SSDs and HDDs are popular types of storage devices that each come with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. While both forms of storage devices share a similar purpose, they operate in distinctly different ways, which can factor into varying data loss scenarios and data recovery difficulties.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at what SSDs and HDDs are, how they function, and the differences between both, as well as the best ways to recover lost files from either of them.
Difference Between SSD vs. HDD
Both SSDs and HDDs are storage drives used in computers and laptops to store assorted kinds of information, though they do so in fundamentally different ways.
What is an SSD drive?
Short for “Solid-State Drives”, SSDs are a relatively newer form of data storage that utilizes flash memory to save information, similar to USB drives. This results in speedier file access speeds, allowing your machine to write and read data a lot quicker. For example, if you install your operating system on an SSD, you’ll enjoy significantly quicker boot times compared to an HDD.
Relying on flash memory also means that SSDs have no moving parts, so they’re far more compact, a lot more durable, and incredibly quiet, even under heavy loads. On the other hand, SSDs are significantly pricier than their HDD counterparts.
What is an HDD drive?
HDDs or “Hard Disk Drives” are storage devices that magnetically store and access information via revolving disks. The writing and reading of data are facilitated by an arm that is attached to various heads that manipulate said disks.
Due to the mechanical nature of HDDs, they are noisier and slower compared to SSDs, and their shelf life is also generally shorter. On the plus side, HDDs are notably cheaper than SSDs, so you’d be able to afford more storage for less money.
It’s worth noting that whether it’s an SSD or HDD, it’s possible to retrieve missing data from both types of storage drives through the use of a data recovery program.
Data Recovery Differences Between SSD vs. HDD
Going with the differences discussed in the previous section, it’s easy to see the advantages that SSDs hold over HDDs, but the case isn’t quite as clear-cut from a data recovery perspective. In fact, most experts agree that Windows and Mac SSD data recovery is actually more difficult for a variety of reasons.
Brand names also factor in, as some companies offer their own proprietary recovery platforms. For Samsung SSD recovery, for example, there’s Samsung Recovery Solution. These are some of the differences between SSDs and HDDs when it comes to data recovery:
1. HDDs have obvious failure warning signs
Since HDDs are mechanical by design, it’s easier to tell when the drives are beginning to fail due to hardware problems, such as if the heads start making a grinding sound when reading and writing data. That way, you can begin data recovery while the device is still functional.
2. SSDs have different data storage process
As previously mentioned, HDDs leverage an arm attached to several heads to write data on a particular location on a disk. Reading the data simply requires the head to return to the same location and read its magnetic orientation. This means the location of the data is fixed. However, for SSDs, the location of the stored information is constantly being modified to avoid wear and tear, making it more difficult to pinpoint file location and recover data from an SSD drive.
3. SSDs often have a TRIM feature
Most modern SSDs include a built-in TRIM feature that commands the drive to automatically erase blocks or pages that store particular data once a user deletes the file through the operating system. The advantage here is that the OS will no longer have to wait for data to be wiped before writing new data in the same block or page. The downside is that the TRIM tool makes data recovery more difficult.
Best Way to Recover Data From SSD or HDD
As with other storage mediums, SSDs and HDDs are prone to loss of information, but it’s possible to recover data from them if you know how to go about it. Below are the two best methods to recover data from SSDs or HDDs:
Data Recovery Software
Whether you’re using an SSD or HDD, the most effective way to recover lost information from a DIY standpoint is by using a first-class data recovery program. Disk Drill is one of the best in the business at getting back missing files from storage devices, offering up an intuitive UI for all experience levels, fantastic recovery rates, and support for pretty much any file format.
It also includes a handy backup feature that can help you create perfect copies of your HDD or SSD, and it features a trial version that lets you try out all of the program’s features within a 500MB recovery limit. On another note, it’s one of the best at external hard drive recovery for Macs. Here’s how to use Disk Drill to rescue files from your SSD or HDD:
- Head to the Cleverfiles website and download the Disk Drill setup file.
- Launch the downloaded file and follow the instructions until the program is successfully installed.
- Run Disk Drill, then select the SSD or HDD that you’re trying to retrieve files from and click the Search for lost data button.
- The program will start scanning your selected drive for any potentially rescuable files. The scan will likely be faster for SSDs due to the nature of how they access data, though it also depends heavily on the overall size of the drive. As the scan progresses, you can click the Review found items button on the top-right corner to check out the files that Disk Drill has managed to uncover so far. You can also just wait for the scan to reach completion and then click the same button to head to the next section.
- Browse through the items found until you find the data you’re looking to recover. Given how you’re trying to recover information from an SSD or HDD, it’s likely that you will have to go sift through a whole lot of files. To make things easier, you can use the search bar in the top-right corner to search for specific file names or formats. You can also use the categories on the left side to narrow down the type of files to browse through. Select files by ticking the checkbox on the left of the file name, then click Recover in the bottom-right corner to continue.
- A small window will pop up, asking you to decide on the destination for your recovered files. Keep in mind that you need to pick a different drive than the SSD or HDD that you’re recovering from to avoid issues. Click Next when you’re ready.
- Disk Drill will now finally try to recover your selected lost files. This is usually a pretty quick process unless the files you’re trying to get back are particularly large. Once finished, you’ll receive a completion message, along with a button labeled “Show recovered data in Explorer”, that you can click to go directly to the files you just rescued.
Data Recovery Services
If your SSD or HDD has incurred mechanical/physical damage or is corrupted beyond what SSD data recovery software can deal with, then your best course of action would be to contact a professional data recovery service. These kinds of services employ experts who specialize in rescuing data from a wide range of storage devices and data loss scenarios – even critical ones.
Data recovery services often offer to evaluate your storage device free of charge to see if the information can indeed be retrieved before proceeding to recover data from the hard drive or SSD. They usually also give you an idea of how much it would cost to have the hard drive recovered prior to them working on it. You can check out services near your area or find ones that accept storage devices through mail or courier service.