5 Warning Signs Your SSD Is About to Break Down and Fail (2023)

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Solid-state drives (SSDs) are faster, more stable, and consume less power than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). But SSDs aren't flawless and can fail before their expected life span of seven to ten years.

It's best to be prepared for an eventual failure. If you know how to tell if an SSD is failing and how to protect yourself, you won't be a victim of SSD problems.

How Do SSDs Fail?

Unlike in HDDs, there are no physical moving platters in SSDs, so they're immune to old hard disk issues. However, while the storage component itself isn't susceptible to mechanical failure, other components are.

SSDs require a capacitor and power supplies, which are vulnerable to malfunctions—especially in the case of a power surge or power failure. In fact, in the case of a power failure, SSDs have been known to corrupt existing data, too, even if the drive itself hasn't failed completely.

The other possible problem with SSDs is that they have limited read/write cycles, an issue that exists with all kinds of flash memory. The question that emerges in this situation is how long do SSDs last?

Typically, SSDs should last many years on average, likely far longer than you'll need them, so you shouldn't worry or be paranoid. In fact, if you bought an SSD in the last couple of years, research has shown that new SSDs are less susceptible to these read/write problems than old ones.

Either way, the read/write cycle will affect whether you can write to your SSD. Since you'll still be able to read your data, it can all be retrieved. However, you'll still want to know when it is nearing the end of its life so that you can upgrade.

How to Check the Health of an SSD

5 Warning Signs Your SSD Is About to Break Down and Fail (1)

There are different ways to check whether your HDD is failing or not. Apart from that, an HDD's constant whirring or ticking also indicates that it is failing. However, unlike HDDs, SSDs won't make a noise to tell you that something is going wrong.

So, how to know if SSD is failing?

The most hassle-free and reliable way to determine if your drive is running smoothly is to install software that checks it and silently monitors it for flaws. Windows users might want to try CrystalDiskInfo; macOS users can take a look at Smart Reporter Lite, while Hard Disk Sentinel is good for Linux.

Apart from that, here are some signs of SSD failure, symptoms of a bad drive, and what you can do about it.

1. Errors Involving Bad Blocks

5 Warning Signs Your SSD Is About to Break Down and Fail (2)

Much like bad sectors on HDDs, there are bad blocks on SSDs. This is typically a scenario where the computer attempts to read or save a file but takes an unusually long time and fails. Hence, the system eventually gives up with an error message.

The common symptoms of bad blocks are:

  1. A file cannot be read or written to the hard drive.
  2. Your PC/file system needs to be repaired.
  3. Active applications often freeze up and crash.
  4. Frequent errors while moving files.
  5. Generally, running slow, especially while accessing large files.
(Video) How To Repair Dead SSD (Solid State Drive) and Recover Data - 100% Working

If you see any of these symptoms, the best idea is to run drive monitoring software and check if there are any physical problems with your drive. If there are, back up your files right away and start shopping for a replacement SSD.

You can either back up your Windows PC to the cloud or use one of the best backup programs for Windows to store the backup on your external drive.

2. Files Cannot Be Read or Written

There are two ways in which a bad block can affect your files:

  1. The system detects the bad block while writing data to the drive and thus refuses to write data.
  2. The system detects the bad block after the data has been written and thus refuses to read that data.

Your data has never been written in the first scenario, so it isn't corrupted. Usually, the system will resolve it automatically. If it doesn't, you can probably fix this by attempting to save the file in a different location or copying it to the cloud, restarting your computer, and then saving it back to your drive.

Unfortunately, you can't easily retrieve your data in the second scenario. You can try some methods to recover data from a failed SSD, but don't get your hopes up. Bad blocks usually mean that whatever data is contained on those blocks is lost for good.

(Video) Signs Your Hard Drive is Failing

3. The File System Needs Repair

5 Warning Signs Your SSD Is About to Break Down and Fail (4)

Have you ever seen an error message like this pop up on your screen on either Windows or macOS? Sometimes this can happen simply because of not shutting down your computer properly. However, other times, it can be a sign of your SSD developing bad blocks or a problem in the connector port.

Thankfully, the resolution is easy. Windows, macOS, and Linux come with built-in repair tools for a corrupt file system. Each OS will prompt you to run their respective tool upon such an error, so follow the steps and repair the file system.

