Best software to wipe/erase SSD?

donline

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Apr 20, 2016
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Hi folks,

What (free) software can you recommend for wiping/erasing and overwriting an SSD?
(I'd like it to do at least a DoD 5220.22-M Wipe)

Also, what method/software would you recommend for reformatting and repartitioning once the wipe above has been completed?

Thanks! D
 

cherry blossoms

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Apr 13, 2016
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This depends on your SSD. If you have a changeable AES encryption key, you only need to change the key and the drive information will be essentially unrecoverable. Using the built in secure erase function (again, depends on if your drive supports) will zero all cells. Using a spinning disk tool to do an overwrite in a spinning disk manner on an SSD is not recommended. Your SSD manufacturer should have tools available for these functions.

No special method of repartitioning is needed. Using your OS's built in tools should be sufficient to delete partitions / create partitions.
 

mdd1963

Distinguished
Many manufacturers have a secure erase utility unique for their SSDs....

DOD spec'd wipes really apply only to physical spinning platters, where they essentially waste time writing data to platters 3-8 times to prevent recovery based on residual cell 'memory', depending on spec. (not needed on SSD anyway)

Here's an article on Parted Magic; there are free older versions, but, it costs $9-$10 to download if you really need it.

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-securely-erase-an-ssd-drive/

If you have lots of movies on a hard drive that would fill up an SSD, fill it up w/ movies, which will overwrite all data on it. Then delete partition, quick format, done.
 

donline

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Thanks cherry blossoms

I looked up info on my SSD and it says 'ASP600S7-256GM-B'... which I believe is an ADATA product.

I don't know if it has a changeable AES encryption key? How/where would I check for this?

Also, I couldn't find a built in secure erase function... do you know where I could find that?

Thank you for your kind assistance!
 

donline

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Apr 20, 2016
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Thanks mdd1963

My SSD is 'ASP600S7-256GM-B'... which I believe is an ADATA product.

I couldn't find the manufacturer's own secure erase tool/software. Where could I find this? Otherwise, would you recommend the HDDErase tool or Parted Magic tool?

I don't have movies on my computer... what else could I use to fill up the SDD quickly and overwrite? :)

Thanks! D
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


This depends.
Why are we doing this?
 

donline

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Thanks superninja12

How do I use the Windows console to fully erase? What method does this use and is it fine with SSD?
 

donline

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Thanks USAFRet

On this occasion, I want to completely wipe the SSD because I had a virus (well, Trojan) and want to be 100% sure it cannot be re-triggered or come back somehow.

But I'm also interested in learning about this because in the future it's likely I will sell/pass on my laptop and it would be great to know how to fully sanitise/wipe the SSD for this.

Any help much appreciated!
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


If there is no specific tool from the manufacturer, then use the commandline tool in Windows...diskpart.
Here, you want the clean command.
This WILL kill everything on the drive.

http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/005929en
https://www.windowscentral.com/how-clean-and-format-storage-drive-using-diskpart-windows-10
https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/52129-disk-clean-clean-all-diskpart-command.html


Be absolutely sure which drive you are accessing when you do this.
It will send whatever is on the drive on a one way trip to nowhere.
 

donline

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Apr 20, 2016
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Great stuff, thanks USAFRet!

The diskpart command is a new one to me :) I saw there was also the command 'clean all'... what is the difference with this? As far as I could see, this would clean as well as overwrite with 1s and 0s (similar to the DoD 5220.22-M Wipe)... I'm not sure this happens with just the 'clean' command?

So if I diskpart and clean my main/OS hard drive (where I have everything)... what would happen next? I guess my computer would shut down and I would have to re-install Windows or? This is all new to me, so I'd like to get an idea of the steps involved...

Thanks again!
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


OK...you can't run diskpart and clean that drive from within the running Windows instance.
If this is your C drive, and you are committed to fully wiping it...just do that in the process of a full clean install.

Boot from your OS install media (DVD or USB).
When it asks where, select Custom.
You'll be presented with a list of ALL existing partitions
Select each, DELETE.

Proceed on.

