Solid State Drive Do’s and Don’ts

I was just looking at the new Asus Eee PC and realized that it has a solid state hard drive in it like an Apple iPod nano . Then I saw a Hak5 episode that talked about data recovery on a solid state drives and how it differs from primarily used mechanical hard drives with spinning platters and heads that are in most computers today. The solid state drives, or SSDs, use electronic gates or switches to store the bits that make up the data. Each time the data changes the switch gets turned on or off; a binary 0 or 1. Over time they will actually “burnout” the electronic switches if they are over used, rendering part of the sold state drive useless. I use SpinRite for data recovery and maintenance on my hard drives and it works great for detecting bad sectors and moving the data to good sectors. So I wondered if the program worked it’s data recovery magic on SSDs too. I emailed GRC, the company that makes Spinrite owned by Steve Gibbson, and asked that very question. This is the response I got:

SpinRite was never designed for solid state media. So, we would not recommend running SpinRite on any solid state or flash drives.

SpinRite will be of *no* help or benefit with non-magnetic drives. In fact, since the total number of writes to Solid State Drives is somewhat limited, you should neither run SpinRite *nor* defrag these drives. You *MUST* also not run a swap file on these drives since that will tend to burn them out quickly.

Thank you for your cooperation, time and patience.

Sincerely,

Gibson Research
Technical Support

Defraging your hard drive, which is completely irrelevant and damaging on solid state drives, used to be a way to speed up slowing hard drives. We will just have to see what researchers come up with to deal with the reliability, performance, and recoverability of SSDs in the future.

1 Comment

  1. SpinRite does work on SSDs and does benefit it, at level 1. By forcing the drive to read every bit of data, the drives the drivers internal error marking and correction functions will be exposed to the entire drive. Steve Gibson, the creator, confirms this.

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