View Poll Results: Do you own a Solid State Drive

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  • I own one or more SSDs and have a backup plan in place

    10 76.92%
  • I've had an SSD failure previouly and lost valuable data, time, and money

    0 0%
  • An SSD drive failure has reveled an inadequate backup regimen

    0 0%
  • I don't have a backup plan in place

    0 0%
  • I have not had an SSD fail yet

    6 46.15%
  • I'm looking to get a SSD

    2 15.38%
  • I don't have much confidence in SSDs

    1 7.69%
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  1. #1
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    SSDs make Good Backup Regimens Priority One

    This morning I went to turn on my computer expecting the usual fast boot up with the operating system sitting there waiting for me.
    Well, that didn't happen this time around, as it turned out the OCZ vertex 2 pro I was using as a boot drive failed.
    Not only did it fail catastrophically, it failed without any kind of warning whatsoever.

    The SSD in question was purchased in the last quarter of 2010 and had been a flawless performer from that time on.

    But that's OK, it's still within it's 3 year warranty period and I lost nothing in terms of important data primarily because of the
    backup regimens I have in place. Now it's just the inconvenience of an RMA process I have to deal with.

    The moral of the story here is if you own a solid state drive your backup regimen needs to be refined and well tested.
    Because when these types of drives fail, they fail with a totality that is eerily final and you will not be getting your data back
    easily, and certainly not without forking out some money.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-09-04 at 23:38.

  2. #2
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    I have an OCZ Vertex SSD which was previously installed on my workstation as the main OS drive. After superb performance for many months, I rebooted one day and wham!...the drive was unrecognised by the BIOS.

    Since it was my OS drive, I swapped it out for a mechanical drive and reverted from my automated image backup store. Nothing lost, but a few grey hairs gained.

    On my office workstation, my backup scheme is based around Norton Ghost. I use v15 running fully automatically. A scheduled full baseline image of the OS drive is taken each month and then each night I take an automatic incremental image of that baseline. I automatically verify the backup too and send an email alert on any errors. The images and incrementals are stored on a 2TB NAS drive running in RAID 1. It's capacity is managed by Ghost too. Once in a blue moon I get incremental errors flagged, so I simply start a new baseline. That's important because a backup is of no use unless you can actually use it.

    My data drive runs with a 2nd backup job on Ghost. This time I take an automated weekly baseline and a daily incremental, because my data changes more frequently than the OS. The data drive is backed up to USB attached 2TB drive and I schedule a disk clone job to another drive for offsite DR purposes. Both OS and data backups are encrypted and password protected.

    Finally, as a 3rd tier, my critical data and regularly accessed (but infrequently changed) data is also encrypted and stored in the cloud, which also makes it available while I'm mobile.

    I implement something similar with various products at several clients and receive nightly email updates on the health of their backups - which earns me brownie points when something breaks and I call them before they know it has even broken.

    Re the SSD itself, I was about to RMA it and decided to verify it was dead (to save the hassle of arguments). I dropped it into a different machine and it was immediately recognised and was fully accessible. So now I can't RMA without getting into an argument about whether it has failed or not. It's simply not worth my time and effort to chase that to the correct result, so I decided to re-use it in a non-critical environment. It now runs Windows 8 on a test rig and has been running flawlessly for several more months.
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    It sure sounds like these drives fail similarly to Flash Drives from another recent thread. Work fine one day, then without any warning will not boot. You both have the same manufacturer. Are these somehow worse than others? I would like to know the answer to that one as I will be looking at these type drives (I assume) when I look at a tablet at some point in time. I am very interested in the Surface Pro. In reading some of the articles on the offerings from the OEM's, I am not impressed.

    I assume most tablets have SSD drives. I assume I can use my same backup scheme as now. I create Images whenever my OS changes or I add/remove apps. I also assume, depending on the size of the SSD, I can partition the SSD to allow my data into a separate partition, although backing up the data might require more effort than at present.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-09-02 at 07:41.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  4. #4
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I installed a Crucial M4 on my laptop several months ago and have had no problems with it so far and I back up all my crucial data (pun intended.) I picked Crucial because it had a good price and I've read bad things about OCZ drive failure rates. I've also had good luck with Crucial desktop/laptop memory sticks.

