Resetting Solid State Drives (SSDs) to factory default settings is a popular method of alleviating problems related to slow system responsiveness issues such as stuttering or slowdowns. This process is most relevant to older model SSDs, and may not offer any benefits on the more recent crop of SSDs based on the latest controllers. The heart of the idea is not for the software used to do anything to the drive storage directly, but to access the built in reset functions of the controller firmware itself. This is the reason why you shouldn’t just use any old erasing software, such as “Eraser” or similar solutions to try to reclaim performance. I won’t go into the theory of the process; that can be referenced elsewhere. This article simply details the process. For the sake of completeness in getting a fresh start, I like to reset my SSDs whenever I reinstall an OS. Some of you may feel the same, in which case, read on!
There seem to be two popular ways to wipe/reset a SSD to factory default settings. The DOS technique uses HDDErase and the Linux technique uses hdparm. I have personally reset my SSDs using HDDErase.
- HDDErase 3.3 (for Intel G1 drives/can be used for all drives) Download it HERE.
Today, we will take a look at the DOS technique.
This version of HDDErase is the most finicky software I have used. It took me about a day of research to figure out why the damn thing would not work. Hopefully my adventure in chewing my fingers to bloody stumps will save you some time.
- Make a DOS boot disk (floppy, USB or CD). The procedure varies slightly depending on the OS. In Win7 64, an option to make a startup disk is available when you format a floppy. After you do this, transfer HDDErase onto the bootable floppy.
- Power off the computer and turn off the power switch.
- Disconnect all SATA devices except for the HDDs you wish to wipe – this helps ensure you do not wipe anything you do not intend to. You may be able to wipe only two drives at a time. Connect the drives you wish to wipe to the SATA1 and SATA2 ports on the default Intel controller or primary controller on AMD boards. HDDErase will not see your drives otherwise!
- With the power off, unplug your SSD power cable while keeping the SATA cables connected. This step prevents the BIOS from imposing a security-lock on your drive (read up elsewhere for the theory).
- Power ON the computer, access the BIOS and under “Storage configuration”, make sure SATA drives are configured in IDE Compatible mode. This is the only way to get HDDErase 3.3 to work. Other options will cause the software to hang.
- Set FDD or USB as your first boot device and reboot. Wait for A:> to appear.
- Now connect the SSD Power cables (has to be done only after A:> appears!).
- At the DOS prompt, type in HDDErase (case insensitive). You should see a bunch of text, hit “Y”, then “N”, and get to the main screen.
- At this point, your drives will be recognized on the screen (P0: Drive#1, S0:###, etc.).
- Now you will be asked to make a selection on what drive you wish to wipe. Type in S0, P0, etc…
- You will see some text and warnings, confirm all prompts.
- Now you will be presented with a choice of “Press 1 for secure erase or press 2 for enhanced secure erase” (On an OCZ Vertex, you will be presented with Option 2 only). Choose either option. I used option 2 with no problems on my X25-M (G1)’s and on my OCZ Vertex. This will take less than 2 minutes to complete. There are no progress indicators, you just have to wait.
- Once successfully completed, skip reading the log file and exit the program
- Type in HDDErase again to erase your second drive. You do not have to reboot yet.
- Once done with all drives, Reboot!
You can hot-swap as many drives as you want to get this to work. The point is to ensure that the BIOS does not “lock” the drives.
If you have any questions, please stop by our storage section for assistance, or post in the comments below! Registration required to control spam and enforce discussion quality.