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SanDisk Portable SSD Failures Proliferate

At PetaPixel, Jeremy Gray sums up his coverage of the increasing prevalence of SanDisk portable SSD failures with:

For now, anyone using a SanDisk or WD portable SSD should tread with extreme caution and ensure that their data is adequately backed up. Everyone else should ignore the continued deep discounts. Until PetaPixel feels as though the situation has been dealt with, it cannot recommend SanDisk portable SSDs.

I have no personal experience with these products, but the reports are coming in from enough independent sources that I encourage anyone using a SanDisk portable SSD to be extra careful about backups and consider a replacement.

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Comments About SanDisk Portable SSD Failures Proliferate

Notable Replies

  1. I have several of these drives used for backup - but haven’t seen any failures (yet?). The danger here is the really terrible support that Western Digital provides. The drives have three year guarantees but it is hard to navigate their return/replacement process. And they are apparently replacing failed drives with the same model which some users have reported as also having failed. I have gone back to Samsung external SSDs.

  2. I did have to reformat a portable Sandisk SSD after it lost data. I now use it for a secondary backup but, after these reports, I think I will now “retire” it.

    A few years ago there was a Tidbits discussion about the need to occasionally power up SSDs. The conclusion was it is not necessary but there is no harm in doing it.

    As raised in the Ars Technica article, the main issue is loss of data, such as in professional video production. A replacement drive (under warranty) is of little comfort in these circumstances.

  3. Mine, a 2Tb drive failed, after a tortuous process, they sent a replacement. I’ve never quite trusted it.

  4. My SanDisk Professional 4TB PRO-G40 has not exhibited any problems thus far (knock on wood). It’s blazingly fast when connected to a MBP (M2) or a Mac Studio M2 Ultra, both with Thunderbolt 4 ports.

    Most of the forum complaints I’ve read fail to note what ports they were connected to when experiencing these catastrophic failures.

    I’m thinking this is not an SSD hardware problem; rather, a firmware issue coupled with SanDisk’s failure to clearly state in the advertising literature exactly what port specs are required for failure-free ops.

  5. And don’t forget the cable. If not using that short one provided, you may need Apple’s (quite expensive) Thunderbolt 4 Pro Cable.

  6. I have a SanDisk Extreme 1TB SSD, but it must be V1. It’s been solid for almost five years. I use it as storage for Final Cut Pro projects.
    Unfortunately, the quality of Western Digital / SanDisk products has declined, according to Ars Technica. We have standardized Seagate portable backup drives for our staff at my workplace. So far, they are very reliable, but perhaps it’s only a matter of time before the pressure to grow profits and keep the stock value high will affect their products too.

  7. I don’t know. I have three of these drives v1 and v2 and none of them in the last three years has had a data loss problem. I’m beginning to wonder if is all about a bad batch or a batch with problematic firmware. This seems more complicated than they whole line is failing. Context matters.

  8. I have used these for years for various tasks and never had a problem.

    George Rubin

  9. One thing that’s not mentioned in the article is how the drives are formatted. Are they using the WD tools which ship with the drive or something else?I have two older models of these drives (500 GB and 1TB) neither is listed as affected by the problem. I format all my drives using disk utility. these two are formatted MacOS Extended Journaled. Have had no problems with these, though they are only used occasionally.

  10. In the Ars Technica discussion, there is a reference to a SanDisk webpage which checks if a particular drive is impacted based on its serial number:

    I have a SanDisk Extreme Pro v2 2TB which I use in conjunction with Carbon Copy Cloner (ironically?). Thankfully no problem so far (knock on wood) and not affected by this issue (according to SanDisk).

  11. I’m shocked! I don’t own any SanDisk SSDs, but I still have the first 4GB SanDisk flash drive I ever bought. And it still works, like every other SanDisk flash drive I bought through the years. How could they screw things up so badly? The world must be getting ready to end. :upside_down_face:

  12. According to the drives listed I have two affected drives but when I type in the serial umbers, it say they are not affected; I bought these drives well before the firmware fixes.

    Then when I went to my account where I registered my previously two drives (I have three) my account no longer exists and the system does not recognize my email for password reset. There is also a warning asking everyone to change their passwords, which likely means there was a data breach sometime in the past.

    I’m guessing some people will struggle to register a drive or make a clai, since the serial numbers wear off quickly. One of my drive serial numbers is nearly readable.

  13. Yes, it sounds like a bad batch of WD / SanDisk SSDs and it could be firmware or it could be a manufacturing defect in the flash chips themselves, etc. someone with extensive knowledge and tools needs to perform root cause analysis on these failed SSDs. Something WD / SanDisk should be doing with warranty returned devices. But who knows, maybe they reset them and sell them back into the sales channel.

    Backup / Backup / Backup

    Disks can fail for any number of reasons. It is true that HDD’s fail more often than SSD. It’s also true that HDDs are easier to recover data after a failure or accidental deletion.

    SSD firmware has builtin TRIM like functionality that zeros out deleted sectors. A forensic write block is no longer effective with most SSDs. As soon as it has power, with or without being connected to a computer it may decide to zero out sectors marked for deletion. It may do this after a disk failure ends up marking many sectors deleted. Meaning it might wipe your data after a failure.

    Therefore, it’s even more important to backup SSDs and any drive using encryption which only complicates recovery even further.

  14. I have two WD internal 1TB SSD’s fail in 6 mos. The original was replaced with new and that failed.
    The 2nd one failed and it took 8 weeks to get a replacement- Their site was down for 6 wks. then they were backlogged. Never again with WD!

