I have my crucial M4 256GB SSD for a little over 2 years, always had windows 7 on it, the SMART data never showed any problem, the last time I check I think the SMART reported 80% lifespan left on the SSD.

A few days ago I had to upgrade my OS to windows 8.1 (it was a wipe and re-install everything). So in a period of 1 day, I probably written about 150GB of data to the SSD. Now suddenly the SSD lifespan SMART parameter telling me its only got 10% life left, and windows is showing me a warning that my SSD is "failure imminent, back up your data".

I was confused since I only had this SSD for a little over 2 years. So I did a bit of research, and some hardware forum users suggested that my re-install fooled the SSD into thinking I write an average of 150GB data per day, and calculated the lifespan from that.

Is it true that SSD would mis-calculate its lifespan due to a big OS/software re-install?

Thank you for reading my question.

EDIT: Data from HD sentinel:

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Firmware revision version is: 040H, model is M4-CT256M4SSD2

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    First link to what you read exactly. What firmware revision are you running? What tool are you using to report the SMART data?
    – Ramhound
    May 24, 2015 at 2:49
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    re:Ramhound I have updated with data I saw using hdsentinel
    – KoKo
    May 24, 2015 at 3:01
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    sorry, the firmware revision version is: 040H, model is M4-CT256M4SSD2
    – KoKo
    May 24, 2015 at 4:02
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    I always say read the raw data, ignore the assessments. you have raw data numbers there is hex form, convert that to regular numbers you recognise and observe that you have that many sectors (or is it blocks?) of wear leveling. Because wear leveling is how the drive protects the data from being in weakened and well used cells, i fail to see any problem here other than it is doing what it would do? Make your own assessment. As always backup the data anyways, because any disk could die at any time without cute warnings, and controller failure gives no warning.
    – Psycogeek
    May 24, 2015 at 8:41

2 Answers 2


I'm unaware of the nuances on how HD Sentinel goes about gathering information and making predictions on drive failure and health (other than S.M.A.R.T diagnostics) so it's within the realm of possibility that HD Sentinel is basing it's predictions on a limited average of software reports or logs of GB writes/day. Reading into HD Sentinel offered nothing more than YES they use "more sophisticated way[s] to predict failures [based on more than just] checking S.M.A.R.T." Also, that they do use logs and it's "more sensitive" to displaying any problems found.

I can tell you that the average lifespan of consumer grade SSD's technology these days is upwards of 1PB's (Petabyte) worth of data writes. Which equates to about ~10 years of average consumer data usage. This of course depends on the drive manufacturer, 3-bit TLC vs. 2-bit MLC cell density, etc...

In any case the only way to know for certain if your SSD is on it's way out is by determining whether or not the sectors in question are based on logs or actual S.M.A.R.T. data (which is just a guide by the way, not a perfect science) Furthermore, if the sectors in question are a process of natural cell degradation being reallocated and triggering the S.M.A.R.T. or if the sectors are more serious, uncorrectable errors which is a tell-tale sign of SSD failure.

For more info in determining severity and performing further diagnostics try finding a tool for your specific brand of SSD, offered by the manufacturer. http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/support-ssd-firmware ?

EDIT: Might be a simple, benign, firmware issue associated with the 256GB M4 Crucial SSD as seen here: http://forum.crucial.com/t5/Crucial-SSDs/Is-there-a-diagnostics-program-from-Crucial/m-p/96695#M28827

"Correct a condition where an incorrect response to a SMART counter will cause the m4 drive to become unresponsive after 5184 hours [200+ days] of Power-on time. The drive will recover after a power cycle, however, this failure will repeat once per hour after reaching this point. The condition will allow the end user to successfully update firmware, and poses no risk to user or system data stored on the drive." ~ Crucial

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    This is the answer. The current firmware is *070H which is the reason I asked. The behavior you describe is exactly something a firmware would fixed. Since the drive is 2 years old, there won't be additional fixes more then likely, but with SSD you must keep an eye out on firmware updates or at the very least be aware of the issues with a specific version.
    – Ramhound
    May 24, 2015 at 5:44
  • I just tried to update the firmware with the crucial windows 8 tool, but then it says update failed. Now it doesn't even show a firmware revision anymore in hdsentinel, but windows is still loading ok and I could boot up. Should I buy a new SSD at this point?
    – KoKo
    May 24, 2015 at 6:06
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    I mean... sure. If you wanna. Fact of the matter remains that there is strong evidence to support that is a fixable issue and that your type of drive is inaccurately reporting problems. Even with these "problems," crucial states that there is no risk to the user or data. If it were me? I would try a little more than one firmware revision. Try sequentially updating firmware if more than one has come out between your current version and the one you've tried, Crucial Win 7 tool, etc.. before simply giving up.
    – user431052
    May 24, 2015 at 6:21

To answer the question posed: NO.

The wear leveling counter is in the drive itself, not in the diagnostic software. If your drive has a wear leveling MTBF of 3000, and you're at 0x0A94 (2708 in decimal) then its wear level cycles are at 90% of the rated spec. That means you've written quite fair amount to the drive over the 2 years you've had it.

I have the same drive, and the same firmware version. (The reason I found this question and answers is from searching "S.M.A.R.T. M4-CT256M4SSD2")

I bought my drive in early 2013 and it's mid 2021 now, and I'm just now hitting the point you did in 2015. (My wear leveling count is 0x0A98, so decimal 2712) and it triggered a Windows message to me about a week ago. Related, my "Percentage of Lifetime.." number also shows current value of 10, and raw value of 0x5A (decimal 90) so I think this is just derived from the wear leveling numbers, dividing current value by spec value and making a percentage out of it.

I've noticed when it's quite full, performance suffers rather a lot. So I'm already planning on replacing it. Now I know not to do much huge data stuff on it until I get a new drive in there.

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