What to do with damaged SSD?

Solid state drives (SSDs) have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their fast speeds and lack of moving parts. However, like any storage device, SSDs can become damaged or stop working properly over time. When this happens, you have several options for what to do with the damaged drive.

Try to recover data

If the SSD is not completely dead, the first thing you’ll want to do is try to recover any important files or data off of it. There are a few ways to go about this:

  • Use recovery software – There are many data recovery programs available that can scan the SSD and recover deleted or corrupted files. Some popular options include Ontrack EasyRecovery, Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery, and EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.
  • Connect the SSD externally – If the computer is not recognizing the SSD properly, remove it and connect it externally using a SATA to USB adapter or enclosure. Then scan it with recovery software from another computer.
  • Take it to a data recovery service – For difficult cases of highly corrupted drives, you may need to consult a professional data recovery service. While costly, they have specialized tools that can repair drives and extract data.

If you are able to recover the data, be sure to back it up before proceeding with any other steps. This will allow you to access the data even if the SSD is fully nonfunctional.

Determine the cause of failure

Once you’ve recovered the data (or if the SSD is completely unresponsive), the next step is to try to determine why the SSD failed in the first place. This can help guide how to move forward.

Some common causes of SSD failure include:

  • Logical failure – Issues with the SSD’s firmware, electronics, or flash memory cells that prevent proper function but do not physically damage components.
  • Bad blocks – Failed or damaged individual memory blocks on the drive that develop over time with heavy usage.
  • Physical damage – Visible physical damage to the drive from impact or exposure to environmental factors like moisture or extreme heat.
  • Corrupted files – Viruses, sudden power loss, or improper shutdowns can corrupt system files needed for operation.
  • Wearing out – Constant writing/rewriting of data eventually degrades NAND flash memory cells after thousands of program-erase cycles.

If the failure is due to physical damage or component wearing out, the SSD is likely irreparable. Logical errors or bad blocks may potentially still be fixable.

Attempt repairs on the SSD

For an SSD that has developed bad blocks or has logical errors, it is sometimes possible to repair them and get the drive functioning again. Here are some repair methods to try:

  • Update SSD firmware – Download and install the latest firmware from the manufacturer’s website. This can fix bugs and improve drive functionality.
  • Run the manufacturer’s diagnostic tool – Most SSD brands have their own drive testing and repair utilities. They can diagnose issues and attempt fixing bad blocks or file errors.
  • Perform a secure erase – This special command erases all data and resets drive back to factory condition. It can resolve electronic issues and mapping problems.
  • Linux-based tools – For advanced users, there are open source Linux tools like ddrescue and gddrescue to repair corrupted drives.

Repairing the SSD does come with a risk of making the problems worse or losing all data – so proceed with caution. Having a backup is highly recommended.

Replace the circuit board

If the SSD has physical damage or errors originating from the circuit board, replacing the board can potentially get the drive functioning again. The process involves:

  1. Finding a matching replacement board – Either from the original manufacturer or a third party parts supplier.
  2. Transferring any memory chips from the old board to the new one.
  3. Soldering the chips into place and connecting the new board.
  4. Testing the SSD to see if it now works properly.

Replacing the circuit board is a delicate process best done by data recovery specialists. But it can revive an SSD with a damaged controller or interface components.

Remove usable components

If the SSD is damaged beyond repair or not worth fixing, one way to salvage value from it is removing usable components.

Components that can potentially be reused include:

  • Case/enclosure – The metal or plastic housing that can be used for other drives or projects.
  • Circuit board – Can be used for repairs of similar SSD models.
  • Cables and connectors – To modify or repair other devices.
  • DRAM modules – External DRAM chips sometimes mounted on enterprise SSDs.
  • NAND flash chips – Can be carefully removed and installed into new boards to create custom SSDs.

Salvaging components requires proper tools and skills. And desoldering NAND chips without specialized equipment risks damaging them. But for a knowledgeable hobbyist, it’s a way to reuse parts of the SSD.

Sell the SSD for scrap

Rather than trying to salvage individual components, you can sell the entire damaged SSD to electronics recycling companies. The metals and materials in an SSD have scrap value.

Common recyclable components found in SSDs include:

  • Aluminum – From casings and heatsinks.
  • Copper – In cables and printed circuit boards.
  • Gold – Plated contacts and fingers on SSD connectors.
  • Platinum – Used in controller chips.
  • Various plastics – From cases and circuit board substrates.

SSD recycling follows e-waste disposal guidelines. You’ll need to find reputable electronics scrap dealers to properly recycle the components and precious metals. The current value for scrap SSDs ranges from $2-8 per drive on average.

Dispose of the SSD

If selling for scrap is not viable, the remaining option is to properly dispose of the damaged SSD. Some important guidelines for SSD disposal:

  • Destroy data storage components – Use methods like degaussing magnets or physically shredding chips to sanitize data.
  • Remove batteries – If an onboard backup battery is present, take it out and recycle it separately.
  • Follow local e-waste regulations – Many municipalities prohibit throwing out electronics in normal trash.
  • Utilize electronics waste recycling – Find specific SSD/storage device disposal at e-waste collection sites.

Proper SSD destruction and recycling ensures potentially sensitive data is securely wiped and hazardous materials are not released into landfills.


Damaged and unusable SSDs do not have to simply be tossed in the trash. With the right tools and techniques, you can often recover valuable data or reuse components. Failing drives also retain scrap value or can be ethically disposed of through electronics recyclers. So don’t immediately give up on a damaged SSD – first explore these options for handling bad solid state drives.