Can a failed SSD be repaired?

What is an SSD?

An SSD, or solid-state drive, is a type of computer storage device that uses non-volatile flash memory to store data persistently. Unlike a traditional hard disk drive (HDD), an SSD has no moving mechanical components. SSDs are usually connected via SATA or PCIe interfaces in computers.

SSDs provide much faster read and write speeds compared to HDDs, with average sequential read speeds over 500 MB/s compared to 100-200 MB/s on HDDs. This makes SSDs desirable for applications that require fast access to data, like operating systems and games. SSDs also have lower access times for random reads and writes.

However, SSDs tend to be more expensive per gigabyte compared to HDDs. SSDs also have limitations on the number of times data can be written to each memory cell before wearing out. Overall, SSDs are best suited for latency-sensitive workloads where their performance advantages outweigh their downsides.


Common Failure Modes of SSDs

SSDs can fail in several common ways, many of which are different from traditional hard disk drives.

One common failure is bad sectors or blocks. Just like HDDs, SSDs can develop bad sectors over time that become inaccessible for reading or writing data. These will show up as UNC sector errors or through SMART monitoring tools (1).

Another failure mode relates to the SSD’s firmware. Bugs or issues with the firmware can lead to crashes, data corruption, or total failure. For example, bugs in garbage collection or wear leveling routines can significantly reduce the drive’s lifespan (2).

Write amplification is another firmware-related failure. This is when the same data gets written multiple times due to garbage collection or wear leveling inefficiencies. High write amplification wears out SSD cells prematurely.

Electrical component failure is also possible, such as failed capacitors, control boards, or NAND flash memory chips. This can occur from manufacturing defects or normal wear over time.



Symptoms of a Failing SSD

There are several common symptoms that indicate an SSD may be failing or developing problems. Watch out for the following signs:

Slow Performance

One of the first signs of SSD failure is a noticeable drop in performance. Programs and files will take longer to load and save, and overall system responsiveness can suffer. This occurs as bad blocks develop on the drive, forcing the SSD controller to work harder to find good blocks for writing data (Source).

Freezing and Crashing

An SSD with failed or failing components can cause system freezes, lockups, and app crashes. This is often tied to degraded read/write speeds as the drive has trouble accessing data. The system may hang as it waits for data from the malfunctioning SSD (Source).

Bad Sectors

Bad sectors or blocks are areas of the SSD that can no longer reliably store data. They are a sign of physical degradation of the NAND flash memory. The drive will remap and avoid these sectors, but excessive bad sectors indicate nearing failure. Diagnostic software can check for reallocated sectors (Source).

SMART Errors

The SSD’s built-in SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) can detect problems through attributes like read errors, wear leveling count, bad blocks, and temperature. SMART errors and thresholds crossed indicate issues with drive health and reliability.

Data Recovery from a Failed SSD

Recovering data from a failed SSD drive is possible in many cases. There are software tools available to retrieve data from SSDs that are not being detected properly. Some popular SSD recovery software options include:

Disk Drill ( – This data recovery software supports all major file systems and can recover data even if the drive is not showing up. It has advanced scanning features to find lost partitions and rebuild file systems.

Stellar Data Recovery ( – Stellar offers a SSD data recovery tool that can retrieve data from failed or corrupted solid state drives. It reconstructs the RAID configuration if applicable.

If the SSD is physically damaged or has failed electronics, DIY software recovery may not be successful. In these cases, a professional data recovery service can disassemble the drive in a cleanroom and attempt extracting the NAND flash memory data. However, this is a complex process and can cost upwards of $500-1500 depending on the drive size and damage.

Before attempting recovery, it’s recommended to make a full image backup of the SSD using disk imaging software. This preserves the drive state and avoids further data loss from continued use of the failing drive.

Repairing the Electronics

One possible way to repair a failed SSD is by replacing damaged electronic components on the circuit board inside the SSD enclosure. Common components that can fail include capacitors, controller chips, and memory chips.

Replacing failed capacitors on the SSD’s circuit board can sometimes resolve issues caused by power surges or fluctuations. Care should be taken to use capacitors with the proper voltage and capacitance ratings. A quality soldering iron, solder, and flux will be needed to de-solder the old capacitor and solder in the replacement.

If the SSD’s controller chip is damaged, it may be possible to replace it with an identical or compatible replacement chip. This requires expert soldering skills to remove the old chip and install the new one without damaging the board. The repair can be complicated by the small size of SSD circuit boards.

Failed memory chips are trickier to replace, as SSDs often use specialized single-level cell (SLC) or multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory chips. These chips interact with the SSD controller in a proprietary way. It may not be possible to find a compatible replacement chip. Complete controller and memory chip replacement would essentially require remanufacturing the entire SSD.

Overall, surface-mount electronics repair on SSD boards requires specialized skills and tools. Component-level board repair is only recommended for experienced electronics repair technicians. For most users, replacing the entire circuit board or SSD may be a better option than attempting component-level repairs.

