5 Warning Signs That Your SSD Will Damage And Fail

By | December 5, 2021

Whether you are buying a laptop or a desktop today, it is advisable to get a Solid State Drive (SSD) over a traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD). SSDs are faster, more stable, and save less power, making them superior in every way.

But that doesn’t mean SSDs are perfect.

If you know what SSDs are, then you know that their weakness lies in how they are made and how they work.

While SSDs have an expected lifespan of five to seven years, many fail sooner than that.

Since you can’t fix a failing SSD with Factory Reset or System Restore, you want to make sure you’re not prepared. Knowing what to look out for, and how to protect yourself, is part of the battle.

How do SSDs Fail?

Unlike on HDDs, there are no physically moving platters in SSDs, so it is immune from old hard disk problems. However, while the storage components themselves are not susceptible to mechanical damage, other components are as well.

SSDs require capacitors and a power supply, which are prone to malfunction – especially in the case of power surges or power failures. In fact, in the event of a power failure, SSDs have been known to corrupt existing data as well, even if the drive itself hasn’t failed completely.

Another possible problem with SSDs is limited read/write cycles – a problem that exists with all types of flash memory.

Now, all that said, SSDs should last you years on average so you don’t have to worry or be paranoid. In fact, if you purchased an SSD in recent years, then research has shown that the new SSD is less prone to these read/write problems than the old one.

Either way, read/write cycles will affect whether you can write to your SSD. Since you can still read your data, everything can be retrieved. However, you’ll still want to know when it’s almost over so you can upgrade – so here’s an important symptom to watch out for.

Warning Sign of a Dying SSD

The incessant roar or ticking of the HDD is an easy way to tell if it’s failing. However, unlike HDDs, SSDs will not make a sound to let you know that something is wrong.

The most convenient and reliable way to find out if your drive is running smoothly is to install software that checks it and silently monitors it for errors. Windows users may want to give Crystal Disk Mark a try while Mac OS X users can take a look at Smart Reporter Lite.

Download: Crystal Disk Mark for Windows (Free)
Download: Smart Reporter Lite for Mac OS X (Free)

Regardless, here are some signs to look out for, symptoms of a bad drive, and what you can do about it.

Error Involving Bad Block

Just like “bad sectors” on HDDs, there are “bad blocks” on SSDs. This is usually a scenario where the computer tries to read or save a file, but it takes a very long time and ends in failure, so the system eventually gives up with an error message.

Common symptoms of bad block are:

  • The file cannot be read or written to the hard drive.
  • Your file system/PC needs repair.
  • Active applications crash and crash frequently.
  • Errors that often occur when moving files.
  • Generally runs slowly, especially when accessing large files.

If you see any of these symptoms, the best idea is to run Crystal Disk Mark or Smart Reporter Lite or Hard Disk Sentinel and check for any physical problems with your drive. If so, back up your files right away and start shopping for a replacement SSD.
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File Cannot Be Read or Write

There are two ways bad blocks can affect your files:

  • The system detects a bad block while writing data to the drive, and thus refuses to write data.
  • The system detects bad blocks after data has been written, and thus refuses to read that data.

In the first scenario, your data is never written to, so it is not corrupted. Usually, the system will complete it automatically. If not, you may be able to fix it by trying to save the file in a different location, or by copying it to the cloud, restarting your computer, and then saving it back to your drive.

In the second scenario, unfortunately, your data cannot be easily retrieved. You can try several methods to recover data from a failed SSD, but don’t get your hopes up. A bad block usually means that any data contained in that block is lost for good.

File System Needs Repair

Ever seen an error message like this pop up on your screen, either on Windows or Mac? Sometimes this can happen simply due to not shutting down your computer properly. However, other times, it could be a sign your SSD is developing a bad block or a problem with the connector port.

Fortunately, solving this problem is easy. Windows, Mac, and Linux come with built-in repair tools for corrupt file systems. After such an error, each OS will ask you to run their respective tools, so follow the steps and fix the file system.

There is a possibility of losing some data in this process, and recovering it may be difficult. This is another good reason to back up all your files regularly.

Frequent Crashes During Boot

If your PC crashes during the boot process but works fine after pressing the reset button a few times, then your drive is likely to blame. This may be a bad block or a sign of a dying drive, so it’s best to back up your data before you lose it all.

To test if it’s a drive, download and run one of the aforementioned diagnostic tools. If you have backed up your data, you can also try formatting your drive and reinstalling the OS.

Your Drive Becomes Read Only

It’s not common, but some users have experienced this one. Your SSD may refuse to let you perform any operations that require it to write data to disk. However, it can still work in read-only mode. For all intents and purposes, the drive appears to be dead, but surprisingly, your data can still be recovered!

Before you throw away the SSD that you think is failing, try connecting it as an external hard drive or secondary hard drive to another computer. Make sure you’re not booting the operating system from the SSD, you’ll need to use the computer’s main drive for that.

If the SSD is still working in read-only mode, you can retrieve all files before safely wiping the SSD.

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