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Last post Author Topic: What to do with an SSD after it fails  (Read 6460 times)

wreckedcarzz

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What to do with an SSD after it fails
« on: April 22, 2013, 06:11:38 PM »
Hey all DCers! Haven't been around a while (other than the occasional lurking), but I rise from the dead with a question that I feel I should pose to the forum of knowledge that is DC :)

(Important bits in bold to be skim-friendly)


A couple years ago, I was freaking out- SSDs were new and cool and promised rainbows and unicorns and infinite money... and everything in between. I sat and waited for prices to drop before catching what I thought to be a killer sale. I went out and bought a Corsair Nova V32 SSD - just enough to squeeze Windows 7 and my programs onto. I paired it with a WD 1.5TB data and game drive, and all was right with the world. That was about two years ago.

A week ago, I started having boot issues. The bios would freeze, and the computer wouldn't turn on. I thought it to be a power supply issue, but after a couple hours of late-night investigating, the machine seemed to have fixed itself, and I thought nothing of it (other than "Phew, I don't have to buy a new PSU"). Everything was fine until Friday evening, when I came home and turned the machine on, only to find that it just wouldn't come up; the exact same issue as before, except now the bios wasn't even seeing the SSD at all. Plugging it into a known-working computer also showed no signs of life in it, and I concluded the controller had failed.

Saturday afternoon, I did a bit of research and went out to purchase a new Samsung 840 (120GB) SSD, and the Windows backup restore process went just perfect, and I made sure the configuration was correct for the new drive. But now I have a problem: what do I do with the dead SSD, and all of the data that is on it? It did not house any of my personal 'files' (desktop/documents/etc), however it does have Windows, several shareware applications, my Appdata folders, a PortableApps setup with my browsers (and auto-login Lastpass extensions)...

When I purchased the Samsung replacement, I had them check the Corsair and I was told that I was correct, and the controller just failed. But I'm unaware if there are methods to replace controllers to get at data, and if there are any reputable locations to take something like this to be recycled (the local Goodwill is partnered with Dell, for example). So, what does one do with a drive with potentially sensitive, unencrypted data on it, that cannot be wiped?


And again, hi all! :D

Carol Haynes

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2013, 07:00:59 PM »
Beat the crap out of it with a hammer (also good therapy)  :Thmbsup:

x16wda

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2013, 07:05:00 PM »
Beat the crap out of it with a hammer (also good therapy)  :Thmbsup:

I'd go with Carol's recommendation, but make it a sledge hammer, and post the video on Youtube!  :D
vi vi vi - editor of the beast

kyrathaba

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2013, 07:28:34 PM »
It might be possible to get a replacement controller. However, in a recent video by Eli The Computer Guy, he stated that after 2-3 years, it becomes quite difficult to find these, because the producers have moved on to upgraded hardware and controllers for those, and often offer very poor legacy support in the form of replacement hardware.

mwb1100

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2013, 07:41:47 PM »
A quick Googlin' seems to indicate that the drive may have a 3 year warranty.  If you haven't smashed it yet and the data isn't so sensitive that you feel OK handing the dead drive over to the manufacturer (only you can determine if that would be an acceptable risk or not), you might be able to get a working one in exchange.

As a potentially interesting aside - Lenovo apparently allows you to purchase a warranty add-on that lets you keep a failed drive in the case of a warranty replacement (I have no idea how much additional they charge):

  - http://www.lenovo.co...keep-your-drive.html


« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 07:47:45 PM by mwb1100 »

mouser

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2013, 08:05:38 PM »
Nice find, mwb  :up:

wreckedcarzz

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2013, 08:16:14 PM »
Beat the crap out of it with a hammer (also good therapy)  :Thmbsup:

Might just do that and upload it for everyone's enjoyment :P

A quick Googlin' seems to indicate that the drive may have a 3 year warranty.  If you haven't smashed it yet and the data isn't so sensitive that you feel OK handing the dead drive over to the manufacturer (only you can determine if that would be an acceptable risk or not), you might be able to get a working one in exchange.

As a potentially interesting aside - Lenovo apparently allows you to purchase a warranty add-on that lets you keep a failed drive in the case of a warranty replacement (I have no idea how much additional they charge):

  - http://www.lenovo.co...keep-your-drive.html

I'd send it in for warranty replacement, but the RMA process requires a date of purchase, and I don't have it- the receipt has been eaten by the magical force that takes everything else in a typical family house, and I changed banks in the time I owned the drive, so I no longer have purchase records for my old debit cards. =\

That's a cool Lenovo warranty option, though. Not having to worry about a rogue employee digging through drives after repairing them before sending them back.

Stoic Joker

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2013, 09:56:51 PM »
I've never had or used a receipt for an RMA in my life. Usually just run the serial number and let their (Seagate/WD/Maxtor) records validate the warranty.

But then again I've also no intention of buying an SSD until these rather common horror stories have disappeared into ancient folklore.

More precisely on topic...I'll also vote ball-peen hamer...or shotgun ... Dealers choice.

wreckedcarzz

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2013, 11:07:34 PM »
I've never had or used a receipt for an RMA in my life. Usually just run the serial number and let their (Seagate/WD/Maxtor) records validate the warranty.

But then again I've also no intention of buying an SSD until these rather common horror stories have disappeared into ancient folklore.

More precisely on topic...I'll also vote ball-peen hamer...or shotgun ... Dealers choice.

RMAs usually require receipts in my experiences, it's very rare to have a company not require one.

I bought the SSD at a steep sale price (for the time) and didn't expect it to live very long; it was a sort of first generation, let's-see-how-this-goes product, but I was aching to have one and had the money to burn. I still have confidence in the tech (obviously), and for the most part it seems like the launch generation product issues have been sorted out. The new Samsung came with a 3 yr warranty, and I'm keeping the box and receipt just in case it doesn't live up to that, but I expect it to.

