Fixing solid state drive(SSD) boot error

This guide may also be applied to older mechanical disk drives and may save you a trip to a data recovery center. Note: If your data is super-critical, it is always useful to have a RAID arrangement of disk drives in order to reduce the probability of disk failures.

I have a year old SSD that I have been using that suddenly stopped working after I shutdown. On booting my computer again, I was met with the error:

CANT FIND BOOT DEVICE.

To solve this error, it is good to understand how a standard computer boots and how storage devices are structured.

SOFTWARE BOOT STRUCTURE

boot

First stage bootloader: This is written by the motherboard manufacturer who namemost likely is the PC make. It checks for the hardware currently on the system and reports any problems on screen. It then checks for a second stage bootloader on a boot device such as a hard disk, flash disk, over a network.

Second stage bootloader: This is currently written by a user or OS maker. This bootloader checks for any data errors on the OS and boots the OS.

Reasons for failure

The reason for failure of a drive does not necessarily mean the device has failed but just that some part of the boot process has failed and most likely it is the data on the device read by the bootloaders. Errors can occur due to age, radiation , quantum effects and so on so at times may seem random.

To counter this hard drive manufacturers ensure that there is an error correcting code(ECC) within the boot process. Note there may be some firmware between the first and second stage bootloader that handles the SSD. The ECC may be handled by this firmware.

Solving the problem

  1. We need to ensure that the bootloader is just the problem and not the whole disk.
  2. Insert a mechanical disk and boot it to eliminate possibility of damage of the connecting cable to the storage drive.
  3. Use a USB startup disk of your operating system and boot from it. Thus you can repair the disk if the bootloader is Microsoft’s.
  4. This may be problematic if the bootloader is not microsoft’s for example if one was dual booting or running linux solely. Insert a USB startup disk of your SSD operating system, boot from it.
  5.  After (4), check the file system on the SSD, if the filesystem can be seen you can repair as a first alternative. It should be able to read windows files and linux files.
  6. If one does not have the USB or CD of your SSD OS you can use a USB pendrive with any linux OS. Try to read files from the SSD filesystem. This mysteriously solved it for me. No other operation was applied.