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anotherengineer
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SSD format or secure erase

Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:22 pm

Hi gerbils.

I have a 256gb ssd in my desktop, been there about 10 months now and I have been thinking of doing a fresh instal, either of win7 or 8, early in the new year.

With a reg hdd, just back it up and let windows format it.

However I am new to the SSD world, I have read places that you have to perform a 'secure erase' first before doing a fresh windows install.

Is this required and how do you do it?

Thanks
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Ryu Connor
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Re: SSD format or secure erase

Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:42 pm

Secure erase isn't necessary.
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NoahC
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Re: SSD format or secure erase

Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:16 pm

Windows 7 and 8 understand SSDs well enough to issue the necessary TRIM commands, so you don't need to worry about it. TRIM lets your SSD controller handle wear leveling and sectors with garbage/stale data.

A secure erase operation is effectively like TRIM for the whole SSD, but a little more comprehensive. It can be worth doing, but whatever you do, avoid performing any operations on your SSD with software that might be intended only for mechanical hard drives.

I like using Parted Magic. It's a specialized Linux distro for working with all kinds of drives. http://partedmagic.com/

A point about terminology: the term "secure erase" can depend on your context. On software that is SSD-aware "secure erase" = TRIM the whole drive, more or less. But there are also "secure erase / wipe" tools intended only for mechanical hard drives. Never use these on your SSD :o
 
DancinJack
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Re: SSD format or secure erase

Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:52 pm

Not necessary, but if you're going to set up a fresh install why not do it anyway?

The only caveat is that you can't be booted into the drive you're doing the SE on.
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vandy
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Re: SSD format or secure erase

Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:43 am

NoahC wrote:
Windows 7 and 8 understand SSDs well enough to issue the necessary TRIM commands, so you don't need to worry about it. TRIM lets your SSD controller handle wear leveling and sectors with garbage/stale data.

A secure erase operation is effectively like TRIM for the whole SSD, but a little more comprehensive. It can be worth doing, but whatever you do, avoid performing any operations on your SSD with software that might be intended only for mechanical hard drives.

I like using Parted Magic. It's a specialized Linux distro for working with all kinds of drives. http://partedmagic.com/

A point about terminology: the term "secure erase" can depend on your context. On software that is SSD-aware "secure erase" = TRIM the whole drive, more or less. But there are also "secure erase / wipe" tools intended only for mechanical hard drives. Never use these on your SSD :o



+1 for Parted Magic. I always do a "secure erase" on my SSD whenever I need to do a full clean re-install of windows on a box.

As for "secure erase", make sure to use the SSD Drives "built-in secure erase option". When a "secure erase" ATA command is sent to aSSD, a charge pump sends an electrical charge to the NAND chips and basically resets the chips (effectively wiping the data) and returns your SSD to "factory state" and restore performance.
Make sure NOT TO USE EXTERNAL wiping methods as this will only write random data to your drive (not good for SSDs, but good for wiping data on HDDs).

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