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Guide to wiping an SSD [Reset to factory defaults]

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Super Nade

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Aug 30, 2004
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Santa Barbara, CA
This seems to be a common question so I am going to put this up as a sticky.

The idea is not for the software to do anything to the drive, but to access the built in reset functions of the controller itself. This is the reason why you can't use any old erasing software such as "Eraser" etc. I won't go into the theory of the process, you can look that up.

There seem to be two popular ways to wipe/reset an SSD to factory default settings.The DOS technique uses HDDErase and the Linux technique uses hdparm. Let us look at both. I have personally reset my SSDs using HDDErase.


Tools:

  1. HDDErase3.3 (for Intel G1 drives/can be used for all drives)-->Attached to this post.
  2. Any Linux live CD (hdparm method)

DOS Technique:

Guaranteed to work on the following drives (I have tested these):

  • Intel X25M G1
  • OCZ Vertex


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. Anyway, I hope my adventure in chewing my fingers to bloody stumps will save you some time.

  1. 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 HDD erase onto the boot floppy.
  2. Power off the computer and turn off the power switch.
  3. Disconnect all SATA devices except the HDDs you wish to wipe. You may be able to wipe only two drives at a time. Connect the drives you wish to wipe to SATA1 and SATA2 ports on the default Intel controller or primary controller on AMD boards. *Warning* HDDErase will not see your drives otherwise!
  4. With the power off, unplug your SSD power cable whilst keeping the SATA cables connected. This step prevents the BIOS from imposing a security-lock on your drive (read up elsewhere for the theory).
  5. Power ON the computer, get to the BIOS and under "Storage configuration", make sure SATA drives are configured in IDE Compatible mode. This is the only way to get HDDErase3.3 to work. Other options will cause this junk software to hang.
  6. Set FDD or USB as your first boot device and reboot. Wait for A:> to appear.
  7. Now connect the SSD Power cables (has to be done only after A:> appears!).
  8. At the DOS prompt, type in HDDErase (case insensitive). You should see a bunch of text, hit Y,N and get to the main screen.
  9. At this point your drives will show up on the screen as (P0: Drive#1, S0:###, etc).
  10. Now you will be asked to make a selection on what drive you wish to wipe. Type in S0,P0 etc...
  11. You will see some text and warnings, get by them.
  12. 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. This will take less than 2 minutes to complete. There are no progress indicators, you just have to wait.
  13. Once successfully completed, skip reading the log file and exit the program.
  14. Type in HDDErase again to erase your second drive. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REBOOT yet.
  15. Once done with all drives, Reboot.
I think you can hot-swap as many drives as you want to get this to work. I have not tried it though.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Readme File-->http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/HDDEraseReadMe.txt


Updated: 1-17-2012

Parted Magic Technique: <Easiest and most painless!>

Warning!
Not for Crucial M4 Drives (Click for Woomack's experience)

Guaranteed to work on the following drives (I have tested these):

  • Intel X25M G1
  • OCZ Vertex

  1. Download the latest version of PartedMagic from HERE
  2. A pendrive installation is the most painless way to go. Download UNetbootin or UniversalUSBInsaller.
  3. Create your bootable pendrive/USB key.
  4. Shutdown your computer and unplug all drives except your target drive.
  5. Reboot, get to the BIOS and make the USB key your primary boot device.
  6. Reboot and enter PartedMagic.
  7. Start Menu-->System Tools--> Erase Disk
  8. Select Internal: Secure Erase and hit Continue.
  9. Your drive may be locked, but PartedMagic gives you an option to enter sleep mode to unlock your drive. Say yes and your computer will sleep.
  10. Hit the power button to wake your computer and re-run Erase Disk. It should work now. If offered an option to Secure Erase, accept it.Takes about 2min to complete. All done!
 

Attachments

  • HDDErase_3.3.zip
    84.1 KB · Views: 7,985
Last edited:
OP
Super Nade

Super Nade

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Last edited:

ratbuddy

Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2007
Er, yeah, a gparted live cd/usb/whatever is the easy way to go :beer:

edit: I should have mentioned, some older SSDs don't have controller support for the SATA secure erase command, so the methods listed here won't work.
 
