Protect Your Data: Expert Guide on How to Securely Erase an SSD Drive by CNET

If you think that just deleting files or formatting your SSD drive will completely erase your data, then you are in for a surprise. Experts say that the data on an SSD drive never completely disappears, even if you remove it from your computer. This is because, unlike traditional hard drives, SSD drives use flash memory, making it more challenging to securely erase the data.

But don’t worry. We’ve got your back with this helpful guide on securely erasing your SSD drive. In this age of data breaches and cyber-attacks, deleting your data on an SSD drive is more crucial than ever.

We know it can be overwhelming, but with a little understanding and a few simple steps, you can ensure that your information is securely erased, putting your mind at ease. Here at CNET, we delve into the methods used to securely erase an SSD drive, taking you through the process step-by-step. We’ll cover the reasons why securely erasing an SSD drive is so important, look at the different techniques used, and finally, give you tips for making sure you’ve achieved a secure deletion.

So, buckle up, and let’s get started on this essential guide.

Why Securely Erase an SSD Drive?

Cnet has a great article about why it’s important to securely erase an SSD drive before disposing of it. Unlike traditional hard drives, SSDs store data differently, so basic deletion methods are not effective. Secure erasure methods, such as encryption or overwriting, are necessary to ensure that all data is completely removed and can’t be recovered by anyone else.

Even if you think you’ve deleted all the files on the drive, there could still be remnants of sensitive data that could be retrieved. It’s crucial to protect your personal information, especially when getting rid of old technology. So, always ensure that you securely erase your SSD drive before selling or disposing of it.

Preventing Data Theft and Protecting Privacy

SSD drive, secure erase, data theft, privacy protection In today’s digital age, data theft is becoming a major concern for individuals and businesses alike. With the increasing use of SSD drives, it is important to understand the importance of securely erasing these drives before disposal or repurposing. Securely erasing an SSD drive provides multiple benefits, including protecting sensitive data and preventing data theft.

When a file is deleted from an SSD drive, it isn’t actually removed from the drive but rather moved to a “free” space. This means that the data can be easily recovered with the help of data recovery software or tools. However, a secure erase process ensures that all data is permanently removed from the drive, making it impossible to recover any information even with advanced tools.

By taking the time to securely erase an SSD drive, individuals and businesses can safeguard their sensitive information from misuse and protect their privacy.

cnet how to securely erase an ssd drive

Data Sanitization Techniques for SSD Drives

If you’re looking for ways to securely erase an SSD drive, it’s important to understand the different data sanitization techniques available. Typically, the most effective method is to perform a full disk encryption with a strong encryption algorithm, followed by wiping the encryption key. This essentially makes all data on the drive unreadable, even if someone were to gain physical access to the drive.

Another technique that some users opt for is to use data erasure software specifically designed for SSD drives. These software programs typically use advanced algorithms to overwrite all sectors of the drive multiple times, effectively wiping all data. However, it’s important to note that some experts question the effectiveness of these techniques, particularly because of the way SSDs handle data.

For instance, because SSDs use flash memory, data is often scattered around the drive and can be difficult to fully erase. If you’re unsure about the effectiveness of a particular data sanitization method, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional to ensure that your data is fully protected.

ATA Secure Erase

When it comes to securely erasing data from SSD drives, ATA Secure Erase is a commonly used technique. This method relies on the drive’s controller to wipe all data from the flash memory. It’s a fast and reliable way of sanitizing the drive without the need for third-party software.

However, it’s important to note that ATA Secure Erase may not completely erase all data, especially if the drive has been used extensively or has bad blocks. In such cases, a more thorough data wiping method such as physical destruction is recommended to ensure that the data is permanently erased. Overall, ATA Secure Erase provides a solid data sanitization option for SSD drives, but it’s essential to fully understand its limitations and use it in conjunction with other techniques for optimal security.

Manufacturer-Specific Tools

When it comes to data sanitization techniques for SSD drives, it’s important to consider the manufacturer-specific tools available. Many SSD manufacturers have developed their own software that can securely wipe data from their drives. For example, Samsung offers the Magician software, while SanDisk has the Secure Erase tool.

These tools are specifically designed to work with their respective hardware, ensuring a more comprehensive and efficient wipe. However, it’s important to note that not all manufacturers offer these tools, and some may only be compatible with certain models or firmware versions. Additionally, using these tools may void any warranties on the drive, so it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits before proceeding.

Ultimately, choosing the right data sanitization technique for your SSD will depend on factors such as the manufacturer, the level of security required, and the specific use case.

