So I finally took the plunge into the world of SSD and I'm glad I did )first drive = Crucial M4 64GB on a Gigabyte Z68 motherboard), but my question is - if Windows gets screwed up in any way, shape, or form, I'm told that you do not format an SSD, so how do I wipe the drive to do a fresh install of Windows 7 in case that does happen?
You can format it then reinstall Windows, of just reinstall Windows without formatting it in the first place. But wiping is a process of writing over any data a select number of times so that data isn't recoverable anymore by anyone. You can still wipe a SSD but it will hurt it's lifetime for sure. It's not recommended to wipe a SSD.
OK I'm still not clear - so if I completely wipe the drive, it will hurt its' lifespan. But if I hook it up to another machine, completely delete all data, then hook it back up and do a clean install of Windows, would it work that way?
Just use windows 7 to create an Image of your C drive (Located in control panel -> backup. You can put the image on internal HDD, external HDD, or 3 ->5 DVDs.
To restore you just need to put your Windows installation disk in and under repair there should be an option to restore from image. This will delete the partitions on the SSD and then recreate the partitions and restore Windows and ALL of your Programs. You can also create a bootable restore DVD under Win7 back-up, if fact it will prompt you to do so. I don't as I find any Win 7 installation disk will work.
As to "wiping the SSD", Normally you do not "wipe it", you use the Secure erease function (EX: For OCZ it is included in their Toolbox.). Use this if the SSD has problems.