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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.