Assuming Windows 10, this:
How to do a CLEAN installation of Windows 10
 

donline

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Apr 20, 2016
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Thank you USAFRet

That makes sense that you can't wipe the C: drive (which is the one I want to wipe) whilst running Windows :)

When you do a clean Windows install (and delete partitions), this would not necessarily over-write (wipe) the drive where previous data (i.e. viruses) existed or? For example, if Windows OS is only a few GB (8GB just to make up a figure) and the SDD is 250GB then only 8GB is being over-written and fully wiped (whereas with DoD 5220.22-M Wipe, for example, all data would be over-written with 1s and 0s). Any thoughts on this?

By the way, have you heard of something call an 'IT version of Windows 10'? Someone mentioned this to me but I've not managed to find it anywhere online...

Thanks again!
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator
During a clean install, when you delete all existing partitions...that virus is GONE.
Dead, gone, never to be seen again.

You're killing off all the partitions and partition tables.
There will be nothing left to run.
There may be bits and pieces of 1's and 0's, at most. But it is no longer a "file", that can "run".


"IT version of Windows 10"?
Unless you're speaking specifically about Win 10 Enterprise (which you can't really buy)....that does not sound like anything "valid".
And it would make no difference in this case anyway.
 

donline

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Apr 20, 2016
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Thanks USAFRet

Can I ask why do people go to the effort of wiping/erasing their drives with Secure Erase (or other software) to over-write their drives with 1s and 0s when they can just do a clean OS installation instead?

I'll see if I can find out more about the 'IT version of Windows 10' (sounds kind of strange/mysterious at this point).

Before I go ahead and do a clean installation of Windows 10, I noticed that my computer has the option to 'Reset this PC' and go back to the original factory installation (i.e. when I bought the laptop)... is there any way I can back up that original/factory installation to some form of backup media (not sure if a flash drive would be big enough) before I mess around with my computer?

Thanks. Wishing you a great weekend!
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


If I were selling the drive, I would do a Secure Erase.
Continuing for my own use with a clean OS install? Just delete the partitions as part of a clean install

The Factory Reset function should give you the opportunity to create your own USB version of that. This is very helpful in a case where the actual drive dies.
The manufacturer is required, per MS licensing, to give you something to reinstall the OS with.
It used to be, back before the earth cooled, a stack of DVD's in the box the system came with.
In the interest of saving a couple of $$, that is now a partition on the drive, and no physical media.

Your user manual should tell you how to invoke that function and create that DVD or USB.

Every prebuilt system has this. No one ever takes advantage of it.
And then bitches when the manufacturer wants to charge them $40 for something they could have made themselves for free.
 

donline

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Apr 20, 2016
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Thanks USAFRet

Sounds good with deleting the partitions and doing the clean installation.

But I am also curious about the Secure Erase... how would you do that? Would you run/boot software from a flash memory stick and run from there or?

I've used the Factory Reset once before... though I didn't see any option during that process to create a USB version (as a backup). Where else do you think I would find this option? As you said, there's a partition on the drive somewhere with this stored. From what I can see using the Windows 10 Disk Management, there are 3 partitions:

- OS (C : ) (135 GB)
- 260 MB EFI System Partition
- 499 MB Recovery Partition

Would the Factory Reset installation/backup be on the 'Recovery Partition'? Seems quite small?

Thanks again, hope you're having a nice weekend.

 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator
- OS (C : ) (135 GB)
- 260 MB EFI System Partition
- 499 MB Recovery Partition
--------------------------------------------

Right.
That is NOT the 'Factory Reset' partition. That should have been some GB in size.
And that only exists from how it came from the factory.

And there was almost certainly a function to create a USB or DVD of that.
A partition that lives on a dead drive is of no use. THat's why they offer you the opportunity to create your own.

In any case, it it isn't there, it isn't there.


For the Secure Erase, yes, you would boot from whatever it had you create, and erase.
For instance, with Samsung SSD's:
https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/support-software/Samsung-Secure-Erase-949/
https://www.disk-partition.com/ssd-management/samsung-ssd-secure-erase-4348.html
 

donline

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Apr 20, 2016
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Thank you USAFRet

Makes sense. I might contact Asus and ask them where the Recovery/Factory installation can be found and backed up. I looked in the manual just now and didn't see anything about it.

Once the Secure Erase has worked its magic, I guess you then boot and re-install Windows 10 using a USB/flash memory stick?

Have you ever done a Secure Erase on an SSD? Have you used Parted Magic before (or can suggest/recommend another program that is safe to use)? I presume doing a Secure Erase does not damage SSD in anyway (like a typical 'DBAN' would on an SSD)?