Third-Party Software

When it comes to data sanitization on SSD drives, it’s important to understand the different techniques that can be used. Third-party software is one option that is commonly used to ensure that all data is completely wiped from the drive. This type of software typically uses advanced algorithms to overwrite the data multiple times, making it virtually impossible to recover any sensitive information.

It’s important to note that not all third-party software is created equal, so it’s essential to do your research and choose a reputable provider. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that some SSD drives may have built-in encryption that can affect the effectiveness of data sanitization techniques. Therefore, it’s always recommended to consult with a professional to ensure that all proper measures are taken to protect your sensitive data.

Overall, utilizing third-party software can be an effective way to sanitize data on SSD drives, but it’s important to approach the process with care and attention to detail.

Step-by-Step Guide

If you want to securely erase an SSD drive, CNET has provided a step-by-step guide that you can follow. A simple deletion or formatting of an SSD drive does not guarantee that all the data is completely erased. Therefore, it’s crucial to thoroughly erase the SSD drive to prevent any sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.

The first step is to back up any data that you want to keep as the data will be lost during the erasing process. Next, disable the fast startup and encryption settings on your device. Then, create a bootable USB drive with the secure erase software, and boot up the device from the USB drive.

Follow the prompts to erase the SSD drive completely. Once the operating system is restored on the SSD drive, securely erase any additional storage devices connected to your device. By following these steps, you can confidently erase your SSD drive without any worries about data breaches or exposure.

Back Up Your Data

Backing up your data is crucial for ensuring that your important files, documents, and photographs are never lost. Whether you’re a business owner or a student, losing your data can be disastrous and prevent you from achieving your goals. Fortunately, with modern technology, backing up your data is easier than ever.

The first step is to identify which files and folders are essential to your work. This could include anything from tax documents to family photos. Once you have a list of these files, it’s time to choose a backup method.

Cloud storage is an excellent option for saving your data; providers like Google, Dropbox, and Microsoft offer affordable and easy-to-use options. Alternatively, you could use an external hard drive or a USB stick to store your files. When you’ve decided on your preferred method, it’s time to start backing up your data.

Depending on the method you choose, you may need to download software or set up automatic backups. Finally, make sure to regularly check that your backups are working correctly and update them as necessary. By following these steps, you’ll never have to worry about losing your data again.

Use an ATA Secure Erase or Manufacturer-Specific Tool

If you want to truly erase all sensitive data from your hard drive or SSD, using an ATA Secure Erase or manufacturer-specific tool is the way to go. These tools are designed specifically to wipe all data from your drive beyond recovery, making them an ideal choice for anyone looking to dispose of an old device or safeguard against data breaches. To get started, you’ll need to find and download the specific tool for your drive manufacturer.

Once you have it downloaded, connect your drive and run the tool according to the instructions provided. This will vary depending on the specific tool, but it usually involves selecting your drive and choosing the wiping option. After that, all you have to do is wait for the wiping process to finish, which can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending on the size of your drive.

Once it’s done, your drive will be free of all data, leaving you with peace of mind knowing your sensitive information is safe and secure.

Use Third-Party Software if Necessary

When it comes to creating software, sometimes we can’t do everything on our own. That’s where third-party software comes in handy. These are tools and systems created by other developers that we can use to enhance our own software.

But it’s important to use them wisely. The first step is to identify what you need and what the third-party software can offer. Then, research the options and pick one that best fits your needs.

Be mindful of the cost and any potential risks or issues that may arise. Once you’ve selected the software, properly integrate it into your own system, ensuring it works smoothly and effectively. By utilizing third-party software, you can save time and resources while providing a better product for your users.

Just remember to always be cautious and make informed decisions.


In conclusion, securely erasing an SSD drive is no laughing matter. But it doesn’t have to be a confusing or daunting task either. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can make sure that your data is well and truly gone, without inadvertently damaging your drive in the process.

So go forth with confidence knowing that your SSD is ready to start anew, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes (or in this case, from the blank void of a secure erase). Happy computing!”


What is an SSD drive?
An SSD drive is a type of solid-state storage device that uses NAND-based flash memory to store data.

How does securely erasing an SSD drive differ from a traditional hard drive?
Securely erasing an SSD drive requires the use of specialized software that sends a series of commands to the SSD’s controller to wipe the data. This is different from traditional hard drives, which can be securely erased by overwriting the data multiple times.

Can you use a standard data erasure program to securely erase an SSD drive?
No, standard data erasure programs should not be used to securely erase an SSD drive. This is because a standard data erasure program may not erase all of the data from an SSD drive due to the way that an SSD stores data.

Why is it important to securely erase an SSD drive?
It is important to securely erase an SSD drive to prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands. Simply deleting files or formatting the drive is not enough to permanently erase the data on an SSD drive.