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.

On platter drives, when it is time to dispose of them, a degaussing takes care of the data and in most cases erases the factory pre-recorded servo tracks rendering the drive useless.

What does one do to an SSD to get the same data destructive and rendered useless assurances?

EDIT:

Would taking it out of the case an microwaving it do the trick?

share|improve this question
2  
There's a great answer on securely erasing SSDs here. –  Bob Sep 1 '13 at 15:02
    
@Bob - that seems to reaffirm my concern. There are a lot of "ifs" and "assumptions" –  Carl B Sep 1 '13 at 15:08
    
On the other hand, your degaussing would effectively permanently destroy a HDD. You could physically destroy both HDDs and SSDs for a similar effect. –  Bob Sep 1 '13 at 15:15
4  
@techie007 not quite the same - this one is about possibly destructive erasure for permanent disposal, while the other is about wiping with the intention of further use. –  Bob Sep 1 '13 at 16:20
1  
@Bob is correct. Voting to reopen. –  DragonLord Sep 3 '13 at 2:59

5 Answers 5

With any device, completely physically destroying it would work. For example, dumping a load of thermite on top, or throwing it into an incinerator. Unfortunately, unlike HDDs, drilling a couple of holes randomly likely won't work - but if you can locate the flash chips, you can smash those up.

Apart from that, SSDs all (to the best of my knowledge, though it is difficult to confirm without testing) implement the ATA secure erase command (or its SCSI equivalent), which can be sent to cause the firmware to erase all data.

share|improve this answer
8  
It would not be ecologically wise to incinerate and I can't store thermite at the house anymore...not after the last incident...jk –  Carl B Sep 1 '13 at 15:23
    
@CarlB At this point, you're effectively asking me (or someone else) either to say "yes, you can use your HDD degausser on them", or "here's an exact equivalent for a SSD". Such a device (or concept) simply does not exist. If you want to be 'environmentally friendly', take them apart, recycle the case, and incinerate the PCB. If you want to be fast, incinerate the whole thing. If you want both, pay someone else you can trust to do the first. Your only other possible option is, say, running a large current through it. That's not exactly reliable, though. –  Bob Sep 1 '13 at 15:27
    
Actually, IIRC HDD degaussing units rely on rapidly fluctuating magnetic fields. I wonder if a more powerful field could induce a large enough current to destroy a SSD? Anyway, that is not currently commercially available (and may not even be feasible - it was just a random suggestion). –  Bob Sep 1 '13 at 15:30
1  
If you trust the ATA secure erase command to do what it says it does ... –  ultrasawblade Sep 1 '13 at 16:37
1  
I vote for disassembling the thing and smashing all chips with a good ol' hammer. And then recycle the case. –  Vorac Sep 20 '13 at 15:37

To avoid RSI, fumes or electric shocks, I suggest buying a blender to shred the cards.

These are always fun: What Happens When You Blend A PS2 Memory Card?

Funny yes. But considering the cards are too small for normal office shredders - probably the practical solution.

share|improve this answer
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I found a couple of solutions that are destructive to .375 particle size. The "Crushers" are not cheap, but if info destruction is required, this looks like a way to do it without setting the drives on fire.

This looks like it will do for a desk top situation with low volume SSD- Hard Drive Crushers - CUI / Commercial Use.

crusher

And this one is more costly, but at .375 particle size:

crusher2

share|improve this answer
1  
Wow that's impressive, 9 second cycle. It would suck if the form factor of ssd changed though... –  50-3 Dec 26 '13 at 5:36

With solid state drive you need to invoke a Secure Erase command in the disk controller or ATA Secure Erase command. Now in theory this will be "secure" and you wouldn't be able to recover the data after that. This however is not always the case as discussed over on the security SE ATA security erase on SSD

Kingston has published an article on the subject as well "SSD Data Wiping: Sanitize or Secure Erase SSDs?"

Now as Bob said "With any device, completely physically destroying it would work" this is and will always be the only way to guarantee that the device will be permanently inoperable with no chance of data recovery. Now like you said not all of us have access to thermite however that shouldn't stop you from going over the top to destroy it. You could use electrolysis you could use a microwave or you can use the age old technique of getting a hammer and converting your storage device into dust.
Discalmer: Great fun the first time you do it but gets tiring on your 5th device

share|improve this answer

Well I don't know about pc but I'm sure there is an equivilent. On mac you can boot up on the recovery HD or the disc/ USB you used to install your os and you say erase all data then erase free space. After you have "erased" everything the data is still there it's just made "available" and will be gone once you write over it. So in mac you say erase free space and set the slider to most secure them hit the go button and wait.

share|improve this answer
1  
I'll say it again: software overwriting cannot be guaranteed to work on SSDs, due to how they work. –  Bob Sep 4 '13 at 2:28
    
@brom954 - the challenge, as Bob has stated, is software solutions are not rendering the drive useless. There are areas on the disk that hold data that may not get touched - the provisioning area for one. –  Carl B Sep 4 '13 at 6:01

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.