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Erasing a SSD vs. a normal HDD

Discussion in 'Storage' started by VulkanBros, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. VulkanBros

    VulkanBros

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    Maybe a silly question....
    At my office we have two ways to "destroy" a harddrive:
    1. Using the tool called "Secure Erase"
    We use that if the harddrive is to be re-used.
    2. Using a tool called "Hammer the drive flat"
    We use that if - take a guess :)

    Now here comes the question: How to properly erase a SSD drive, that
    is to be re-used, and to be sure that no old data can be read??
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  2. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    A simple long format which writes zeros to every sector would suffice.

    There's no inbetween, bubbling under states like you get with a magnetic platter.
     
  3. VulkanBros

    VulkanBros

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    That´s what Secure Erase is doing - but it dose`nt work with SSD´s - why I have´nt found out yet - flash chips vs platter/magnetic maybe....
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  4. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Just select the "Full format" option in the standard Windows disc properties dialog box. That writes zeros to every sector. The solution is so simple, it hurts.
     
  5. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Never with a SSD. Quick format only, check various SSD manufacturers support pages to verify this. Or, use a Windows install disk to format it.
     
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  6. VulkanBros

    VulkanBros

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  7. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    So what happens to it if you do?
     
  8. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't know really. Don't want to find out, lol! I just know that the manufacturers say it's bad, I believe them and don't want to risk it. I've been running on the same install on my SSD for about 6 months now. Not a single problem or any kind of performance degridation. All I do is log off once a week so TRIM can do its garbage collection. :toast:
     
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  9. gvblake22

    gvblake22

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    I use dban, worked like a charm on my 80GB Intel X25-M gen 2. You can specify how many times to write over the space and with what types of patterns.
     
  10. MxPhenom 216

    MxPhenom 216 Corsair Fanboy

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    you have to log off so that TRIM can do its thing??
     
  11. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Or just let it sit and idle. I just log off for the heck of it, and I know it will work.
     
  12. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Yeah, I've kinda got the gist of that from what I read around the internet, but it's really hard to believe and I suspect it's an urban myth. I mean, what kinda memory chip can't be read or written to? :eek: This is only one pass, too. The only thing I can think of, is that flash has a limited write lifetime* so you don't wanna be writing to the same locations over and over, like you would with a HD. However, all the SSDs have randomizing algorithms on them to reduce the wear out effect from what I understand.

    If and when I get round to buying on of these things, then of course I will bother checking what the manufacturer has to say about it.

    *A while back, I set up an old PC as an IPCop firewall installed it on a 4GB CompactFlash SSD to prove the wear-out exists - and it does. I found the Linux OS it's based on to be crashed with some kernel error. A reboot and a file system rebuild later and all was well again. Then the same thing happened again a few days later. It started happening more and more frequently until eventually, IPCop needed a complete reinstall from the CD.

    That fixed it just once. It then very quickly failed again and nothing made it work properly again. That card is knackered now. Interesting and freaky to see one die first hand like this. Oh and it caused terrible inconvenience every time it failed, as it took out my internet access with it. :laugh:

    That firewall now runs happily ever after with an ancient 20GB HD that's had years of use and abuse behind it. :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  13. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Why would the manufacturers of the drives start an urban myth on not doing a full format? It makes no sense, and they know their hardware better than anyone I would think. No matter the hardware, when a manufacturer says "don't do this", I just don't do it.
     
  14. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    I guess if it's in the documentation, then I guess no, it's not an urban myth, lol. I'm damned curious why this should be so, now. I'll have to look into it.
     
  15. Praetorian

    Praetorian New Member

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    An article a while on this site proved that even if you fully format or erase the SSD you ca still recover between 40 and 90% of data, hahaha!
     
  16. yogurt_21

    yogurt_21

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    my guess is it has less to do with damage and more to do with some necessary firmware on the ssd that could be erased in a standard full format. This essentially would brick your ssd and cause you to ahve to rma it.

    that would warrant a documentation notification.
     
  17. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    No, that makes no sense.

    The firmware, by definition, is stored in a ROM chip in the device. You can format all day long and not erase it. You would have to flash it instead, which is a totally different process and is done on motherboards whenever there's a BIOS update.
     
  18. ChewyBrownSuga

    ChewyBrownSuga

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    qubit says thanks.
  19. yogurt_21

    yogurt_21

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    on a traditional hard drive sure, completley seperate. On a ssd...it's slightly more complex than that.
     
  20. VulkanBros

    VulkanBros

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    A little notice: I have found a highly effective way to erase a SSD - it´s a bit costly (you need two of the same SSD drives) and a bit laborious.......

    Set up the two SSD´s in a RAID 0 and let the RAID controller format it......when formatting is done, and you pull the SSD´s out of the RAID and use them as singles again......

    I have´nt found an application that can get the data back ......

    But what is different in a RAID format vs. a normal format???

    Well - I have solved my problem - costly - in time and money - but it works :)
     
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  21. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    That would be just weird. :confused:
     
  22. infocus

    infocus New Member

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    If your using Win7 ,it is designed to properly delete and format an SSD....
     

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