What are the symptoms of SSD failure?

What causes SSDs to fail?

SSDs (solid-state drives) can fail for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Wear and tear – SSDs have a limited number of program/erase cycles. Eventually the drive wears out.
  • Physical damage – Dropping orhitting an SSD can damage the delicate internals.
  • Overheating – Excessive heat can degrade the NAND flash memory and other components.
  • Power surge – A power spike can overwhelm the SSD’s electrical circuits.
  • Controller failure – The SSD’s controller chip can malfunction or fail.
  • Manufacturing defects – Imperfections in the production of the drive canlead to premature failure.
  • File system corruption – Bugs, sudden power loss, or improper shutdowns can corrupt the SSD’s file system.

So in summary, SSDs can fail due to accumulated wear and tear, physical trauma, overheating, power issues, controller malfunction, manufacturing flaws, or file system corruption. The limited lifespan and lack of physical resilience makes SSDs more prone to failure than traditional hard disk drives.

What are the early warning signs of SSD failure?

There are several early symptoms that may indicate an SSD is about to fail or has developed problems:

  • Slow performance – An SSD that is wearing out often starts slowing down when reading/writing data. This happens as more memory cells reach their endurance limits.
  • Long loading times – Applications and boot up process taking much longer than usual is an indication of issues with the SSD.
  • Hanging/freezing – Intermittent system hangs or lock ups, especially during intense disk activity, point to SSD problems.
  • Bad blocks – The SSD controller may detect and mark bad blocks that can no longer reliably store data.
  • Data corruption – Silent data corruption can occur if the drive cannot read data correctly from degraded blocks.
  • Uncorrectable errors – The SSD’s error-correction code fails to recover data from damaged blocks.
  • SSD management tool errors – Tools like SMART may report increasing errors, failed sectors, wear leveling issues etc.

So performance degradation, freezing, bad blocks, data errors, and SMART errors are common early signs of SSD trouble. The SSD may still be functional at this stage, but it indicates the drive is nearing the end of its reliable lifespan.

What are the symptoms when an SSD has completely failed?

Once an SSD has reached the end of its lifespan or has severe damage, it will exhibit more serious failure symptoms:

  • Not detected – The SSD is no longer recognized by the computer during boot up or operation.
  • Failed initialization – BIOS cannot initialize the SSD, often displaying an error message.
  • Boot failure – The computer tries but fails to boot from the connected SSD.
  • Inaccessible drive – The SSD is recognized but the partition and data cannot be accessed.
  • I/O errors – Any attempt to read/write data results in input/output errors.
  • Blue screen crashes – SSD faults or errors leading to Windows blue screen of death.
  • Dead drive – The SSD is totally unresponsive – essentially dead.

At the complete failure stage, the SSD will exhibit obvious symptoms like the system not booting, or the drive being inaccessible. Data recovery from a dead SSD is difficult and often impossible.

How to test an SSD for impending failure?

To identify issues before an SSD completely fails, you can test it in several ways:

  • Check SMART status – SMART monitoring tools can identify damaged blocks, wear indicators, temperature, errors etc.
  • SSD manufacturer utilities – Most SSD makers provide drive health monitoring and diagnostics software.
  • Check file system – Scan the file system for errors to detect bad sectors or corrupted data.
  • Read/write testing – Use a tool like F3 write to stress test reading and writing.
  • Benchmark performance – Run a benchmark suite like CrystalDiskMark to check for speed degradation.
  • Bootable diagnostics – Boot from an SSD tester environment like Seatools for Dos.

Ideally, you want to baseline your SSD’s performance when new, and watch for deteriorating performance, reduced lifespan, or increasing errors. This allows you to replace the drive before failure.

How to monitor SSD health?

To get early warning about SSD issues, you should monitor various health indicators:

  • S.M.A.R.T – Monitor Smart Attributes like program/erase cycles, bad blocks etc. Modern SSDs support SMART.
  • Wear leveling count – SSD controllers spread writes across all cells. Monitor the lowest count.
  • Write amplification – Higher than 1x amplification indicates writes are wearing out cells faster.
  • Drive errors – Watch for error codes indicating hardware faults.
  • Performance – Use benchmarking to detect speed degradation.
  • Temperature – Overheating can accelerate SSD aging. Monitor drive temperature.