Replacement SSD controller boards can sometimes be sourced online from electronics parts suppliers like this one. However, finding a compatible replacement is not guaranteed, and board-swapping carries a risk of incompatibility.

Fixing Firmware Issues

One potential fix for a failed SSD is to update, re-flash, or reset the firmware. The firmware controls how the SSD operates and manages data. If the firmware becomes corrupted or outdated, it can cause the drive to malfunction or fail. Re-flashing the firmware essentially reinstalls the SSD’s operating system software, which may resolve underlying issues. This requires a firmware update file from the manufacturer and a software tool to rewrite the firmware.

Some common firmware repair tools include Atolla Insight, HDD Surgery, and SDTool. These tools can reset the firmware to factory settings or install the latest firmware release. However, firmware re-flashing does carry a risk of rendering the data on the SSD permanently inaccessible if not done properly. It’s best to recover important data off the SSD first.

In some cases, SSD controller failures may be repairable by re-flashing the controller firmware specifically. Tools like SATAFIRM S11 allow you to read, backup, and re-flash the controller firmware on devices using controllers like the Phison S11. This can potentially revive an unresponsive SSD controller.

Overall, firmware re-flashing provides a low-cost repair option that may get a failed SSD functioning again. However, it’s not guaranteed to work and should be approached cautiously by experienced users.

Replacing Failed Components

One potential repair for a failed SSD is replacing internal components like the NAND flash or controller. According to this maintenance guide, replacing components involves opening up the SSD case and swapping out the failed parts. For example, the NAND flash chips that store data can be desoldered and replaced with new chips. Likewise, a failed controller that manages read/write operations can be removed and replaced.

Component-level repairs require advanced technical skills and specialized tools to open the SSD casing and desolder/solder the tiny surface-mount parts. Each SSD model may also require unique connectors or firmware flashing to reintegrate new parts. Without proper equipment and know-how, attempting a DIY component swap risks permanent damage. Overall, component-level repairs are best left to experienced professionals or the SSD manufacturer.

Full Drive Replacements

If the SSD has completely failed and is unrecoverable, a full drive replacement may be necessary. According to, the cost of a full SSD replacement for a MacBook Air in India starts around 7,000 INR. The cost can vary depending on the specific MacBook model. notes that rather than focusing on the replacement cost, it’s important to use high-quality components for the replacement SSD.

For other laptop brands like HP, a full SSD replacement may cost $100-300 for parts and labor according to computer repair cost estimators. The feasibility of a full drive replacement depends on the repair costs compared to the value of the laptop. For newer laptops, it may be worth replacing the SSD to regain full functionality. But for older laptops, the replacement cost could exceed the laptop’s worth, making replacement less practical in those cases.

Data Recovery Services

If you have an SSD that has failed and you need to recover critical data, using a professional data recovery service may be the best option. However, data recovery services can be expensive.

Some pros of using a data recovery service for a failed SSD include:

  • Experience and expertise – data recovery services invest heavily in R&D and employ data recovery engineers who specialize in SSDs.
  • Highest chances of data recovery – professional data recovery labs have sophisticated tools and clean room facilities needed for SSD repair and data recovery.
  • Retrieve data even with advanced SSD failures – services can attempt recovery even if the SSD has complete electrical failure or severe logical corruption.

Some cons of data recovery services include:

  • High cost – fees often start around $300 for basic recoveries and can exceed $2,000+ for advanced cases.
  • No guarantee of success – there’s no guarantee all or any data can be recovered from a failed SSD.
  • Potential data loss – manipulation during recovery could result in inadvertent data loss.

According to DriveSavers, SSD data recovery service costs typically range from $700 to $3000 depending on the failure type and level of damage. However, costs can exceed $25,000 for highly complex cases requiring significant engineering effort.

Is Repairing a Failed SSD Worth It?

When an SSD fails, the decision of whether to repair it or simply replace it often comes down to a cost/benefit analysis. Here are some factors to consider:

Cost of Repair – Professional SSD data recovery and repair services often charge anywhere from $300 to over $1000 depending on the specific issue and amount of data recovery required. For many consumers, this cost exceeds the value of the data or the SSD itself.

Age and Value of SSD – If the failed SSD is older and of lower capacity or value, the repair costs may not be justified compared to simply purchasing a new replacement SSD. However, for newer or higher-capacity models, repair may be worthwhile.

Importance of Data – If the data contained on the failed SSD is irreplaceable or mission-critical, investing in professional repair and recovery services can be more than justified despite high costs. But with non-essential data, replacement may be the better option.

Availability of Replacements – If the SSD model has been discontinued and replacements are scarce, repair may be the only option to regain functionality. However, for common consumer SSDs still in production, replacements are often readily available.

Likelihood of Successful Repair – If the failure is due to electronic faults or firmware corruption, the chances of successful repair are higher. But with failed flash memory chips or physical damage, repairs are less likely to succeed.

Overall, for newer or high-value SSDs containing important data, professional SSD repair services are often worth the investment. But for older, lower-value drives where the data has been backed up, replacement is usually the more cost-effective option.