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Intel publishes fix for 320 Series 8MB flaw

Intel has finally released a firmware update for a bad batch of 320 Series SSDs which would occasionally decide to store just 8MB of data following an unexpected power loss.

The flaw, known officially as the 'Bad Context 13x Error' and colloquially as 'the 8MB bug,' rears its ugly head when a drive has its power unexpectedly cut - such as in the event of a power cut or a laptop's battery expiring without the host system shutting down correctly - and results in the expensive SSD reporting its size to the BIOS as a mere 8MB.

While Intel appeared to be burying its head in the sand over the issue, ignoring multiple threads on its support site asking for updates, it broke cover late last month to confirm the bug and promise a firmware update that would correct the flaw. While it claimed that a fix was already written, it asked users to be patient while the update was fully tested to ensure no future issues could arise from its installation.

The company's testing process is now complete, and the update has been released to the public. Provided as a bootable CD in ISO form, the update should be straightforward for most - but for those who have but a single system which has been rendered unusable by the flaw, Intel has promised replacement SSDs pre-loaded with the new firmware.

There are one or two issues with the update, however: SSDs configured in RAID can't be updated using the CD until the array is broken and RAID disabled; Lenovo ThinkPad T410, T510, and IdeaPad Y460 users will need to switch from AHCI to IDE storage mode in the BIOS before the update will work; and MSI K9A2 motherboard users need to ensure that their SSD is in SATA port one or two.

Aside from those caveats, the update should fix the problem - but, sadly, it won't recover any data which was on the drive prior to the flaw striking, meaning data lost as a result of the hiccough is gone for good.

The update tool can be downloaded directly from Intel, and the company recommends that all users of 320 Series SSDs install it regardless of whether they have encountered the error or not.