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December 5, 2020

Build 20226 Gains SSD Health Metric


When I read about the details of Insider Preview Dev Channel Build 20226, I was interested to learn it now includes a health metric for SSDs. That information appears as the lead-in graphic for this story, in fact. My interests were two-fold, in fact. First, prior Dev Channel builds wouldn’t let me access the Manage Disks and Volumes capability at all (Settings → System → Storage → Manage Disks and Volumes). When I tried that up to this build, I would click the Manage Disks and Volumes item, see some spinning balls that told me Windows 10 was doing something, after which Settings would close. In other words: my first concern was whether or not I’d be able to access the promised facility at all. Second, of course, is simple curiosity: I wanted to see what information the new “Drive Health” facility might report.

I guess it’s fair to say I was pleasantly surprised when Manage Disks and Volumes actually opened in this build, and even more interested to see that Drive health reports an estimate of remaining disk life for NVMe SSDs. As you can see from the lead-in graphic, other data includes the amount of “Available spare” (which I take to mean either the amount of remaining life for the disk, or the amount of available disk space on the disk), and the device temperature as reported by the sensors typically built into SSD drives. I’d like to learn more about what “Available spare” means, but as I write this story the more information link in the Drive Health display area produces the baffling “An error occurred” message instead of presumably useful and illuminating info.

What the 20226 Announcement Says About Drive Health

It states that the purpose of this facility is to provide “storage health monitoring to protect user data.” Here’s the remaining copy (and a screencap, which I hope I never see on one of my systems “for real”) from Brandon LeBlanc’s September 30 20226 announcement:

Attempting to recover data after drive failure is both frustrating and expensive. This feature is designed to detect hardware abnormalities for NVMe SSDs and notify users with enough time to act. It is strongly recommended that users immediately back up their data after receiving a notification.

Image of toast notification sent to users when NVMe SSD abnormalities are detected.

 

 

 

 

 

Clicking on the notification or navigating to the drive properties page in Storage Settings (Settings -> System -> Storage -> Manage disks and volumes -> Properties) will provide additional details.

I’m waiting for the currently busted “more information” link to resolve, in the hopes that it will shed more light on what gets reported and what it all means.

Glad to See Manage Disks and Volumes Now Working

In the meantime, I’m simply glad that whatever ailed the Manage Disks and Volumes facility on my two Dev Channel test machines is apparently resolved. And when I just opened the facility on my older Lenovo X220 Tablet, I observed that Drive Health data is not available for older mSATA SSDs. This unit has a Plextor PX-252M5M unit installed, and does not report drive health. Of course, the X220 dates back to 2012, and may pre-date outright availability of NVMe drives. And indeed, a quick quick on the technology online reveals NVMe drives made their debut one year later, in 2013.

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

One Response “Build 20226 Gains SSD Health Metric”

  1. CountMike
    October 2, 2020 at 20:47

    If it’s properly worded,“Available spare” is about spare space every disk, even mechanical ones have to move data from suspected bad sectors/blocks.
    Life left and health are just wild guess estimated by disks’ age and number of writes. I repeat, just a wild guess, no program or algorithm as of yet is able to get anywhere close to truth, too many variables, any HDD/SSD can go belly up at any time or last forever. I have a bunch of HDDs and couple of old SSDs whose demise was predicted long time ago, some with bad/relocated sectors and they still work while few just died well within warranty period.

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