ASUS UX32A not detecting SSD

Is your ASUS UX32A or UX32VD not detecting the iSSD?

You’re not alone. Read on…

Yesterday the iSSD on my Zenbook died. It wouldn’t be recognised by the BIOS, within Ubuntu, live boot of gparted or even get in to Windows. The POST would just hang for a good 10-15 minutes before it reached GRUB, and even then it wouldn’t go into Windows as the UX32A makes use of ExpressCache and Intel Rapid Storage Technology with the iSSD, so it couldn’t access the boot files. Turns out I’m not the only one with this issue.

Solution

Check out how jaminbird hacked away at his to remove the iSSD. By removing the iSSD, it prevented the BIOS from even attempting to read it. Resulting in the bypass of the prolonged 10-15 minute wait at POST, and skipping straight to the bootloader on the HDD (you will have to install Windows again on the HDD without Intel Rapid Storage Technology).

I was able to successfully remove the iSSD from the motherboard. First a little back story. My iSSD went out about 6 months ago (a few days after my 1 year warranty expired). Tried everything I could find online, fdisk, gparted, ect, however, my window’s system would still hang and boot times were horrible. Tried to re-install windows off a usb and couldn’t even get to the installation dialogue as it would hang. I was able to run Ubuntu without any issues as it seems to ignore the corrupted iSSD properly. However, I recently bought a new laptop and want to sell my UX32VD. 

So today I opened up the back to see if I could physically remove this stupid thing. I used ifixit’s teardown to locate it, turns out I didn’t even have to take out the battery. Then I used a soldering iron to heat up the back side of the iSSD chip and gently pried it up with a chisel. It came loose pretty easily. I flipped the laptop over over, held my breath, and hit the power button. Booted right up and the evil ScanDisk SSD i100 was nowhere to be seen in the BIOS. 

Here’s a few pictures of the before and after. Obviously don’t try this unless you’re ok with the possibility of completely ruining your machine.

If you have the time, I highly recommend you to read the entire forum post on the issue. It dates back to 2012 where people were having these issues with the older UX32VD model, but yet they’re still occurring now with the ‘newly updated’ UX32A – disgusting. I am a fan of ASUS’s products but I think I’m seeing a different kind of light now.

Not that you’d care about my laptop, you only want to fix yours, right? But I’ve submitted an insurance claim that I still have on it, hopefully they’ll sort me out a new one. I requested not the same model (and brand!) but I doubt that will happen. It seems the iSSD lasts ~12 months so by then I’ll be on a salary and get myself a Mac. 😛

25 Comments:

  1. My fix works without soldering/removing the iSSD:

    Hi all,
    I had the same problem and managed to fix it without removing the iSSD from the motherboard. Here’s how it panned out:
    I began having issues with slow windows start, and could see that the iSSD wasn’t detected in the BIOS. I tried disabling the SATA port that the iSSD was on to no avail. So I returned it to the store I got it in. It was out of warranty but they agreed to fix it if it was a manufacturing issue. So they returned it to me a week later and I noticed that they replaced my main SSD drive and not the iSSD. I could see the iSSD was still on the motherboard. But the problem was solved.
    So I reinstalled windows with a clean install and noticed the problem was back. So I knew it was software/OS related. I remembered installing Intel rapid storage driver. So I went to remove that. But it wasn’t in my programs list. I googled it a bit and found it had to be removed from device manager in safe mode. So I uninstalled in safe mode and windows installed its own driver. Instead of being listed under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers as an intel controller, it was listed as Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA controller and also ATA Channel 0 and ATA Channel 1. From the BIOS I could see that my main SSD drive was on port 0, so I disabled ATA Channel 1. Rebooted and it was back to normal, lightning fast startup.
    BINGO!

    • Hey JK,

      Thanks for sharing your experience on how you resolved it. It’s great that you shared this, because it means people can fix their Asus UX32A’s that use the iSSD without taking apart the laptop and doing daunting work. It seems you found a software solution as opposed to the hardware solution.

      It’s awesome to hear the retailer repaired the machine though, who did you take it back to?

  2. Hi Adam,
    It was Currys. And to top it off, they upgraded the screen from 1366 x 768 to 1080 x 1920!
    Must have damaged the original screen during the repair.

  3. I have a Samsung np530u4c ultrabook with the same problem and this technique worked on it too, many thanks!

    • Hello Akin,

      Great stuff. Glad it helped you!

    • Hello Akin!
      I also have a Samsung NP530U4C, and I also encountered the SSD problem. But I don’t know how to disconnect the SSD. 🙁
      How did you do that ? Can it be easily removed ?

