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80GB SSD Back from the DEAD

Esteemed Contributor III
Like many others, my Intel 80GB SSD was trashed yesterday by the firmware update. I am now back running Win7 64 on my SSD, as I write this post. In the hopes of helping someone else, here's my story:

Yesterday, I installed the TRIM update on my SSD. The firmware update seemed to go fine as the Intel updater reported success with the update. On re-boot, my Win7 install booted OK, windows loaded the drivers (Intel AHCI 10 driver) for the updated SSD, and then told me to re-boot. On re-boot, again windows loaded fine and all looked well.

I ran the new Intel Toolbox and that is when the trouble began. The first thing I did was run the Diagnostic Scan. I noticed that the read test was greyed out with a red warning to contact my sales rep. I hit the start button and only the Integrity test ran. It passed the test. but I was concerned that the Read test would not even run. Then I ran the SSD Management Tools (TRIM support) and the it ran to completion and reported success. Great!

The system ran fine for about 5 minutes, then I got a warning message from Windows that my disk drive was failing and I should make a backup (SMART error). I looked around a bit to try and find the cause and then boom, blue screen.

I re-booted the system and the BIOS reported no boot disk available. I booted to DOS and ran the Intel firmware updater again. It reported that the update was already done, but I noticed the drive serial number as BAD_CTX. Not good.

I re-installed my old hard disk and put the SSD on another SATA port. After booting into Win7, the SSD showed a size of 8MB and reported errors when I tried to write to it.

I booted into DOS and ran HDDErase 3.3 on the SSD. Then re-booted into Win7 off my old drive, and the SSD was back to 75 GB in size. I formatted the drive and ran some write tests and they all passed fine. I ran the Intel Toolbox, and this time the Read test would run and complete with no problem. I noticed the the SMART attributes were all good except the End to End Error Detection Count, which showed 48 raw errors. This number has not changed, so I believe these errors were logged the first time, when the drive went bad.

I tried to install Win7 on the SSD, and it wouldn't allow me to install to the SSD because of the old SMART errors. SO, I tried to find a way to clear the SMART errors, with no luck. Finally, I installed a backup drive image I had of my previous SSD Win7 install and it installed and booted fine. I have now been running for several hours with no probs. The only legacy problem I have is the SMART errors, which I can't clear. However, Win7 is not reporting any problems or SMART errors with the drive. I'm not sure why the first install failed. It appears to be a problem which would not allow the Toolbox to run a read test on the drive. If I was doing another firmware update, I would make an image of the windows SSD install, then delete any partitions on the SSD, do the update, put the SSD on another windows system and test it there with the Toolbox, and if all passed, then re-install the image onto the SSD. If necessary, run HDDErase along the way.

So ,if I can get rid of the old SMART errors, this drive should be as good as new. INTEL, how do I clear the SMART error cache?<!-- / message --><!-- message, attachments, sig -->

Esteemed Contributor III

Update: The drive has now been running for 24 hours with no problems. Win7 did start to complain about SMART errors after a couple of hours. This was based on the old SMART errors the drive logged, when the drive was trashed. I just told windows not to report any SMART errors, and its been fine since then.

New Contributor

What if you disable SMART in the BIOS? I wonder if that would clear the errors. I had no idea that SMART errors were stored in memory other than in Windows...

Esteemed Contributor III

That would not help. SMART errors are stored in the drives firmware. Diabling SMART in BIOS will only prevent BIOS from reporting a SMART error. SMART aware operating systems will still see the SMART errors.

Esteemed Contributor III

I'm glad this helped you, but unfortunately it did not help my drive. I had the same symptom, but HDDErase just hung (I left it running for an hour) trying to erase the disk.