Do you have an SSD drive on your computer? If so, you may wonder what happens to the data on your SSD drive if the power is lost.
While SSDs are designed to be more resistant to power loss than traditional hard drives, it is still possible for data to be lost if the power is cut off unexpectedly.
In this article, we’ll look at what happens to the data on an SSD when the power is lost and how you can protect your data from being lost in this scenario.
What Is An SSD?
Solid state drives (SSDs) are storage device that uses flash memory to store data. SSDs can be faster, more reliable, and less expensive than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs).
The first SSDs used NAND flash memory chips with the same characteristics as those used in USB thumb drives and SD cards. NAND is a type of nonvolatile memory used in solid-state drives because it’s faster than DRAM or SRAM but still retains its data when powered off—the same as flash memory on a smartphone.
The difference between these two types of solid-state storage media is how they handle writes. While both use multiple levels of the programming voltage to write data onto an array of transistors, NAND relies on Fowler-Nordheim tunneling electrons moving through the device from one transistor layer to another.
Thus no new charge has been added to its structure during writing operations—just like you wouldn’t add water to an empty glass when filling it up with liquid.
Power Loss: What Happens To The Data On An SSD
When you lose power, your computer doesn’t just shut off. Depending on your settings, it may go into hibernation or sleep mode. But what happens to the data on your SSD?
Here are possible scenarios:
1. Intel’s SSD Data Center Tool (SSD Toolbox) Identifies The Drive, Gets Status Information, And Performs Diagnostic Scans.
Intel’s SSD Data Center Tool (SSD Toolbox) is a free tool that provides information on Intel SSDs. It can identify the drive, get status information and perform diagnostic scans. You can download the tool at https://downloadcenter.intel.com/.
2. The Device Driver Has Cached Data To Write To The Drive.
When the power is lost, several things happen. The device driver has cached data to write to the drive, and it needs to be flushed out of the cache before you can use your computer again.
The operating system also has data in a cache on its hard drive (or SSD). When you boot up your computer, it will load everything stored in its memory into the main storage and make it available for use immediately.
Suppose this happens while data is still being written into main storage by other programs or processes on your device. In that case, those files may not get written over with new ones until they’re physically written over with zeroed-out bytes using an algorithm called “write-back” or “defragmentation.”
3. The Operating System Has Data In The Cache To Write To The Drive.
This type of storage has been around since 2004 but only recently came into wide use as hard drives became obsolete due to their limited capacity and slow performance.
The main advantage of SSDs over traditional mechanical hard drives is that they can be much smaller than their predecessors, allowing you to fit more applications on your computer without sacrificing space or speed.
Because SSDs use flash memory rather than moving parts like spinning platters (used by other computer storage devices), so they have faster read speeds compared with conventional hard drives.
But because the media itself must be erased periodically before writing new data onto it again (which takes time), they’re also slower at writing out files than spinning platters if they had similar capacities.
4. The Host Bus Adapter (HBA) Has Data In The Cache To Write To The Drive.
When you power down your system, the host bus adapter (HBA) has data in the cache to write to the drive. The HBA is a piece of hardware that connects the computer to the storage device and is responsible for communication between the computer and the SSD.
5. The SSD Controller’s Internal Buffers Hold Data For Multiple Write Commands.
The SSD controller’s internal buffers hold data for multiple write commands. This is a good thing; if the power is lost, it will still write some data to the drive.
This feature helps prevent data loss in case of an unexpected power loss. When you use an SSD as your primary storage device and store files (like photos or videos), you want to ensure that these files are saved without fail—and without losing any precious moments of your life.
6. Data Blocks Are Mapped Within The FTL As Free, But Contain Old Data.
This prevents unnecessary garbage collection operations required after a power loss event.
When power is lost, FTL will continue to operate as if it were powered by a battery and thus keep track of its state. This can cause some unexpected results when you reboot your system:
- Data blocks are mapped within the FTL as free but contain old data. This prevents unnecessary garbage collection operations that would be required after a power loss event.
- The SSD cache has been flushed, so all dirty pages have been updated by other processes (such as VMware) before they were written back into memory.
7. In POR, Power Is Applied To The Dram Cache And Flash Transistors While The Rest Of The SSD Remains Unpowered.
The data written to your SSD during a power outage will be lost when you return to power (the same way it would if there weren’t an SSD).
However, you can still recover any data written after that point using an external tool like Acronis Disk Director or Macrium Reflect.
8. A Capacitor Can Provide Enough Energy For A Few Seconds After Power.
On some SSDs, a capacitor can provide enough energy for a few seconds after power loss to flush the remaining data in DRAM into NAND flash memory. This is called “data scrubbing.”
The amount of time your SSD can hold on to its contents depends on several factors:
- The quantity of data you have stored on it (the more there is, the longer it will take). The more densely packed your storage area is with bits and bytes, the longer it takes for all those bits and bytes to lose their charge. For example, if you have only 10KB worth of information stored on an SSD that’s been running for days without any power being applied through its battery pack, it suddenly loses power.
- You would expect that our computer would flush everything out immediately after turning it off. Suppose we were using an older model laptop with less than 1GB of storage space but still had access through USB ports instead of memory cards like those used by smartphones today. In that case, chances are good that our data would still be safe even after turning off our device completely without having any backup copies made beforehand.
