How to tell if SSD is dead?

by Paul | Last Updated: July 5, 2022

When it comes to SSD we want them or we already have them. How do we tell when they are dying?

How to tell if SSD is dead?

Unlike traditional hard drives they do not have any moving parts, you can not listen for any motor starting to die, you can not listen for clicking noise. SSD’s is a little box that just stores up stuff, with no real tell signs that they are starting to die.

Unlike hard drives SSD’s are even more difficult to diagnose, there are a lot of different factors inside the SSD. There are also other factors like CPU, GPU, motherboard, that could also be causing problems that may not necessarily be your SSD.

There are a few things we can go ahead to do and find these signs of these drives dying, some of them the signs are obvious like the actual SSD itself pops up a little notification in your windows saying hey there I am dying.

There are other models of SSD that will go into a read-only mode when they are about to die, you can pull out your data without losing it.

Best SSDs

Selecting your next or first SSD is important, there are two basic forms you need to consider;

The 2.5” drive is usually mounted to SSD trays in modern cases though they can be placed anywhere in the build, upside down, sideways, duct tape behind the motherboard tray, anywhere.

A benefit of this form is freedom of placement, it will work will any modern type motherboard mostly SATA ports II or III. It is not composed of any moving parts, meaning they are not as fragile as their hard drives counterparts.


  • Faster than HDDs
  • The Cheapest SSD variant on the market


  • Slower than most SSDs


They are 22mm tall and can range in length from 40mm to 100mm, it typically depends on motherboard supports different lengths and the height is almost always 22mm.

The 2 in the name stands for the second generation of mini SATA. The physical connector for this type of drive can be found on a most modern motherboard

There is a common misconception that since these drives use a different connector, they operate at a much higher or lower speed. When in reality the speed of these drives is larger determined by how data is transferred not necessarily by the form factor.

The two technologies that distinguish M.2 drive apart is SATA and NVMe.

SATA M.2 drive does not max out at about 600MB/sec, why are you not likely to find any SATA drive in the M.2 or 2.5’ form factor pledging a speed above this mark, the SATA interface.

It does not promote transfer speed above 600MB/sec. You can tell a SATA M.2 drive because they are keyed twice


  • They are physically smaller than their 2.5” counterparts and can be easily installed  into any compactable motherboard


  • Requires a motherboard supporting the M.2 interface
  • Slightly more expensive than 2.5 counterparts

Most people would like to use the 2.5” over the M.2 because it can be swapped or removed easily without removing the graphics card to get to the M.2 drive where the ports are between PCI slots


NVME stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express and it is characterized by its high bandwidth. When memory is non-volatile that means it does not require power to retain stored information, you can power cycle your computer all day long and unless your drive dies in the process, you will recover your data without any loss.

The system RAM is volatile and that means data is wiped from memory when current is cut and you cannot use system RAM to store important applications or data long term

NVME storage drive-by nature is their protocols are extremely fast for their transfer speed. The fastest NVME’s in the market exceed read and write speeds of 3500 and 2500Mb/sec, which is lightning fast and with a result of an incredible snappy system overall.

These drives will load dozens of times faster than a hard drive, once you go NVME it is very difficult to look back


  • They are the faster


  • They are usually the most expensive
  • Pretty toasty when under stress for long durations i.e writing large files at a time

What will you do once a sign that the SSD is about to die                                                                 

You can do some simple backups, like backing up to another mechanical drive or another SSD. Find a way to back up your files safely in case the SSD dies who cares you have already backed up your files which will be easy to work from

A backup is your first option, I will advise not to keep that SSD around too long. After 5 or 6 years you want to start looking for a new SSD. As SSD has a specific number of reads and writes, once they hit their limit they are dead.

This limit is hardcoded into the system that runs these SSDs not generally available to the public how many read and writes it can do, but it seems to have a 5 or 6-year mark before these issues arise.

If you have an older system, let’s say 5 or 6 years, even if it is not showing signs of dying, it is better to have 2 workings SSDs than no working SSDs at all. The 5 or 6 years is my best advice to get a new SSD it gives you new technology and stops you from using excess data

You would not have a big problem with failing SSDs because you took this advice and got a new one.

Importantly failing SSDs are not the biggest problem because most of us will never hit the maximum read and write that are in these SSDs drive but you suspect it is starting to failback it up, grab a new drive. Getting a new drive won’t give kill your data, the only that will be dying is your old SSD.

When it comes to SSDs once they are dead, that is it, there is no real way to recover them with all your data intact like a mechanical hard drive, SSDs are bricks when they are dead.