If you're a Windows user, look at some of the best free Windows repair tools for troubleshooting any Windows issue. Whether you're stuck due to outdated drivers or corrupted windows, the tools described in our article will undoubtedly assist you.

There is a chance of losing some data in this process, and recovering it might be difficult. It's yet another good reason to back up all your files periodically.

4. Frequent Crashes During Boot

5 Warning Signs Your SSD Is About to Break Down and Fail (5)

If your PC crashes during the boot process but works fine after hitting the reset button a couple of times, your drive is likely to blame. It might be a bad block or the sign of a dying drive, so it's best to back up your data before you lose any of it.

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To test whether it's the drive, download and run one of the aforementioned diagnostic tools. If you have backed up your data, you can also try formatting your drive and reinstalling the OS.

5. Your Drive Becomes Read-Only

5 Warning Signs Your SSD Is About to Break Down and Fail (6)

It's not that common, but some users have experienced this one. Your SSD might refuse to let you perform any operations that require it to write data to disk. However, it can still work in read-only mode. The drive appears dead for all intents and purposes, but surprise, you can still recover your data!

Before you throw away an SSD that you think has failed, try connecting it as an external hard drive or a secondary hard drive to another computer. Make sure you don't boot the operating system from the SSD; you need to use the computer's main drive for that.

In case the SSD is still functioning in read-only mode, you can retrieve all your files before securely erasing the SSD.

How to Extend the Life of Your SSDs

If your SSD is on the verge of failure, or if you've owned one for over five years, then the safest thing would be to start shopping for a replacement. Meanwhile, you can do a few things to extend its lifespan till you get a replacement:

  1. Avoid extreme temperatures from affecting the drive. Ensure good cooling in your PC.
  2. Avoid power outages and any electric fluctuations.
  3. Free up some extra space on your SSD so it can move data from bad blocks.

If you're looking for a replacement SSD, consider an M.2 SSD. They offer faster data throughput than standard mSATA and should be your default go-to choice when buying a new SSD if your budget allows.

FAQs

What are the signs of an SSD failing? ›

5 Signs of SSD Failure Symptoms
  • Your machine won't boot; you get the “No bootable device” or “No bootable medium” error message (on Windows), or a flashing question mark (on Mac devices)
  • It runs excessively slow.
  • Active applications often freeze or crash.
  • Frequent Blue/Black Screen of Death errors.

What are the chances an SSD fails? ›

SSDs aren't that far behind hard drives in failure rate, with a 1.05% annualized failure rate compared to 1.38%.

Can SSD fail suddenly? ›

Compared to hard drives, SSDs are remarkably reliable; yet, no storage technology is perfect. Even the latest NVMe SSDs are susceptible to a sudden or gradual breakdown.

How do I keep my SSD healthy? ›

Top 7 Tips to Get the Most from your SSDs
  1. Enable TRIM. TRIM is essential for keeping SSDs in tip-top shape. ...
  2. Don't Wipe the Drive. ...
  3. Update Your Firmware. ...
  4. Move Your Cache Folder to a RAM Disk. ...
  5. Don't Fill to Full Capacity. ...
  6. Don't Defrag. ...
  7. Don't Store Large Files.

Can SSD last forever? ›

All storage devices eventually fail, and unfortunately, SSDs are no exception. That doesn't mean that they're unreliable — SSDs offer much faster data access than hard drives, and they're less susceptible to physical damage. A modern SSD can operate for upwards of 5 years under optimal operating conditions.

Can SSD live forever? ›

SSDs Have a Long Lifespan

Since SSDs don't have moving parts, they're very reliable. In fact, most SSDs can last over five years, while the most durable units exceed ten years. However, how long your SSD will last depends on how often you write data into it, and you could use that to estimate the lifespan.

What affects SSD life? ›

Currently, vendors use three different factors to estimate SSD lifespan: the age of the SSD, the total number of terabytes written over time (TBW), and the drive writes per day (DWPD).

What lasts longer SSD or HDD? ›

If you're looking purely from a numbers standpoint, averages indicate an SSD can last about 20 years, whereas an HDD will last about six. However, these are numbers aren't set in stone, and you may need to replace your HDD or SSD more or less often depending on a number of factors.

How many times can you rewrite an SSD? ›

An SSD that stores a single data bit per cell, known as single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash, can typically support up to 100,000 write cycles.