    Jerry

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Just found a Crucial V4 256 Gb for $188 directly from Crucial. Not really in the market right now, but this does not seem too bad a price. Of course I would do a little shopping if I were about to buy. M4 512 Gb SSD for $400.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-09-02 at 12:37.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


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  6. #6
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I'm running Windows 8 on my 128 gig Cruvial M4 and I have 93 gigs free. Of course my main PC is my Windows 7 desktop so most of my user files are there.

    Jerry

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medico View Post
    It sure sounds like these drives fail similarly to Flash Drives from another recent thread. Work fine one day, then without any warning will not boot. You both have the same manufacturer. Are these somehow worse than others? I would like to know the answer to that one as I will be looking at these type drives (I assume) when I look at a tablet at some point in time. I am very interested in the Surface Pro. In reading some of the articles on the offerings from the OEM's, I am not impressed.

    I assume most tablets have SSD drives. I assume I can use my same backup scheme as now. I create Images whenever my OS changes or I add/remove apps. I also assume, depending on the size of the SSD, I can partition the SSD to allow my data into a separate partition, although backing up the data might require more effort than at present.
    Bit pointless backing up your data to the same drive as when the SSD fails as post informs it might you lose the data also. Better to do any backups on a separate hard drive (usually external) as less likely to get two to fail at same time.
    Also you gain no advantage with an SSD in putting your data on a separate partition as if you create full hard disk images it takes no longer to restore than separate partitions.
    Last edited by curiousclive; 2012-09-03 at 04:53.
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I do not nor did I advocate storing backups on the same HD as the OS. I use Ext. USB HD for my Image storage and data backup storage..

    I create a new Image when something changes in my HD. Theoretically this could be a month apart. If I did not have a separate partition for my data, and my OS was hosed, I would restore to an Image that could be a month old. How many changes have taken place in my data in that month. With my data on a separate partition, if I have to restore my OS, my data remains up to date and unchanged.

    I realize I could just do a daily incremental back up of my data, but I find I would rather keep my data separate. This way I only have to restore the OS, the data remains up to date. Even with incremental backups of data, once I restore the OS, I would then have to restore the latest data, an additional step I do not have to do right now.

    Yes, if my HD dies I would have to restore both partitions, but this would be a fairly easy process. The scenario of keeping data in the OS would only be faster to restore if your HD dies, not during those times when I hose my OS doing something else.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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  9. #9
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    A couple of common and usefull SSD utilities:

    ATTO 2.47
    Free Benchmarking tool

    CrystalDiskInfo 5.0.4
    S.M.A.R.T analysis tool

    Known ATA S.M.A.R.T. attributes

    Comparison of S.M.A.R.T. tools


    If your thinking of tweaking the OS on that brand new SSD of yours, don't.
    First go to the SSD's manufacturer site and look for any information they have on what constitutes an acceptable tweak.
    There are many tweaks out there that can cause more issues than they are worth.

    Basic OCZ accepted tweaks for SSD's.

    How to determine the appropriate page file size for 64-bit versions of Windows
    *A swap file/PF may not be needed.
    Support and Q&A for Solid-State Drives
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-09-05 at 00:58.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Don't use benchmarking tools too often, some use a massive amount of writes each time, the same goes for any privacy tools that overwrite deleted files or free space x number of times.

    Hard Disk Sentinel is a very useful monitoring tool; yes, there's a free version.

    If you have enough RAM that you're considering running W7 without a page file, there's now a Hotfix from MS that allows a crash dump to be written in case of a BSOD.

    Intel, Crucial and Samsung SSD's have the best reputation for reliability, Plextor may be up there with them, it's a little too early to tell. OCZ have had a very poor reputation in this regard, recent versions and the latest firmware updates seem to be improving matters.

    Keep a lot of free space, 25% is OK, more is better.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    The manufacturer of the drive may have their own recomendations for benchmarking tools and they are safe to use on the drive,
    provided that they are not over used. (some people have an OCD when it comes to benchmarking)
    OCZ recommends ATTO among others.

