We’ve seen some recent mumblings about a corner case where inadvertent or improper power loss to an Intel 320 Series SSD would result in the drive getting stuch in an inaccessible mode where it appears as an 8MB drive. From what I’ve gathered, the issue seems rare and may be tied to some specific hardware configurations.

The SSD 320 we tested back in March (we couldn’t get it to ‘stick’ in 8MB mode).

More after the break…

This is not the first time an Intel SSD has had firmware-related quirkyness, or has gotten ‘stuck’. While this particular issue does result in the data no longer being accessible, users have reported success in restoring the drive to usable condition by performing a secure erase – though all previously saved data will be lost.

Luckily, Intel has been able to reproduce this issue in their labs and are currently certifying a firmware to be released shortly. While bugs are expected to slip by on such a complex piece of hardware, Intel does have a decent track record for getting things sorted. Due to the apparent randomness of the data loss, I recommend any and all Intel 320 Series users maintain recent backups and most definitely apply the update once released.

Intel’s note to us follows:


Intel has been investigating the ‘Bad Context 13x Error’ as seen on select Intel® SSD 320 Series drives.  This was previously noted in the Intel community post as “SSD Power Loss”.  To summarize the error: In certain circumstances, after an unexpected power loss, a small percentage of SSDs may experience this error on the next attempt to boot the system. In this situation, the system’s BIOS reports an SSD as an 8MB capacity drive. 
Intel has reproduced ‘Bad Context 13x Error’ utilizing strenuous testing methods. This ‘Bad Context 13x Error’ can be addressed via a firmware update and Intel is in the process of validating the firmware update.   A future update will define the schedule to deliver the firmware fix.
The Intel SSD 320 Series continues to be shipped and is available for purchase.   If you experience this error with your Intel SSD, please contact your Intel representative or Intel customer support (via web:  www.intel.com or phone: www.intel.com/p/en_US/support/contact/phone) .
For those with Intel SSD 320 series SSDs who are concerned but currently unaffected, Intel advises the following actions:
As with any storage device, backup your data regularly
When shutting down your system, follow your system’s standard shutdown process 
Minimize unplugging the SSD while your system is powered 
Intel takes these issues seriously. Please watch for further updates on this site.