Intel SSD 320 series fault – power loss results in “Bad Context 13x Error” firmware update soon

Intel has been investigating an possible issue with their Intel SSD 320 series SSD. Unexpected power loss may result in what Intel terms a ‘Bad Context 13x Error’. Unexpected power loss, may result in the Intel 320 SSD series only reporting a SSD capacity of only 8MB in system BIOS. Intel reported that this ‘Bad Context 13x Error’ has been fixed via a SSD firmware update which they are currently testing.

I’ve just had a few vB clients move over to using these Intel 320 SSD series drives in their web and database servers – paired with hardware raid controllers which have battery back ups (BBU).  So wonder if the BBU and/or battery back UPS units will prevent possible occurrences of ‘Bad Context 13x Errors’ due to power outages ? Anyway, as with any SSD disks, always have a backup routine in place. For linux servers, I prefer using R1Soft CDP Enterprise backup.  Reasons outlined here.

Straight from Intel community discussion forums and Intel 320 SSD firmware update:

Update: August 18th
Intel has released the Intel 320 SSD firmware fix update for Bad Context 13x Error.

Status:

Intel has posted a firmware update for the Intel® SSD 320 Series  (firmware 4PC10362) which addresses the Bad Context 13x Error being discussed on the Communities site and elsewhere. You can download the new firmware here:

www.intel.com/go/ssdfirmware

Also posted at this link are Read Me, Release Notes, and SSD Firmware Update Tool Guidelines which provide detailed firmware update instructions and other relevant information such as the most current firmware revision available.

What should I do if I have not experienced this issue?

In order to provide the best user experience, Intel always recommends users download and install the latest firmware.  As with any storage device, Intel recommends users frequently back up their data and periodically check for firmware updates.  The  Intel® SSD Toolbox provides a host of utilities to monitor your SSD, including displaying detailed information such as the currently installed firmware revision.

What should I do if I have already experienced this issue?

If you have already experienced a drive failure or encounter this problem before the firmware update was released, 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 an SSD replacement.  An alternative option is to use the Intel ® SSD Toolbox or similar tools to perform a secure erase in order to restore the SSD to an operational state;  all data will be erased.  After secure erase, update your SSD with the new firmware.  The firmware update will not recover user data.

Background:

For users unfamiliar with the issue, an Intel SSD 320 Series drive may exhibit a drive capacity of 8MB and an electronic serial # field containing a message of “BAD_CTX 0000013x” caused by an unexpected power loss under specific conditions.  Once this error occurs, no data on the SSD can be accessed and the user cannot write to or read from the SSD.

rgds,

Alan

NVM Solutions Group

Update: August 13th

Status:
Intel has reproduced, identified root cause, and developed a firmware update which addresses the Bad Context 13x Error being discussed on the Communities site and elsewhere.

Response plan:
The new firmware update is in final validation testing and is targeted for release on Intel® Communities within the next two weeks.  Intel takes firmware updates and issues of reliability very seriously and is taking extra steps to support a smooth release.  We appreciate your patience.

What should I do if I have not experienced this issue?
To minimize occurrence, if a system requires a shut down, Intel recommends using that system’s standard power shut down sequence.  As with any storage device, Intel recommends users frequently back up their data.  Download and install the new firmware when it is available.  As with our previous firmware updates, a secure erase is not required.

What should I do if I have experienced this issue?
If you have already experienced a drive failure or encounter this problem before the firmware update is released, 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 an SSD replacement.  An alternative option is to use the Intel ® SSD Toolbox or similar tools to perform a secure erase in order to restore the SSD to an operational state;  all data will be erased.  After secure erase, update your SSD with the upcoming firmware.  The pending firmware update will not recover user data.

Background:
For users unfamiliar with the issue, an Intel SSD 320 Series drive may exhibit a drive capacity of 8MB and an electronic serial # field containing a message of “BAD_CTX 0000013x” due to an unexpected power loss under specific conditions.  Once this error occurs, no data on the SSD can be accessed and the user cannot write to or read from the SSD.

Rgds,

Scott
Intel Corporation

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.

Rgds,

Alan

Intel’s NVM Solutions Group


Intel community discussion forum popular threads:


Intel community discussion forum ‘Intel 320 SSD’ threads:


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