  15. I’ve over 90tb in spinning metal, between Raids and external drives, all WD, never an issue but all HDDs. But all my boot drives are SSD, my on-the-road drives as well. The Samsung is easily the best of them.

  16. I have no reason to defend Sandisk, but there seem to be a lot of stories flying around, not all apply or can be trusted.
    The Mac Version of the FW update tool has a date of 7 July, I think Ars talked about a FW update from May. Are we talking about a second newer version of the FW? This link has the downloadable tool, a different page to the other page where you can check eligibility via the S/N.

    https://support-en.wd.com/app/answers/detailweb/a_id/50818/h/p2

    Shouldn’t we look more precisely which drives from which ranges are really affected? Sandisk doesn’t seem to handle this problem in the best possible way, but is it really all bad for all Sandisk SSD models?

  17. I’m curious which model of 1TB WD SSD’s you had the problem with.

    I have 3 1TB WD 2.5 inch drives, 1 WD Green (WDS100T2G0A-00JH30) and 2 WD Blue 3D NAND (WDS100T2B0A-00SM50). I use DriveDX to monitor the health of my drives. It tells me that my oldest WD Blue has been in use for over 37 months, with 100% health, 89% predicted lifetime remaining, and no errors.

    I have seen a number of reports recently from different sources with the newer WD Blue SA 510 models.

    I had an issue with the WD Green when it was installed in a 2012 Mini in a dual drive configuration. At around 9 months of use I noticed DriveDX reported a Flash Read Fail Count error. Of course, because WD doesn’t have any usable test tools under MacOS, after going through some back and forth with WD I decided it wasn’t worth the effort to try getting it swapped. I pulled it from the Mini, stuck it in an old MacBook so I could check it with their Windows tools which reported no problems. I’m now using it in an external enclosure on a M1 Mini as a photo editing swap and temporary download drive. The Flash Read Fail Count hasn’t changed, now at over 15 months of use.

  18. Hi,

    My problem was with the WD Blue SA510 SSD 1TB. models

    If you are using it as a temporary tools shuttle like drive, then you are probably ok. But in short I wouldn’t put too much faith in them as as an internal drive. Maybe external so you can monitor them more easily and not too much hassle if they go south. All 3 of mine were external ones and luckily I caught it in time and was able to off load any important files. I use Drive Scope, Lifespan (specifically for SSD’s) and Tech Tool Pro. They had errors and I immediately did the above.

    Hope it works out for you

  19. I’m staying away from the Blue SA 510s for sure.

    In addition to the 2 1TB Blue 3Ds, I have a 500mb and a 2TB.

    Pure speculation on my part but I wonder if we’ll eventually find out there is a memory production problem at WD that has affected both the SA 510 and the Sandisk Extreme.

  20. Meant to say that all my Blues are the 3D Nand model.

  21. I have a 2TB Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD - I have noticed that if plugged in for a long period say 2 days the content appear to gradually disappear and eventually clicking on it shows no files. If you force eject then re-mount after pulling it out and back in then they re-appear? Only to disappear again if left plugged in for a day or so?

  22. With ref to this discussion from Aug 22: SanDisk Portable SSD Failures Proliferate, here are some news.

    An Austrian data recovery company has now found a possible cause for unexplained data loss on certain Sandisk Portable SSDs (1 and 2 TB Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD Models SDSSDE61-1T00 and SDSSDE61-2T00)
    Report here: Datenrettung von SanDisk SSD Flash-Speicher (use your favourite online translation tool if your German is a bit rusty. Their English website version doesn’t have this blog entry)
    An austrian news portal has photos: Kaputte SanDisk SSDs: Jetzt wurde die Ursache gefunden

    Main point: It might be a manufacturing problem.

  23. Thank you for the updates, Michael. This recent report highlights what some were suspecting earlier, that a simple firmware update might not correct the core issue(s).

    When I was deep diving on this in Aug/Sept, I came across a discussion that mentioned a Japanese group that had been tracking this problem for a while. They had noticed a pattern with SanDisk SSDs manufactured since around November 2022.

    I cannot find the article right now, but for those of you with SanDisk SSDs made since then, it may be worth buying another brand (ie. Samsung) and making that be your primary work/backup drive until we have more clarity. At least ask yourself if a sudden, total failure would cause you great distress. If SanDisk later provides a real solution (ie. replacement after manufacturing flaw is corrected) you can trade it in and have 2 working SSDs.

    Here are some english language articles referring to the Futurezone info:

  24. I had a SanDisk Extreme 2TB (SDSSDE61-2T00-G25) purchased Nov 2022 that I used as a Time Machine drive. After nine months or so, it started randomly un-mounting. It would disappear from the Desktop, and the Finder would scold me for disconnecting without ejecting it.

    It always looked fine once re-connected, with all the data apparently there, but having your main backup drive suddenly go offline for no reason is not at all reassuring.

    The serial number was outside the range of officially acknowledged affected units, and no firmware updates were available for my serial number. I did an RMA under warranty and got a brand-new replacement, but I have no confidence in any SanDisk or WD drive at this point. I can’t afford to fool around with a backup drives that might not have my back.

    I’m now using a Crucial X8 in its place, and have left the Sandisk warranty replacement in its box.

  25. It seems that only 2TB and 4TB Sandisk SSDs are experiencing these problems. Are the 1TB versions safe?

  26. Not sure, but seeing as how WD had a 1 TB model on their firmware update fix list it may be best to lean on the side of caution with any SanDisk SSDs made since Nov 2022.

    From ZDnet article posted 21 Aug 2023:

    According to the Western Digital’s firmware update page, the impacted products are from the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2, SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2, and WD My Passport SSD line, and lists the models as follows:

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

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