How to Tell If Your SSD is Failing

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How to Tell If Your SSD is Failing

SSDs (Solid-state drives) have a lifespan of about 5 to 7 years. They’re fast, reliable and consume less power than the older mechanical hard drive technology. But anything man-made is prone to failure. If you know how to tell if your SSD is failing, you’ll be able to save all your important information before it totally dies on you. Below are twelve ways to troubleshoot a failing SSD.

1.  Bad Blocks

One of the first signs of SSD failure is bad blocks. Bad blocks affect SSDs the way bad sectors affect MHDs. If your laptop takes longer than usual to save or retrieve a file, the issue could be attributed to bad blocks.

Common symptoms of bad blocks include:

  • File system needs to be repaired errors.
  • Files that can’t be read/written to the SSD.
  • The app you’re running freezes and crashes.
  • Frequent errors alerting you to the problem.
  • Slower than normal performance when moving files.

You should be able to save your information using another storage source. If you detect a bad block when retrieving already saved data, you’ll need to consult a data recovery specialist to minimize the risk of permanent loss.

Running Crystal Disk Mark, Smart Reporter Lite or Hard Disk Sentinel is a good way to find out if there are any physical problems with the SSD. If one of these programs should find an issue, the best thing to do is backup your files right away.

NOTE: Always back up information just in case you run into any of these scenarios.

2.  Corrupt System Files

You can find this error on both Windows and the MacOS.

SSD failure due to corrupt system files are a bit tricky to diagnose. There are many variables that can cause corruption. For example, improperly shutting down your PC can cause the system to suggest repairing the file system. If the SSD has an issue with the connector port it can corrupt the file system.

Thankfully, Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems come loaded with built-in repair tools to tackle corrupt files. Not only is the software adept at resolving this issue. But often you’ll be prompted to run a repair before you even detect an issue. And the tool will walk you through the entire repair process.

Warning: Before you proceed you should be aware that sometimes these repairs can cause data loss. If you can’t afford to lose any information, take your SSD to a data recovery specialist. They’ll be able to safely retrieve your information.

3.  Crash During Bootup

Like system file corruption, there are many underlying reasons for a system crash as you power up your PC. However, if restarting your laptop seems to resolve the issue. You’re likely dealing with SSD failure.

To be sure, you can run a few of your laptop’s on-board diagnostic tools, like the corrupt file repair. Formatting the drive and reinstalling the operating system are also solutions known to resolve this issue.

If none of this fixes the problem, then the SSD is to blame. You’ll want to find ways to save the data on your SSD and do a backup. You can contact a data recovery specialist to help before the SSD fails for good.

4.  Frequent Crashes or Shutdowns

Any time you find your PC crashing or shutting down sporadically is a sign of some problem. Whatever the underlying cause might be for these events, what you want to do right away is back up all your important data.

Then you can use one of the system’s diagnostic tools to discover problems. This will give you a place to start approaching the issue and help you determine if you need to employ professional help.

5.  SSD Installed Incorrectly

An improperly installed SSD could look like hardware failure. For example, if you’ve just upgraded your mechanical hard drive with a solid-state drive, this could result in SSD failure if installed incorrectly.

The first thing you want to do is restart your system and look for any signs of SSD activity during the boot up process. This could be transfer of data or a power LED. If you notice the SSD powering, then the problem could be the result of software misconfiguration or an issue with setup.

But if you don’t see any signs of activity from the SSD, you’ll want to power down your machine and remove the battery. Since an SSD uses the same physical connectors for data transfer and power as the mechanical hard drive. You’ll want to ensure that the connections are correct and secure.

6.  Issues with Peripherals

The hardware you’ve connected to your laptop could be the culprit of SSD failure. You can start by unplugging all the peripherals from your laptop and restarting it. If the issue clears up, then you can try plugging in and restarting your laptop one peripheral at a time until you find the culprit.

7.  Frequent BSoD

The “Blue Screen of Death” on Windows could be the result of the SSD acting up because its firmware is out of date. Out of date firmware can look outright hardware failure.

If you’ve recently installed a third-party SSD, consult the manufacturer to ensure the firmware is up to date. Intel, Samsung, and SanDisk updater apps are available right from the respective website. If an update is available, install it and restart the laptop to see if that fixes the problem.

8.  Motherboard BIOS Issues

Just like a freshly installed SSD, if the BIOS or EFI firmware isn’t up to date, it could cause issues resulting in BSoD. We can’t prescribe a method for checking since all main logic boards are different. You’ll want to rely on the manufacturer’s instructions, which you can find online.

But be warned. Applying the wrong BIOS firmware or doing so incorrectly can total your laptop. If you’re not sure, professionals like Geek Squad will be more than happy to help you.

9.  S.M.A.R.T. Failure

Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology is a diagnosis technology built into your system. The SMART status is reported by the SSD tell help you identify potential problems. The information can be collected by disk utilities and the OS, which will report SMART issues.

However, receiving one of these messages isn’t a fool-proof indication of SSD failure. It takes a bit of interpretation to understand the particular error being reported. For instance, it could just be that the SSD has exceeded its threshold operation value.

What complicates the matter even further is the fact that the information being reported varies from one device to another. Also, different disk utilities interpret the analysis differently.

10.  Apps Freeze or Crash

The issue your laptop is experiencing may not be related to SSD failure at all. A rogue app or program might actually be to blame. You can troubleshoot this by restarting your laptop in Safe Mode.

Enable Safe Mode in Windows by pressing F4 when starting the laptop. Safe Mode operates with minimal drivers to help you see if a particular software is making your laptop malfunction.

Once in Safe Mode, you’ll want to ensure that the core operating system, mission-critical software and drivers are all up to date. Then you can run your laptop’s built-in system software update tools to find problems.

11.  Operating System Issues

Again, maybe it’s not SSD failure. The problem could be with the operating system itself. If it wasn’t installed properly it can throw up issues with the SSD. Try reinstalling the OS through the built-in restore and recovery tools and see if this fixes your SSD instabilities.

12.  Can’t Save Due to Read-Only Error

Read-only errors are least commonly associated with a failing SSD. But if you’re trying to save to your SSD and you get one of these messages, your SSD likely has a bad block.

There are two ways a bad block can affect your files:

  • If the PC detects the bad block while saving, it won’t allow you to save anything to the SSD. The drive will allow you function in read-only mode, which means you’ll be able retrieve your data if you don’t have a backup. This keeps your information from becoming corrupted. Usually, the system will correct the issue on its own. If it doesn’t, you can connect your read-only SSD to a different location, an external hard drive or by copying it to the cloud before the SSD completely shuts down. You can even try restarting the laptop and attempt to save it to the SSD. If this doesn’t work, contact a data recovery specialist.
  • Or the system detects the bad block after the data has already been saved and refuses to read it. This scenario is unfortunate because the data will not be able to be easily retrieved. There are methods you can try to recover data from a failed SSD. But bad blocks in this case usually mean total loss of any information saved on those blocks, which is why we highly advocate routine backups.

To Sum Up

As you’ve read, you might have picked up on a certain theme. These scenarios make a good case for always keeping a current backup of your data. But if these tips haven’t helped you diagnose your SSD issue, the next best step is to have a technician or service you trust troubleshoot the problem. If you experience SSD failure and don’t have a reliable backup. Contact a data recovery specialist to save your information A.S.A.P.