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How to Tell if Your SSD is Failing

How to Tell IF your SSD is Failing

Is your SSD underperforming lately? Sometimes, it can break down and cause unwanted loss of data.

Let’s go over a few signs which predict a faulty SSD.

Why do SSDs fail in the first place?

Manufacturers offer an average SSD lifespan of 7 to 10 years.

Even though SSDs perform better than traditional HDDs when it comes to speed and power consumption, they are not flawless.

Although not likely, SSDs can be damaged by power surges, just like HDDs. 

There have been reports in the past of corrupted files on the SSD, even though the SSD itself was not physically damaged.

However, these cases are rare and don’t represent the main reasons why SSDs fail.

So what is it exactly that can render an SSD useless?

SSD Read/Write Cycles

This is a known issue with flash memory, and SSD makes no exception.

Those blazing fast speeds come with a cost.

As data gets written and deleted from your SSD, the lifespan goes on a permanent downtrend.

When SSDs first became popular, that read/write limit was somewhere around 10TB.

Today, new models can go even 10 times above that limit.

However, it’s still a thing, and the more you use your SSD, the more it is likely to become useless.

But don’t panic. Even with this limitation in mind, an SSD should still last a decent amount of time, and most likely you will end up replacing it before it dies out.

How to Check your SSD Health Status

Three Samsung Portable SSDs
Samsung Portable SSds

Checking how well your SSD is performing should be no secret for any user.

Luckily, there are a plethora of programs out there to perform these tests.

Here is a small list:

  • CrystalDiskMark for Windows
  • Hard Disk Sentinel for Linux
  • Smart Reporter Lite for macOS

What these programs do is basically perform different types of reading/write operations. The results will be displayed to you.

You can then check your manufacturer’s specs, and see if they more or less match your results.

For example, if your SSD has an advertised Read Speed of 400MB/s, but you only got 150MB/s, that’s a good sign that something is wrong.

Checking for Bad Blocks

Before SSDs, we had bad sectors in HDDs. If it takes too much time when you try to save a file or retrieve one, it’s a good indicator it’s time to check your SSD for Bad Blocks.

Other signs your SSD has bad blocks are:

  • Unexpected slow speed on your system
  • Freezing
  • Applications crashes
  • Moving files trigger an error
  • General unresponsive feedback from your system

Good software for this is HD Tune.

If you do discover bad blocks on your SSD, the first thing you want is to take an immediate backup of your files to prevent any losses.

Constant File System Repair Notice

In most cases, you will get a file system repair screen whenever you don’t perform a clean shutdown.

However, it’s also a good indicator of a possible bad block on your SSD. Checking the connector port is also a good idea, as it might be loose.

Read/Write Errors

A faulty SSD can also cause read/write errors. If there is no valid reason why your files can’t be read or written, it’s a good indicator that something is wrong with your SSD.

A quick fix is to try and save the data to a different location. If it works, it’s a valid sign of a bad block on your SSD.

In most cases, data is considered lost and unrecoverable if the block that contains it is damaged/bad.

How to prevent SSD Failure

As I’ve mentioned before, SSD failure will happen eventually.

However, there are a few tips you can take into consideration to expand your SSD lifespan.

Here are a few ways to extend the life of your SSD:

  • Never defragment an SSD. This was meant only for HDDs, and it can cause actual damage to your SSD
  • Always keep at least 30% free space to maintain its performance. SSDs usually underperform when they are almost full.
  • Making sure your PC or Laptop is properly cooled is another valid point. Extreme temperatures are a nemesis for your SSD
  • Make sure you avoid as much as possible any power fluctuations or failures during operations.
  • Disable page files, as it will increase the volume of data being written and read from your SSD. Here’s how to give a program more RAM so you don’t have to use pagefiles.
  • Same as page files, hibernation will also cause unwanted data to be used on your SSD. Disable it.

Final Note

While there are a few reasons why an SSD might fail, the chances of this happening are very low.

If you follow the steps to prevent damage to your SSD, it will last for a fair amount of time. 

Always keep a backup in mind every week or so, to prevent any unwanted data loss.