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Question How do I securely wipe SSD before selling it?

fleshconsumed

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2002
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I'm upgrading/cleaning out my basement and I want to sell a bunch of SSDs (SATA and NVME) ranging from 128GB to 2TB. When it comes to selling traditional hard drives I would always just do a complete format (0-write) prior to selling them to stop my private data from falling into the wrong hands. How do I do that with SSDs? Do I really need a special "secure wipe" utility from manufacturer to completely wipe private data? Or is doing complete format (0-write) enough for SSD?
 

Billy Tallis

Senior member
Aug 4, 2015
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Writing zeros to the whole drive is sufficient to destroy most or all of the data and render any remaining data inaccessible through ordinary means, so it's probably good enough for your purposes. The advantage of issuing a secure erase command instead is that it's much quicker and doesn't burn through as much of the SSD's write endurance.
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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Is it even possible to actually "Secure Erase" an NVMe drive? My understanding is that NVMe drives don't process ATA commands as such. Is there an NVMe equivalent? Does NVMe even use a "command language" like ATA?
 

Billy Tallis

Senior member
Aug 4, 2015
236
98
101
The NVMe equivalent of ATA Secure Erase is the NVMe Format command, which is used both for erasing and for switching a drive from 512-byte to 4kB sectors. There are also Sanitize commands for ATA, SCSI and NVMe command sets that make stronger guarantees about erasing all user data including from any caches or portions of media that aren't normally accessible (eg. spare area that hasn't been erased/garbage collected yet).
 

fleshconsumed

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2002
5,888
1,187
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So is it correct to say then that if I do not care about prematurely wearing out SSD before sale, doing full format in windows which should fill drive with 0'es will sanitize any personal data I have on the drive making it unrecoverable?
 
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