Fix your dead SSD with the power cycle method

There was a big dustup a while ago about power failures killing SSDs. It turns out that when this happens, you can usually fix it. If your SSD died, here’s how to recover or fix your dead SSD in 61 minutes using the power cycle method.

Yes, it really does take 61 minutes to revive a dead SSD, but you only have direct involvement for a few minutes. The rest of the time, you can do something else while you wait for the drive to do its thing.

Note that this trick generally only works for drives corrupted by power loss. But it doesn’t hurt to try it on any old dead drive. It’s nice that it’s possible to recover from SSD failure using a free, easy trick. First I’ll cover SATA drives, then I’ll cover a trick that works for NVMe and M.2 drives.

What you need

The power cycle trick works better in a desktop PC, since you need to connect the power cable but not the data cable. If you’re recovering a drive from a laptop, you can use a spare power supply with my neato paper clip trick. Then you don’t have to open up an extra computer.

If a laptop is all you have, you can use a USB SATA adapter as long as it’s possible to plug in just the power cable. My USB SATA adapters use a single connector. Or you can try the alternate method I describe in a bit.

Power cycle the SSD

Fix your dead SSD with the power cycle method
Unplug the SATA data cable from the SSD, like I’m doing here. The data cable is the smaller of the two.

If the SSD is already in a desktop computer, pull the data cable, but not the power cable.

If you’re installing the SSD in a desktop or connecting it to a loose power supply temporarily, do this instead. Connect the power cable, but no data cable, to the SSD. The power cable is the larger of the two connectors.

Turn on the power and leave the power on for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, power down or pull the power cable. Wait 30 seconds, then restore power. Let the drive sit powered on for another 30 minutes. Power down again, then wait 30 seconds.

At that point, if all went well, the drive will come back to life when you connect the data cable, or plug the drive back into a laptop.

What about an NVMe or M.2 SSD

Of course, if you have an NVMe or M.2 SSD, you can’t unplug the data connection while leaving the power connection in like you can with SATA. You’ll need to use the alternative method below.

The alternate method

Supposedly this trick can work without disassembling anything at all. If it’s a PC, turn the PC on and then hit whatever key boots the PC into the BIOS. Frequently it’s the DEL key or one of the function keys like F1, F2, F8 or F10. Let it sit for 30 minutes at the BIOS screen, then power down for 30 seconds and repeat.

On a Mac, power up while you hold down the ALT key, which is supposed to pull up a boot menu. Let it sit at the boot menu for 30 minutes, then power down for 30 seconds and repeat.

In conclusion

There are no guarantees, and the trick sounds a lot like MacGyver or even witchcraft. But this works often enough that many people now do it routinely. If the drive isn’t working, you don’t have anything to lose by giving it a try.

This DIY SSD drive repair trick works with most drives. I’m familiar with it working with Crucial, Samsung, and OCZ drives. Even if you have a different brand, it’s worth a try with other makes of drive as well. The first and only time my SSD died, I used a different method to bring it back. This method is much easier.

And aside from the power loss weakness, SSDs tend to outlive their advertised life expectancy. So it’s good to be able to bring one back when it dies from power loss.

Once you get the drive working, you could still have problems that keep it from booting. If you have a Missing Operating System error or a similar indication of an MBR problem, here’s how to rebuild an MBR and recover partitions. And here’s how to fix a Windows boot loop. All using free tools of course. I also have a trick for fixing SD and micro SD cards, if you’re interested.

3 thoughts on “Fix your dead SSD with the power cycle method

  • October 12, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks very much for a great tip. it worked perfectly on my Sandisk.

  • October 16, 2017 at 1:22 pm


    I recently built a new desktop with a fresh Windows 10 install. I bought Samsung’s 960 Pro 1TB and it worked just fine. It is plugged into the M.2 slot that is located on the Motherboard. I had to plug it directly in using a half casing that the ASUS Prime X399-A motherboard came with. I was configuring software at the time and my computer crashed to the Windows 10 version of the blue screen of death. After gathering information for a restart it then went black screen and just hung there so I forced the computer to shut down by holding the power button. After powering it back on the M.2 SSD does not exist within the BIOS and since the stick is plugged directly into the motherboard I am unsure how I could go about the power cycling method as it is an internal SSD. Sometimes when I power the computer on now the Monitor states that there is no DisplayPort Signal as well making it difficult to perform the Power Cycle for the M.2 SSD. I was wondering if you may have any ideas. I am desperate as I had zero chance to back anything up and my school documents had just been transferred over. My old desktop is way too out of date to even attempt to plug the M.2 slot into it, being built back when Vista was commonplace. After having seen that SSDs are regularly disappearing from people’s BIOS, I assumed that it was common knowledge so I contacted Samsung for a possible fix and they are telling me that it is not common at all and that the only fix is to RMA it to them to be repaired or replaced. Any help would be greatly appreciated and thank you ahead of time.


    • October 16, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      Try the alternate method outlined above, booting into the BIOS or UEFI for about 30 minutes instead of power cycling. I haven’t tried this myself but have heard it sometimes works. Let me know how it goes, if you would.


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