Last edited:

ratbuddy

Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2007
I believe it's just early Jmicron such as the OCZ Core/Solid/Apex series, Patriot Warp series, G.skill Titan, Kingston SSDNow V series, Supertalent Masterdrives, and so on. Not entirely sure on the Samsung stuff.

Also not sure if it's actually a limitation of the JMF602/602b controllers, or if the SSD makers were just cheaping out. I believe it's the former.
 

RJARRRPCGP

Member
Joined
May 30, 2004
Yes! The hdparm method appears to have went fine! :bday:

That was after I went ahead with the SATA hotplug trick.

That was just about 1 hour ago, after giving up on HDDErase 3.3, because it kept freezing!
(all I could do was ctrl-alt-delete!)
 
OP
Super Nade

Super Nade

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Good to know! Did you use a live USB/CD? Did you plug your drives into the primary 1/2 ports? It won't work otherwise. Also note that if hdparm says your drives are locked, you have to use the hotplug method. You may be able to get away with using non-primary ports but I have not tested this myself.
 
Last edited:

RJARRRPCGP

Member
Joined
May 30, 2004
Good to know! Did you use a live USB/CD? Did you plug your drives into the primary 1/2 ports? It won't work otherwise. Also note that if hdparm says your drives are locked, you have to use the hotplug method. You may be able to get away with using non-primary ports but I have not tested this myself.

My Asus A7N8X-X and Maxtor DiamondMax 60 GB 6Y060P0 HDD (HDD was made in 2005 and purchased on June 2, 2005)
(yes, it was before Seagate bought Maxtor!) had ZERO problems with HDD Erase.


Yes, I think hdparm did report it being frozen!

I think it DID look like this BEFORE: (frozen without the "not")

frozen



And after rebooting and starting the Asus P5QL Pro with the SATA cable unplugged from the SSD then plugged it in after hearing the BIOS bleep of the AMI BIOS. and then it DID say:

not frozen
 

jevery

Registered
Joined
Jul 3, 2010
Location
Oklahoma
Well, 6 hours and 6 CD DOS boot disks later I was finally successful in resetting my X25-M. I was completely unable to do it with my X58 board and a CD boot disk. I was able to get to the point where HDDErase identified my drive and prompted for P0, P1, S0, S1, but when I entered the selection the program hung there for some inexplicable reason. I finally moved to my X48 backup rig and rigged up a temporary floppy drive to complete the task. Why do things like this more often than not take hours and hours? :bang head

On a side note, I flashed a firmware update on my new Crucial C300 128GB and had it up and going within 20 minutes. :cool:
 
OP
Super Nade

Super Nade

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Santa Barbara, CA
It is critical that you connect the drives to the Primary controller ports i.e SATA1, SATA2. Other ports will not work. Honestly, this HDD Erase stuff is utter crap, but it seems like we are stuck with it.
 

kzinti1

New Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Location
Surf City,NC
Is there a reason a simple format wont work?

Ive never owned a SSD


I'd like an answer to this as well!
Why does every forum I go to say to treat an SSD just like any common HDD and then list about a gogol of things not to do while using an SSD?
It's been quite a while since the OP was created so is there any new and simple technique to wipe an SSD so it can be sold without leaving any info on it?
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
I was using Parted Magic Live CD for anything that I needed to erase but all my SSD were on sandforce except some 1st gen PQI on JMicron but I never wiped them ( no problem as I'm using 32GB as pocket drive now because of usb ;) ). Shouldn't be any problem to run it on other ssd.
I just noticed that OCZ soft isn't working every time. It's like sometimes it's working and sometimes I get info that secure erase failed so I stick to parted magic that never failed so far.
 

stunt

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2006
Location
N.E. Illinois
I just used a clone to secure erase my x25m. Intel will not allow a boot drive to secure erase. So I cloned the ssd, rebooted from the clone, unplugged and replugged the ssd and Intel toolbox secured erased without issue.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
You have to be careful with this thread... HDDErase is only good for a few drives. For example, I dont think HDDErase is good for Sandforce based drives, you need to SE it...
 

kzinti1

New Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Location
Surf City,NC
You have to be careful with this thread... HDDErase is only good for a few drives. For example, I dont think HDDErase is good for Sandforce based drives, you need to SE it...

I wanted to wipe these various brands of ssd's to sell but I guess it would be better to just keep them than chance ruining them.
Thanks for the warning!