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PC maintenance shouldn't be this obscure

Yesterday morning I came downstairs to find that my main gaming PC had just crashed. Not only that, but on trying to reboot, it failed because the C: drive (a Crucial M4 solid state drive) had become invisible.

This was easily fixed by going into the BIOS and basically showing the PC that yes, it was attached to a 256gb SSD after all. After that the PC was able to boot into Windows.

And then a while later, I returned to the PC to find that the same thing had happened again. So I went back into the BIOS, did the same thing, and got back into Windows. Then I turned the thing off and checked the connections between the SSD and the motherboard and the SSD and the power supply. Back into Windows.

Then another while later and the same thing has happened again. BIOS fiddle again and back into Windows. I'm getting annoyed now. Time for some internet research.

Some mentions of similar issues on forums without much in the way of people with solutions. A moderator on Crucial's own forum said to someone a while back with the same issue that it sounded like he had a faulty drive and should return it. A couple of people vaguely said things along the lines of "Make sure your motherboard drivers and the SSD firmware are up to date", which is the sort of thing that people always say on forums even if they have no reason to think it will fix the specific problem being discussed. It's sort of the next step from "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Anyway, since I really didn't want to have to return my C: drive I looked at upgrading my SSD's firmware. And buried in the release notes for the firmware file was this gem:
"Release Date: 01/13/2012
Change Log:
Changes made in version 0002 (m4 can be updated to revision 0309 directly from either revision 0001, 0002, or 0009)
Correct a condition where an incorrect response to a SMART counter will cause the m4 drive to become unresponsive after 5184 hours of Power-on time. The drive will recover after a power cycle, however, this failure will repeat once per hour after reaching this point. The condition will allow the end user to successfully update firmware, and poses no risk to user or system data stored on the drive."

5184 hours? So that would be what? 216 days, about 7 months. Now I built this PC last November or thereabouts, and I rarely turn it off.

And that does seem to have solved the problem.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 18th, 2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
I wish people wouldn't make posts like this -- I'm now trying to mentally reverse engineer the software bug that has an integer counter breaking after 5184 hours (18,662,400,000 ms)!
Jul. 18th, 2012 09:53 pm (UTC)
That's a bizarre one! And likewise, I wonder why. There must be a counter overflowing somewhere. And intriguing that it's once per hour after that, so presumably the check is hourly.


(And I agree - PCs ought to have a built in method for querying for firmware updates and informing you you need one.)
Jul. 19th, 2012 02:56 am (UTC)
You didn't solve that.
Jul. 19th, 2012 07:46 am (UTC)
I am now trying to remember just why the A67/70 mortality table had a weird name as its base point. It's as bad as an earworm!


ETA: Ah, yes. The radix of 34,489 was chosen so that no function would exceed 99,999,999, this limit being imposed by the computing power available at the time (c1972).

Edited at 2012-07-19 10:17 am (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )