Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I wanted to clone because it seemed like the most hassle-free way to "install" Windows on the new drive, but it did not work. Rather than try to troubleshoot the disk-cloning process, I figured it would just be easier to do a clean install. I had to remove an absurd amount of bloatware when I first got this computer (5 months old), so it's probably for the best.

So what should I do to prepare this drive for a fresh Windows 8 install (I don't care about preserving any of the data currently on the SSD)? Would it be as simple as going into Disk Management, deleting the current partitions and quick formatting the entire disk? Or can I just start the install from a USB stick and format the drive as part of the reinstallation process? Mainly I just want to avoid a full format/secure erase process that purportedly reduces the lifespan of a SSD.

share|improve this question
    
Please include the Make/model of the SSD as certain vendors have methods of doing a "secure erase" that restores the SSD to near factory-fresh settings. –  G Koe Feb 20 '13 at 22:56
add comment

3 Answers

Why do a *full format or a secure erase unless you want to make sure there is no longer any data on the drive which can be recovered? (Not just no longer present under normal circumstances, but recoverable with effort).

As long as that is not a problem you can just boot your windows 8 iso (from a pen drive or after burning it to a CD), quick-format, install and update.

If you want to make sure that the SSD is in optimal state, then:

  • Either use the manufacturers toolbox for a cleaning.
  • Or erase all partitions. This tends to trigger a 'I am completely clean' on some SSDs. You can do the last thing from a command prompt when booting off a windows iso (Use diskpart and clean, then repartition as desired).
  • Or do a secure erase, which is something the drive does on its own (you just tell the drive to erase itself). I can do that without compromising its speed.
share|improve this answer
add comment

Short Version

Use the windows installer to delete the partition. Then tell it to install to the unpartitioned space. It will automatically build the partitions for you.

Long verion

You generally want to avoid doing full disk actions on SSD's unless necessary. There is a maximum number of writes that each sector of the flash memory can perform in the lifetime of an SSD. Though it's important to note that the "write limit" is an really large number so doing a single "full drive wipe" where you write to every sector is realistically going to have next to no noticeable impact on the life of the device.

That being said, there are very few instances where you need to perform a "full disk wipe" on an SSD. Taking out the "Master File Table", which defines the partition, and dropping a new OS will often make recovering old data almost impossible. Sure the sectors of data are there, but the files are split across all of the flash chips which makes it difficult to rebuild. The SSD controller does a lot in the background to give you the best performance possible and in doing so, makes flash drives tough to do forensic on after a reinstall.

share|improve this answer
    
Yes, the write limit was the thing I was worried about hitting up against.Thanks, this was exactly the info I was looking for! –  CompGal988 Feb 21 '13 at 15:58
    
Here's a really good article that explains how all this works if you want to really understand what is going on: arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/06/… –  Doltknuckle Feb 21 '13 at 20:54
    
Also, be a good community participant by marking questions as answered when someone provides the help you need to answer your question. Thanks! –  Doltknuckle Feb 21 '13 at 20:56
add comment

from winpe command line: (shift f8 in windows setup)

diskpart

list disk

select disk # (replace # with the disk # you wanna wipe)

clean

exit

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.