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When my HDD fails, I can go to a specialist and get the data recovered. Is this possible with Solid State drives?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Just as with all storage devices, it depends.

From a UNIX (Linux/BSD/Solaris/etc) viewpoint, if your USB stick is under /dev/sdX (look at the output of "dmesg" to figure out the name) then you can use...

dd if=/dev/sdX bs=512 conv=noerror,notrunc

...which will try to read all sectors of your drive, skipping over the errored ones. This may succeed in creating a mountable image of your data:

sudo mkdir /mnt/recover && sudo mount -o loop ./ /mnt/recover

Even if the end result is not mountable, your data may still exist inside the '' file - you can use any of the search & recovery programs to scan it.

Also - you can use TestDisk.

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TestDisk is a wonderful resource, highly recommended and works well on flash memory. – MaQleod Sep 25 '10 at 16:09

If it is a file structure corruption or if one of the non memory related circuits is what failed then recovery by the data recovery specialist companies is certainly an option (although probably not necessary in the earlier case).

A few companies are claiming processes to restore data with failed memory chips, but I wouldn't put too much faith in this as the solid state technology varies from manufacturers, each with their own proprietary methods.

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It's likely possible to "dump" the flash using JTAG. This would essentially copy the contents of the raw flash, which would include the OOB area used for error correction. However, flash SSD firmware implements "wear-leveling" algorithms and without knowledge of these algorithms you won't know what is where in the dump. Special knowledge of the firmware or alternate firmwares that function in a "debug" mode might be what they could do. Data corrupted and uncorrectable because of worn out flash cells isn't possible to recover, though. – LawrenceC May 25 '11 at 20:27
@ultrasawblade The best case scenario would be recovering the data stored in the bad flash from copies stored in other locations but that requires being very, very lucky I suppose. – Mark Johnson May 25 '11 at 21:08

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