Also, strangely enough, this was my first personal drive failure ever. I've helped lots of friends and other people with HDD failures, but I had yet to have one die in one of my computers. It was really relieving to be able to just go out and get the replacement, come home, pop in the Win7 DVD and click "Repair my computer" and "Restore from a system image" and have my machine back up within 5 minutes. Backup backup backup!!!

Carol Haynes

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2013, 03:03:53 AM »
Did you buy it online? You might be able to find the invoice/receipt there.

mwb1100

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2013, 01:42:53 PM »
If you're interested in the RMA route, I'd check withe the manufacturer.  In my experience to get an RMA for a drive (hard drive or optical) all that was necessary was the serial number of the device (which provides them with a date of manufacture) and running through whatever diagnostics the manufacturer required to convince them that the drive was faulty.

I've done this a handful of times over the years and have never had to produce a receipt or other paperwork.

Darwin

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2013, 04:46:58 PM »
What mwb1100 said - I've RMA'd hardware without a receipt; just a serial number. Go on, give it a try!
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tomos

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2013, 05:05:12 PM »
FWIW I was checking the warranty on a Lenovo laptop lately - it was confirmed (online and per telephone) with just the model and serial number. On that basis I got a replacement battery sent out.
Tom

Shades

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2013, 05:56:57 PM »
For the tinkerer (and possibly destroying your PC)...you could swap out controllers from a similar (same batch if possible) SSD and retrieve your data.

Last ditch solutions are always risky  :P

wreckedcarzz

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2013, 03:23:39 AM »
I'll shoot them an email later today (when it's not the middle of the night) to see what they say about an RMA. Even if they were to accept it and I get a new drive, I'm not totally sure what I'd do with it, though. Thoughts?

This still is a mostly unanswered question though; for sake of discussion, if the drive did have some crazy important data on it, would it just have to be destroyed in this situation? Is that really a real-world "solution"? What would a company's IT department do if they had amassed a group of failed SSDs with company data still on them?

Carol Haynes

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2013, 03:49:34 AM »
Seems to me it depends on why the drive failed. If it is a controller issue the only real option would be to find an identical controller and do surgery to get the drive working. If you can't find a suitable controller then the only options are storage (why?) or destruction.

ewemoa

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2013, 05:42:32 AM »
This still is a mostly unanswered question though; for sake of discussion, if the drive did have some crazy important data on it, would it just have to be destroyed in this situation? Is that really a real-world "solution"? What would a company's IT department do if they had amassed a group of failed SSDs with company data still on them?

I've wondered over the years about "services" that offer to destroy such things...why would one trust them, and even if one did, would they not be a major target?

Stoic Joker

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2013, 06:39:58 AM »
Granted I could be nutz... But I don't think the controller swap trick works on a failed SSD. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the which sections are weak/failed logic was part of the storage chip itself. So the controller could still be fine while the actual data chip has written itself off (so to speak). *Shrug* ...This could be a f0dder question.

Anytime a client's drive has failed to an extent that it cannot be electronically burned, the only option is physical destruction of the drive.

f0dder

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2013, 07:44:25 AM »
I've got no idea whether a "controller swap would work" - it depends on where the drive's mapping tables are stored, and a lot of SSDs these days (at least claim to) have AES encryption - where's the encryption key stored? And finally, on top of that, I've got a feeling that the prints aren't built in a modular way that makes any kind of swapping possible unless you've got lab-grade equipment.

Just a few minutes, let me open up my failed Intel X25-E and grab a couple of snaps for y'all.

EDIT: here - does that look like something you can fix yourself?

dead-x25e-1.jpgWhat to do with an SSD after it failsdead-x25e-2.jpgWhat to do with an SSD after it fails
- carpe noctem
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 08:04:25 AM by f0dder »

Stoic Joker

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2013, 11:33:03 AM »
Zoiks! Thanks f0dder.

On a brighter note, that should be short work for a medium sized hammer.

wreckedcarzz

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2013, 04:27:45 PM »
I've wondered over the years about "services" that offer to destroy such things...why would one trust them, and even if one did, would they not be a major target?

+1

@f0dder, cool photos; definitely not a DIY by any normal means


And that's 4 votes for hammer time, then.

Shades

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2013, 07:09:11 PM »
Just a few minutes, let me open up my failed Intel X25-E and grab a couple of snaps for y'all.

It is the first time I see a SSD from the bottom. Normal hard disks have a relatively small PCB which connects to the insides of the hard disk. The connection point contains only a few (8 or so) contacts. If you unscrew the PCB, you'll see that the PCB comes off without any problems. No glue or whatsoever.

At least, this is the case with all the Seagate HD's I have lying around here. Hence the suggestion of a controller swap.

But you are right, your Intel SSD controller looks kinda scary  ;)

4wd

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2013, 07:36:38 PM »
dead-x25e-1.jpg

Shades

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2013, 04:45:08 PM »
Not to be bad or anything, but replace the resistor with what? You know which kind and capacity of resistor needed for replacement? I assume that Intel is not happily spreading that kind of info to everyone. Of course, if Intel does share, hats off to them.

Too bad that SMD soldering tools are expensive (and very hard to come by in this part of the world, I might add!). With parts so small it is not advisable to fill yourself up with lots of coffee / mountain dew before going to work  :P

On instructional videos that were shown on the school I went to, they showed that components are mechanically glued to the PCB and that the PCB then (very briefly!) dumped in a soldering bath. Worked way faster and less error prone.

ewemoa

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Re: What to do with an SSD after it fails
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2013, 06:25:38 PM »
I found the smily at the bottom right corner of the image to be illuminating ;)