Western Digital’s been having a bit of a tough time of late with its SanDisk brand. Several of the company’s SanDisk SSDs have been dying without warning. The company seemed to have gone silent on the issue, repeatedly ignoring requests from the media.
Now, though, WD come out from hiding to release new firmware for a number of SanDisk SSD models at the centre of the recent controversy. They don’t actually mention dying drives, though. Just “unexpected disconnects”.
We have identified a firmware issue that can cause SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2, SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2, and WD My Passport SSD products to unexpectedly disconnect from a computer.
To address and resolve this issue, we have developed a firmware updater tool that allows the needed firmware to be installed, enabling your continued use of the SSD on your Windows and/or macOS device.Western Digital Firmware Notes
[Related reading: : Stop using SanDisk SSDs or risk losing your data with no warning]
“Unexpectedly disconnect” could, in fairness, mean a lot of things. I’ve had a number of drives that would randomly disconnect over the years – I still have two in my possession – but none of them have crashed or lost data. They’re just annoying to use. A firmware to fix that annoyance is going to be a very welcome fix for those who have experienced this issue.
No mention of data loss or dying SSDs
But, it doesn’t mention anything about preventing SSD death or the total data loss users have experienced. No apology, nothing. This does not necessarily mean, however, that this is not addressed.
The “sweeping under the rug” of late seems obvious, as evidenced by the repeatedly ignored attempts to get an official statement by various media outlets, including The Verge, Ars Technica and PetaPixel – all of whom have experienced SanDisk SSD death first-hand – as well as here at DIYP.
The fact that the company has not addressed the SSD failures publicly suggests that they’re possibly not specifically addressing them in the firmware notes publicly, either, even if it fixes the problem. If so, this might further suggest that Western Digital is just hoping that the public has a short memory and the problem will go away by itself given time.
And, well, general business history shows us that they may be right if that is their plan.
Part of me hopes that this is the case because it means the problem will go away relatively quickly but part of me also hopes that I’m wrong. Why? Because companies should be held responsible and accountable for things like this, especially when their products are potentially holding the life’s work of a customer. What about the customers that have already lost data?
Which models are affected?
Regardless, if it fixes it, it fixes it. The new firmware update affects the following models of SSD:
- SanDisk Extreme Portable 4TB (SDSSDE61-4T00)
- SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable 4TB (SDSSDE81-4T00)
- SanDisk Extreme Pro 2TB (SDSSDE81-2T00)
- SanDisk Extreme Pro 1TB (SDSSDE81-1T00)
- WD My Passport 4TB (WDBAGF0040BGY)
You’ll note there are no links in the list above. This is because until the
guinea pigs customers have tested it and provided their feedback – or Western Digital publicly acknowledges the issue, whether it’s resolved or not – we still can’t recommend people buy SanDisk SSDs.
You can download the new firmware update from the Western Digital website. You will need your SSD serial number handy.
Western Digital being sued in California
Western Digital will likely have to come out and make a statement at some point soon, though, as they’ve been sued over it. A suit has been filed in California over the dying SanDisk SSDs, accusing the company of knowingly selling defective SSDs.
If you have one of the abovementioned SSDs, I’d recommend going ahead an updating the firmware anyway – after backing up the drive, obviously. But I’d still treat it with some trepidation and keep your SSD regularly backed up until the update’s dispersed into the wild, and we can see if the SSD death and data loss reports have at least slowed down.