The best way to erase the drive is to perform a secure erase using the Intel® SSD Toolbox.
In some case, the recent versions of Windows* do not allow a secure erase. In this case you might want to take a look at this link: Running a Low-Level Format on Intel® Solid State Drives where you can find additional options.
*Remember to always back up information you deem important in order to avoid data loss.
Yes, the best way to erase an Intel SSD is to use Secure Erase via the SSD Toolbox, but it is a pain because Security Freeze Lock often prevents Secure Erase from running. Perhaps it's just that my 530 SSDs are old, but I stopped trying to use Secure Erase with them after detaching and attaching the connections many times with no success. Secure Erase works okay with 730 SSDs.
The last link Intel Support gave needs a comment. Those low level utilities -- I use DBAN -- will indeed erase every last bit, but they will also add the capacity of the drive to the Host Writes, using up significant SSD life.
Keep in mind that one trick that works on all brands of SSDs is to delete all partitions on the drive and then let it sit powered-on in an external dock for at least one day. My rule of thumb is to allow 24 hours for every 120GB, but that's probably more time than necessary. And what I mean by "powered-on" is that the drive sits in an external dock which has power applied to it (the blue light is on), but the USB cable is not connected to anything. One advantage of this technique is that the MBR will also be deleted, allowing the drive to easily be switched between Windows and Linux.
I did download the Intel SSD Pro Toolbox; I tried running it with the SSD drive out and as an external drive.
I loaded it on a WinXP pro machine and a Windows 10 machine and neither machine would recognize the SSD Drive as being there, so I couldn't run the Secure Erase function.
I did finally just re-run / re-load Windows 7 pro and when it came to the Partitioning prompt, I deleted the partitions and continued with the loading of windows.
Now I will probably be doing this again since the Windows key I had won't work, so I'm waiting on a 'restore' disc from the manufacturer with an embedded key.
It doesn't solve my problem of erasing the SSD drive though.
While I'm waiting I may try 'paramountain's' suggestion of deleting the partitions and then letting it sit powered up.
Thanks for the replies and suggestions, I'll let you know what happens.
Secure Erase will only work if the SSD is connected via SATA (maybe also via eSATA, I've never tried that). It will not work via USB.
Paramountain has a point. This procedure works better when the SSD is connected via SATA.
If the drive is connected via USB it may or may not work, however, you must bear in mind that on Windows*7 and later versions the ATA security commands are blocked by the OS. Please be advised it may cause a security freeze lock that prevent a secure erase from running.
Please check this advisory as it may contain information that is right up your alley regarding this procedure: Running a Low-Level Format on the Intel® Solid State Drives
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Sorry, it got real busy here.
I didn't get the chance to install it in another machine as a second drive to be able to erase the drive.
I did however order the correct restore discs from the OEM and just did a restore from the discs. However that erased the ssd drive I don't know but I now have an operational Pc with the correct OS installed.
Thank you all for your comments and reassurance as to why the "external USB setup" wasn't working.
Thank you very much for taking a little bit of your precious time and letting us know that all is working according to your expectation. Should you observe anything different from what is expected, please don't hesitate to contact us. We will be more than glad to assist you.