Hardware eventually gets upgraded, hard drives most of all. When replacing your SSD, the last thing you want is the data to end up in someone else’s hands. Short of completely physically destroying the drive (which would make reselling difficult) there are steps to securely erase the data to protect yourself. Here are some options to securely erase an SSD.
Can I Format the Drive?
Formatting a hard drive is mostly intended to prepare a new drive for use. By reformatting your drive and reinstalling an operating system you can get the drive working with your PC or get your PC moving a little bit faster by freeing up that space. This, however, is NOT a secure way to clear data off the drive. The files are not erased when the drive is formatted. The format will tell the OS that the old data is new space to be written over, yet it does not completely erase it. Data recovery systems can still access this older data even if it is reformatted, so this would not be a secure way to erase your SSD.
Can the BIOS Help?
In some cases, yes. Some motherboards have a Secure Erase option in the BIOS/ UEFI. Many gaming PCs now have this option.
The most secure way to erase your data is by using a software system to do so. While General Technics does not endorse any particular software option, we can point out that there are both 3rd party and 1st party applications that can be used. Many SSD manufacturers will provide their own software to do this. Western Digital, Corsair, Seagate, Samsung, and Intel are but a few who offer data erasing applications.
Some newer SSDs will allow you to add encryption to your drive for protection and security. Deleting the encryption key will render the data inaccessible. While not erasing the data, this is a secure way to keep it out of other hands.
Data security is more important than ever. Regardless of the option used to erase an SSD, it would be prudent to use a Data Recovery tool to check to see if the data is totally deleted.