Recovering deleted data from a solid-state drive (SSD) is difficult, but not necessarily impossible. To explain why, we need to provide a basic overview of how SSDs work — and compare that to the way that hard drives operate.
When you delete a file from a hard drive, the computer marks the sectors of that file as available. Since hard drives read and write data with magnetic charges, they can simply overwrite those sectors the next time they write data: There’s no need to immediately overwrite the sectors, so the hard drive doesn’t do that.
Solid-state storage devices don’t write data magnetically.
Instead, they use NAND flash memory cells, grouped together in blocks of up to 512 pages. An SSD can only write to a cell that is empty. This leads to an efficiency issue called write amplification, which means that the SSD writes more than it needs to write.
To counteract this, many SSDs use the TRIM operation, which allows the computer’s operating system to identify pages that no longer contain valid data. The TRIM command improves efficiency for SSDs, but it has one downside: When the TRIM command executes, the data is gone forever.
For a more thorough explanation, read: What is the TRIM Command on Solid State Drives?
When is deleted data recoverable on an SSD?
Some data recovery software manufacturers claim that their products can recover files from SSDs, even after the TRIM command is executed. This is incorrect.
However, in some cases, deleted data is recoverable:
- If the SSD loses power — or is manually disconnected — immediately after the file is deleted, the TRIM command may not execute, so the data still exists.
- If the partition table is damaged or accidentally deleted, the TRIM command may not execute immediately.
- If the file is corrupted or logically damaged in another way (not through accidental deletion), it may be recoverable.
Steps to Take After Accidentally Deleting Data from an SSD
Unfortunately, if you’ve used your SSD extensively after accidentally deleting your data, the chances of a successful recovery are extremely low.
If you act quickly immediately after deleting a file, however, data recovery may be possible. Immediately take the following actions:
- Disconnect the solid state drive or unplug the power to the computer. Do not shut down the computer using normal commands.
- Do not boot from the SSD. Keep it powered off.
- We do not recommend running data recovery software, since most applications are not designed to recover deleted data from SSDs given the low likelihood of recovery.
- If you do run data recovery software, run it on another computer, connecting your SSD drive as a secondary drive.
- Contact a professional data recovery provider to discuss the next steps.
While SSD data recovery is difficult, qualified data recovery professionals can provide the best chance of a successful case result. Datarecovery.com provides free evaluations, and our no data, no charge guarantee gives you peace of mind: If we can’t recover your files, you don’t pay.
To get started, submit a case online or call us at 1-800-237-4200.