This post is the second part from my “note to self” on recovering my PC.
I have a 4 drive spanned RAID (raid0) volume where one of the drives mysteriously dropped from the volume, becoming a so called non-RAID member. I was pretty sure I had not messed around with this now non-raid drive. Neither had I performed any write operations to this disk. This led me to the conclusion that somehow the software raid manager (Intel Storage Matrix) had decided the drive was no longer part of the volume, but the data must still be intact. Apparently the meta-data for each member used by the (software) RAID BIOS is located on each member drive. So if this meta-data could be restored, the entire volume could be restored. Armed with this knowledge I booted into the RAID BIOS, and removed the other 3 drives from the volume. This will give you an intimidating warning about losing all data, but at least with Intel RAID this only wipes the RAID meta-data from the drive. After removing all drives, I recreated the exact same volume, in the exact same order (order is critical!) Now after booting into Windows I was able to recover the partition with the excellent tool TestDisk which you can find here: http://www.cgsecurity.org.
Be sure to follow the manual. In my case the partition didn’t show up using the quick-search, but after the more thorough “Deeper Search”.
Many thanks go to Christophe GRENIER, the developer of TestDrive and the post from “adamsap” on forums.extremeoverclocking.com