The strange case of an OCZ Petrol SSD

A few years ago I took the risk and installed an SSD into my father’s PC, At the time his 300GB Seagate drive had failed in his stock Dell PC, just a touch outside of the warranty period, and in a attempt to keep the costs low I ended up picking a cheap SSD for him. The cheapest at the time was a OCZ Petrol 64GB. Only after a year or so did the horror stories about OCZ SSDs start appearing and a lot of people experienced failures after just a few weeks to months. My father’s SSD carried on chugging for a good few years, and died just a few weeks ago, not bad for a cursed brand…

The strange part was how it failed. Usually these SSDs just stopped working in every way and would appear to the BIOS. In this instance it was still there, it still booted, and it got about half way through the boot sequence for Windows XP before dying with IO errors BSOD. At the time I wrote off the disk as a complete failure, trying to plug it into another PC didn’t work, USB to SATA connector didn’t work, even when I did manage to get recognising on a system it said around 95% of the blocks were bad on the device. New SSD was purchased and this one was forgot about on my desk until I picked up a new USB 3.0 to SATA cable from Amazon today.

On a whim I decided to plug it into the drive, then into my Mac. OSX by default doesn’t write to NTFS but can read it, and it turns out it identifies something very weird in this device. When operated in read-only mode with no writes attempted to the device it works perfectly, this also confirms what I was seeing in the PC in that the boot loader and initial stages of Windows XP worked fine, but when it came to actually check the disk and do a write it caused the device to lock solid.

So, if you have a OCZ Petrol that you need to recover data from, try getting a device that supports write blocking and give it a go.