7 Replies Latest reply on Jan 9, 2013 9:54 PM by piranha

    SSD Locked During Secure Erase


      I was doing a secure erase on an intel 320 ssd. The system I had it connected to had a newer intel rst driver on it. Which I found out to be the cause afterwords. But during the secure erase the system reset the data connection to the drive causing it to be locked. The system can still see the drive just can't do anything with it. Is there anything I can do myself or pretty much SOL?


      I tried doing a secure erase with HDDerase but it asks for a password which I do not know.


      I tried parted magic with default settings and not connecting the ssd until it booted. It saw the ssd but neither the enhanced secure erase or the non enhanced secure erase changed anything they both reported as completed but the drive is still locked.


      The drive is not available to windows only to the rst program it will list the drive but intel ssd toolbox can't see it either to do anything.


      Tried the system passwords for the system the ssd was originally part of and for the system it was connected to when I tried to secure erase it from hdderase v3.3 neither worked.


      Is there a master password or anything I can try?


      Thank you for any help

        • 1. Re: SSD Locked During Secure Erase

          That may be a difficult problem for you. You may need to contact Intel Support directly for some assistance, start here:




          Why do you say it is the IRST driver that is causing the problem?


          Intel plays more by the rules about drive security than some other manufactures. That is, they follow the rules about how a drive should react when things like a secure erase (SE) are attempted on a drive. Other manufactures just allow anyone to SE a drive, as long as you have their program used to SE. Anyone can SE your SSD with the program and a few clicks. But, this can cause headaches if you don't SE an Intel SSD carefully.


          You are experiencing the Security Freeze lock that your 320 supports, as other Intel SSDs do. If you had used the SSD Toolbox first, among other things you would need to power cycle the SSD during the SE process to unlock the SSD. At this point, you may have locked the drive down even worse. You could try power cycling that SSD while the PC is running. That is, quickly remove and reconnect the power cable to the SSD while the PC is running. If you are lucky, it may unlock.


          I can't recall if a new, raw Intel SSD can be seen by the Toolbox. If not, that SSD sound like it has had its volume deleted, and is like a new, raw drive, and Windows cannot see it, yet. Did you try going into Windows Disk Management (Windows 7 I presume?) and see if you can initialize that SSD? If you can, then you can take it from there.

          • 2. Re: SSD Locked During Secure Erase

            The IRST driver that I had caused the issue of it becoming disconnected while doing a secure erase. I know this because I had a few other intel ssds that I secure erased and they would get to about 40% and then say they failed. I removed the driver from the system and put on a different one and the issue went away.


            If I locked it down even worse as you say then that is from me trying to unlock it. I did use the intel ssd toolbox first and I tried power cycling the drive while it was connected to the system still no change.


            The drive is only visible to the IRST program as I mentioned not to the toolbox program or windows itself.

            • 3. Re: SSD Locked During Secure Erase

              I'm not exactly sure what happened to your SSD, but it sure needs a SE now. I have had so much trouble with the Toolbox SE function, I can never get past the Freeze Lock, no chance. I was only able to get one G2 SSD to SE. I was wondering about third party SE programs, and the Freeze Lock thing on Intel SSDs, so I never tried it. How did I know it would not work well.


              I would not wait for more help here, contact support right away, you may even end up RMA'ing your SSD.

              • 4. Re: SSD Locked During Secure Erase

                I recently hit the same problem, with a slowy dying Intel 320, which was RMAed. Before sending it back I needed it to be Secure Erased but the Intel SSD Toolbox 3.0.2 wouldnt let me ... Security Freeze Lock. The SSD Toolbox even froze the PC too. WTF! No disconnecting from power ever succeded.


                HDTune Pro 500 did the job of filling it up with Zeroes, including verification, on the first try.

                • 5. Re: SSD Locked During Secure Erase

                  It is now an old and very sad story for Intel SSDs...


                  If you can't figure out the scrambled drive password. The Intel SSD is just trash... Other makers let you reset the drive like new with SE.  But Intel actually "chooses" to destroy your hardware forever...  Ignoring the old SE protocols for hardware recovery in the case of lost ATA access....


                  Unlike ALL other makers, You can never fix an Intel drive in this situation.  You are toast there...


                  Sorry, you waisted all your money on Intel SSDs...


                  If you manage to lose the ATA password on an Intel SSD, there is NO recovery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                  In my case, I only waisted $350 on Intel's trash SSD drives...  I sent them to the shredder in the end as just a pc hardware test mistake..


                  "Heck of a job" there Intel...  "Inventing" hardware that can be so easily accidentally destroyed by software...


                  What is really sad is that there are firmware bugs in these drives to make it just that much more easy to destroy them in software, as you found out too...


                  Through the POS away...

                  • 6. Re: SSD Locked During Secure Erase

                    I recall your thread about "How I Think I Bricked my SSD", which evolved over time.


                    That is, from an admission that you forgot to clear the ATA password before you secure erased the SSD with a third party tool, to the problem being Intel's fault.


                    I did not find any mention of contacting Intel support about your problem, which may have had a solution. I assume that is because as an IT professional, you felt you knew all that could be done.


                    I was taken aback by your description of having interns cut that SSD into pieces. An unusual lesson, as well as an example for those young people.


                    If someone stole your password protected SSD, and all they needed to do was secure erase it to make it functional for their own use, as you tout as superior with some other SSDs, would that be an acceptable outcome to you?

                    • 7. Re: SSD Locked During Secure Erase



                      It is not anyones fault that the password was not reset before a secure erase is done to repurpose the drive.  That happens most of the time really...


                      The problem is that the drive could not be reused again once the ATA password was lost.  The disk becomes scrap metal.  But far worse is that the drive still contains active data that could be possibly retrieved if the password were later remembered or recovered.


                      In our case, we have users with machines with only one password set that only they know.  If the data is deleted that is bad, but as long as it is not lost publically it does not matter much.  So they forget the password, as they often do, and they realize the data is gone but want the machine re-loaded with the generic OS to be ready to go like a new system.  With normal hardware encrypting drives, that is trivial and takes about 30 seconds to reset the drive with secure erase and then another 30 minutes to reload the OS and they are good to go.


                      There is no reason at all for the hard drive to "brick" or be destroyed in the case of a lost ATA password.  Why do they do that?  A secure erase to restore the drive is no less safe than the firmware locking it up.  In fact, it is far less safe if the drive does lock!  Then the bricked drive would be scrapped with a possible known password.  If you secure erase it, nobody knows the password at all.  but by locking it, you have a fully loaded drive that has a possibly compromised password but you can't erase it!


                      Thus, the drive has active data on it protected buy a "lost" password.  That is not an acceptable state to simply throw it away in.  If the password ever does become known (someone finds the sticky note) then the data may be public.  So the only option then to insure that the data is destroyed is to physically destroy the drive itself and send it off as electronic scrape.  In this case, the original password was known but an unknown new value was apparently set.  What was that new password??  Was it "9834ynvnkldf099c, 3j30j53ct1c" or was it "Intel Secret Backdoor..."  With out knowing exactly what happened and the state of the new password, the drive is assumed to have live data that can possibly be recovered.


                      So the only way to insure that data on a drive with a lost password is destroyed is to physically destroy the drive.  Since you can't secure erase it without the password, or the password being removed (worse), the only sure way to destroy the data is with a hammer.


                      If Intel support would have a solution to find the password that would be very very bad now wouldn't it.  Then the encryption is worthless.  If you could secure erase it for sure and reuse it then that would be fine and that is what normal manufacturers do.  So in my case, the drives are not anything I want anyway and I can assure you that Intel cannot fix what was left of that drive   I suppose it would be interesting to see what they said.  Maybe they would send me a new one.  The only way I could send the old one back though in that case is fully destroyed physically. 


                      So that is what I know and why I did what I did.  I came here originally just to find out how to secure erase the drive.  I was obviously disappointed to find that the drive hardware was actually rendered less than worthless and had to be physically destroyed.