Home Windows computer: any reason to avoid solid state storage?

About to break down and get a new computer. On the face of it, solid state data storage seems like a good idea, faster, not subject to physical degradation (not the same type, anyway, I gather there is a limit on the number of reads/writes or something, but I was told that in normal use any SS storage would last longer than the rest of the computer).

In searching about this, I found this claim: " * Due to the unique file system structure of an SSD, data extraction can be an extremely difficult and lengthy process." I don’t understand what this means. What does “data extraction” mean in this context?

Any other disadvantages or pitfalls I should be concerned about? I’ve never had any computer component go bad except for conventional hard drives. I thought it would be nice to avoid that and see what else breaks instead.

Can you get them for the same price and total size as magnetic platters, these days? That’d be about the only possible catch I could think of.

By “data extraction,” I assume they mean trying to get the data off a dead drive, as that’s the only time it could be harder than any other drive. It it true that, due to wear leveling, the data on a drive is spread out. But the map for that should be stored somewhere nonvolatile, similar to a hard drive’s file allocation table. So I’m not sure how much worse it actually is on a practical level.

Plus, really, you shouldn’t need it to get to that point. Backup your data! Then you don’t need to get data off a dead drive. I continue to recommend Backblaze, as it’s only $6 a month per computer for unlimited data backup. You can access your data online. And they even have a program where you essentially pay a deposit for them to send you a disk drive. You can either keep it and be out the money, or return it after you get all the data off for a full refund. They also have great rates for just storing the data there.

As for the rest, you have it about right. SSDs do still cost more, but it’s more like twice as much per megabyte now, and the benefits, especially on anything portable, are great. They’re faster, lighter, more physically durable (so they can take more baning), and last long enough that they’re unlikely to fail any faster than an hard drive would

It’s possible that you need a large amount of data, where SSDs do start getting pricy. If that’s the case, I recommend getting a second hard drive on a desktop, and a lower speed, higher capacity SD card for a laptop. But, honestly, if you were using a laptop before and it held all you needed, you probably won’t need those.

The only real caveat I’d look out for is the warranty and DWPD or TBW ratings, which are how long the drive can last. Some cheap drives do skimp on these numbers. But they don’t have to be all that high. DWPD is the number of times you can completely overwrite the entire drive per day, for the duration of the warranty period. TBW is total number of terabytes you can write. Stay away from unreasonably low numbers like 2 DWPD or 150 TBW and get as long a warranty as you can get—or at least as long as you don’t plan on replacing your drive/computer.

Finally, I will say this: when you talked about getting a new laptop, I had always assumed you’d get one with an SSD. Heck, if you’d just decided to replace that failing hard drive, I was going to tell you to get an SSD instead.

SSDs give far superior performance, particularly for an OS, but once they’re done, they’re done.
For this reason I keep to the old advice of having just the OS on the SSD and putting my programs and data on a magnetic drive.

I’ve had magnetic drives fail on me before, obviously, but they tend to give a heads up months before by having bad sectors, read failures, the dreaded clicking etc that gives you a nudge to backup anything you haven’t already and buy a new drive.

Meanwhile my last SSD failure…technically it gave me some heads up, but it was literally just one or two days.
Basically on two occasions when booting, my computer did not detect the drive, but then on reboot, the computer detected it, started up fine, and experienced no further issues. Since it was just these two times, and since I’d never experienced SSDs failing before, I didn’t process the seriousness of this.
Then, the third time it didn’t detect the drive, it was just done; it never detected that drive again. And when I say didn’t detect the drive, I mean even the BIOS could not see that anything was plugged in. My computer acted exactly as if I had plugged one of the SATA cables into a hot pocket.

I decided I’m only buying NVME for anything upto 2TB, it’s not really that much more expensive than SSD, which would be my low standard for new drives at this time.

As for the “data extraction” remark: I guess it is only applicable on enterprise level stuff where data recovery after a failure is absolutely needed and invaluable. While in theory you could transplant platters from a dead HD to recover data, this would be harder to do with the on-chip storage as used today. Then again I’ve only heard of that specific need once many years ago. As said, it just makes more sense to backup the stuff you don’t want to lose like pictures or personal documents.

