We had a RAID 5 that lost a disk. Upon replacing the disk it said it rebuilt but the new drive was still in a ready state. It was a different manf. with same specs but that formats 1GB large so I am assuming that it was just awaiting to be manually rebuilt and confermation to truncate the additional space.
The system had two primary partitions as basic discs.
Unfortunately someone else went in and used the 'add member' option on the drive instead of rebuild using array manager 3.5 in Windows 2003 sp2. According to this person the system rebooted at 6%. Then after the system would not reboot to windows they went into the controller bios where the drives all showed as ready and set them all to Online and saved. They did this more than once. At one point the system said background initiallization in process, which they allowed to complete. Also all during these changes 'fast initiallization' was on.
I am assuming that because the partitions were not dynamic that growing the virtual drive wrote over the MBR/partition table and that is why windows died.
I am also assuming all the changes made in the perc bios with fast turned on made modifications to the stripe and that is why my attempts 'with fast off' to restore the settings to the pre 'add member' state did not bring the RAID back online.
Are my assumptions correct?
Are there other options for recovery?
Yes, you are correct, although still overly hopeful. The ONLY way to get anything back (if possible at all) is professional data recovery ... think Drive Savers and On Track and a couple/few thousand dollars.
Sounds like your staff needs some serious training (or PnP development) before they should be allowed to touch the servers on their own. There is not one, but multiple mistakes you describe here, each of which could have destroyed everything on the array ... having done them all, there may be nothing left to recover. Training or not, there is no reason to start blindly "trying" things, as Dell server support is always free, regardless of warranty status ... for this very reason ... to walk people through steps they don't understand.
Hopefully you have a backup.
I wish you luck.