Compared to their older brother hard disk drives, SSDs (solid-state drives) are relatively new to the market, however both consumers and techies praise them for their speed and reliability. SSDs have no moving parts and are less prone to failure, but there isn't yet enough data out there to prove this theory of their long lifecycle. While the theory certainly does sound good, the logic – of no moving parts and therefore less risk of breakage – isn't always correct, hence the question: can you recover data from a failed SSD?
Before moving on to data recovery, just a quick note about how SSDs are subject to the same stresses that HDDs are, since they directly replace the latter. As a result, the manners in which they failure are similar to HDDs, excepting only mechanical failure.
When an SSD fails, there isn't much you as a consumer can do to recover data from it. The same goes for deleted files, especially if they have been cleared from the trash. The explanation can be found in how SSDs work and how the TRIM function addresses their wear level. While data recovery is still possible because the remnants of files are still there, special equipment is required for it to be successful.
SSDs use flash memory to store user or system data. This is divided into pages and blocks. When a user deletes a file, the system eventually moves the deleted data to another random location until, at some point in time, the SSD decides to finally overwrite it. A group of engineers at the University of California have found that it is quite difficult to erase data from an SSD after they were able to recover data from their test drives.
Consumer-level software applications are not yet smart enough to make SSD data recovery possible. While some apps offer guaranteed recovery, this only works after the software has been installed on the machine and protects and monitors changes to the file system.
Otherwise, you will need help from a professional, who will take your SSD apart, remove the chips, and copy the content to a folder on another computer. At this point, data recovery companies – particularly those who work with mechanical failures – see SSD data recovery as a challenge since the cost of recovery is more than double that of HDD data recovery. And if the SSD was encrypted, then chances are that no data will be restored.
The reason is simple: if a data recovery service looks for the partition table found at the first logically addressable sector and managed to find it, then the chances of successful data recovery are high. But if it doesn't, their efforts will be to no avail.
In other words, you could purchase a third-party data recovery software to try and recoup deleted data from an SSD, but it is likely that you won't be able to recover anything. But if the lost data is of high importance and you don't mind spending thousands of dollars to recover it, then yes, it is possible to recover data from an SSD.
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