9. A Well-Designed Host System That Uses A Battery Backup Unit Or Ups Can Provide Several Minutes (Even Hours) Of Power.
With a battery backup unit, you can provide several minutes (even hours) of power so that applications can close files and other critical operations can be completed gracefully before powering down correctly. This allows you to continue using your computer after the power goes out.
When designing your system, consider what happens when the power goes out:
- Files are left open on disk or file systems that are not properly closed or deleted when they are no longer needed in case there is another outage later in which those files become corrupt.
- Applications may need to be restarted if they have been shut down gracefully.
10. Some Enterprise SSDs Offer Nonvolatile Memory.
Some enterprise SSDs offer nonvolatile memory express host support. Therefore, enabling faster shutdowns without sacrificing operational speed or endurance when running enterprise-critical applications with large datasets such as databases or virtual machines.
This is achieved by using the NVMe™ protocol to perform data transfers between the SSD controller and the NAND flash storage.
This enables greater performance than legacy AHCI protocols can achieve, as well as lower latency and higher throughput—allowing for faster startups and shutdowns of large systems.
Additionally, you can use NVMe™ along with SCSI commands for it to work properly on your system.
Problems Of SSD
SSDs are more reliable than HDDs, but they still have problems.
SSDs are susceptible to power loss; if the computer is off for long enough, you could lose all of your data on an SSD. This is because when a device loses power, its memory dies without being saved by chance or human intervention.
This can happen because there’s no more electricity flowing through them.
How To Recover The Lost Data On SSDs
Using the software, you can recover the data on an SSD when the power is lost. You can also use hardware or a professional data recovery service.
Using a software program to recover your lost files will take some time, but it’s usually worth how much money you’ll save if you buy new hard drives later.
However, if you choose not to use any software and attempt repairs yourself (which should be avoided), there is something that could go wrong with your drive; Bad sectors.
A bad sector is when one or more sectors become corrupted while writing them into memory. The most common type of bad sector occurs when data gets erased from memory cells due to physical damage inside those cells (such as being struck by lightning).
This happens when electrons move through circuits within electronic devices such as computers or flash drives.
They can only travel certain distances before encountering resistance caused by something else—like dirt particles inside an electronic device.
How To Protect SSD Data
If your computer has an SSD, you should always ensure the power supply is working correctly. If it’s not, don’t use it to store critical data because it could be lost when the power goes out.
If you want to protect yourself from losing all of your files in the situation of a power loss, here are a few things you can do:
- Use a UPS or battery backup unit to protect your SSDs, which will keep power flowing to the drive even if there is an outage at your facility. Keep some energy stored in its batteries until the electricity returns online again. The downside? They can be expensive, and heavy-duty units may be too large if they’re needed only once every few months rather than continuously.
- Use a nonvolatile memory express (NVMe™) host.
- Use capacitors with enough energy capacity so that after several seconds without power coming back into their system (because there isn’t enough time between when they lose connection with the main grid), they’ll flush the remaining data into NAND flash memory instead.
- Ensure that your data is backed up on another device (such as a magnetic disk). It’s better to lose a few hundred terabytes than all of it, and if you’re lucky enough to have multiple copies, this could save millions of dollars in lost revenue and downtime.
- Do not store sensitive data on an SSD-based system. Instead, consider using virtual machines or cloud storage services like Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) or Azure Blob Storage to store sensitive information such as financial and healthcare records to patient confidentiality issues.
What Happens If An SSD Loses Power?
It can cause data loss on all storage devices, including HDD, SSD, and flash drives. Although SSDs have extremely high read and write speeds, a power failure can result in data loss during any operation.
Does An SSD Keep Data Without Power?
Overall, if an SSD is not powered for several years, it can lose data. According to research, an SSD can keep your data for at least 2-5 years without any power supply. Some SSD manufacturers claim that an SSD can save data without regular power for about 15 to 20 years.
How Long Will An SSD Retain Data Without Power?
Most SSDs will keep your data for 5 to 10 years without power.
Can You Recover Data From A Failed SSD?
While there is no straightforward way to recover data from an SSD that has failed due to physical damage, you can get back your data from a logically failed SSD using good DIY data recovery software.
Will SSD Lose Out On Data If Left Unpowered For An Extended Period?
Newer models of SSD claim to be able to retain data for as long as 50 years without power.
Why Is It Harder To Recover Data From An SSD Than An HDD?
In comparison, an SSD is more complex to store data. The location of the stored data is constantly changing to prevent the flash chip from wearing out. Therefore, it is more difficult to find the data on the SSD during data recovery.
Can Dead SSD Be Fixed?
You can repair SSD manually or use EaseUS Partition Master – SSD repair tool to help repair damaged SSD.
Can SSD Get Corrupted?
SSDs require a capacitor and power supplies prone to failure – especially in a power surge or failure. In fact, during a power failure, SSDs have also been known to corrupt existing data, even if the drive has completely failed.
How Common Is SSD Failure?
Research shows that over 20% of SSDs will develop unrecoverable errors within four years, and 30-80% will develop bad blocks. All of these errors can affect data retention and lead to practical failure.
Is There Anything Better Than SSD?
The main advantage of a RAM drive is its higher read and write speed than an SSD or hard disk, which will be several times faster than even the quickest SSD disk.