And how to remedy it in time
I drive SSD they are faster, more stable and draw less current than traditional ones hard drive mechanical. Sadly, SSDs aren't foolproof either and can fail before the end of their expected average life (approximately 5 to 7 years).
With the debts averted, it is best to be prepared for a possible failure. If you can predict the eventual failure of an SSD and also know how to protect yourself you will not be another victim of the problems that these solid state drives can have.
How do SSDs fail?
Unlike mechanical hard drives, SSDs do not have moving platters, so at least from this point of view there is no problem even if they receive blows or very strong jolts. However, if the storage is not prone to mechanical failure, other components are.
SSDs require a capacitor and a power circuit, both of which are vulnerable to malfunction, particularly in the event of a power failure or power surge. In one case of power failure it happened that the SSDs also corrupted the existing data, even though the drive had not completely failed.
The other problem with SSDs is that they have limited read and write cycles, a problem that exists with all types of flash memory.
That said, SSDs should last many years on average. For this reason one shouldn't worry too much or even be paranoid. In fact, if you've bought one in the last couple of years, the latest research has shown that newer SSDs are less susceptible to read / write issues than older ones.
Either way, the read and write cycles will really affect whether or not you can write to the SSD. Since you will still be able to read the data, everything can be recovered. The important thing is that you will still want to know when the end of its life cycle is approaching
Here are the symptoms to pay attention to:
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How to check the health of an SSD
The noise, or the incessant ticking of a mechanical hard drive is a clear signal that it is about to fail. Unlike old hard drives, however, an SSD makes no noise to "tell us" that something is wrong.
The most reliable way to find out if your drive is working properly is to install a program that checks it and reports any problems in time. For Windows you can download CrystalDiskMark, while for Mac is available Smart Reporter Lite
In addition to checking with these programs, you should look out for the following symptoms:
1) Errors involving bad blocks
As in traditional hard drives there are "bad sectors", in SSDs we find "bad blocks". The situation is typical where the computer tries to read or save a file, but it takes an unusually long time, fails to finish, and the system gives up and generates an error message.
The most common symptoms of bad blocks are:
- A file that cannot be read or written to the hard dsk
- The PC or filesystem needs to be repaired
- Active applications often crash
- Frequent errors while moving files
- General slowness, especially when accessing large files
If you observe one or more of these symptoms, run the programs mentioned above, or even Hard Disk Sentinel, and check for physical problems with the drive.
2) Files that cannot be read or written
There are two ways a bad block can corrupt files:
- The system detects the block while it is writing data to the drive, and thus refuses to write the data
- The system detects the block after writing the data, and thus refuses to read that data
In the first scenario the data has never been written, and therefore obviously is not corrupt either. Usually the system resolves the matter automatically. If it does not, the problem can be solved by saving the file in a different location, or by copying it to the cloud, restarting the PC and saving it again on the drive.
In the second situation, unfortunately, the data cannot be recovered easily: bad blocks almost always contain irrecoverable data.
3) The file system needs to be repaired
If such a message appears on your screen, it means that you have not shut down your PC (or Mac) properly. Or, other times it means that your SSD is developing bad blocks or that there is a problem in the connection port.
Fortunately, the solution in this case is easy. Windows, MacOS and Linux have tools for restoring a corrupt file system. When such an error occurs, each operating system will offer you to run its own program.
There is the possibility of losing some data during this procedure: recovering it could be difficult. This is another great reason to periodically back up your files.
4) Frequent crashes during boot
If your PC crashes during boot but works fine after hitting the reset button a couple of times, the drive is probably to blame. It could be a bad block or the signal of a drive that is ceasing to work, for this reason it is better to backup your data before losing even one.
To understand if it is actually the drive's fault, download and run one of the diagnostic tools mentioned above. If you have backed up your data you can also try formatting the drive and reinstalling the operating system.
5) The drive becomes read-only
It's not that common, but some users have. Your SSD may refuse to perform any operation that requires writing to disk. It continues to work, however, in reading mode. The drive appears to be dead but, incredibly, the data can still be recovered!
Before throwing away an SSD that seems unrecoverable, try connecting it as an external or secondary drive to another computer. Make sure you don't boot the operating system from the SSD, you need the computer's main drive to do this.
How to extend the life of an SSD
If your SSD is about to die, or you've bought it for at least five years, the safest thing to do is to think of a replacement.
In the meantime you can do some things for extend the duration:
- Avoid extreme temperatures: ensure good cooling for your PC
- Avoid power cuts and jolts
- Free up more space on the SSD so that it can move data from the corrupted blocks