Data Recovery Case Study: Kingston A400 SSD

A client came to us recently with a Kingston A400 SSD from her laptop, which was constantly restarting, making her data inaccessible. Our SSD data recovery team were on hand to find a solution.

When the client’s SSD arrived into our data recovery lab, it was catalogued with a unique job reference number and QR code, which followed it for the duration it was in our facility. The client explained to one of our data recovery technicians that at first, their laptop would boot up, hang on the log in screen for a few minutes, and then restart, meaning the data on the SSD was inaccessible. However, more recently, the laptop hadn’t even booted up at all, as it wasn’t recognising the SSD. The SSD was a Kingston A400 drive, with a capacity of 240GB, with the majority of files being precious photos and videos, as well as documents.

When your laptop or computer boots up, it will search for a drive to boot from, either a hard disk drive or solid-state drive, typically. If the drive won’t show up in the user’s BIOS, the machine won’t boot, as was happening here. As well as requiring the correct data, the SSD needs to be configured as a boot device, and obviously in perfect physical condition too. When a hard drive fails, there are signs to look out for. For example, there may be a scratching noise, which is indicative of a head crash, or there could be a grinding noise, suggesting a motor failure. Because SSDs don’t contain any moving parts, diagnosing a physical fault is more difficult.

Our data recovery team first attempted to make a clone of the client’s SSD, however, this wasn’t possible due to a critical fault with the drive’s controller chip. Upon further inspection, it became apparent that the chip was physically damaged. It isn’t known what caused the damage, but it appeared to be due to a sudden increase in voltage. Many people assume that, due to their lack of moving parts, SSD’s can’t suffer from physical damage. While the likelihood is certainly less, they can certainly suffer from physical damage. In order to clone the client’s SSD, we needed to source a donor controller from our library of over 14,000 parts. The donor chip was carefully installed onto the SSD in our Class 100 Clean Room, which ensures no further damage.

Our data recovery team were able to recover all of the data on the client’s SSD, totally 53GB, and it was returned to her via FTP on the very same day.

Data Recovery