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 unbrick 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. This trick will even let you recover drives that won’t show up in Windows Device Manager or disk management if you transplant them into another machine.

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, say one corrupted by a bad firmware update or a blue screen. 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.

SSD repair without tools: 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 below that works on NVMe or M.2 SSDs.

Power cycle the SSD

Fix your dead SSD with the power cycle method
To fix your dead SSD with this method, unplug the SATA data cable from the SSD, like I’m doing here. The data cable is the smaller of the two. Then cycle the power as I describe in the paragraph to the left.

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 to fix your dead SSD of the NVMe or M.2 type.

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.

One more thing to try in Dell laptops

In Dell laptops and possibly others, the smaller size of SATA SSDs compared to traditional hard drives can cause electrical contact issues. If your SSD suddenly died in a computer like that, you can probably fix it by shimming it with an old gift card. Try that if the power cycle trick doesn’t work. Or feel free to try it first.

A last resort

And as a last resort, sometimes an SSD will overheat and break one or more solder joints. You can fix that issue by baking an SSD in an oven to reflow its solder joints. This issue is rather rare though, so it’s a last resort.

Possible residual issues

Once you get the drive working, you could still have problems that keep it from booting, so you may have to do some further data recovery. But recovering data in those cases isn’t as hard as it sounds.

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. The MBR trick will also recover the file system after it rebuilds the MBR. If the system appears to work but goes into a loop, 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.

Using one or more of the tricks above will restore your system to a bootable state and get your lost data back.

Fix your dead SSD with the power cycle method: 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 trying to fix your SSD this way. Unlike some data loss tricks we used to do with hard drives, this one does no harm.

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.

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.

The right answer, of course, is to have backup copies so you can restore data from a backup if something goes wrong. But your backup won’t fix a nonfunctioning drive, so it’s nice to be able to bring bricked hardware back from the deadm, usually with data intact.

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

  • October 12, 2017 at 7:46 pm
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    Thanks very much for a great tip. it worked perfectly on my Sandisk.

    Reply
    • April 15, 2018 at 9:52 pm
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      Did u use a desktop or laptop? I have a dead sandisk myself and a lot of important stuff on it

      Reply
      • April 15, 2018 at 10:10 pm
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        I always recommend a desktop if at all possible. With a desktop power supply, you know for certain that the data isn’t plugged in, and you know the drive is getting power. A lot less uncertainty that way.

        Reply
  • October 16, 2017 at 1:22 pm
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    -David

    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.

    -Jason

    Reply
    • October 16, 2017 at 1:43 pm
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      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.

      Reply
  • November 21, 2017 at 9:51 am
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    I have a Nvme M2 Samsung 960 EVO that always disappeared but after a restart/shutdown it worked again, in the last 3 months it worked flawlessly. Since yesterday it disappeared and never returned.

    I tried your method but after starting the computer it hangs in the boot window, so I press DEL and after 15 minutes it goes into BIOS where I see the 960 EVO 1TB, the thing is when I boot back into Windows it disappears.

    What should I do? I tried to leave it 2 times around 20minutes, but same thing, I see it in BIOS but not in Windows. At this point I just want to be able to see it once more so I can back up the rest of the things and send it back to Samsung.

    Thanks for your post it was a starting point.

    Reply
    • November 23, 2017 at 9:41 pm
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      If it shows up in the BIOS but not Windows, it may be filesystem or partition table corruption. Click Start, then start typing Disk Management, and run whichever comes up (it varies based on what version of Windows you’re running.) If you can see the SSD there, I would suggest giving this a try: https://dfarq.homeip.net/mbr-rootkits-dont-mean-you-have-to-wipe-the-drive/

      The good news is, if it’s a filesystem or partition table issue, once you fix that, there’s probably no need to send it to Samsung.

      Reply
      • November 25, 2017 at 8:18 am
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        Thanks for your reply. The thing is it does not appear in Disk Management. Only every now and then I can see in the Device Manager, Nvme controller with an exclamation mark next to it. Some times it does not appear at all in Device Manager. I also tried to get Samsung’s bootable ISO firmware but it scans for Nvme SSDs and then it exits.

        I tried it on an Intel NUC as well and same story. I also bought a PCIe adapter but still it does not appear. That’s my goal to get it to show up in Disk Management in order to somehow save it.

