7 Replies Latest reply on Feb 19, 2014 2:29 PM by joe_intel

    Alternative to Secure Erase

    rustleg

      I am moving my Intel 240GB series 530 SSD from one computer to another. I need to partition it differently. I tried to secure erase using the toolbox but it is security frozen and many attempts to power cycle have not unfrozen it - I read that others have had the same experience. Therefore I'm looking for a possible workaround.

       

      The only thing I can think of is making one huge NTFS partition, filling it with data (I have an exactly 4GB file I can copy many times) then deleting all files and then doing a trim from the toolbox. Is this a good idea or is there another method?

        • 1. Re: Alternative to Secure Erase
          joe_intel

          Thank you for posting your inquiry.

           

          Have you considered backing up you data and use Diskpart to clean your Intel® SSD?

           

          You just need to open up a command prompt window within Windows* when booting from another drive; or boot from the Windows* installer CD, allow it to load the files, and get to the part where it allows you to choose drives/partitions. At this part press Shift-F10 this will load a DOS environment and type the following and hit enter after every line:

           

          • Diskpart (it will display information in regards to the tool)
          • list disk (it will show a list of your available disks)
          • select disk # (replace the “#” with the number representing the drive you wish to clean)
          • clean all (after this it will stay at a blinking cursor during about 15 minutes for a 80GB drive)
          • 2. Re: Alternative to Secure Erase
            rustleg

            I've looked at the Diskpart utility as described by Microsoft and can't see where it says it will perform a secure erase. I don't just want to manage partitions - this will not return the SSD to it's clean factory state. Please explain further.

            • 3. Re: Alternative to Secure Erase
              joe_intel

              This is a description of the command:

              clean [all]

              Use the clean command to remove partition or volume formatting from the current in-focus disk by zeroing sectors. By default, only the MBR or GPT partitioning information and any hidden sector information on MBR disks is overwritten. If you specify the all parameter, each and every sector can be zeroed, and all data that is contained on the drive can be deleted.

              http://support.microsoft.com/kb/300415

               

              You may also run a Secure Erase under Linux*. There are some utilities available online that will allow you to create a bootable Linux* drive, such as this one: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/

              • 4. Re: Alternative to Secure Erase
                rustleg

                I'm sorry perhaps I didn't explain sufficiently. I have no problem repartitioning. I want to secure erase in order to return the SSD to factory condition, i.e. so that there are no blocks with data in them that the garbage collection routine thinks is valid data. If I don't do this the performance will suffer. Diskpart talks about "zeroing sectors" without a proper explanation of what that means. If it means writing zeroes in all locations, this would have quite the opposite effect of erasing the blocks since zero is valid data not the same as an erased state. Of course you will know this, but I want to make it absolutely clear.

                 

                So the proper solution is to do a secure erase which erases all locations. The problem is that the design has made it impossible to do via the Intel toolbox because the SSD is in a security frozen state and no amount of hot-unplugging and plugging will release it.

                 

                The help files say that if this repeatedly fails to unfreeze the SSD, the Intel Toolbox cannot do this and they suggest finding an independent tool to do it. This is a cop-out and is in my opinion quite deplorable, Intel engineers should have found another way, but there's no sense in me ranting about it, I just want a solution. I asked a valid question in the original post which has not been addressed.

                 

                I appreciate that you didn't realise why I wanted a secure erase. Hopefully I have explained that now. Could you please revisit the original post and offer a solution.

                • 5. Re: Alternative to Secure Erase
                  joe_intel

                  Did you take the bootable Linux* option into consideration?  I presented it above but here it is again:

                  The steps for the secure erase: http://www.thomas-krenn.com/en/wiki/SSD_Secure_Erase

                  The tool you can use to create a bootable USB drive: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/

                  • 6. Re: Alternative to Secure Erase
                    rustleg

                    Yes I saw that suggestion. I also run Linux systems and would have no problem using a live CD or USB to execute hdparm. But I have read the article carefully and I can't see where it says how to overcome the freeze. It just says in Step 1 that you should check it's in the not frozen state, but offers no help in un-freezing unless I've misunderstood it. The whole issue is that the SSD is frozen so this procedure doesn't get past Step 1. Perhaps I've missed something?

                     

                    I've googled for ideas and there's another article here suggesting using hdparm

                    https://wiki.freeswitch.org/wiki/SSD_Tuning_for_Linux

                    which says "The most common way to unfreeze is to pull the data and power plugs out of the SSD and reinsert them. If this does not solve the issue you will need to research how to unfreeze your model of SSD." Precisely my problem.

                    • 7. Re: Alternative to Secure Erase
                      joe_intel

                      Please put the system to sleep or suspend to unfreeze the drive.