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Storage SSD with corrupt firmware.

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Vault-Tec, 23 Oct 2019.

  1. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    OK so my buddy sent me an SSD. His cousin works for a large company who make SSDs and memory etc. Like, a very large company. Any way my buddy couldn't get it to do anything so sent it across the pond to me. I *think* the firmware is corrupt, as in BIOS it is reporting as ???????????????????????. No joke, that is exactly what it says. I can't get it to detect in Windows, nor any partition software I've tried so far. The sad part is it's 800gb.

    Is there any way to flash on the firmware manually without it seeing the drive? or is it bin fodder?
     
  2. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    It is detected as a device in device mangler?
     
  3. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Nope, not from the look of it.
     
  4. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    If it can't be seen by device mangler (snigger) or the BIOS, I don't think there is much hope of getting firmware onto it.
     
  5. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    It's being seen by BIOS. It's just corrupted.

    Nothing in Windows though, but I'd imagine Linux or something similar may be able to sort it. I've had a similar issue years ago with my Corsair X32 and it involved a Linux boot stick....
     
  6. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    If it is being seen by the BIOS then it might work, as long as the firmware updater can access at a hardware level (i.e. without having to go through Windows).

    Linux is a good shout, does the SSD manufacturer provide a Linux firmware updater?
     
  7. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Not sure I'd need to look.

    It may just need a secure? Erase? With Gpart?

    It's been a while as you can probably tell.....
     
  8. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    If the BIOS is not showing the firmware, either the BIOS can't read it or it is as you say, corrupt. Only thing to do is try it, what have you got to lose?
     
  9. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    It's possible it's encrypted.

    As I said, my buddy's cousin works for a very large company.... Last month his cousin gave him three PCIE ssds. Turns out they're Uber high end and 1.5tb a pop, running some sort of raid. Each one does 4000 R/W easy.

    He's a very lucky boy lol.
     
  10. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Yeah it's a proper product. My mobo even knows what size it is. That's how I found out it was 800gb, as they make it in 5 sizes.

    He wouldn't knowingly give him something that doesn't work. Everything else he's given him works 100%.

    The three PCIE ssds came from a display stand from a trade show and were basically brand new fully functional drives. They don't use dummies. When you're as big as this company are you don't need to pick peanuts out of poo tbh.
     
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  11. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    It would help to have the actual make and model.
    Normally, if the firmware is so poked it isn't talking to the BIOS properly then it normally needs to be flashed offline, which is not for the faint of heart. Short version: take the fancy user-facing OS-based updater, extract the actual firmware image, flash firmware directly. If you're lucky, the controller supports in-system programming (oh, but none of this will be documented anywhere, unless you sign an NDA with the IC developer), if you're unlucky this means desoldering the chip and using a dedicated programmer AKA burner/PROM writer/etc (guess what, voltages and interface rates also undocumented. And doing it wrong will almost certainly kill the chip too).
    If you're very lucky, the controller has both a fail-safe bootloader that enables reflashing for recovery, AND the manufacturer provides a self-booting image that performs that flashing. Though if you ask the company for it it's more likely they'll tell you to a) send the drive in under warranty or b) go suck a lemon.
     
  12. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    So what you're saying is... there's a chance it'll work? :D
     
  13. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    I'd have to pm you the make and model.

    OBS it would be bad for me to talk about that in public.

    I looked inside and there's 3 jumper pins. None are jumpered.
     
  14. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    OK it's brown bread sadly. I tested it last week. I can get it to show by fitting it to an external USB case. It shows as 800gb. However no matter what I tried (and believe me I tried it all) all I could get was "I/O error".

    I believe it's a corrupt firmware or dodgy I/O controller but in either case you can't put a BIOS on it due to it being corrupt.

    So sadly my first hunch was correct.
     
  15. spolsh

    spolsh Active Member

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    bu88er ... but at least it didn't cost you anything but a bit of time
     
  16. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    It doesn't make sense to specifically manufacture a dummy for display, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a production model either.

    There could be all sorts of things with the "whatever was convenient to throw on the stand" items that mean they may not function as a production article would.
     
  17. Fizzban

    Fizzban Man of Many Typos

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    Thanks for replying with your conclusion. So many don't and it leaves you hanging..

    I had hoped there was some digital magic ritual to get you some freeBYTES, but I guess not. :(
     
  18. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Right. Found this drive again whilst poking around. I noticed it had a heat pad for the controller and a couple of other components.

    So I did what we would all do, smothered every connection in flux and bunged it in the oven for 8 mins. Flux all flowed lovely, it is cooling down now. Going to let it cool naturally then I will post back.
     
  19. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Nail biter :D

    So now the drive shows up correctly with its correct name. However, it is now reporting as a 120gb SSD. I can't do anything with it.

    So I am going to try Linux to see if that can see it and use it properly..... I doubt it will work but that hasn't stopped me before :D
     
  20. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    The plot thickens....

    [​IMG]

    But it won't initialise. It just gives an access error. This is the drive here.

    [​IMG]

    I took it into diskpart with the boot stick. It doesn't see the drive.... At all..... But..... Actually it does. It doesn't show up for secure erase, and it doesn't show up to be partitioned but it does show up in the "unencrypt disc" log. However, you try to remove it? it fails.

    So now I am 99% convinced this drive is encrypted. When my buddy removed it from the laptop his cousin gave him (with this drive in) he said there was some weird sort of device plugged into the other SATA port.

    My guess is this thing is encrypted with something far beyond anything publicly available.

    Mad eh?
     

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