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Just wanted to confirm my suspicions that I have a failing drive on my hands. So far here's what I've experienced:

  • I initially got a BSOD while doing normal web browsing
  • After rebooting; said there was no boot drive
  • After a hard power recycle (turning it off and then back on); the drive was recognized. (note that this seems to happen after every BSOD; if i just restart; it's not found, but if i turn it all the way off/back on; then it's recognized)
  • Checking the BIOS; the drive sometimes shows; sometimes not (see above line item)
  • Ran Disk Cleanup & Defragmented; issue reoccured eventually
  • Tried plugging the HD into a diffrent SATA port; issue reoccured eventually
  • Tried using a different SATA cable; issue reoccured eventually
  • Tried reinstalling Windows 7 on top of itself; issue reoccured eventually

I'm suspecting the drive is on it's last legs. (it's a 64GB SSD that's about 2 years old used for OS only).

Did i miss any troubleshooting steps? Anything else it could be other than drive failure?

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that sounded like a typical mechanical hard drive failing story until you mentioned SSD. SSD? :O there goes my only reason for planning to purchase an SSD, i.e., it won't fail every couple of years like mech HDD :( – Ejaz Nov 28 '13 at 18:05
You haven't run any hard drive diagnostics? First thing I do when I believe a drive is going down I run the manufacturer's diagnostic tool (and then chkdsk). – Moses Nov 28 '13 at 18:57
Update your firmware on your SSD first. Sometimes that will fix it. – cybernard Nov 28 '13 at 19:00
@Ejay In general they don't fail that often as I have 8 active 24 hours a day. The other reason to get an SSD is the extreme speed. I had 1 dead on arrival, but they replaced it free. I also had a 6 yr old one fail other than that I still have and use all the SSD I have purchased. – cybernard Nov 28 '13 at 19:07
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You ruled out the possibility of a bad SATA cable/port, which is good. However, maybe there is an issue with the power supply? In my experience it is unlikely, but if you have an extra power supply and some free time on your hands try hooking that up and seeing if the problem persists.

As well, find an SSD testing utility for your drive. There are many out there and often manufacturers will have their own (you didn't specify what drive you have, but just do a quick search and you'll find something). For example, here is one for Intel SSDs

Update: you may want to run Windows chkdsk. Also, make sure you have the latest firmware for the drive and any updates. SSDs "fail" somewhat differently from regular hard drives. If there are any bad cells the SSD won't use them, effectively decreasing the capacity of the drive. But a "failure" is usually all-or-nothing... the drive will just brick itself and not be useable at all.

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Turns out it was the firmware. I googled for a Crucial SSD utility, and came across this link:… Turns out that described my problem exactly. Installed the newer firmware; and it hasn't happened since – Jim B Nov 29 '13 at 1:10

I would like to add some addition information about SSD detection and what I have found to be the reboot problem. While all SSD are not identical some have some hook to mask the problem. I have identified that in most hardware that is failing is caused by the BIOS. A BIOS detects a drive in early POST to identify what drives are installed. A SATA drive depending on which interface type is used starts in a Link Reset mode on power on. The link speed is negotiated between the host and the drive during early post and can take a few seconds to complete. Systems that fail to boot during a reboot cycle are usually sent a link reset by the BIOS during late POST cause a window when the drive is not ready and the BIOS is attempting to read data. A timeout usually occurs halting the boot cycle.

A BIOS that has SATA link speed controls can be tested at different setting to see if the problem can be resolved. A BIOS with no link speed control will have a problem. The BIOS issue can be verified by monitoring the SATA data link to the SSD and checking to see if a link reset is occurring. I would estimate that the link reset occurs about 8 seconds after the reboot cycle starts

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