Hard but Not Impossible: How to Recover Data From Your SSD

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ssd data recovery with Disk Drill

Is it Possible to Restore Files From an SSD?

Yes, but with certain limitations that are not an issue with data recovery performed on traditional mechanical hard drives. Due to the technology known as SSD TRIM, it is virtually impossible for data recovery software to restore data from an SSD drive when files or folders have been deleted. However, in situations where you have inadvertently formatted a partition or are experiencing performance problems, an SSD file recovery can be done using a data recovery application.

It has become very common to find a solid state drive (SSD) in modern laptop computers or PCs due to their size, economical power consumption, and data read/write speed. As they become more prevalent in the computing community, so too does the possibility of their owners experiencing a data loss event. Unfortunately, some of the tools that users have relied on to undelete deleted files do not function with an SSD. Let’s look at how you can retrieve data from a formatted or failed SSD.

How to Recover Data From an SSD Hard Drive

To recover data from an SSD using Disk Drill data recovery software, follow these steps.

  1. Download and install Disk Drill on the computer that will conduct the SSD recovery. This should not be the computer that contains the target disk.
  2. Connect the device that contains the SSD from which data will be recovered to the machine with Disk Drill installed.
  3. Launch Disk Drill.
  4. Select the disk or partition on which recovery will be performed from the list presented by the application.
  5. Click the Search for lost data button to initiate Disk Drill’s scanning algorithms which will identify any files that can be recovered.ssd data recovery
  6. Choose the files to be recovered. At this point, you also select a storage location for the restored data which should not be on the SSD being recovered.recover data from ssd drive
  7. Click the Recover button to perform the data recovery.recover data from ssd hard drive

This procedure will not work if you are attempting to unerase a file that you previously deleted and SSD TRIM is enabled. In those cases, if recovery is required you should contact a professional data recovery service.

Not all SSDs have TRIM enabled. If yours does not, then you can follow the steps above to recover deleted files as well as data from drives that are malfunctioning or that have been mistakenly formatted.

To increase your chances of getting successful results:

  • Before you begin to execute the recovery steps you need to stop using the device that contains the SSD. This should be done immediately upon discovering that you suspect that you will need to perform an SSD data recovery. If the drive is the main disk of your computer, you will need to perform the data recovery from another connected computer.how to recover files from ssd hard drive via Disk Drill
  • You should not download and install Disk Drill on the SSD drive that will be used in the data recovery. The goal is to eliminate all disk activity with the SSD until the recovery is complete. One exception is if you are going to use the drive to make a sector-by-sector copy that will be used to perform the actual disk recovery. One of Disk Drill’s additional features is the ability to create this type of backup for data recovery purposes.how to recover data from ssd hard drive

What is an SSD and How is it Different From a Classic Hard Drive?

An SSD is a solid state drive that relies on flash memory chips to perform data storage. A classic hard drive or HDD stores data magnetically on metallic platters and accesses this data with moveable read/write heads. This affects how data is deleted from the two types of devices, which in turn, impacts the viability of data recovery software to address file deletions.

how to recover data from ssd hard drive with Disk Drill

The platters of an HDD physically retain data that has been logically deleted from them until the space is reused and the former information is overwritten. This enables data recovery software to access the files and make them logically available to the system again. When data is deleted from an SSD, the flash memory is essentially cleared, leaving no file remnants to be scavenged by software recovery tools. In some cases, specialized hardware recovery can be enacted on an SSD.

The popularity of SSDs is due to a number of factors. Due to the lack of moving parts, in comparison with an HDD, a solid state drive is quieter and uses less power. They also provide much faster access to their data. SSDs employ random access where an HDD accesses data sequentially. This also explains why SSDs are not subject to file fragmentation as are hard drives.

how to recover data from ssd hard drive via Disk Drill

A comparably sized HDD is less expensive than an SSD, and for large-scale storage, hard disk drives are still the way to go. An advantage of SSDs is that they are not constrained by size. SSDs smaller than 2.5 inches are being built to offer faster speed and utility with mobile devices or computers. PC users commonly use SSDs for operating systems due to its speed which offers better performance than an HDD.

Did You Know?

Solid state drives have been around since the 1950s, employing magnetic core memos and card capacitor read-only storage. They were known as auxiliary memory units used with vacuum-tube computers. The drives were made obsolete by less expensive drum storage. 

From an economic perspective, in 1991 a 20MB SSD would set you back around $1,000. Contrast that with an Intel 128GB drive for under $50 that you can purchase and install in your machine today.

FAQ

Q: Is it possible to recover data from a solid state drive when it is dead and not recognized?

A:
Yes. Connecting the device to the computer running Disk Drill should enable you to access the SSD and recover its data.

Q: What is the primary cause of SSD failures?

A:
Physical failure of the flash memory components is one of the primary causes of SSD failure. Other reasons include damage from malware, shock, and bad firmware.

Q: What are the chances of being able to recover data from an SSD that has been water-damaged?

A:
Chances are good that you can restore some or all of the data that resided on an SSD drive that has been subjected to water damage. Your best bet is to let the device air dry for at least 24 to 48 hours before attempting to use it. If you can access the drive, back up the data to alternate storage as soon as possible and monitor the device as it may be more prone to failure after its underwater adventure.


Conclusion

Based on whether your SSD has TRIM enabled or the type of data loss you have experienced, data recovery software may be able to restore your lost files. The most essential step is to immediately stop using the device that contains the SSD you suspect of data loss.

how to recover files from ssd hard driveTake regular backups of your drive to protect your valuable data. Guard against malware and virus infection and keep your operating system updated.
Disk Drill can be used to create a disk image of your SSD for use during data recovery, which can be critical when dealing with a failing drive. It offers you the best chance of a successful SSD data recovery.

Jeff Cochin is a data management and recovery professional, who has been with Pandorarecovery for nine years and has always been an essential part of the team. Jeff also works as a technical writer at Macgasm, being a first hand in testing, trying and writing about big and small tech software.