Solid State Drive Failures

Solid-state drives, or SSDs, are awesome examples of how modern storage technology can change the way an organization leverages data, but they’re far from flawless. Like the hard disks that came before them, these devices are subject to different kinds of faults that may render them unusable.¬†Errors are usually classifiable as logical failures, electronic failures or firmware failures. While you’ll hopefully never encounter any of these, it’s essential that you understand what sets them apart from each other.

 

SSD Failure

 

Logical Failure

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Understanding SSD Logical Failure – Data Recovery

While SSDs are popular because of their unique speed and innovative lack of moving parts, they have a few things in common with all other physical storage media. Just like a flash drive, traditional hard drive or CD, these devices store information using specific schemes, file systems, error-correcting codes and organization methods. When an SSD writes data that fails to adhere to these constraints, the drive may experience a logical failure.

Logical failures differ depending on what kind of data was recorded incorrectly. For instance, if an SSD that you typically use to boot a computer gets corrupted, the computer might not boot, which can stand in the way of troubleshooting. On the other hand, if the problem impacts the partition tables that tell the computer how data is stored on the drive, the computer will likely have issues finding specific information.

How Do I Know If My SSD Is Experiencing a Logical Failure?

SSD logical failures on primary drives are commonly characterized by an inability to start up your computer. If you’re only using the SSD for data storage, a logical failure might result in persistent error messages, corrupted files or laggy behavior as your operating system, or OS, fails to retrieve data at its typical snappy rates.

 

Electronic Failure

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Understanding SSD Electronic Failure – Data Recovery

SSDs employ solid-state memory instead of the magnetic or optical storage found in hard drives. This flash memory relies on transistor circuits that can change their state after receiving an electrical signal and remember that state when you turn the power off. Although this manufacturing technique eliminates the risk of mechanical problems caused by the failure of moving parts, it introduces a whole range of potential electronic problems that can stop SSDs from working.

Some electronic failure modes are obvious, like when a drive gets exposed to moisture. In other cases, the chips that read the flash memory cells or tell the controller circuitry which cells to access for data retrieval may fail. Electrical faults that originate in one part of a circuit board can also impact other components if they cause burnouts.

Electronic failures may be caused by component deficiencies, such as bad capacitors or cheap printed circuit board wiring. Of course, improper handling can also be a big problem. Touching or installing an SSD without wearing anti-static gear, such as a grounded wrist strap, could transmit a charge from your body to the drive and cause a component burnout. Inserting a drive at the incorrect angle might deform connectors and prevent communication between the device and the computer.

 

How Do I Know If My SSD Is Experiencing an Electronic Failure?

Electronic SSD failures are hard to diagnose. For instance, a drive that gets exposed to liquid in a moist server room may continue working for some time until the moisture seeps into a critical component. Such a failure could come as a complete surprise since you might be unaware of the fact that moisture was even an issue. Electronic failures can also differ depending on which components are affected, with some making it impossible to read or power on a drive and others merely causing periodic errors.

As with any failure, the first thing to do in an electronic fault situation is remove all power and seek professional assistance. Merely turning the power on could dramatically worsen existing issues, so it’s essential to shut down the computer, unplug the drive, and seal it inside an anti-static bag right away. These issues generally require clean room diagnostic work and component replacement, so most users are better off packaging their faulty drives for shipping immediately.

Firmware Failure

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Understanding SSD Firmware Failure – Data Recovery

SSD memory cells employ special components called floating-gate transistors. While these devices are notable for their ability to maintain charge states, they require an electrical signal to tell them whether to store a 0 or a 1. This signal is provided by a controller.

The controller is an embedded microprocessor that oversees write operations and performs the direct retrieval of stored data during read operations. These components also communicate with the host computer in response to user demands.

To perform this essential work correctly, controllers require firmware, or low-level software that dictates their read and write behaviors. Microprocessor controllers can be flashed with different firmware versions by manufacturers to optimize factors like data transfer speed, storage space efficiency and other performance characteristics.

How Do I Know If My SSD Is Experiencing a Firmware Failure?

Many SSD firmware problems are unique because faulty drives can still be recognized by computers. Of course, this isn’t that useful when you consider the fact that their data often becomes completely inaccessible. While this is similar to some other failure modes, one good sign that you’re dealing with a firmware fault is when the device goes dead right after you try to update or upgrade firmware.

Where Is the Firmware Located?

Firmware is stored in the flash chipset inside each SSD, so opening the drive usually won’t reveal these problems. Professionals typically discover firmware failures using special diagnostic tools that let them read a device’s chipset to check for faults.

With experience and the proper clean room settings, it’s possible to recover data after most failure modes. Discover how TTR Data Recovery can bring your files back to life by contacting our experts now.

 

We will provide a Free Diagnostic to accurately determine the failure of your SSD.

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