How SSDs work

Following on from our post explaining how HDDs work, we thought we’d follow it up with a piece on how SSDs – and all flash-based storage media for that matter – works.

As we’ve stated previously, hard drives store data by writing it onto a thin layer of magnetic material. The data is translated into a series of ones and zeroes that is known as binary. This is then translated back into the piece of data you stored whether an audio file, word document or anything else when you open it. Flash-based media also uses binary, but not magnets. As HDDs store a series of ones and zeroes by magnetising or de-magnetising each small sector of a platter (a magnetised sector represents a 1 and a non-magnetised sector a 0), this is a key difference.

Rather than a platter, flash-based media instead uses cells or transistors, each of which can be altered so that an electrical current can or cannot flow through it. If a current can flow through a cell, this represents a 1 whereas a 0 is read if it cannot flow through it. Like HDDs, these 1s and 0s are used to reconstruct a stored file. Unlike HDDs, though, they do not store the data in a linear fashion – each of the individual cells that form a file can be found in any number of locations as opposed to next to one another. As a flash-based drive’s cells can only be adjusted a limited number of times before they cease to function, this is done to extend the lifespan of SSDs and other flash-based storage.

Another key difference – and it’s one that has led to SSDs being considered more reliable – is that flash media possesses no moving parts. Whilst a HDD’s platters must be moved in order for the drive’s read head to access the data stored on them, this is not the case with SSDs. This results in significantly quicker loading times but the aforementioned perception of these drives as more reliable is not entirely accurate. Flash-based media does not suffer mechanical failure due to its lack of moving parts but it is also more susceptible to data loss brought about by power surges which, ultimately, offsets this benefit.

From a data recovery perspective, flash-based devices initially required an almost bespoke approach for each individual recovery but the increased proliferation of uniform technology and the endeavour of our research and development team mean this is no longer the case.

Do you need an SSD Data Recovery Service? Get in touch with Fields Data Recovery today.