The Intel 320 SSD series was launched back in March of 2011. 320 is the third generation of the company’s mainstream SSDs said to be superior in every way to its predecessors. SSDs of the 320 series use 24nm flash memory chips that enable blazing fast data processing. Merely a few weeks later, however, it has been revealed that the said memory chips are a lot more susceptible to errors. And after experiencing a power failure, the memory chips may cause the SSD to acquire the “BAD_CTX” firmware bug. The bug happens when the SSD keeps on trying to reconnect with the SATA port instead of performing a proper shutdown. And the result, all data on the drive becomes inaccessible and its capacity becomes only 8 MB.
Firmware Fixes from Intel
After reports of the bug populated various message boards and online forums, Intel released numerous firmware updates each time claiming that the update will prevent “BAD_CTX” from occurring. Unfortunately, these claims were not correct. As of today, more than three years later, the 8MB bug is still very real. Intel though, did manage to release firmware updates that enabled users to make SSDs that acquired the bug usable again. Intel was able to provide several ways of restoring a drive; however, it was not able to give any means of retrieving the lost data or files. It was then that file restoration companies engaged on a race on who can be the first to provide Intel 320 Series Data Recovery services.
The Race to Beat the BAD_CTX Bug
No company was able to perform successful Intel 320 Series Data Recovery back in 2011 but come January 2012, a handful of companies managed to make a breakthrough. Brian Cometa and the other data recovery technicians of “$300 Data Recovery” who have been providing low-cost file retrieval services since 2007, have managed to breakdown and understand the specifics of how the 8MB bug occurs and they have also managed to formulate ways on how to both fix the SSDs while also retrieving the data. The company managed to develop a recovery algorithm that can work on all SSDs in the Intel 320 series. And what’s more, consumers can avail of its services for the fixed rate of $300 without the need for any upfront payment.