    On another note, I just got through with the RMA on the OCZ vertex 2 pro, and they sent me a brand new replacemet today.
    Apparently the drive was as dead as one could get.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-09-15 at 03:28.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Tinto Tech
    Re the SSD itself, I was about to RMA it and decided to verify it was dead (to save the hassle of arguments). I dropped it into a different machine and it was immediately recognised and was fully accessible. So now I can't RMA without getting into an argument about whether it has failed or not. It's simply not worth my time and effort to chase that to the correct result, so I decided to re-use it in a non-critical environment. It now runs Windows 8 on a test rig and has been running flawlessly for several more months.
    One of the other recommended procedures to test for when an SSD fails is to remove the motherboard bat for a time and reset the BIOS on the machine it failed in.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  13. #13
    Star Lounger catilley1092's Avatar
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    That's why I do a Full backup of the entire SSD every two weeks. Mine's a Crucial M4 128GB, is very fast, & would never turn back to a mechanical HDD for an OS install again, except for a temporary emergency. I like being able to boot the notebook & have a usable browser inside of 15 seconds.

    There are various monitors to keep check on a SSD's health, if the OEM offers one, it's best to go with that. However Crucial, as popular & reliable as their SSD's are, doesn't offer such a utility. Here's the one that I use, the free one linked on the page.

    http://ssd-life.com/

    One thing that's little talked about, but is critical not only to performance, but the lifespan of the SSD, is partition alignment. Mini Tool Partition Wizard has a tool for this, but it's best to check manually. Being that we're working with huge numbers, an online calculator is needed. Here's one.

    http://www.online-calculator.com/

    Open System Information > Components > Storage > Disks. Running Windows 7 or 8 RP, one normally has a System, OS & Data partitions, I also have my recovery partition installed. The key number to look for here for each partition is "Partition Starting Offset", using the online calculator above, divide this number by 4096. If it's a whole number (no decimal), you're fine. If there's a decimal, it needs alignment. Use the option that the latest Mini Tool Partition Wizard (7.5) offers to align each, starting with the first one, one by one. Recheck after alignment to make sure it's a whole number.

    I'm glad that I read an article on this, or I wouldn't have known. Some suggests to use a GParted Live CD, this is a lot of work & not guaranteed to be right, & can possibly not boot after the operation. Avoid this one. And avoid Full, long formatting, it's not necessary, & doesn't destroy data like a platter drive does. A Quick Format is plenty enough.

    It's also important from time to time to run Garbage Collection, if the computer is the main one, logoff a few hours or overnight (make sure that it's not set to Sleep) & this task will take care of itself. One may hear the fan kicking in during this time, this is normal. It's as easy as that.

    As far as the actual lifespan, it depends on the brand, firmware update, the alignment that I described above, & who knows what else. There are many in use that the utility reports it's good past 2020 (mine's November 2021). This does NOT imply that it's safe to skip backups, & is no guarantee of anything, it's an estimate based on SMART & other factors.

    Cat
    My System Specs:

    http://speccy.piriform.com/results/N...gWw3zT1A30RkV3 MSI Notebook (OEM Win 7 Pro x64)

    http://speccy.piriform.com/results/8...3hQlSkXzuDfbKb Dell XPS 8700 w/Windows 8

  14. #14
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    SSD Issues

    Not always a dead SSD when you get a boot drive failure with a SSD. I have a Dell Dimension with SSD boot drive that when you attempt a soft boot it will almost always give me a boot drive failure, it is almost like the old days when SCSI drives would take forever to initiate.

    The drive has done this since day 1, 2yrs old, and not lost any data. The drive is an evaluation one that Dell sent me before they released for manufacture so that might be part of the issue but like I say no lost data in two yrs of the strange behavior.

  15. #15
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I'm about to buy a Crucial Adrenaline SSD. It doesn't replace your mechanical hd, it works with it as a high-speed buffer. Reportedly, it dramatically speeds up your PC. A huge advantage to this arrangement is that all of your data is always on your mechanical hd. So if your SSD fails, you haven't lost anything, except changes to files which may still be in the buffer but not yet on the hd.

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