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When I go to bring up the array with mdadm, it complains I don't have enough components to start it. This makes sense, since RAID5 normally takes a minimum of three disks.. but I don't want to buy another 2TB drive with prices what they are at the moment.. I just want to start it in degraded mode, get my data off of it, then use them as separate drives, copying the truly important stuff to both of them :)

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Great news.. I was able to answer my own question.

As much as the term scared me, I finally tried: mdadm --assemble --force /dev/md0 /sda1 /sdd1

and I was rewarded with the message: mdadm: /dev/md0 has been started with 2 drives (out of 3)

Hope this is useful to someone else.. in related news, the wikipedia article on mdadm (as of 2011/12/11) actually is one of the better resources out there for troubleshooting RAID mishaps.

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