      • Hello Alteo,

        I just did what was told in the post, pried the iSSD chip off the motherboard. It’s a fairly easy but also a risky process, you could easily damage the nearby chips during the process. You should be patient and careful with your hands. Fortunately, I was careful enough and my laptop was back on its feet again 🙂
        I believe you can pull this off, just follow the instructions especially in jaminbird’s original post which is referenced in this post.

    • Hi Akin, i’m suffering the same issue nowdays with np530u4c. Searching on the internet I’m finding np540 service manual only, so i dont know how to locate the issd on our motherboard. Do you have some pictures of the issd removal on samsung np530u4c? or at least a picture which shows where the issd module is? thank you.

      • Hi ShuDRG,

        I don’t have a picture of it, but you can easily spot it by looking at the back of the motherboard. It’s a relatively large chip with “Sandisk iSSD” written on it.

  4. Thanks a lot man!!

  5. Failed iSSD here, has been causing me no end of problems with slow boot & resume. I may pluck up courage to physically remove it, but for now I will reinstall 7 on a nice shiny new 500GB crucial bx100 SSD 😀 (and try the software solution)

  6. Hi all

    I have a U32A laptop and I am experiencing a very slow boot time and the laptop is just not usable. I also experience that iSSD not being in the BIOS and then it appears. So I took the laptop back cover off and check the HDD first and I notice that the HDD is deffective. So I installed a new HDD but the slow boot time is still there. Even just getting in the BIOS takes about 30 seconds after hitting the power button. 🙁

    I have BIOS version 216 and I cannot disable SATA port for the iSSD is just not there. I want to by-pass the iSSD and see if the laptop is responsive again before going and buying a new SSD. I really think the iSSD is an issue as well here but I cannot figure out a way to disable it in the BIOS. Is there a special key that I have to hit to get more options in the BIOS? Right now I am just hitting the F2 key. Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Luc,

      I hate to be that guy who says this, but read the post.

      You can try changing the BIOS boot order but if the iSSD only appears intermittently then this might not be your solution because the BIOS may keep trying to look for a bootable device or files in the first storage channel – which by default is the channel the iSSD resides on. You may have to consider removing it from the motherboard as detailed in my post.

      Best of luck!

  7. I pried the chip out of my UX32V (before reading the comments for the EASIER WAY).

    Anyway… Problem solved!!! Thank you!!

  8. The “software method” described above won’t work on UX32 : it’s a BIOS issue, non related to Windows. The only to solve this issue is to remove/turn down the iSSD from the motherboard, or maybe to use a custom BIOS to turn down it’s SATA port.

  9. I fixed mine just by simply disabling the iSSD in BIOS.

  10. Instead of ripping of the faulty ISSD, you can simply remove a small amount of solder next to the iSSD.

    I just did this with very limited risk of breaking it (like forcefully removing the issd).

    http://i.imgur.com/qrZ2Xde.jpg its depicted here (not my picture).

    Make sure the connection is broken between the 2 lines.

  11. This has worked flawlessly in a Fujitsu Siemens Ultrabook U572. I’ve removed the iSSD very carefully using a heat gun.
    Many, many thanks!

  12. Work like magic!

    Had exactly the same problems like every ux32vd users. I even had already brought to ASUS official service in my Country. Their technician blame the motherboard. Since its already discontinued, they gave up.

    Try to fix myself since got this laptop from my boss. So i have nothing to lose. In my case, The iSSD appear in BIOS if i set the sata in ahci. But when i set to Ide, it dissapeared. Already Installed Windows in main harddrive, but still it tooks around 5 minutes to boot Windows 7. (more than 5 minutes,sometimes hang in Windows 8). I found that Although i dont use the sandisk,only enable it in BIOS, i couldnt even enter Windows. Blue screen and then it loop again.

    And then found this thread, and going to detach like adam n jamminbird. But i try JK tips first. Voila! Not even a minute. Didnt have to disable it via Safemode anyway. Just disable 2 item called the channel 1 in device manager.

    Thanks a looot guys!!

  13. just desolder the jumper like shown in the video. i did that. it is really easy an no hassle at all. Much better then getting the hole chip out.

  14. Thanks Adam!
    It solved my slow boot problem and it was quite satisfying using a crude tool like a chisel on the motherboard and get away with it. I skipped the heating and just used the chisel on the cold chip.

    • Thanks a lot! I used a flat mini screwdriver and a hammer.
      for three years I’ve been struggling with that slow boot, and now it works like a charm!
      In BIOS the issd appeared, but I could not select it to disable.

      BR!

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