Using tools like CrystalDiskInfo, SSD Dashboard, Samsung Magician, etc. you can view health stats and alerts to detect issues before failure occurs. For business uses, SSD monitoring software is recommended.

What should you do when an SSD starts failing?

If you notice the early signs of SSD failure, you should take action:

  • Run diagnostics – Use the manufacturer’s tools to perform thorough drive testing and hoping isolation.
  • Backup data – Backup all data from the SSD in case the drive fails entirely.
  • Check connectors – Improper connections can cause some SSD problems. Reseat SATA cables and M.2 drives.
  • Update firmware – An updated SSD firmware may fix bugs or issues.
  • Disable drive – If the SSD is clearly failing, disable it in the OS to prevent further issues.
  • Replace SSD – For end-users, replacing the questionable SSD prevents future headaches.
  • Contact support – For enterprise SSDs under warranty, contact the manufacturer’s support.

Taking quick action when an SSD first shows signs of issues can help backup precious data and prevent more severe failure down the road. Monitoring tools give you the early warning you need.

Can failing SSD issues be repaired?

Consumer SSDs generally cannot be repaired – when they begin to fail, replacement is required. However, for enterprise/server SSDs, repair may be possible in some cases:

  • Reformatting – Erasing cells may resolve software corruption issues.
  • Firmware update – A firmware patch may fix some SSD problems.
  • Clear dust – Carefully cleaning dust buildup inside the SSD enclosure can help.
  • Reseat connector – Reseating the SSD connector on the motherboard fixes connection issues.
  • Disable bad blocks – The SSD controller can block access to failed memory blocks.
  • Replace components – For valuable data, soldering in new components may enable data recovery.
  • Full reconstruction – SSD lab specialists can reconstruct the drive in a clean room environment.

But component-level repairs are usually temporary measures. For most SSD failures, experts recommend safely recovering the data and then replacing the drive.

How to recover data from a failed SSD?

If your SSD has failed catastrophically, data recovery options include:

  • Use manufacturer tools – Some SSD companies like Samsung provide data recovery assistance.
  • Plug into working system – Try reading the SSD externally from a healthy computer.
  • Specialized software – Utilities like EaseUS may be able to read data despite corruption.
  • Disable write protection – Turn off hardware write protection if enabled on the SSD.
  • DIY recovery attempt – Carefully disassemble the SSD and examine components.
  • Professional data recovery – Experts with specialized tools can read degraded NAND chips.

But recovering data from a failed SSD is challenging. The NAND chips quickly lose data when power is removed. Your best bet is a professional SSD data recovery service for critical files.

How to avoid SSD failure?

You can minimize the chance of sudden SSD failure by:

  • Monitoring health – Watch for early warning signs like SMART errors.
  • Managing writes – Minimize unnecessary writes to reduce wear and tear.
  • Proper partitioning – Use separate partitions reasonably sized for OS and data.
  • Quality SSDs – Choose enterprise-grade SSDs with NAS optimization for reliability.
  • Cooling – Ensure SSDs have sufficient airflow and heat sinks if needed.
  • Backup – Maintain backups so drive failure does not lead to data loss.
  • Newer hardware – Use SSDs designed for your processor generation and interfaces.

While SSD failures are unavoidable in the long run, taking the right precautions helps avoid premature failure and gives you the best chance of recovering your data.


SSD failure stems from factors like worn out memory cells, physical damage, overheating, electrical issues, bugs, and more. Early symptoms include slowing performance, bad blocks, I/O errors, and other anomalies reported by S.M.A.R.T monitoring. Complete SSD failure exhibits obvious symptoms like failed drive detection or being unable to boot. While consumer SSDs cannot be repaired, enterprise drives may be recoverable through measures like firmware updates, bad block exclusion, and component replacement. However, recovering data from a dead SSD is difficult without professional assistance. Monitoring drive health, managing writes, proper cooling, and data backups are key to avoiding sudden SSD failure disasters.