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lordpuffer
RIP lil
Premium
join:2004-09-19
Rio Rancho, NM
kudos:2

I need to wipe an SSD

I have a Crucial m4 SSD that I had in a laptop with the OS and all of my files on it. I took it out, would like to sell it, but need to wipe it first. Can someone tell me the easiest way to wipe an SSD? I guess I will need an enclosure. Thanks.


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23

1 recommendation

What you want is called Secure Erase -- no it's not a program, it's an ATA protocol command that resets the FTL and zeros NAND pages. After that the drive will behave/perform exactly like it did out-of-the-box when you bought it. Secure Erasing doesn't take very long, so don't be surprised if it's done in under a minute.

One free GUI-based utility which lets you issue the Secure Erase ATA CDB is called Parted Magic. Burn the ISO to a CD and boot it. Then follow this method:

* »howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-201···d-drive/
* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udxNL6sCuDQ

You will need to have the SSD hooked up to a native SATA port on your motherboard for this to work reliably. Please do not waste time with enclosures/USB-SATA bridges or other nonsense -- just do it right from the get-go.

If you have issues with the GUI and have an nVidia card, you may need to choose the Alternate graphical server item from the main menu. If that doesn't suffice (e.g. it worked for me but the text was completely unreadable), you may need to try Failsafe Menu -> KILL Nouveau.

If the download sites are too slow (most of them were for me), try getting it via their torrent, or any tracker of your choice. Filename is pmagic_2012_11_30.iso.

You may also want to use this opportunity to update the SSD firmware. Bare minimum make sure you're running something newer than this or else you may risk the person you sell the SSD to holding you responsible for issues.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


lordpuffer
RIP lil
Premium
join:2004-09-19
Rio Rancho, NM
kudos:2
Thanks very much for the above info.


Kilroy
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-21
Saint Paul, MN
reply to lordpuffer
Due to wear leveling you can't be sure that your data is gone. Granted it would most likely take more effort than a person is willing to put into it, you should know it is possible to recover data.

TrueCrypt's explaination
--
“Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” ¯ Robert A. Heinlein


Camelot One
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-21
Greenwood, IN
kudos:2
reply to lordpuffer
I use KillDisk for Windows. It takes awhile, because unlike an SSD Secure Erase, it writes 0s to every block on the drive. But that guarantees nothing is recoverable.
»killdisk.com/


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
said by Camelot One:

I use KillDisk for Windows. It takes awhile, because unlike an SSD Secure Erase, it writes 0s to every block on the drive. But that guarantees nothing is recoverable.
»killdisk.com/

This also has some dire consequences performance-wise, as the FTL map becomes completely full. The end result is that the drive's GC has to try and figure out which LBAs are no longer used. When GC kicks in, all ATA CDBs are suspended (meaning the OS/controller submits a CDB and the drive sits there blocking/waiting on it, since internally the SSD firmware GC is busy reaping pages). In some cases this can take so long that the OS, driver, or controller itself will actually report a drive timeout (I can provide evidence of this if need be). This will continue to happen until the FTL map can be cleared. AFAIK, KillDisk doesn't go back later and issue TRIM requests for the entire LBA range of the drive (0 to max), so the FTL ends up being full, resulting in abysmal performance compared to out-of-the-box.

If anyone considers using this method, I would strongly suggest doing the full LBA erase first, followed immediately by a Secure Erase (which is the only thing that clears the FTL map).

Overall I don't think the paranoia behind writing zeros to every LBA on an SSD is justified. The percentage of the population who are going to open up an SSD and de-solder each NAND flash chip and drop them onto a flash dumper board, just to get your data = probably 0.001%.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


lordpuffer
RIP lil
Premium
join:2004-09-19
Rio Rancho, NM
kudos:2
reply to lordpuffer
Thanks for all of the info everyone. With this thread as reference, I should have no problem getting the job done.