I am really sorry to know about your issue.
The software you are writing about is the Intel® SSD Toolbox; while it is not necessary to be installed for a normal operation of the drive it can be used to run diagnostic tests and to check S.M.A.R.T. readings, among other features. The only thing to consider when using this software is that it will only recognize the drive when connected to a SATA port.
In this case you may try updating your system BIOS, test the Intel® SSD in a different SATA port/controller or even running a secure erase (low level format); a data backup may be needed before this last step.
You can use Diskpart if you decide to go for a low level format. To use this tool, you can either open up a command prompt window within Windows, or boot from the Windows* installer CD, allow it to load the files, and get to the part where it allows you to choose the drives and partitions after the license agreement; at this part press Shift-F10 this will load a DOS environment.
Type the following and hit enter after every line:
- Diskpart (it will display information in regards to the tool)
- list disk (it will show a list of your available disks with a number next to)
- select disk # (replace the “#” with the number representing the drive you wish to clean)
- clean all (after this it will stay at a blinking cursor during about 15 minutes for a 80GB drive)
well, i fixed the problem, sort of.....
i am guessing that during my maintenance the drive was corrupted somehow (virus scan, defrag of hdd?, ccleaner, etc). my number one suspect is that i may have enabled the boot registry to be defragged, and it was this that was interfering with the boot process. i reformatted the drive and reloaded a back up image....now it is working... total time to fix, about 6 hours! i will be very careful next time
ssdtools indicates that the drive is healthy.