        Reply
  • November 27, 2017 at 6:16 am
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    I’m amazed that this method actually works, but it does seem to. I had a 1TB Samsung mSATA SSD in my laptop, which all of a sudden one morning the laptop could not see anymore, “boot device not found”. Using this technique revived it, I was able to restore a backup image onto it, and it’s been working for a few weeks now. So thanks for the info.

    However in my case the failure can’t have been due to a power failure, since it was in a laptop with a working battery, and in any case no power failure occurred. But since the same technique fixed the drive, that tends to indicate it might be the same failure mode. I would dearly like to know what the true cause of these failures is, and what state the failed drives are actually in, but I guess only the manufacturers would be able to do the necessary internal diagnostics to tell us that.

    Reply
  • November 30, 2017 at 8:43 am
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    Have a OCZ Trion 100 which doesn’t show in the BIOS. After a BSOD it rebooted and said that there was no boot drive.
    Have tried the power option on a PC 3x times but still not working. Anymore suggestions or is the drive completely dead.

    Reply
  • December 19, 2017 at 11:06 am
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    It worked! It had been about 2 months since my last backup and I was sure I lost some very critical information. Thank you!

    Reply
    • December 19, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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      Excellent! I’m very glad it worked for you.

      Reply
  • December 21, 2017 at 9:14 pm
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    LOL! I just discovered this post… Reminds me of the ‘Freezer Trick” for hard drives. Ahhh, Dan Bowman, I remember him.

    Reply
  • December 26, 2017 at 12:35 pm
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    Will this work with SSD drives in Panic Lock mode? (OCZ Vertex 3 120GB here)

    Reply
    • December 26, 2017 at 4:32 pm
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      Not sure, but it’s worth a try. It won’t hurt them.

      Reply
  • January 30, 2018 at 4:01 pm
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    Glad I came across this post, almost gave up – let’s have one more go 🙂

    Would this work with a telephone charger USB/netpower plug?
    My crashed Crucial M500 SSD takes 5V 1.7A, and I bought a SATA to USB cable to try it on a Linux computer etc.

    Reply
    • January 31, 2018 at 9:26 pm
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      I’m not sure but it’s worth a try. If not, try it from an internal SATA port.

      Reply
  • March 17, 2018 at 3:15 am
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    Wow. My WD Black M.2 Died. I was stuck in the bios and it wasn’t showing up under storage devices. This completely fixed it. legend.

    Reply
  • September 11, 2018 at 10:20 pm
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    I just gotta say THANK YOU!!!!!!
    Can’t belive the power cycle actually worked!
    I didnt’t have any hope at all, but now all the documents from my mom’s pc are back!
    I just really couldn’t believe it when i saw the windows logo showing up again
    Thank you!

    Reply
  • October 1, 2018 at 4:18 pm
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    tried this method hoping to revive a sandisk 64gb… and the ssd got recognised! (I have already another ssd as main and a hdd too), so naturally…I booted the system and…infinite loop! After I removed the sandisk ssd then I booted normally, I guess it is beyond saving

    Reply
    • October 1, 2018 at 5:13 pm
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      Maybe try it in a USB enclosure and plug it in after it boots. It may be readable if you plug it in after boot time.

      Reply
  • October 9, 2018 at 4:31 am
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    hmmm,im using this trick this time on my corsair force GS 120GB that im sure the firmware been curruoted,sometimes it will dusconnected then back again even in bios, i hope i can revive use of this,good luck to me ^_^

    Reply
    • October 9, 2018 at 2:00 pm
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      Since your issue is intermittent, it sounds more like a mechanical connection issue. Try changing the SATA cable if this is a desktop (and switch to a different power connector if you can), or if it’s a laptop, shimming the drive with a piece of plastic, which I cover in one of the links at the end.

      Reply
  • October 21, 2018 at 1:50 am
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    Would this work with a docking station. I dont have anyway of just running the power without data.

    Reply
    • October 21, 2018 at 8:08 am
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      Running the power without data is the key. If you don’t have a way to do that, I’d recommend finding a friend who has a desktop PC so you can hook it up to that. Or try the alternate method with booting the machine into the BIOS.

      Reply
  • November 11, 2018 at 6:41 am
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    Damn! Had an ssd that would not boot and did not show up in none of the hardware detection tools. Did the power cycle trick and now its up and running again, file table intact and All. Awesome post, thanks alot!

    Reply

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