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Need advice on clean wiping my SSD drive

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Hi , Long story but I've hosed my OS install on my Kingston Sv10052N SSD. I want to do what I probably should have done from the start--a fresh install of Win 7 Home 64bit. My rig has an Asus P6T mobo and an i7 920 D0 cpu. Also there are two other drives for data. This should be relatively easy but from my research, secure erase programs are iffy tempermental creatures. Tutorials are often outdated. I searched here and didn't find anything that matched. So, in short, I want to return the SSD to optimal condition, then install OS from scratch--has anyone here done this or know how, preferably from first hand experience?

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If you're installing the OS from scratch, all you'll need to do is format the drive from the install screen in Windows. I havent installed W7 in a while but there oughta be a format option somewhere when you're choosing the installation partition. Simply do a long format, not the quick kind, and you should be good to go.

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You can also use SecureErase to flash the NAND and start completely fresh if you want. I've had to do mine that way at least a dozen times now. They say that over time that will reduce the life of the drive - but mine still performs at the same level as the day I bought it. Not sure about what type of SecureErase that Kingston recommends, but there is a great tutorial over at OCZ's website about creating the boot flash drive and downloading the utility to perform the flash. If your drive supports SecureErase then it would work as well on your Kingston. During the initial boot the application checks to make sure that your drive internally supports the SecureErase function so there isn't any harm in trying.

 

Here's a link;

 

http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?79848-THE-BASIC-GUIDE-amp-FAQ-ABC-for-OCZ-SSD&p=567588&viewfull=1#post567588

Edited by wevsspot

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If you're installing the OS from scratch, all you'll need to do is format the drive from the install screen in Windows. I havent installed W7 in a while but there oughta be a format option somewhere when you're choosing the installation partition. Simply do a long format, not the quick kind, and you should be good to go.

Thanks for your reply. I've read that formating doesn't really clean an SSD, although that is the easy, obvious way to go, it doesn't restore optimal drive performance. I've also read plenty of erroneous (to my situation) solutions. that's why I'm here. I tried "secure erase" with Parted Magic and it doesn't seem to work on my mobo.

I got the OS back, by the way, but I had to uninstall AHCI in bios settings. BefoIe setting it in bios I used this tutorial to post install ahci in Win 7: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/61869-ahci-enable-windows-7-vista.html?ltr=A

No luck on reboot. Didn't know about ahci on first install a year ago. More reason to blow it up and start over.

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You can also use SecureErase to flash the NAND and start completely fresh if you want. I've had to do mine that way at least a dozen times now. They say that overtime that will reduce the life of the drive - but mine still performs at the same level as the day I bought it. Not sure about what type of SecureErase that Kingston recommends, but there is a great tutorial over at OCZ's website about creating the boot flash drive and downloading the utility to perform the flash. If your drive support SecureErase then it would work as well on your Kingston. During the initial boot the application checks to make sure that your drive internally supports the SecureErase function so there isn't any harm in trying.

 

Here's a link;

 

http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?79848-THE-BASIC-GUIDE-amp-FAQ-ABC-for-OCZ-SSD&p=567588&viewfull=1#post567588

You slipped your post in while I was responding to the earlier one. That's the type cleanup I'm looking for but I've read that it only works with Intel drives and Kingston went away from them on this new drive. Plus,regretably, support is dismal at Kingston. I will, however revisit that OCZ site and see if it will work on my drive.

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I'm pretty sure a full format does the trick. The quick format is the one that just zeros out the file tables and all that jazz, but a full format clears those on top of zeroing out the actual data.

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Depending on a Windows format is a risky proposition. Win7 should send a Trim command to the entire drive when a format command is issued. There are a couple of downfalls with this though. Depending on the controller driver being used the Trim commands may be constrained to 2GB or 4GB chunks which would take a considerable amount of time for all the commands to be sent to the drive's controller. Even if the Trim command was sent at once for the entire drive one would require intricate knowledge of the drive's controller in order to know how much time was needed by the drive to act on and complete the Trim process. If the drive is connected as a permanent secondary drive these points are a non-issue. The sure way of doing the factory restore is with a utility that issues the ATA Secure Erase command. A couple of seconds after issuing the command all cells will be at 0xFF just as the drive came from the factory.

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Depending on a Windows format is a risky proposition. Win7 should send a Trim command to the entire drive when a format command is issued. There are a couple of downfalls with this though. Depending on the controller driver being used the Trim commands may be constrained to 2GB or 4GB chunks which would take a considerable amount of time for all the commands to be sent to the drive's controller. Even if the Trim command was sent at once for the entire drive one would require intricate knowledge of the drive's controller in order to know how much time was needed by the drive to act on and complete the Trim process. If the drive is connected as a permanent secondary drive these points are a non-issue. The sure way of doing the factory restore is with a utility that issues the ATA Secure Erase command. A couple of seconds after issuing the command all cells will be at 0xFF just as the drive came from the factory.

All my reading tends to support this. Tomorrow I will try HDDerase (?) after cloning the drive(?) I don't want to inadvertantly reinstall stuff that might cause problems for the OS. I'll report back on the results. And thank you for the explaination.

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I'd have to second every point that Praz made in his post. I even intentionally did a full windows format on my SSD to check and see whether everyone was just full of poop or if it really would mess up the drive's performance. At least on my OCZ drive, a full windows format significantly impacted performance. So it was back to the NAND flash for a complete 0xFF flash.

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Well then, I've been severely misinformed. Thanks for the lesson =)

That's what I've been saying, this is a difficult subject and there is a lot of misinformation out there. Also, as usual, what works for one user doesn't necessarily work for another. This is how I lean though, often it's painful.

Update: I sat on my hands thinking about and researching how to secure erase; learning much in the process. Meanwhile, I managed to get my 64 bit OS up and running. I had to go back to ide in bios to get there. So I ran a HD tune on the drive and the performance is only a hair below the test I ran while I had the OS running in ahci. Personally, I think I want to enable ahci but, for the time being (maybe I'm just a bit gun shy) I think I'll stand pat. I am going to see if I need updated drivers from Asus, but I think Windows is the real culprit. When I try to update the ata drivers there it say all up to date but ding the registry switch and reboot trick doesn't work anymore (it did the first time, or so it seemed.)

Off topic a bit but does anyone know how to tell if your drive is "trimming"?

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The ATA Secure Erase command is designed to remove all user data from a drive. With an SSD, this command will put the drive back to it original out-of-box state. This will initially restore its performance to the highest possible level and the best (lowest number) possible write amplification, but as soon as the drive starts garbage collecting again the performance and write amplification will start returning to the former levels. Just do a full format and you'll be fine. Your SSD is "TRIMming" IF you have Windows 7 or Linux AND your SSD is in AHCI mode AND the SSD is not configured as RAID0.

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