Troubleshooting a SSD, you would think that you would use the mechanical hard drive techniques but you don't, why?

Why troubleshooting a SSD - Solid State Drive will be difficult.

Because a SSD or Solid State Drive is the best of two devices, but troubleshooting one that has failed will be different.

A Solid State Drive is memory and it is a storage device. This all electronic device acts like an old mechanical hard drive and the newer flash memory and that is the reason it will be difficult to troubleshoot.

Troubleshooting a SSD instructions:

  • Does the device have power?
  • Does the device appear in the BIOS settings for mass storage?
  • When you power up the computer does the "hard drive" activity led light up?

But with a SSD how do you know if it is powering up?

A Solid State Drive so quiet! (No motor that spins the platters because there aren't any, same with the seeker arm making clicking noise, there isn't one!)

What troubleshooting steps can you take for a SSD?

Not many.

The only indication that the SSD is powering up will be either the drive activity light or checking the BOIS mass storage to see if the BIOS initialized and lists the drive.

Check the BIOS settings for the SATA drive, some older motherboards and BIOS settings use IDE or Legacy settings for the ICH parameters of the SATA interface, if the BIOS has the IDE or Legacy setting try changing the setting from ICH. This setting may have been changed inadvertently.

If the activity led or the BIOS doesn't indicate that the drive is present and initialized some things you can try are:

SATA Hard Drive, Power and Interface cables.
A=Power B=Interface

Disconnect the power cable, change with a different cable if you have a spare, if not reconnect the power cable.

Power up, did the activity led come on? Yes, check the BIOS, is it there Yes. Done,

No

Next step would be to replace the interface cable if you have a spare. For IDE if you don't have a new cable reconnect the cable. For SATA interface  if you do not have a new cable disconnect both ends and connect the end that was in the motherboard interface in to the drive, and the end that was in the drive in the motherboard interface.

Note: Swapping the cable around does work, I have done it a couple of times. After inspection and ohm test I did not find any thing wrong with the cable. Weird...

It is better to have it and not need
than to need it and not have it at all?

What is it? You need to see this!
Power up, did the activity led come on? Yes, check the BIOS, is it there Yes. Done (Consider replacing the cable as soon as possible, if it failed once it will fail again).

No, the drive has failed.

Note: If you use a defragment utility on the drive then the drive is corrupt, the only way to recover the use of the drive is to move it to another computer and delete the partitions. This will destroy your data! Do NOT use the defragment program on a SSD!

What the drive looks like inside: (note - place you mouse pointer over the image to view a larger image).

Top of case Open case 8 Memory modules Back of PCB PCB out of case

The PCB fits in the case very tightly, how ever there is not any shock absorbent material between the case and the PCB. (Printed Circuit Board )Troubleshooting a SSD - Cold solder joint on a SATA SSD memory module. Magnified 10 times to see the actual defect from manufacture.

Looking at the front side of the PCB you have eight memory IC's of 8 gig each, this gives you 64 gig of Flash memory. On the back you have the connection points for eight more IC's, this leads me to believe that the Case and PCB for the 64 Gig and 128 Gig are the same.

If the drive is out of warranty you could open it up and inspect the IC's, however with out the correct test equipment and repair tools fixing the drive would be futile.Hard drive that an IC (didode) that burned, this is magnified 5 times.

Because a Solid State Drive drive is memory, and special memory at that, with out replacement memory IC's, the correct soldering iron, the correct tools to desolder the failed part (unless you can test the device how do you know what has failed?)

These images are of a failed SSD and a hard drive that an IC has failed. To see both requires a high powered magnifying glass to see the cold solder joint or the IC that burned.

If you have questions about Troubleshooting a SSD check this page.

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