The Dead Disk Bounce: Does An SSD Get A Second Act?

My desktop PC is just now passing three years old. When it arrived I imaged the factory installed 2 TB hard drive, replacing it with a Crucial m4 256GB SSD for the boot volume. With a small registry tweak the 2 TB drive became home to the user profiles and related files.

The boot time of the computer was improved by the SSD. Since the boot volume was just the OS & apps it was quick & easy to backup by making an image of that volume. The fact that I make routine backups became important recently, when the SSD failed outright.

In this case I had just installed some updated to the OS, when a reboot was required. However, upon rebooting the system could not find the boot volume. 


Fool Me Once

Not long after I installed the Crucial SSD it had appeared to fail. In that instance, Crucial tech support advised me to let the device go through an overnight diagnostic. This is induced by connecting it to power, but leaving the data port disconnected.

As they had promised, the drives internal diagnostics eventually righted whatever problem had arisen. As if by some miracle, the entire volume was once again available, bootable and entirely in tact. Since I had the drive out of the chassis I took the opportunity to update it’s firmware to the then current 040H release.

Updating the firmware of a hard disk is not something that has been commonplace in the past. At least, not in my world.

Fool Me Twice

Crucial M4 256 GB SSDWhen the again SSD failed two weeks ago I thought that perhaps this was for real. A dead drive. So even as I moved to working on my laptop for the rest of that day, I ordered a new Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD via Amazon for just $98. With the most recent backup image restored to the Samsung drive, my desktop was back to normal.

This leaves me wondering what to do with the Crucial disk? I left it powered overnight and it seems to have righted itself once again.

Referencing the makers web site I see that there is now a 070H release of firmware. However, despite several attempts, I cannot get the firmware installer to update the drive.

I’ve tried to update the drive in a number of ways:

  • Externally connected to desktop via a USB harness
  • Internally mounted, connected to the motherboard along side the Samsung SSD
  • Internally mounted, as the boot volume for the desktop, Samsung SSD removed
  • Externally connected to Windows 8.1 laptop via a USB harness

Crucial distributes separate installers for Windows 7, 8.1 & OSX. No matter what I’ve tried the installer will not acknowledge the attached drive! This even though the drive is by now behaving normally.

And Now…

For the moment I have it mounted in an external USB 3.0 housing. I’m just using it to hold a pair backup images. The question I face is can it be trusted? Or should it be junked? This is literally the first SSD that I ever bought so I’m not sure about it. What do you think?

  • mowcius

    Have you got any SMART stats from the drive (CrystalDiskInfo will help here if not).

    I wouldn’t personally trust it for anything other than temporary data. SSDs sadly do die but unlike HDDs, they do so silently and often catastrophically.