SSDs are one of the fastest and most reliable storage media out there today, but this doesn't mean they're foolproof. SSDs usually have some symptoms that can help you prevent data loss when they are close to failing permanently. In this post, I will explain everything you need to know about SSDs, and I will also show you how to recover information from a failed SSD.
SSDs have become very popular in recent years, and this is because they are capable of transferring data at a much higher speed than that of an HDD. Besides, they do not have moving parts inside, which makes them much easier to transport as external storage media. However, SSDs can also fail, and even though it is not so common, it is essential to know what are the symptoms that indicate a poor state of health, since unlike an HDD, SSDs are silent devices, which makes make it harder to notice when these are starting to fail. To understand how and why an SSD can fail, you need to know how they work.
SSDs are non-volatile storage devices. This statement means that these devices can retain information, even when there is no power. These devices store information in a different way than traditional HDDs. SSDs store data in small cells that maintain power and use a NAND logic gate scheme that allows better connectivity between transistors and optimizes read and write speeds.
At present, there are two popular types of SSD memory. Those that connect by SATA and those that connect by PCIe. SSDs that are connected via SATA use the AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) data transfer protocol. This protocol was designed to optimize the processes of writing and reading data from HDDs through SATA ports but also allows the management of SSD devices. However, this data transfer protocol only allows one process queue, while with the PCIe ports, with the m.2 SSDs, up to 64,000 rows can be managed. These process queues allow communication between the SSD and your computer's hardware to be much faster and more efficient.
Even though SATA SSDs have less process handling capabilities than an m.2 SSD, SATA SSDs have much higher read and write speeds than any HDD. For this reason, it is increasingly common to replace HDDs with SSDs, at least to reduce the loading times of the operating system and some programs of daily use.
SSDs are much more secure devices than HDDs, and this is because these devices do not have moving parts inside. However, SSDs are not foolproof. SSDs have a specific limit on how many terabytes can write before failing because, internally, the cells that store information in the form of energy, over time, lose the ability to retain it. However, the amount of writing processes that they can perform is usually considered high, so it is difficult for a typical user to deteriorate an SSD through writing procedures.
Despite all this, SSDs can suffer irreversible damage if they are bumped, exposed to water, or receive electric shocks.
There are tools like CrystalDiskInfo that allow you to perform diagnostic tests to determine the health status of a storage device. Besides, some symptoms may indicate that the health of your SSD has deteriorated. Next, I will explain what they are.
1. Errors Involving Bad Blocks: As I mentioned before, SSDs use cells to store data, and these cells can lose their data retention capacity over time. When this happens, the device is unable to access small segments of the information you use, and this results in prolongued load times, errors when transferring, editing, or creating files. Also, if bad sectors prevent critical operating system files from being read, this can cause the computer to freeze and display blue screens.
2. Files Cannot Be Read or Written: If, when trying to open, edit, or create a file, an error message appears indicating that the process was interrupted. The health of your SSD may have deteriorated.
3. The File System Needs Repair: The file system is an indispensable part of the data structure on a storage device. Suppose your file system is incomplete or has corrupted information. In that case, your operating system will interrupt whatever you are doing and show you a blue screen, indicating that your file system is corrupted. This issue can be solved by reinstalling Windows or using the Windows repair tools, but if you do not solve the problem. Your SSD likely has permanent damage.
4. Frequent Crashes During Boot: During the startup of the operating system, your computer takes some essential data and loads it into RAM, however, if your SSD is unable to access this information, the whole process will be suddenly interrupted, which would prevent the startup of the operating system and will display a blue screen.
5. Your Drive Becomes Read-Only: Read-only memories are those memories that do not allow data to be written but do allow reading. These types of memories are usually used as independent memories to store the firmware of the devices, but as you can imagine, an SSD should not be a read-only memory. If this occurs on your SSD, it may be that the device's file system has been damaged but to find out, you will need to restore the integrity of the file system by formatting the device.
Suppose you have any reason to think that your SSD is dying, every second count. As long as your SSD allows the reading and writing of data, you can make manual backup copies of all the files that you consider essential, however, there are more complex cases, in which it is impossible to copy the files manually; for example, if the SSD file system is corrupted and does not allow the operating system to boot. Fortunately, this problem has a solution. There are professional data recovery tools like Recoverit. With this software, you can recover all the information from your SSD even if it was formatted. Below, I will show you how to use it.
Step 1: Select a drive to scan
Once you have installed and opened the software, select the device you want to extract information from and click Start. If you can't boot the operating system on your SSD, you can unplug it and plug it into another computer to extract the information from there.
Step 2: Wait until the scanning process is finished
Once the scanning process has started, you will be able to see all the files that have been found on the device listed and organized by format. You can see the progress of the process at the top of the window and stop it when you have found what you need on the list.
Step 3: Set the filter preferences
I recommend you use the panel on the right to create a search filter and remember to set the Show all files option in the Show file section.
Step 4: Preview the files
This software allows the preview of multimedia files; all you have to do is select a multimedia file from the list and click on the preview button that is located on the right panel of the window.
Step 5: Recover the files
When you find an image that you want to recover, check the box to the left of the file name. You can select as many files as you want and when you finished, click the Recover button. Now, all you have to do is choose a destination location where you want to save the information resulting from this recovery process.
SSDs have many advantages, but it is essential to pay attention to the signs of deterioration they may present. Technically, all SSDs are destined to fail at some point, and this does not mean that they are not reliable devices, but it is crucial to be prepared so that when this happens, you do not lose your information. Fortunately, with data recovery tools like Recoverit, you can keep your info safe, even under the most adverse circumstances.