Problem with SSD drives

So you may remember around here we had a little debate about SSDs (solid state drives). Well I am reminded of another problem. Actually it isn’t so much a problem as a new way to think of things. The short story is that my wife owns a Dell Mini 9. That machine is a netbook with an SSD inside. On Thursday she called me and said that when she booted up the machine she was given a black screen with “OS not found.” I told her not to worry about it because it was likely a Windows problem and that I should be able to get everything off of her drive. It was a faulty premise on my part. I assumed that it wasn’t the drive because none of the warning signs occurred. After doing some troubleshooting I figured out that the SSD itself had died. It couldn’t find the OS because the drive itself was inaccessible. Fortunately there wasn’t much information on that machine that wasn’t already backed up and it is covered under Dell warranty which they just send the new HD with everything preloaded on it. So wait time and fix time will be quick and painless.

The problem comes that there were no warning signs. With the moving parts on a regular HD you get the “click of death.” Of course I am not saying that I need the “click of death,” but with this there was no sound or blue screens or frozen computers. When it died it went silently with no warning leaving myself and the Dell technician scratching our heads. Of course this is just one incident, but it does go back to my original article on SSDs. The point is that there are still some reliability issues. These kinks will get worked out, but SSD technology wasn’t the silver bullet to fix the mechanical parts on the old Hard Disks at least not yet. To be fair I just had to fix one of my co-workers machines at work because of the “click of death.” Old hard disk drives don’t have the best track record either, but the technology has been around in this capacity longer so the variables are understood and the warning signs exist. Perhaps I just don’t know what to look out for yet.

On a side note. Dell Warranty is pretty handy. Before I confirmed the SSD we assumed I just had to run the XP CD. Since I didn’t have an external CD drive at the time he was willing to send a new SSD preconfigured. That was nice, but that meant that we would loose all the data on our machine. Point is that Dell didn’t expect me to have an external CD drive or to fix the problem on my own. I give them a small pat on the back for that.

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