Repair/diagosis tool for Corsair SSD


J

Jesper Kaas

Hi
I bought a Corsair SSD Force Series 120GB in march 2011. Installed it
as systemdisk on my desktop PC, and was very happy with a quicker
machine. That is until today, where Windows (7 Pro) will not start up.
Windows wants to start a ChkDsk, it starts, and the machine freezes at
the same number of sectors checked every time.
I tried repairing the Windows installation from the Windows 7
installation DVD, but get a message that the installation cannot be
repaired.
I put the SSD in an external USB-cabinet and connected it to a laptop.
The disk turns up as a drive, and files can be accessed. Windows
immediately wants to rapair the disk, but does not seem to do
anything.

The SSD apparently has errrors, and I should be in a good position to
run tools for the Disk, but what tools should I use, and is there hope
for fixing the disk?
Looking at corsairs webpage I don't find any tools.

Funny that this should happen just a few days after Paul wrote that he
would not trust a SSD as systemdisk :)
Still, I am ready to order a new SSD as systemdisk, because of what it
does to speed on the PC.
 
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D

Dave-UK

Jesper Kaas said:
Hi
I bought a Corsair SSD Force Series 120GB in march 2011. Installed it
as systemdisk on my desktop PC, and was very happy with a quicker
machine. That is until today, where Windows (7 Pro) will not start up.
Windows wants to start a ChkDsk, it starts, and the machine freezes at
the same number of sectors checked every time.
I tried repairing the Windows installation from the Windows 7
installation DVD, but get a message that the installation cannot be
repaired.
I put the SSD in an external USB-cabinet and connected it to a laptop.
The disk turns up as a drive, and files can be accessed. Windows
immediately wants to rapair the disk, but does not seem to do
anything.

The SSD apparently has errrors, and I should be in a good position to
run tools for the Disk, but what tools should I use, and is there hope
for fixing the disk?
Looking at corsairs webpage I don't find any tools.
There's a link on the Corsair website to their forums.
You might get more help posting there:
http://forum.corsair.com/v3/index.php
 
D

Dave-UK

Jesper Kaas said:
Thank you for the link. I have registered on the Corsair forrum, and
put the question in there.
You may already have it, but this program will give you information
about your SSD, although I don't know if it will help with a faulty drive.
(The Pro version has a 14 day trial period.)
http://www.ssd-life.com/index.html
 
J

Jesper Kaas

You may already have it, but this program will give you information
about your SSD, although I don't know if it will help with a faulty drive.
(The Pro version has a 14 day trial period.)
http://www.ssd-life.com/index.html
I installed SSD-Life, but it will not find the faulty drive (connected
to my laptop via USB), though it is visible in Explorer and
Diskmanagement. Only the Laptops SSD is found.
According to the SSD-Life webpage it will only do diagnosis and
prognosis. No repair.
 
P

Paul

Jesper said:
Thank you for the link. I have registered on the Corsair forrum, and
put the question in there.
I'd word my position diplomatically, as in "you should make regular
backups of your SSD". While the device *is* solid state, with no
moving parts, the least reliable part of it is the firmware.
There's no way to predict when a firmware bug, might trash the SSD.

The Windows 7 "System Image" function, should be more than adequate
for protection from disasters. I've restored my C: a couple times,
after "accidents".

The biggest weakness in doing backups, at least with a laptop SSD,
is the lack of high speed ports. My laptop has no ESATA or USB3,
so backups are relatively slow.

*******

When SSDs were invented, they also worked on the S.M.A.R.T reporting
functions. SSDs need different parameters than a regular hard drive
uses. You should use a relatively recent SMART reporting tool, to
properly read out SMART on the SSD. While it is too late now perhaps,
to examine the statistics, perhaps there is a value in one of the
parameters, that indicates how the drive got that way. Such as
the wear factor approaching a limit.

Even hard drives, have had firmware based bugs as a failure mode.
Before buying a hard drive now, I have to do a fair amount of
research before buying, just to stay away from the worst models.
The hard drives I did buy, still aren't that good. So it's not
like SSDs have quality competition or anything :)

*******

If the SSD "stalls" before you can read off all the sectors,
it's going to be pretty hard to rescue the data. SSDs can be
sent to a data recovery specialist, for recovery. They can
tri-state the controller chip, and read out the flash chips
individually. But considering the amount of indirection involved
in the storage of data, what they'd get would be a jumbled
mess. I don't know if manual recovery efforts (scanning through
the blocks of data), would be able to get much back from
the flash chips or not. It would be different if the
mapping was linear and one-to-one.

What you could try, is "probing" the drive at different
addresses, and noting which addresses "stall". It could be,
that you can probe and recover all sectors except for a
128KB block.

The problem with the following method, is it is purely sequential,
and has no provision for "stalling" at a particular address. All
sectors here are considered to be independent of one another,
such that you can "step and probe" to your heart's content. So
while this approach has merit, it needs additional functionality,
such as controlling which block the tool will try to work on next.
Rather than all of them. Maybe hand-editing the "rescued.log"
can do that for you...

