Stored SSDs Will Lose Data In a Matter of Days – BS or Not

ssdIf you’re an avid tech reader you will have no doubt come across many of the scary articles claiming that unpowered SSDs kept in storage can lose data in a relatively short period of time, within days given certain conditions.

The report that started the ball rolling is an official JEDEC presentation from Alvin Cox, Chairman of the SSD subcommittee, and the claims of potentially poor data retention made therein have caused much chatter across the net.

This is highly technical topic and one which is, quite frankly, well outside my level of expertise. However, after exhaustive research, I’ve come to the following conclusion:

Essentially, if an SSD remains connected to the power source, as in connected to a PC, there is nothing to worry about. Considering the expense involved, I’m not sure who would want to utilize SSDs for offline storage purposes anyway, but even under these circumstances, the parameters required in Mr. Cox’s report for data loss to occur represent an unlikely scenario.

Bottom Line

I suggest reading the in-depth rebuttal article presented by Kristian Vättö over at AnandTech here: The Truth About SSD Data Retention.

Essentially, Kristian Vättö’s conclusions are encapsulated within the following couple of excerpts:

  • Worst case scenario, the data retention can be as short as one week, which is what many sites have touted with their “data loss in matter of days” claims. Yes, it can technically happen, but not in typical client environment.
  • All in all, there is absolutely zero reason to worry about SSD data retention in typical client environment. Remember that the figures presented here [in the report] are for a drive that has already passed its endurance rating, so for new drives the data retention is considerably higher, typically over ten years for MLC NAND based SSDs. If you buy a drive today and stash it away, the drive itself will become totally obsolete quicker than it will lose its data.

I believe this is yet another case of so-called tech writers sacrificing the truth in favor of a headline.

Kudos to Kristian Vättö


About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.