Is It Possible For SSDs To Have Bad Sectors?

A common problem with hard drives is the presence of bad sectors, which are segments of the storage that become damaged and unusable, eventually leading to issues with files on your computer. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are considered superior to hard drives in many ways, but do they avoid this particular problem?

Can They Have Bad Sectors?

Yes, SSDs can have bad sectors, although it is relatively rare. Bad sectors on SSDs occur as a result of physical damage or aging. Typically, SSDs can manage a bad sector by removing it and transferring the files to another sector. However, you may need to address this issue manually at times.

How to Manage Bad Sectors

Bad sectors were originally a hard drive problem. Hard drives are storage devices that used to be the standard for most computers and are still commonly used for secondary storage. These hard drives store data on spinning disks, with each disk containing different tracks and each track containing different sectors. Sometimes, some of these sectors become damaged and unreliable, causing issues with their files. These problematic sectors are called bad sectors.

SSDs became popular because their solid-state technology does not require spinning disks and provides much faster transfer speeds. While SSDs are less vulnerable to bad sectors compared to hard drives, they can still develop these issues.

Generally, you may not notice a single bad sector because SSDs are programmed to manage these issues when they occur. If the SSD detects a sector that has become unreadable or damaged, it will try to recover any lost data and move it to another healthy sector. The bad sector is then removed from the usable part of the SSD. This all happens without any user intervention.

However, if multiple bad sectors develop, you may start to notice symptoms and need to take action.

Understanding Bad Sectors and Their Causes

What Are Bad Sectors?

Bad sectors are segments of your storage that become damaged or worn out, causing the data stored inside them to become unreadable or even destroyed. These sectors are common in hard drives because they have mechanical parts that move and are prone to physical damage and wear. If a physical part of the hard drive is damaged, the memory cells in this part may stop working, and the information stored in these memory cells will no longer be accessible. In your device, the files stored in bad sectors appear corrupted.

How Do SSDs Get Bad Sectors?

Unlike hard drives, SSDs have no mechanical parts, so the chances of them developing bad sectors are lower. However, SSDs are made of physical components that can wear out and become damaged due to physical stress or heat. As a result, the memory cells can show signs of damage and may eventually fail, causing issues with your storage.

High-quality SSDs are unlikely to have bad sectors, but they can develop these issues if they sustain damage. Some lower-quality SSDs may come with bad sectors or may develop them over time as they age.

Symptoms of Bad Sectors in SSDs

Corrupted Files and Data Loss

The main issue caused by bad sectors is unreadable or destroyed files. While the SSD typically tries to repair the damage by moving files from a bad sector to a reliable one, it may not always be able to do so. Consequently, the data stored in these unusable parts will become corrupted.

A corrupted file does not allow you to open, read, or modify it in any way. This problem typically occurs when there is an issue in the storage, like a bad sector in an SSD, but it can also occur in other cases, such as when a virus targets your files. Sometimes, a bad sector could delete the data stored there, making it inaccessible.

Freezing or Slowing Down

An SSD contains many sectors, and if a significant number of them become damaged or unreliable, the device itself may lose its function entirely. As a result, your computer may be unable to recognize the SSD as a storage device. If the SSD is the main internal storage of your computer, you will notice other issues, such as freezing or slowing down.

Your device may struggle to identify usable parts of the storage device, leading to performance issues like freezing and the blue screen of death.

Slow Performance

As more bad sectors develop, the SSD’s capacity to perform diminishes. This can cause the SSD to slow down considerably, meaning it will take a long time to read and open files. Sometimes, you may not be able to open specific files at all.

A slow SSD can cause additional problems, especially if it stores your operating system. Your computer may take a long time to boot and respond to commands.

Error Messages While Booting

Your device may alert you to SSD issues during boot-up. A black screen may appear, indicating that the disk has failed to boot. This means your SSD is not working properly, and your device cannot recognize it.

How to Test for Bad Sectors

If you notice any of the above signs, you must test for bad sectors to understand what’s happening with your device. Here are a few ways to test and detect bad sectors:

Surface Test

A surface test scans hard disks and SSDs for bad sectors. Here’s how to perform a surface test:

  1. Download a Disk Partition Program: If you don’t have one, download a reliable disk partition program from the internet.
  2. Open the Program: Once installed, open the program to see your SSD.
  3. Surface Test:
    • Right-click on the SSD drive.
    • Select Surface Test from the options.
    • Press Start to confirm.

Once the test is done, you will see if your SSD has bad sectors and how many. If needed, you can also attempt to fix the issue by selecting Check partition and Fix errors in this partition.

Command Prompt

The command prompt can be used to detect and fix bad sectors on hard drives and SSDs. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt:
    • Go to the Start menu or press the Windows button on your keyboard.
    • Type cmd in the search bar.
    • Select Run as Administrator.
  2. Check for Issues:
    • In the command prompt, type chkdsk/? and press Enter to see a list of all drives on your device.
    • Type chkdsk D: (replace D: with the letter of the drive you want to check) and press Enter.
    • To fix issues, type chkdsk [drive letter]: /f and press Enter.

Partition Properties

You can also use Partition Properties to detect issues with your SSD:

  1. Go to This PC:
    • Click on the This PC icon on your desktop or find it using the Search bar.
  2. Properties:
    • Find the SSD you want to test and right-click on it.
    • Select Properties from the menu.
  3. Tools:
    • In the Properties window, find the Tools tab.
    • Select Check and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors.
    • Alternatively, select Automatically fix file system errors.
    • Press Start and wait for the results.

Managing and Fixing Bad Sectors

If you discover bad sectors on your SSD, you can attempt to fix them using the command prompt or a surface test. These methods can help remove bad sectors from the usable segment of your SSD and move the files to another sector. However, if bad sectors cause more serious problems, such as inaccessible data, you may need to use a file recovery program.

There are many third-party programs available that can help recover lost or corrupted files. Some programs are sophisticated enough to recover files you thought were destroyed or deleted.

When to Replace Your SSD

If your SSD has a significant number of bad sectors, causing your computer to be affected severely, you should consider replacing your SSD. An SSD with many bad sectors cannot store information properly and may cause issues with your entire computer. Thankfully, replacing SSDs nowadays is relatively easy, especially for desktop computers.