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Solved! Secure Erase WD NVMe SSD?

Fallengod

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2001
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Trying to securely wipe a western digital nvme SSD. Preferably a program that makes a bootable usb stick to do it as I wont be able to do it while I am on the drive in windows obviously. Samsung has magician but of course it only support samsung drives... Western digital has a program which doesnt seem to work at all.... So...

Someone has to know this. Searching google, there doesnt seem to be a like mainstream generic program to secure erasing any SSD properly.

I just want to wipe a SSD without damaging it. What software are people using for this these days? I understand youre not just supposed to write 1's 0's on SSDs like old traditional programs did for hard drives.
 

Billy Tallis

Senior member
Aug 4, 2015
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Find a linux live distro that includes or lets you install a nvme-cli package. Then the command you want to run is nvme format /dev/nvme0n1 . That's the NVMe equivalent of an ATA Secure Erase.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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Do you have any Acronis disks? I boot into that and use the disk wipe utility.

The WD utility has a way to create a bootable USB drive to execute a wipe... have you tried that?
 

Fallengod

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2001
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No I dont know what Acronis is. Ya. I tried the WD utility, and it fails to execute. I am on windows 7 atm, but it says it supports windows 7. So I had to drop that idea. That was failure of software.

I have had some linux distro suggestions, but I dont know how to use linux or install linux etc... so thats out. I would need a step-by-step guide for that. I would love to have a bootable linux distro with a secure erase ability on a usb stick though.

I think I have solved this. I looked before and didnt see it, but my MSI B450 actually does have a secure erase+ ability in the bios itself. It was hidden under advanced, so I am planning on using that I think. Hopefully that does it properly.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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Acronis is generically backup software, but also has a bunch of other utilities... like disk wipe.

There is also a new version of the WD software... maybe update and give it a spin.

I'll be curious to see if your mobo utility works... let us know.
 

Fallengod

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2001
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I just did it. I dont know how you check if it did its work properly, but it only took a few seconds and it was wiped afterwords. Since it was pretty fast I would say it worked correctly since secure erase is pretty fast. If it were slower and writing 1's or 0's to the whole drive I would have been concerned.

Was it securely wiped? Its not like I went through with software trying to restore data to see if it was actually securely erased. Seemed to work good though. Done. That was definitely the easiest solution out of all of them.

Anyways. Solved. Thanks.
 
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Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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If it's important... with Acronis, you can actually pull up your HD and view what's written to it. I've zeroed out SSD's and HHD's... and that's what it shows.
 

Fallengod

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2001
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If it's important... with Acronis, you can actually pull up your HD and view what's written to it. I've zeroed out SSD's and HHD's... and that's what it shows.

Ill try it at some point. It was for a SSD I was returning so I wanted to make sure my personal stuff was off it. Hopefully.
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
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I usually use Parted magic for ATA or NVMe secure erase. Of course many modern motherboards have a function in UEFI to do so as you found.
 

Fallengod

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2001
5,895
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I usually use Parted magic for ATA or NVMe secure erase. Of course many modern motherboards have a function in UEFI to do so as you found.
Yeah. I didnt know that. I just put together a new B450 and ryzen system 2 days ago. Someone mentioned some mobos have secure erase and I only checked real quick and missed it so I started to look elsewhere. It worked fine though(I hope).

I saw parted magic mentioned all over the place, but its not free. I wanted a free solution. :p

If I knew linux and how to put a distro on a usb stick with the nvm-cli package or whatever, I woulda done that as well, but I do not.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
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Sounds like you have this well in hand thanks to excellent answers already provided 👍

However, I do want to drop an important piece of info for any future person who might be reading this thread and not paying close enough attention.

With SSDs, be they SATA or nVME, *always* use utilities designed specifically for flash memory wiping. A single pass of secure wipe is enough. No latent information will reside.

This is categorically different from how secure wiping a magnetic platter based spinner is done. Because of how the magnetic storage is achieved, it takes multiple wipes, or even total physical destruction of the drive to achieve what you could consider a definite cleaning safe from any recovery. Nation state level security apparatus can recover data from rewritten HDDs by using high sensitivity magnetic resonance scanning of the raw platters. Even less sophisticated independent operators and lower food chain organizations can pull a surprising amount of data from drives one might intuitively believe are safely wiped.

When the Space Shuttle exploded over the southern US almost 20 years ago, they managed to recover almost all of the data from charred chunks of the magnetic hard drive platters that fell in a flaming debris field dozens of miles into the Texas and Louisiana fields. And forensic data tech has only become more advanced over the intervening years.

Thus the secure wipe types designed for HDDs are often VERY intense with random writes, to bury the old data under so much magnetic noise as to make any recovery incredibly difficult. This number of writes across the entire storage structure is VERY hard on flash cells, and should never be done on solid state storage. Additionally, due to TRIM and drive management, solid state drives out of the box actually contain a notably higher amount of actual flash storage space than advertised. A 240GB drive may have another 16-20GB hidden from the user. This is used as replacement flash cells as an SSD is used, and cells degrade. It reallocates data placement away from any detected degraged cells to spare ones. There are utilities to manually override such limits and use more/all of this hidden space, but it leaves you with less/zero safety net for dying cells in the future. "Provisioning".

However, situations can arise where sensitive data might have been stored in cells that were deemed 'weakening' and re-allocated to spare cells. In this case, the old data would still exist on the old, blocked off cells, and be invisible to a regular consumer OS and file system (or normal HDD wiping utility), leaving a vulnerability for potential forensic recovery to occur. This is a second reason for using software specifically designed for solid state wiping, or, as some spooks in direct operations may advise : thermite the bitches. (If in any doubt, or there is intelligence material, things you want to keep from corporate spying, potential thieves etc, you physically annihilate the device).
 
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Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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This is categorically different from how secure wiping a magnetic platter based spinner is done. Because of how the magnetic storage is achieved, it takes multiple wipes, or even total physical destruction of the drive to achieve what you could consider a definite cleaning safe from any recovery. Nation state level security apparatus can recover data from rewritten HDDs by using high sensitivity magnetic resonance scanning of the raw platters. Even less sophisticated independent operators and lower food chain organizations can pull a surprising amount of data from drives one might intuitively believe are safely wiped.
One of my friends is in 'computer forensics...' what you are saying is exactly correct.
 

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