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Securely erase data from SSD? (Intel Atom Z3735F)


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#1 katwmn6

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 10:05 AM

Apologies if this is not the correct place to post this topic; I thought it was relevant to general security and was not sure where else to post it.

 

I feel like I am going insane. I have been researching how to securely "wipe" an SSD for hours and I am still coming up empty. Here is why:

 

Situation: I want to return my laptop (Acer Aspire Switch 10, 32 bit, Windows 8.1) to the manufacturer as it has never worked properly. I have had sensitive documents saved on the laptop and would like to ensure that they are unrecoverable before I return it. My drive is unencrypted.

 

Problem: All guides I have found for securely erasing data from an SSD do not appear applicable to me because:

 

(1) They require more computer knowledge than I have. All of the SSD secure erase how-to guides I have come across appear to be made for people with much greater computer knowledge than me. Reading their instructions (with mentions of SATA ports and BIOS settings) has left me face-palmed each time. I know from what I've read that attempting an SSD secure erase could ruin the disc if done improperly. 

 

(2) They suggest going to the drive's manufacturer and searching for SSD secure erase facility. If I have read this page correctly, Intel does not have an SSD toolbox that supports my drive (Intel Atom Z3735F).

 

(3) They suggest using Windows 8.1 Disk Management to erase the disk. When I follow these instructions (eg on this site) they don't work - my drive isn't partitioned and I don't have the option to delete it.

 

Does anyone have a suggestion for how to help?

 

Many thanks,

K.


Edited by katwmn6, 17 November 2015 - 10:07 AM.


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#2 Aura

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 10:14 AM

(2) They suggest going to the drive's manufacturer and searching for SSD secure erase facility. If I have read this page correctly, Intel does not have an SSD toolbox that supports my drive (Intel Atom Z3735F).


I just want to point out that an Intel Atom Z3735F is a CPU, and not a SSD. Therefore, your SSD manufacturer is most likely not Intel, but another company (it might be Intel, who knows, but it's sure that you won't find a SSD-related program under a CPU page on their website).

You can see what is your SSD manufacturer and model using Speccy.

https://www.piriform.com/speccy

Also, using DBAN would be the easiest way to securely erase your SSD.

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#3 katwmn6

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 10:39 AM

Thank you! Speccy says I have the following (hopefully this is the right info):

 

  • Samsung BWBC3R 
  • WDC WD50 00LPVX-22V0TT0 USB Device

 

Re DBAN, I have read that it is not effective/safe for use with SSDs:

 

 

Tools like Darik’s Boot and Nuke are not only ineffective, their write-intensive nature can vastly reduce performance and shortenSSD drive life.

 

- http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/securely-erase-ssd-without-destroying/

 

Utilities like CCleaner or DBAN are made for magnetic disk drives and won't work on SSDs.

 

http://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-securely-erase-an-ssd-drive/

 

Is this not the case?

 

Thank you!



#4 Aura

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 10:48 AM

Didn't know about that. Also, even if you were to shorten the SSD life using DBAN, I don't think it'll matter a lot since you are returning the laptop the manufacturer, right? If you don't want to use DBAN, in that case, I would use the PartedMagic method. There's also a video guide on Overclock.net.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1231043/safe-to-run-dban-on-an-ssd/10

Your drive is a Samsung BWBC3R. Looks like an eMMC storage, and not a SSD?

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#5 katwmn6

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 11:03 AM

Your drive is a Samsung BWBC3R. Looks like an eMMC storage, and not a SSD? 

 

When I look at Windows Drive Optimiser it says the C drive is SSD. I looked under the "storage" tab in Speccy to get the Samsung info; is that the right place?

 

Re DBAN, if it messes up my laptop too much I won't be able to make the return.

 

I will see if I can get Parted Magic to work. What I read sounded complicated but if that's the only thing going...!



#6 Aura

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 11:05 AM

The video tutorial might help you then :)

And probably because Windows interprets it as a SSD then, even thought it's not as performant.

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#7 katwmn6

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 11:25 AM

I'm actually not sure Parted Magic will even work on an eMMC (google tells me other people have tried and failed to use Parted Magic with similar tablets).

 

When did erasing data become so hard? (no pun intended)



#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 11:26 AM

You can use Samsung's Magician software to do a Secure Erase. If Windows is on the SSD you will need to create a bootable USB. Latest version is 4.9

 

http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/5638/samsung-magician-4-2-first-look-new-ssd-toolkit-adds-rapid-mode/index5.html

 

http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/minisite/SSD/global/html/support/downloads.html

 

I could not find a Samsung SSD with that model number.


Edited by JohnC_21, 17 November 2015 - 11:27 AM.





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