Case study: Samsung SSD 840 Pro 120GB / 256GB / 512GB
The followings models of Samsung 840 SSD can have a particular flaw which relates to a failure of the firmware/microcode.
As with many SSDs, the symptoms of failure are simple – the device will not be detected by the BIOS, or within any operating system.
For normal initialisation of the SSD it is necessary for the following procedure to occur:
- The SSD loads the firmware part from the masked ROM in the processor to the RAM and executes this code.
- Test of memory chips
- The SSD loads the main firmware part from the memory chips to RAM
- The SSD reads the structures from the service area and generates the translator
- The drive reads its configuration pages.
If all of these tests are passed then the SSD will report being in a ready (RDY) state, and it will return the correct identification including the model and serial number.
The 840 Pro fault
When powering on the SSD it will remain stuck in a busy (BSY) state. It is not possible to send or receive any commands when the drive is in a BSY state. This can occur because of either controller, RAM or memory chip malfunction, corrupt data in the translation table, or damaged PCB component.
How to recover data from Samsung SSD 840 Pro?
It is necessary to get the SSD to reach a RDY state so commands can be sent to it. This is achieved by bridging the contacts on the diagnostic connector.
Samsung SSD allows the use of a ‘loader’. This is an external version of the firmware which can be loaded into the RAM. This is a very useful feature as it allows for diagnostic tests to take place even when the firmware of the SSD has been corrupted or cannot be loaded normally. It also has other uses including obtaining access to password-protected drives, allowing bypassing of the security features to enable access to the data.
Please note that specialist hardware is required to attempt the recovery in these cases.
CDR – Manchester Data Recovery Services – has a high success rate when working on Samsung SSDs. The appropriate up-to-date equipment is very important when working on failed solid state disks.