In this Kingston SSD recovery case, the client had a 240 GB SSDNow solid state drive installed in their PC. One day, the drive would not show up in the user’s BIOS—the very first thing that starts up when you turn on your computer.
Your motherboard doesn’t exactly have much in the way of data storage, so as soon as your computer starts up, it searches for a storage device to boot from. Usually, this is the hard drive or SSD which contains your operating system, although a computer can boot from removable storage devices like USB drives and CDs in some circumstances, such as when you need to install or repair your O/S.
Usually, the boot device is easy to find. But the device you’re intending to boot from has to be properly configured as a boot device, of course, for the computer to boot from it. In addition to the device having the correct data, the data has to be in the right places as well. If there is any problem preventing your computer from properly interpreting the data (be it a physical failure, logical corruption, or any other issue), the computer will not boot. This is what happened to the client’s PC.
Kingston SSD Recovery Case Study: SSDNow V300
Drive Model: Kingston SSDNow V300 SV300537A/240G
Drive Capacity: 240 GB
Operating System: Windows
Situation: SSD would not show up in BIOS
Type of Data Recovered: Videos and documents
Binary Read: 87.7%
Gillware Data Recovery Case Rating: 10
It’s hard to get an idea of what has happened once a solid state drive has failed. Hard drives, at least, have audible performance cues to some degree. They vibrate. They make noise. And hard drives can make all sorts of not-so-delightful sounds when they fail. These sounds include beeping, clicking, or even horrendous grinding noises. (If you have a drive making these kinds of noises, please stop listening to them and give us a call right away, even if you enjoy listening to your hard drive’s death song.)
On the other hand, SSDs normally just sit there like a lump, no matter how well they’re performing. They’re quiet. There aren’t any moving parts to vibrate the air around them and make (audible) noise. Even if you listen very closely, you can’t hear the electricity whizzing around inside them. However, some cheap SSDs can produce a high-pitched noise from the high voltage generator which pumps electricity through the device to erase blocks of data.
This is part of what gives solid state devices their alluring mystique. But it also means that when an SSD fails, the end user is often completely in the dark. There is no way for the user to make even a guess as to why the drive won’t work. If a hard drive won’t spin up, a layperson can at least guess which component might be at fault. When an SSD fails, only an expert can come up with a prognosis, let alone a diagnosis.
Our SSD recovery technicians took a look at the client’s failed Kingston SV300537A SSD to determine how it had failed. It turned out that the device’s physical components were perfectly healthy. But just like people, data storage devices can break down even if there’s nothing physically wrong with them. This SSD had suffered a logical failure.
Data storage devices need to work just about perfectly in order for other devices to make sense of them. Even just one flipped bit in the wrong place can “kill” a hard drive or SSD, even if every physical component of the device still functions perfectly. In this data recovery case, the SSD’s boot sector had become corrupted. The boot sector contains critical information about how the drive’s contents are organized.
Without it, the client’s PC couldn’t properly see the drive, and the BIOS could not select it as a boot device.
An SSD with logical damage to its volume metadata is like a puzzle with a missing piece. Your computer can’t solve this puzzle on its own. But our logical data recovery technicians have a far greater success rate. Our SSD data recovery engineers could read 100% of the drive’s file definitions and user-created files after working through the logical corruption and reading 87.7% of the drive’s binary. A check for data corruption among the client’s important files turned up nothing.
SSDs are physically very different from hard drives, making many of their failure modes far more difficult for our engineers to deal with. But above the hardware, in the logical realm, SSDs and HDDs are not so different. This recovery case ended up going very smoothly. The client’s critical videos and documents all worked perfectly. We rated this Kingston SSD recovery case a 10 on our ten-point case rating scale.