Even SSDs Can Fail and Require Professional Data Recovery

Feb 27, 2017

An increasing number of consumers are choosing SSD (Solid State Drive) storage options rather than the traditional HDD (Hard Disk Drive), because they come with advantages like faster speeds, quieter operation, smaller physical footprints, and less power consumption. Despite these benefits, the fact remains that sometimes technology fails, and there is little difference between SSD and HDD with regard to that.

What is different, however, is the type of failure that is likely to happen, as well as the specific methods for repair and data recovery. Understanding how SSDs work and learning what can cause them to fail can help users notice when problems are occurring with their storage drives. It can also teach them what they need to do if a SSD failure occurs.

What makes SSD different from HDD?

Both SSD and HDD are provide very good storage options for users, so it really comes down to which type of technology a user prefers. The traditional HDD is constructed using rotating metal or glass disc platters and read/write heada that moves about the platters to read and write data. The head is an electromagnetic coil that uses magnetic fields on the disc surfaces, which have films that can be magnetized by the head.

HDDs are still a popular choice because they are more readily available and more affordable to obtain for a given capacity. However, they have moving parts, which means that they make noise when they operate and have vulnerable pieces that can wear and break. Part of the way users can notice when their HDDs are having trouble is when the noise made during operation gets louder, or starts to sound different from normal. SSD devices don’t have an audible indicator, because they do things a little bit differently.

SSD relies upon flash memory chips connected together using transistor circuits. Instead of moving parts writing data to discs, a controller uses an electric current to give or remove a charge from each individual memory cell. This technology is quieter, faster, and more energy efficient than a traditional HDD option. Without moving parts, SSDs are more durable and better for mobile computing.

Though SSD is more reliable, it can still experience failure

Just because SSD offers a slight durability advantage doesn’t mean that it can’t fail. In fact, there are several reasons why an SSD might break down or become inaccessible, and they can be harder to notice than they would be with an HDD. One of the most common problems that can occur with SSD is electronic failure. The lack of moving parts makes mechanical problems less likely, but the reliance on circuits makes the electronics more vulnerable.

Electronic failure can be causes by moisture, power surges, faulty circuit boards, bad capacitors, and many other things. Unfortunately, problems may not be noticed right away. They can start very small and slowly get worse until the entire drive fails. Users may notice something taking a little longer, or not working quite right, but if they don’t check the problem right away then it can result in total data loss.

Data corruption can also cause SSD failure, because as segments of the drive fail the data stored upon them is destroyed. Problems of this nature include virus damage and bad (unreadable) sectors. Virus damage can be effectively guarded against using the right defense and detection software, but sometimes malicious files still make it through. Abrupt power loss or surges can also cause corrupt data, which can make the entire SSD malfunction entirely or sometimes only affecting a few data areas at a time.

Another, although less common, problem that can occur with SSD technology is a firmware issue. An SSD keeps its firmware in the flash chipset, and that means that opening the drive won’t necessarily reveal the problem. Bad firmware often still allows the drive to be recognized by a computer, but the data on it won’t be accessible. Firmware issues aren’t always easy to recognize, but a data recovery expert can usually diagnose the problem and determine whether file recovery can be achieved.

If the SSD fails, the user should immediately shut it down and seek help

SSD failure is sometimes difficult to detect, until the whole system becomes suddenly impossible to use. Whether the SSD is simply acting a little funny and missing some files, or the entire drive full of data is inaccessible, the first thing to do is shut it all down. Continuing to use a faulty drive can cause the corruption of more data, or allow new information to be written over files that were accidentally deleted. The best way to prevent worsening the problem is to shut it off and take it to an expert.

A data recovery specialist can examine the hardware to diagnose the problem, as well as inform the owner of the drive whether the data is salvageable. In some cases the data may be entirely corrupted or destroyed, but in others some or all can be saved. A data recovery service will have a clean room environment and the appropriate tools to prevent making the problem worse while they work on file recovery.