SanDisk SSDs may have been failing due to a fundamental design flaw

There is now a possible explanation behind the SanDisk SSD failures that have been an ongoing issue throughout most of 2023. The issue first gained notice on Reddit as users complained of failing SSDs and the loss of data.

The problem gained more attention when SanDisk’s parent company, Western Digital, became subject to several class-action lawsuits in August, according to Ars Technica.

Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

However, reports of the failures began as early as May 2023. While SanDisk initially attempted to remedy the failures with a firmware fix, the data recovery firm Attingo has determined that the remedy has not worked because the issue is in the SSD hardware.

Several failed SSDs named in the lawsuit include the following:

  • SanDisk Extreme Portable 4TB (SDSSDE61-4T00)
  • SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable 4TB (SDSSDE81-4T00)
  • SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable 2TB (SDSSDE81-2T00)
  • SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable 1TB (SDSSDE81-1T00)
  • Western Digital My Passport 4TB (WDBAGF0040BGY).

According to the Austrian website Futurezone, Attingo determined that the SSDs suffered from inadequate design and manufacturing, which caused them to fail. In particular, the soldering wasn’t strong enough to bond the components to the circuit board. The components were also too large, leading to irregular connections and overheating, which can cause bubbles to disturb the connection point, resulting in lost files.

Western Digital’s remedy was to release a new firmware update; however, this proved to only be a temporary solution as the issue lay much deeper in the devices. The company followed up with new firmware, in addition to adding a stronger epoxy resin to newer models of its SSD drives.

The company has not made an official statement about the matter and is not expected to speak up about the issue in the future.

However, it has shared the following on its firmware update webpage. “We addressed this firmware issue in the manufacturing process, and we can confirm that the issue is not impacting currently shipping products.”

Attingo noted it will be testing the firmware-updated models because even with Western Digital’s remote repair efforts, the oversized components might still be subject to failure. Western Digital also endured a severe security breach earlier this year that allowed hackers to gain access to personal customer information.

For now, those using SanDisk SSDs might want to consider backup options for especially irreplaceable data. Popular cloud-based options are Google One and Microsoft OneDrive.

Editors’ Recommendations