How long until an SSD dies? ›

Most SSDs last 20+ years as long as they are not faulty, but the lifespan of an SSD can vary greatly from device to device. SSDs have a “write” limit, but this limit is hundreds of Terabytes, which most users will never even come close to. Most people don't see their SSDs die before they're obsolete.

Which SSD has the longest life? ›

Single-level cell SSDs (SLC) have a particularly long life, although they can only store 1 bit per memory cell. They can withstand up to 100,000 write cycles per cell and are particularly fast, durable, and fail-safe. Multi-level cell SSDs (MLC) have a higher storage density and can store 2 bits per flash cell.

How do I check my SSD lifespan? ›

Download and install Open Hardware Monitor. Run the app and expand your SSD from the list. Under Levels, the app will tell you how much of your SSD's life is left.

What happens if SSD dies? ›

Cannot write to disk: As it says, you can no longer write to the SSD, which in turn causes crashes, errors, and more. File system repair: You need to repair your operating file system on an increasingly regular basis. Boot crashes: Your operating system cannot boot properly, and your system fails to load.

How often do SSD drives fail? ›

But SSDs aren't flawless and can fail before their expected life span of seven to ten years. It's best to be prepared for an eventual failure.

Can a hard drive last 10 years? ›

A Hard Drive's Life Span

Generally speaking, you can rely on your hard drive for three to five years on average. A compelling study that proved this statistic comes from the online backup company Backblaze who analyzed the failure rates of 25,000 running hard drives.

How long will an SSD last? ›

SSDs Have a Long Lifespan

Since SSDs don't have moving parts, they're very reliable. In fact, most SSDs can last over five years, while the most durable units exceed ten years. However, how long your SSD will last depends on how often you write data into it, and you could use that to estimate the lifespan.

What happens when SSD wears out? ›

While the gradual wearing out of SSD flash cells doesn't represent the same kind of failure as a mechanical malfunction on a HDD, it does mean the drive will no longer be usable. While SSDs may fail with less frequency than HDDs, they do have a higher error rate that can affect the end-user experience.

Can a failing SSD be fixed? ›

You can repair SSD manually or use EaseUS Partition Master - an SSD repair tool to help you fix corrupted SSD. If all these methods don't work out well, contact your SSD manufacturer and see if they have any better solutions for you.

What happens when an SSD dies? ›

Cannot write to disk: As it says, you can no longer write to the SSD, which in turn causes crashes, errors, and more. File system repair: You need to repair your operating file system on an increasingly regular basis. Boot crashes: Your operating system cannot boot properly, and your system fails to load.

What SSD lasts the longest? ›

Single-level cell SSDs (SLC) have a particularly long life, although they can only store 1 bit per memory cell. They can withstand up to 100,000 write cycles per cell and are particularly fast, durable, and fail-safe. Multi-level cell SSDs (MLC) have a higher storage density and can store 2 bits per flash cell.

When should an SSD be replaced? ›

Solid-state drives (SSDs) are faster, more stable, and consume less power than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). But SSDs aren't flawless and can fail before their expected life span of seven to ten years. It's best to be prepared for an eventual failure.

Can SSD last 100 years? ›

The defect cells are replaced with brand-new reserve cells; this procedure is called “Bad-Block-Management”. Thus, SSD storage cells in normal operation last a lifetime.

What causes SSD to damage? ›

The main reason SSDs will eventually fail is the fact that NAND flash can only withstand a limited number of read/write cycles. NAND flash is non-volatile memory, meaning it retains data even without a power source. When data is written, the data already stored in the cell must be erased first.

How much does it cost to fix an SSD? ›

SSD Upgrade – $150-400.

Costs are usually $100-200 labor plus the cost of the SSD.

Can you recover files from a dead SSD? ›

It's possible to recover data from dead SSD if the SSD died of natural causes (memory cells stopped working). A simple way to recover data from a dead SSD is to simply clone it to a new drive, although you can also connect it to another PC as a secondary device.

Can an SSD be recovered? ›

Can SSD data be recovered? Yes, SSD data can be recovered—even from SSDs that have the TRIM command enabled, in many cases. The key is to begin the data recovery process as soon as possible using the best SSD recovery software application available.

How often do solid state drives fail? ›

The SSDs had an annualized failure rate of only 0.58% - or roughly 1 in every 200 drives. The traditional hard disk drives, with their moving parts and fragile glass platters, had a failure rate of 10.56% - or just over 1 in 10 - which is an order of magnitude worse.

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