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Restoring Functionality to Corsair M4 SSD Following Extended Usage BSOD

The Corsair M4 SSD has long been a popular choice for SSD buyers. Those looking to get maximum speed for a great price often opt for these smaller, more compact drives. Typically, they are used as a primary storage device for a desktop computer, with just enough space for an operating system and a user account (around 64GB). More advanced users will then map the my documents folders to a space on a second, larger hard drive, and also use it for all their program files. The purpose of this is not only to conserve space, but also to minimise the writing to the SSD. The less files that are written to it, the longer the lifetime (the advantages of the SSDs higher speeds are not overtly obvious when just managing documents anyway).
Unfortunately, in November 2012, Corsair admitted some of their drives had been shipping with faulty firmware, which was beginning to affect a growing number of customers. The strange nature of this fault in the firmware is that it only becomes apparent after around 5000 hours of usage. Out of nowhere, the computer will unexpectedly reboot and switch to a 'blue screen of death' explaining a critical error has occurred. The computer will then restart and continue to do so hourly indefinitely.

To better understand what the problem is, it is important to understand what the problem is with. The firmware is the unseen software that resides on the SSD, controlling how it operates and how it communicates with its host. If you think of drivers as the part that tells the computer how to use its parts, think of the firmware as the program that tells the hardware how to operate. There is a really nifty program that allows you to confirm the firmware issue is affecting you called SSD life. From there, you can confirm the hours of usage and other interesting statistics.

Upon recognising there was an issue, Corsair released this statement “This issue occurs after approximately 5,000 hours of actual 'on time' use. Following the initial reboot, the system then requires subsequent restarts after each additional hour of use." In other words, if you are affected by the issue, it will quickly become obvious.

Fortunately , Corsair have released a fix to this issue. Simply head over to the Corsair Support Website, and select Corsair M4 2.5 inch SSD from the drop down menu in their support section. A link for the firmware then becomes available for users, complete with an installation readme. They do warn however, that firmware updates are done at a users own risk. This means that before performing any updates to the software, make sure to backup important files. Following the update, the drive should then be restored to normal, acceptable functionality!

With SSDs in their infancy, it is likely that more of these problems will be encountered in the future. Customers will however feel reassured that companies like Crucial are quick to fix problems and provide support to concerned customers. The more of these fixes there are, the better prepare manufacturers can be in the future to prevent such occurrences.


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