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Formatting an SSD? Secure Erase? Quick Format?

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March 1, 2012 7:01:34 PM

I want to wipe out my Windows 7 install and reinstall and wanted to find out what is the best method to format it?

I've read a full format is not recommended on SSD's. Also read that I can use a secure erase utility which is the best.

Would a Windows 7 install quick erase be enough, or should I be doing something else?
a b $ Windows 7
a c 503 G Storage
March 1, 2012 7:13:46 PM

Correct, you should not full format a SSD, just Quick Format.

Secure Erasing a SSD does not format it. It wipes it clean and restores it to fresh-out-of-the-box condition.

Secure Erase your drive and then let Windows format it automatically during the installation process.
a b $ Windows 7
a c 120 G Storage
March 1, 2012 7:34:59 PM

http://eraser.heidi.ie/download.php

This is a free software that you can use to clean you drive. When you format a drive you do not erase or delete files what formating does is it makes it so you can write over those blocks that have files written there , once you write over data then it is gone and not recoverable. You have to use a software program to erase data. If you are just wanting to format and reload Windows and new data then a quick format will suffice.
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March 1, 2012 7:35:00 PM

So Secure Erase is required, not just a Quick Format?

Do you recommend any good free Secure Erase utilities?
a b $ Windows 7
a c 503 G Storage
March 1, 2012 7:46:05 PM

itakey said:
So Secure Erase is required, not just a Quick Format?


No, it's not required. You don't have to do it. You can just install Windows and point it to your previous Windows partition when it asks you where you want to install it to. It will delete the old partition and data, and then begin installation.

Do you recommend any good free Secure Erase utilities? said:
Do you recommend any good free Secure Erase utilities?


Go to your SSD manufacturer's website and they should have a toolbox or utility that will secure erase your drive.
March 1, 2012 8:07:38 PM

Dereck47 said:

Go to your SSD manufacturer's website and they should have a toolbox or utility that will secure erase your drive.



Thanks, i'm going to do the reinstall then.

For the tool kit, I have Crucial M4 120GB drive. I called and they said there isn't anything I need to do special and there was no downloadable tool kit available. Does that mean I should be looking for something else?
March 1, 2012 8:46:31 PM

Dereck47 said:
Here's a link to 2 Secure Erase utilities: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-20115106-285/how-to...


Thanks for this!

Here is a question, forgive me for so many. I see that link says that Parted Magic writes zero's to the drive, aren't you supposed to try not to write to the drive a ton? With that thought would it be better to just do a quick format and leave the data on there or whatever?
a b $ Windows 7
a c 503 G Storage
March 1, 2012 9:03:26 PM

itakey said:
I see that link says that Parted Magic writes zero's to the drive, aren't you supposed to try not to write to the drive a ton?



It's not an issue unless you're secure erasing your drive on a weekly basis. :) 
If you only do it 2-3 times a year the affect on your drive's longevity is very, very small.
a b $ Windows 7
a c 120 G Storage
March 2, 2012 4:13:17 AM

itakey said:
Thanks for this!

Here is a question, forgive me for so many. I see that link says that Parted Magic writes zero's to the drive, aren't you supposed to try not to write to the drive a ton? With that thought would it be better to just do a quick format and leave the data on there or whatever?



The only time you have to worry about data on the drive is if ypu were to sell it , then you want to make sure that the data is erased from the drive. When you format the drive all that means is that you are now able to write over what data was on there and you can't see the old data unless you have a software program that would restore it . By writing all 0's over the whole drive you are in effect overwriting all the data on the drive and that old data now becomes unusable. You do the same thing by a format and writing over the old data the only thing different is you don't know what part of the drive had the old data nad what part of the drive you are writing the new data. That's why the writing of all 0's over the whole drive gets all of the old data. But like I said the only time you have to worry is when you are selling the drive or dicarding it.
March 2, 2012 6:35:16 PM

I went the Parted Magic route and it worked perfectly, thanks for all the tips everyone!
March 2, 2012 7:33:05 PM

inzone said:
The only time you have to worry about data on the drive is if ypu were to sell it , then you want to make sure that the data is erased from the drive. When you format the drive all that means is that you are now able to write over what data was on there and you can't see the old data unless you have a software program that would restore it . By writing all 0's over the whole drive you are in effect overwriting all the data on the drive and that old data now becomes unusable. You do the same thing by a format and writing over the old data the only thing different is you don't know what part of the drive had the old data nad what part of the drive you are writing the new data. That's why the writing of all 0's over the whole drive gets all of the old data. But like I said the only time you have to worry is when you are selling the drive or dicarding it.


I secure erased last night and it all went smooth, but just realized I need to reinstall windows now with a different version. Should I secure erase again, or just quick format?

Would a quick format make it slower than a secure erase since the current windows is written to the drive, or will that not matter?

I don't want to secure erase it too much, so should I just quick format instead during the reinstall?
a b $ Windows 7
a c 120 G Storage
March 2, 2012 7:38:03 PM

Just do a quick format , it will not slow anything down and as stated before a format allows you to write over the data that is there and windows does not use that data just the new data. Once you write over a block of storage then the only thing there is the data you just wrote.
October 4, 2013 1:45:22 AM

I have an additional question regarding this: If I have an SSD and install Windows 7 first, then later on installed Windows 8 as dual boot, if I now decide to get rid of Windows 7 and stick with Windows 8, can I simply format the Windows 7 partition and be able to still have excellent performance from the SSD? Because in regular hard drive, it is better if you install it on fresh hard drive so that the files are in the first sector of the hard drive. Is it same with SSD? Thanks.
October 8, 2013 8:22:19 AM

when you install windows 7, you can choose to format the ssd, choose quick format instead of low level format.
March 12, 2014 2:49:52 PM

Geee I'd like to see the page or website that says a full format is harmful. The format process just writes to the NAND cells once with a zero. How does that degrade the ssd? By one write? lol
March 24, 2014 11:41:23 AM

inzone said:
http://eraser.heidi.ie/download.php

This is a free software that you can use to clean you drive. When you format a drive you do not erase or delete files what formating does is it makes it so you can write over those blocks that have files written there , once you write over data then it is gone and not recoverable. You have to use a software program to erase data. If you are just wanting to format and reload Windows and new data then a quick format will suffice.


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