"The best method: Antonio Diaz's GNU 'ddrescue'"
http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Damaged_Hard_Disk

Paul
 
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J

Jesper Kaas

I'd word my position diplomatically, as in "you should make regular
backups of your SSD". While the device *is* solid state, with no
moving parts, the least reliable part of it is the firmware.
There's no way to predict when a firmware bug, might trash the SSD.

The Windows 7 "System Image" function, should be more than adequate
for protection from disasters. I've restored my C: a couple times,
after "accidents".

The biggest weakness in doing backups, at least with a laptop SSD,
is the lack of high speed ports. My laptop has no ESATA or USB3,
so backups are relatively slow.
The crashed SSD is in a desktop-PC, I have a not so old disk-image of
it, and fresh (daily) back-up of all data. So getting the PC up and
restoring data really is no problem. What I am uncertain of now, is if
there is a way to make the crashed SSD work again, or a new one should
be ordered as fast as possible. Could be a warranty-case also.
 
P

Paul

The crashed SSD is in a desktop-PC, I have a not so old disk-image of
it, and fresh (daily) back-up of all data. So getting the PC up and
restoring data really is no problem. What I am uncertain of now, is if
there is a way to make the crashed SSD work again, or a new one should
be ordered as fast as possible. Could be a warranty-case also.
There isn't generally a way for an end-user to fix an SSD.

People use the Secure Erase command, as a way to refresh the
used and free block state. Like, if you used an SSD as a
scratch drive, and did 4K random read/write to it all day,
it would exhibit poor write performance afterwards. If you
did an NTFS format, it likely would still be unhappy and slow.
But if you flush it with a Secure Erase (on a fully functional
drive), it can restore write performance.

But such a command, as far as I know, it doesn't repair internal
data tables used to run the SSD. If those are damaged, only
someone at the factory could fix it. There is probably an
interface inside the drive, that they can connect to at the
factory, to see what the problem is. That would be particularly
important at the factory, in case a flash chip was bad after the
drive was soldered, and they needed to determine which SSD
drives needed to be repaired at a rework station. They would
need diagnostics, to be able to identify drive PCBs that needed
repair.

If the SSD manufacturer web site has a diagnostic program, the
error code would tell the person handling your warranty claim,
what the problem with the drive is. Some warranty claim operations,
won't accept returned goods, unless you run their diagnostic
so they know the problem in advance. That is intended to reduce
the occurrence of NFF (No Fault Found) warranty claims. We used
to have that problem at work, and our factory would send goods back
with a "toe tag" indicating the repair staff couldn't find a problem.
You can imagine, such a scheme doesn't work well, if the customer
gets the item back and still experiences a problem. For good customer
relations, it's better to filter out NFF cases, before they're shipped
back to the factory.

Paul
 
Y

Yousuf Khan

Hi
I bought a Corsair SSD Force Series 120GB in march 2011. Installed it
as systemdisk on my desktop PC, and was very happy with a quicker
machine. That is until today, where Windows (7 Pro) will not start up.
I assume that it's out of warranty now? I have a Corsair Force3 240GB
SSD myself, on my desktop.
Windows wants to start a ChkDsk, it starts, and the machine freezes at
the same number of sectors checked every time.
I tried repairing the Windows installation from the Windows 7
installation DVD, but get a message that the installation cannot be
repaired.
There are various utilities out there that can show the SMART health
info for your drives, like CrystalDiskInfo and HD Sentinel. HD Sentinel
also stays resident and pops up warnings if your drives are in imminent
danger. I'd look at the SMART field called "SSD Life Left" to see if is
something other than 100%.

Also there are utilities out there that do a "secure erase" of the SSD,
this is often considered sufficient for renewing the life an SSD,
sometimes. The Corsair forum has FAQ's that list what some of these
utilities are. I think one of them is called HDDErase. http://is.gd/RBC3tB

Yousuf Khan
 
D

Daniel Prince

Yousuf Khan said:
I assume that it's out of warranty now? I have a Corsair Force3 240GB
SSD myself, on my desktop.
I do not currently own an SSD but if I did buy one, I would get one
with at least a three year warranty.
 
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J

Jesper Kaas

I assume that it's out of warranty now? I have a Corsair Force3 240GB
SSD myself, on my desktop.
Well, for goods that are meant to last substantially longer than 2
years (TV, PC, cellphone), you can complain up to 5 years after the
sale here in Norway. You would not expect a harddisk to crash in less
than 2 years, so I am complaining (am already in contact with the
seller), and will not fiddle with the disk, except for trying to
delete personal data before returning it.
There are various utilities out there that can show the SMART health
info for your drives, like CrystalDiskInfo and HD Sentinel. HD Sentinel
also stays resident and pops up warnings if your drives are in imminent
danger. I'd look at the SMART field called "SSD Life Left" to see if is
something other than 100%.
I got a new Samsung 830-series replacement runing now. I will check
CrystalDiskInfo and HD Sentinel on that
Also there are utilities out there that do a "secure erase" of the SSD,
this is often considered sufficient for renewing the life an SSD,
sometimes. The Corsair forum has FAQ's that list what some of these
utilities are. I think one of them is called HDDErase. http://is.gd/RBC3tB
Yep, I also got a reply on the Corsair forum about Parted Magic for
doing a secure erase. As mentioned above, I will not fiddle any more
with the disc without agreeing with the seller.
 
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