Solid State Disk (SSD) Data Recovery Services.

Solid State Disks are non-volatile storage based on Flash NAND technology. SSDs are comprised of a number of Flash NAND chips based on a circuit board with a controller or processor. Often the manufacturer of the controller is listed as supplementary sales information. SandForce, Indilinx, Samsung, Phison, Marvell and Intel are all major manufacturers of these critical components. For information on SSDs and other Flash NAND based storage please see our introductory guide, “How do SSDs and Memory Sticks work?”.

When SSDs were originally brought to market they were, and still are, advertised as being significantly faster and more reliable than hard disk drives. Many users have assumed that because an SSD has no mechanical parts it is very unlikely to fail. Unfortunately, this is definitely not the case. Failures of capacitors, controller (processor) chips, firmware, and flash NAND are common. Moreover, research and surveys amongst retailers have suggested that SSD storage has a reliability equal to that of HDDs.

Typical SSD Failure

CDR – Manchester Data Recovery Services – regularly receives enquiries for the recovery of data from SSDs. The different symptoms of SSD failure can be harder to distinguish than those failures in a hard disk drive. Typically an SSD will be working normally, and then will suffer from a sudden and acute failure. Unlike HDDs there are very few advance warning signs that an SSD is close to failure. If you have any data loss relating to a failed SSD please do not hesitate in contacting us.

Flash NAND degradation

The data is stored in flash NAND chips. Usually, these are 48-pin TSOP or BGA chips. These chips degrade and can produce a large number of read errors. As the capacities of SSDs become higher the chances of NAND degradation also increase.

Failure of the firmware, microcode or processor

The disks have very complex software which handles error control correction (ECC), wear-levelling and defect re-allocation. The software (firmware) which manages these functions can fail. This results in the SSD becoming completely inaccessible. These types of failure are usually the most technically challenging to recover.

Deleted data and formatted SSDs

If you have accidentally deleted data, or formatted your Solid State Disk it is essential that you power off the SSD / computer and do not attempt to make any recovery attempts on the device. This is because of modern operating systems, both Windows and Apple OSX, use the ‘TRIM’ command set in conjunction with SSD storage. These commands are designed to boost the performance of SSDs by clearing the NAND chips in advance of the next write. Effectively it means that if you delete data from an SSD and leave your computer running that the TRIM commands will run in the background and wipe the area of the SSD where the deleted data was. This will make your data unrecoverable.

Usually, the TRIM command writes a hexadecimal pattern of “00” to the SSD. On inspection of the SSD, it is possible to identify very quickly whether the TRIM commands have run.

SSD Case Studies

SSD technology is being developed and changed at a very fast rate. Manufacturers release new models of SSD every few months. These have different firmware, NAND or processors from the previous model of SSD. Consequently, it is necessary for data recovery companies to develop appropriate techniques for recovery for each new model of SSD. Please read about our SSD data recovery case studies.

Unrecoverable SSDs

CDR can provide you with the best possible opportunity to recover the data from your failed SSD. However, it is necessary to make potential customers aware that in some cases it is not possible for any data recovery company to recover data from a failed SSD. This is usually because the firmware, microcode or processor has failed on a model of SSD which is a self-encrypting device, where there is no method to emulate or decrypt the data.

A good example of this is the OCZ Vertex 2 or Vertex 3 SSD. These models of disk use the SandForce SF-1200 of SF-2200 series processor. Both of these processors encrypt data to the NAND chips. There is no method to interface with the firmware or microcode on these drives. On failure of the firmware or microcode, there is no known solution for a successful recovery.

Unfortunately, it is necessary to make potential customers aware that some data recovery companies will make claims that they can recover data from ‘any’ SSD, even those which are known throughout the industry to be unrecoverable. Usually, these companies on receipt of the device will make a significant non-refundable fee to attempt a ‘recovery’ on the SSD. We recommend that this is not paid as it is unlikely that the data shall be recovered.

Free diagnosis guaranteed

If you require a free diagnosis of your failed SSD, and for all work to be completed on a genuine no-recovery, no-fee basis, then please contact CDR or 0161 408 4857. CDR can provide you with an exact cost of the data recovery service in advance of receiving your device.

Manufacturers of SSDs

We can recover data from all manufacturers of SSD including:

  • OCZ
  • Corsair
  • Indilinx
  • Intel
  • Kingston Technology
  • Lexar
  • Samsung
  • Western Digital
  • Crucial
  • Apple
  • Kingston
  • PNY
  • Seagate
  • SanDisk

All data recovery work undertaken by CDR is on a free diagnosis and a “No-recovery, “No-fee” policy.