HP's Dying SSDs Are A Great Reminder To Update Yours

In 40,000 hours, your HP solid-state drive will die. That’s not the plot of a D-List Mission Impossible spoof; it’s reality. Thankfully, you are probably not affected, since the solid-state drives with the self-destructing issue are all enterprise-grade HP drives—800GB or 1.6TB drives sitting in a company’s servers or various HP Enterprise storage products, not your desktop PC or laptop.

It’s a quirky issue that demands an “immediate application of this critical fix,” notes HP. It’s also a helpful reminder that, yes, your system’s solid-state drive has firmware, and you need to keep it updated, too.

Unlike dumber mechanical drives that I can’t recall ever needing to “update” in all the time I’ve used computers, SSDs have a bit more to worry about. They have to provision data across the drive for maximum effectiveness and longevity. Consequently, SSD manufacturers typically release firmware updates for SSDs that fix bugs, address security problems, and potentially even improve the performance of your drive(s).

In fact, your SSD’s manufacturer probably provides a simple utility you can use to check your drive’s firmware and/or update it with just a few clicks of the mouse. I tend to use Samsung drives in my system, and here’s what its utility—the stupidly named “Samsung Magician”—looks like. It’s not scary at all.

Screenshot: David Murphy

Checking the firmware is as simple as clicking on “Drive Details” and seeing if there’s anything new I have to install:

That’s it. Two seconds. Your setup might be different than mine, and whatever utility your SSD’s manufacturer uses might be slightly more complicated (or easier; who knows!). Still, this is something that’s worth exploring. If you purchased and installed your SSDs yourself, you should know exactly who makes them, which should make it easy to find the associated utility they’ve built to help you manage your drives. If not, or you forgot, simply pull up Windows’ Device Manager and take a look under “Disk Drives.”

Screenshot: David Murphy

If you have a laptop, I’d first recommend checking out its manufacturer’s website to see if there’s any firmware (or utilities for updating it) that you can download. If there’s nothing new, or you want to be double-sure, I’d then hunt down the manufacturer of your SSD and perform the same check.

If you’re unsure what you’re installing—for example, if you have to download the firmware yourself and flash it with a crude utility—either don’t, or triple-check that you are absolutely installing the right firmware for your SSD. This isn’t a process you want to mess up (assuming a utility will even allow you to do so). Ideally, whatever utility you’re using will download the correct firmware for you and update as needed.


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