffer cache first, then flushes it to disk once a large enough backlog of write commands have been amassed. This allows files to be written to the disk very efficiently and prevent fragmentation that occurs in filesystems that do not utilize delayed allocation.

How Journaling Protects Your Data

Journaling is a critical element of the XFS filesystem and other Linux filesystems such as Ext4 and ReiserFS that makes it easier to prevent data loss following a sudden and unexpected crash. The filesystem maintains a single “journal” file that tracks the status of whatever write operations you make before it commits them to the disk. If your device suddenly loses power while making the actual changes, it can simply consult the journal and re-do the operation, quickly and efficiently preventing the loss of data.

Under the Hood—Where Does XFS Deleted Data Go?

Unlike with Windows, where the files you delete go to the Recycle Bin, when you delete files in Linux filesystems, those files go straight to the abyss. Whether you’ve deleted a handful of files or you’ve used the rm -rf command to wipe out an entire directory by accident, your data will appear to have vanished forever—and XFS offers you little recourse.

Recovering deleted files is one of the common data recovery challenges XFS users are faced with. The problem with XFS is that unlike some other file systems, it does not have an undelete capability. This means that ostensibly, the files you delete from an XFS filesystem are gone forever. But of course, many software tools, such as the ones recommended above and Gillware’s own proprietary data recovery platforms, tell a different story.

Fortunately, despite XFS’s lack of a native undelete function, deleted data is typically the easiest kind of data to recover from XFS filesystems.

XFS Deleted Files – Why Time Is of the Essence

The location of your data doesn’t change when you delete data from XFS—only the pathways leading to it. Your data doesn’t go anywhere—but any new data you write to your device might land right on top of it and erase it for good.

In every filesystem, deleted data is always flagged as usable space for new data to overwrite. That’s why, when you find yourself accidentally deleting something, no matter the size, it’s important to stop using your storage device as soon as possible. Even turning the device off and on writes data to it, and you have no control over where that data goes.

Challenges of XFS Logical Corruption

Filesystem corruption generally occurs due to a kernel panic or a sudden or improper shutdown that introduces garbled data into a key portion of the filesystem. The three main causes of filesystem corruption are system software failure, hardware failure, and human error, with human error as one of the most common culprits.

XFS is normally very resilient when it comes to recovering from crashes, but one of the drawbacks of XFS is that corruption of the filesystem can be very difficult to repair when it does occur. In some cases, XFS filesystem corruption can be repaired with the command xfs_repair; however, in many cases, XFS corruption can render parts of your device’s directory structure inaccessible or even render the entire system unmountable.

If parts of an XFS filesystem’s structure become corrupted, tracking down the data that is lost can prove a challenge for the same reasons that make undeleting data in XFS a challenge. On top of that, corruption to file metadata and the files’ contents themselves further complicate matters.

Since corruption can be caused by a failure of your device’s hardware itself, data recovery software will often be powerless to help you unless it has a sufficient degree of fault tolerance (some platforms, such as UFS Explorer, do have some fault tolerance, but nowhere near what Gillware’s custom tools have). If you suspect there is any physical failure, tread carefully and be prepared to reach out to us.

Common Causes of Filesystem Corruption

The root causes of filesystem corruption can be divided into three categories: software, hardware, and human error.

Human Error

Accidental unplugging

Improper shutdown or startup procedures

Physically write-protecting a mounted file system

Software Failures

Kernel panic

Driver incompatibility

Hardware Failures

Bad block on disk

Bad disk controller

Power outage

Need to send your hard drive, NAS, or RAID to Gillware for XFS data recovery?

When you’re stuck with an XFS data loss situation you can’t get out of on your own, letting us take care of your needs isn’t difficult.

By submitting a case online, you’ll get a free prepaid UPS shipping label to cover the cost of sending your storage device to our data recovery lab located in Madison, WI.

Once your device arrives in our lab, our technicians take a look, diagnose the issue, and present you with a firm price quote as part of our free in-lab evaluation.

Our excellent customer service specialists work with you to make sure we know exactly what data matters the most to you. If the price we quote you matches the value of your data, we proceed with the recovery work. If it doesn’t, you don’t owe us a dime.

We don’t charge you for any of our data recovery work unless we recover your important data at the agreed-upon price.

All you have to do to get started with your free evaluation is get in touch with us.