SSD Solid State Drive Data Recovery

For a long time we performed data recovery purely on hard disk drives (HDD). They were the defacto storage device for laptops, desktops and portable storage. Solid state drives (SSD) came along and completely changed the game. They are much faster, use less power and are more robust and reliable than HDDs. Pretty much all laptops and desktops are shipped with SSDs now, with regular HDDs still being used for storage whilst the SSD runs the operating system.

Solid state drive SSD
SSD in our Cape Town lab for data recovery.

SSD data recovery is completely different to HDD data recovery. Hard drive data recovery entails assessing the fault in terms of mechanical, electrical or firmware damage. Resolving the issues is by means of replacing the relevant components in the lab, followed by firmware tweaks to get the drive stable enough to recover the data. When an SSD fails it’s usually due to:

  • Failed controller
  • Bad NAND chip/s
  • Firmware failure
  • Electronic component failure
  • Manufacturer defect (poor quality solder/dry joints)

Let’s take a look at an example of a data recovery on a Gigabyte 1TB SATA SSD. The drive came into us for data recovery as it had just stopped responding in the client’s laptop. It wasn’t even being detected in the BIOS. We remove it from the casing and connect it up to our PC-3000 data recovery system and run some diagnostics.

Diagnosis of the SSD with Ace Lab's PC-3000.

We need to check if the controller is up and running, if the NAND chips that store the actual data are all identified correctly, and if the firmware is working as it should. There are no electronic or physical issues with this particular SSD. We find that all components are working well, apart from the translator module of the firmware. The translator basically tells the controller where a particular sector of data is physically sitting in the NAND memory. We can rebuild this translator module using our data recovery tools, upload this to the drive and then get access to the data.

SSD diagnostic and translator module rebuilt successfully.

We can now start to recover the data from the faulty SSD. The translator can often go bad from bad blocks on the NAND, so as we recover the data we find a few areas that are read with errors, so the NAND is slow starting to degrade. In the end, we get over 99% of the data successfully recovered in our Cape Town data recovery lab.

Failure resolved and data recovered.

Various types of SSD data recovery methods

Different manufacturers use different methods and architecture when developing and building there SSDs, so each model is unique in the approach we need to take when recovering the data. We have the latest and most up-to-date tools and methods of working with SSDs, so if you are in need of data recovery give us a shout.

SATA and NVMe SSDs for data recovery.

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