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Battling the Intel 320 BAD_CTX bug, again...

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So I had the BAD_CTX bug once again loosing all my data, good thing I remembered to back it all up this time before it happend

Le't's answer a few common questions

Q: Is my data lost for ever and ever?

> Yes. Well no, not unless you are prepared to pay a gazillion dollars to have it recovered which you most likely don't want to so still yes.

Q: Can I rescue my disk and make it reusable again?

> Yes. I've had this kind of errors twice by now and I have managed to fix the disk both times but with different methods.

Getting started

Most likely the error was caused by you

  • not having updated the firmware
  • ...in combination with a powerout or forced shutdown

There are a few threads sorting this out, first and foremost the advanced users will use Linux to solve this but if you haven't used Linux before it's a mess. And the Linux way of using MHDD or Ubuntu with partx, hdparm, and smartctl may be very powerful but will add some extra technological skills from you.

The Linux way

If you want to go the Linux way, here it is http://communities.intel.com/message/145676, worth noting is that this option didn't work for me the second time my disk bricked. I was repeatedly having errors like this when I tried to use the tools

-s: bad/missing powerup-in-standby value (0..1)

When testing with hdparm the disc looked like this

x@x:~$ sudo hdparm -I /dev/sda

ATA device, with non-removable media
	Model Number:       INTEL SSDSA2CW300G3                     
	Serial Number:      BAD_CTX     0000013F
	Firmware Revision:  4PC10362
	Transport:          Serial, ATA8-AST, SATA 1.0a, SATA II Extensions, SATA Rev 2.5, SATA Rev 2.6
	Used: unknown (minor revision code 0x0029) 
	Supported: 8 7 6 5 
	Likely used: 8
	Logical		max	current
	cylinders	16383	16
	heads		16	16
	sectors/track	63	63
	CHS current addressable sectors:      16128
	LBA    user addressable sectors:      16384
	LBA48  user addressable sectors:      16384
	Logical  Sector size:                   512 bytes
	Physical Sector size:                   512 bytes
	device size with M = 1024*1024:           8 MBytes
	device size with M = 1000*1000:           8 MBytes 
	cache/buffer size  = unknown
	Nominal Media Rotation Rate: Solid State Device
	LBA, IORDY(can be disabled)
	Standby timer values: spec'd by Standard, no device specific minimum
	R/W multiple sector transfer: Max = 16	Current = 16
	DMA: mdma0 mdma1 mdma2 udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 udma4 udma5 *udma6 
	     Cycle time: min=120ns recommended=120ns
	PIO: pio0 pio1 pio2 pio3 pio4 
	     Cycle time: no flow control=120ns  IORDY flow control=120ns
	Enabled	Supported:
	    	Security Mode feature set
	   *	Power Management feature set
	   *	Write cache
	   *	Look-ahead
	   *	Host Protected Area feature set
	   *	WRITE_BUFFER command
	   *	READ_BUFFER command
	   *	NOP cmd
	    	SET_MAX security extension
	   *	48-bit Address feature set
	   *	Device Configuration Overlay feature set
	   *	Mandatory FLUSH_CACHE
	   *	General Purpose Logging feature set
	   *	64-bit World wide name
	   *	{READ,WRITE}_DMA_EXT_GPL commands
	   *	Gen1 signaling speed (1.5Gb/s)
	   *	Gen2 signaling speed (3.0Gb/s)
	   *	Phy event counters
	   *	Software settings preservation
	   *	SMART Command Transport (SCT) feature set
	   *	SCT Write Same (AC2)
	   *	SCT Error Recovery Control (AC3)
	   *	SCT Features Control (AC4)
	   *	SCT Data Tables (AC5)
	   *	Data Set Management TRIM supported (limit 8 blocks)
	   *	Deterministic read ZEROs after TRIM
	Master password revision code = 65534
	not	enabled
	not	locked
	not	expired: security count
		supported: enhanced erase
Logical Unit WWN Device Identifier: 5001517959522a46
	NAA		: 5
	IEEE OUI	: 001517
	Unique ID	: 959522a46
Checksum: correct

In other words, your disk is here but not working very well. Lets fix it.


"My" recommended way of fixing the disk

Here it is, http://www.iishacks.com/2009/06/30/how-to-secure-erase-reset-an-intel-solid-state-drive-ssd/ It simply just works, ensure to update your firmware if possible. Enjoy