BLUF: My ‘broken’ SA510 1TB drive is now fully functional again after upgrading to the latest firmware.
My WD Blue SA510 1TB SSD died after a year of light use. Initial symptoms included occasional failures to locate the drive when booting into Windows 10. A reboot usually resolved the issue. Eventually the drive failed to show up at all, even in the motherboard BIOS setup screens.
Since the drive was under warranty, the idea of returning it for a replacement was considered. But sending my personal data to some unknown shop didn’t sit well. And would I really want another similar drive that could fail as a replacement?
After wasting countless hours, trying nearly every possible remedy, I gave up and just purchased a new SSD (different vendor). I also went with a clean install of Windows 10.
A week later, my prior frustrations had subsided. And with the system up and running, I could tinker further with the WD SA510 drive before throwing it away. The drive could be attached via n external 2.5 USB drive enclosure, or directly via the SATA connector. But in either case, the system would stall out if the Windows ‘Disk Management’ utility was run. But if you disconnected the SA510 drive, the Disk Management software would unfreeze and show the remaining connected drives.
After reading many forum articles, I heard that a WD owner had updated firmware for their SA510 drive with success. Apparently, they were able to do it with the SA510 inserted into an external drive enclosure. So I went to the WD support site and downloaded their WD “Dashboard” drive utility. The utility is nicely made, is visually pleasing, and is very easy to use. But while the software showed available drives, it wouldn’t allow a selection of my third party drive enclosure. It only allows selection of WD or other approved drives.
IMPORTANT NOTE: My motherboard supports hot plugging of SATA drives. If yours doesn’t, you might find an alternate machine that does before trying this next step.
I ran the Dashboard utility process again with the SA510 drive directly attached via a SATA connector. The Dashboard application stalled when reading the drives, just like the Disk Management application did. But while the software was stalled, I briefly disconnected and reconnected the SA5120 drive data cable, leaving the power cable untouched. This brief disconnection allowed the drive scan to finish, and the Dashboard application appeared, showing the SA510 as a visible and supported drive (it appeared as an empty drive in Windows). The Dashboard software noted that a firmware update was available for the SA510 drive. So I selected the drive and let the upgrade begin. This firmware upgrade finished in just a few seconds, and the drive showed as being connected and ready.
The new 1TB WD SA510 firmware version displayed as: 52046100 .
Just for good measure, a short SMART scan was run in the same Dashboard utility, which yielded no errors. The drive now appeared to be fully functional with all of the partitions and data intact.
Now, this drive may not be trusted for holding important data just yet. But if your drive isn’t responding, you may be able to get it into a readable state, assuming you’re willing to try a quick unplug/replug while the drive is being scanned.
If your SA510 is a brick, I hope that this write-up gives you one last opportunity to recover your drive and any of the data that is valuable to you without having to resort to exotic means. If you don’t have a good backup plan, now is a good time to think about adding one.
For those of you with a SA510, best of luck! Mine lasted about one year of light use. Of course, your mileage may vary.