I did buy some extra adaptors that plug into PCI-E and USB so that I can access the drives on any other system as well, should that be needed.

If this is your disaster recovery strategy, your CIO needs to find a new job. In the era of continuous cloud backup and region-independent load balancing this should not be an issue.

And we are remembering that this is for a home Windows computer, not an enterprise?

Solid state drives are much faster than spinning-disc hard drives, but they are more expensive for the same amount of storage and data recovery can be more difficult. I would definitely recommend solid state drives just for the large performance benefit.

The solution to data recovery is not to need data recovery. Buy an external USB drive equal to or greater than the size of the solid state drive and regularly back up your data to that. Then on the off chance that the SSD dies, you will still have all your data backed up.

You can download/buy backup software, or do it yourself. This is the RoboCopy command I use to mirror my c:\ drive to my external backup d:\ drive. RoboCopy is a command-line utility included with Windows. It doesn’t make a bootable backup copy but it backs up all the files. Just be DAMN sure your source (c:) and destination (d:) are correct or you will lose data:

robocopy c:\ d:\ /mir /ndl /R:0 /A-:SH

c:\ (source drive, this is the drive you are copying from)
d:\ (destination this is the backup drive you are copying to.)
/mir (Mirror. This switch does all the work, it mirrors the files on source drive to the destination drive, any extra files in the destination that do not exist in the source WILL BE DELETED)
/ndl (No Directory Listings. Normally the name of every directory the copy looks at will scroll by, this suppresses that)
/R:0 (Retries 0. This specifies that 0 retries will be made for each file, retries shouldn’t be needed and if they are, Windows probably isn’t letting you copy that file anyway so you will be waiting for nothing.)
/A-:SH (Attributes, not system, not hidden. This excludes system or hidden files, like your windows swapfile that contains no useful data and will be gigabytes in size.)

Fix the source and destination drive letters and run this command once a day/week/month/whatever and you don’t need to worry about data recovery on your SSD.

This is a bare metal, do it yourself method of backup. But there are advantages. You don’t need to buy any backup software, you don’t need to learn any backup software, and when the copy is done you can browse the d: drive and see your files there. Same with recovery, you can browse the drive and all the files are there in the same directory structure as they are on your c: drive. Nearly every backup program packs your data into a proprietary, inaccessible format, but this RoboCopy method just makes a 1:1 mirror copy of your files.

I bought a new computer just a couple months ago. I got a hybrid system – a 256GB SSD for the operating system, and 1TB HD for the bulk of my files and data.

NVME is SSD. It’s just a faster interface.

That’s almost exactly what I have, except a 2 TB HDD. I chose a Samsung Pro SSD because they use MLC technology (2 bits per cell) rather than the more common TLC (3 bits per cell) and have higher durability ratings. I also have SSDs in both of my laptops and as the system drive in another desktop. I wouldn’t want to have a laptop that wasn’t SSD based, or a desktop in which I needed decent performance that didn’t at least have an SSD as the system drive. The new gaming computer my son built has two PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs, one SATA SSD, and a couple of HDDs for high capacity applications.

I’m a simple guy, with simple needs. So I bought an all-in-one with 1TB solid state storage (it added $100 to the cost). I brought it home today. I will set up an automated incremental backup to my plug-in HDD (which is how I transferred my local files from the old laptop). It took me a couple of hours to set up, because there is stuff I don’t know, but it was a lot less time than I thought (thanks, Google sync). Windows 10 doesn’t seem to be an issue so far, so I have put the purchase of a For Dummies book on hold. I have a lot less cable clutter and mess on my desk, although I confess I wish I could hang it on the wall like I did my old monitor. I like to put stuff under it on the desk.

I think I’ll donate my laptop, in a couple of weeks when I’m sure I won’t need it any more, to a program for school kids who don’t have one. The program will need to replace the hard drive (which I will format before I give it away) but it’s otherwise in good shape. I will likely include the 23" monitor and the new keyboard and mouse that I’m not using along with it.