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Data rescue of Solid State Drives

SSDs

In comparison with traditional hard disks, a solid state drive (SSD) is only constructed with electronic components. As a result, it is considerably more robust in regard to drop damage, the write and read speeds are significantly higher and the resulting access times are drastically shortened. For this reason, they are increasingly used in RAID and database solutions.

Data rescue in the case of SSDs

Although normally a clean room laboratory is not required, in serious cases the memory chips must be de-soldered individually and read out separately with especially developed hardware. This raw data can subsequently be reassembled on the basis of the so-called wear levelling algorithms.

Wear levelling

A special algorithm is referred to as “wear levelling”, which controls the utilisation of the individual memory cells of an SSD. This attempts to utilise all available memory chips to an equal degree, in order to increase the “life expectancy” of the SSD and minimize possible failures due to memory chips that are loaded too greatly.

Hardware encryption

The main problem of a data rescue of SSDs however is that in some models, chip manufacturers encrypt the data by default without the customer being aware of this. This makes data recovery more difficult, due to the fact that the raw data can still be read out, however the data must still be decrypted.
Data rescue SSD Sandforce
Picture:
Opened SSD with Sandforce controller

FAQ Data recovery of SSD hard disks

We frequently receive questions in regard to SSD hard disks and flash storage (e.g. USB flash storage, Compact Flash, SmartMedia, etc.). Here are the answers:

SSD storage media does not become defective as easily as conventional hard disks, right?
We receive SSD hard disks for data reconstruction every day in our laboratories. In comparison with conventional hard disks, we receive SSDs less often, yet this is primarily due to the fact that they are not as widespread yet. However, there is a rising trend. Generally, the mechanical loading capacity of SSDs is higher than conventional hard disks, yet electronic components can become defective in SSDs. An SSD or other flash storage media features a controller, which acts as an interface to the computer and the internal management of the memory chips. Memory chips are the second important component, where the data, checksums as well as internal management information is stored.

Can data from SSD hard disks or flash memory be reconstructed?
Yes! The method however differs considerably from that used for conventional hard disks, for which often mechanical actions are required in the clean room. In the case of defective SSDs and other flash storage media, usually the individual memory chips must be removed from the medium. Depending on the capacity of the storage media and the capacity of the individual memory chips, this could a single one (e.g. in the case of smaller compact flash media) or also 32 or more memory chip units (e.g. 32 memory chips with a storage capacity of 8 GB can be installed in SSD hard disk with 256 GB). The individual memory chips are read out with especially developed hardware.

Is the data recovery of flash media and SSD storage media expensive?
In comparison with conventional hard disks, the data rescue of SSD hard disks is on a similar scale, due to the fact that a great deal of work is required for the de-soldering, cleaning and reading out of the memory chips. One of the most expensive steps during the reconstruction of flash media is the assembly of the data blocks from the individual memory units into a virtual image, with which the file system can be reconstructed. The manufacturers use the so-called “wear levelling” algorithms. These help to utilise the individual, sensitive memory blocks (clusters) in an evenly distributed manner, to ensure that certain blocks are not loaded in particular and consequently fail prematurely. These algorithms are usually kept top secret and differ from model to model, from series to series and from manufacturer to manufacturer. They are reverse-engineered in our research department, enabling the data from flash storage media can subsequently be reconstructed. The data recovery is usually considerably less expensive for USB flash drives, compact flash cards, etc. due to the smaller number of memory chips.

Your next steps

Assistance in the case of data loss

In most cases, data loss leads to a state of emergency. Please contact us! Our job is to reduce the damage you experience resulting from data loss to a minimum.

Our specialists will assist you
your contact person: DI (FH) Markus Haefele
your contact person
Markus Haefele

customer support
phone: +43 1 236 01 01
mail: info@attingo.at



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