Dell Optiplex 960 - Crucial SSD - No boot device available

Anyone run into similar issues like me with more than one machine.  I frequently buy Dell Optiplex 960's on eBay and stick a Crucial SSD drive in it to run Windows 7 x64.  It seems that this past year, I've been encountering some problems with this combination.  Either when the machine is first turned on it'll say "No boot device available" or it'll Blue Screen on the user while they're working and it'll just crash and then on reboot say "No boot device available" as if the drive disconnected itself while everything was running.

The fix is to reboot a few times and eventually it works again.  Sometime is runs for months with no crashes, but lately one machine has been crashing twice a day.

I can get you more specific information like BIOS Firmware version of the Dell and specific info about the Crucial drives I use.  For now I'm hoping someone has had a similar experience and has a fix for it.

Erika KoelleAsked:
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Make sure your SATA Mode in the BIOS is set to "AHCI" and not the default "RAID ON"
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Also, make sure you are running the latest BIOS version.
Erika KoelleAuthor Commented:
Pretty sure Dell BIOS was updated as soon as I got the computer.  I tried AHCI but it still kept giving the error about "No boot device available"

I read something about legacy mode, but I'd have to check if that's even an option in the BIOS.  I also read that sometimes there are issues when there's a 2nd drive in the machine that's not SSD.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Latest BIOS is A18, No UEFI (Legacy Mode isn't an issue), you could try using the RST drivers direct from Intel rather than the Dell version but the other possibility is occasionally you're going to end up buying one that has developed an intermittent fault.  960's are very nearly reaching their 10th birthday now.
No boot device, either you erred and not connected, powered the SSD or the Sata cable is not good, connected....

Check Sata ports ......
Identifying the failed, not working component.....
i would test with another brand, like Kingston, or Samsung, -Intel
i never had that kind of issue with those
Erika KoelleAuthor Commented:
Old fashioned root cause for this problem.  The SATA data cable connector on the drive was bent and almost falling off.  This would explain why the workstation kept crashing.  Loose / bad connection.  We couldn't fix it and the drive problem wasn't covered under Crucial warranty (as expected).  So since we had nothing to lose, we opened up the case the SSD drive was in to see if there might be a serviceable user part that could be replaced.  No way!!  We got lucky.  The SATA connector wasn't in too bad shape yet, so we plugged it in to a USB adapter and were able to recover the data we needed.  Including the newly updated Quickbooks data file that was open and hadn't been backed up when the crashes kept on happening like crazy.  Ordered another drive on Amazon and hope to have this machine back in use right away.  I'm the one that personally put this drive in the computer, so I guess I'm the one that accidentally almost broke off the SATA connector and didn't notice it.  The end user's not one to open computers up.

Help from this forum was greatly appreciated.

Attached is a picture of the open drive.  Not much in there.  The other side has two chips about the same size as the bigger chip you see in the photo.  It's been a long time since I've gotten to rip a hard disk apart.  I have to confess that the traditional hard drives with shiny metal platters are way cooler to look it.

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glad to hear you found the problem
up to now - i saw not one mention on how to repair an SSD drive
Erika KoelleAuthor Commented:
For the sake of educating the public, I'm going to post some pictures of the open SSD.
Erika KoelleAuthor Commented:
Broken hardware
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