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What to Do After a Solid State Drive Crash

Solid state drives are looked on as the successor to a hard disk drive. They are quicker and more reliable, the latter assumed because of the lack of mechanical parts. However, an article on Tom’s Hardware suggests that the reliability of hard disk drives compared to solid state drives is pretty similar. Whatever the case, a SSD can fail and it is important you know what to do should the drive crash. It is the most important component of your computer (it stores all your data, after all) and caring for it is vital.

Hard disk drives can fail when the mechanical components inside break. For example, the head that floats above the rotating platters could collide and cause damage. However, although a SSD doesn’t have any moving parts, it is still susceptible to damage. The power supply could conk out, the controller chip could break or so could the capacitor. The amount of writing cycles does reduce the life of the drive, but the amount it takes won’t have an effect on consumer use. SSD manufacturer OCZ presents the formula that a drive’s life span is its storage capacity multiplied by its write endurance rating and divided by the average daily writes. For example, if a 150 GB drive had a write endurance rating of 3000 cycles and you wrote 10 GB per day to the drive then it would last 45000 days before becoming unreliable. That’s equal to over 123 years. The majority of people won’t even touch on writing 10 GB of data today, so SSD drives are pretty reliable when it comes to writing reliability.

Recovering data from a SSD can be harder than on a HDD. A lot of drives will make use of something called TRIM, which is something that helps keep the data on the drive more organised to improve access speeds. However, the downside to this is that it deletes files aggressively to achieve good results. As such, it makes it harder to retrieve files that have been corrupted or removed by mistake.

The best thing to do if your SSD crashes is to take an image of the drive. This means basically copying its current state, meaning that anything you do from this point onwards will be reversible (just in case things mess up further). From here you can then try running a data recovery program. Something like R-Studio is a good bet. This will scan the whole drive and try and recover all the data it can. You should copy everything it finds on to a new drive, since keeping it on one that has failed is inadvisable.

If you have no luck with this, or the drive is not readable at all, then you will have to turn to the data recovery professionals. This is an expensive choice and one that has to be weighed against the value of your data. Try contacting your drive manufacturer first to see if you are covered by any warranty.

SSD drives do fail and you need to be aware of what to do. The best thing you can do is to have a good backup solution in place. This ensures that, should the drive fail, your data recovery process will be a far smoother one.


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