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I'd like to wipe a stack of drives (spinning and SSD) securely. I'm familiar with the ATA Secure Erase (SE) command via hdparm, but I'm not sure if I should use the Security Erase (SE+) command instead.

There is some evidence that these commands don't work on all drives. How can I ensure the drive is really wiped, including reserve areas, reallocated sectors, and the like?

I'm planning to use a linux live CD (on USB). Ubuntu provides a workable live CD with which I can install hdparm, but is there a smaller live CD distro with updated software versions I should use instead?

So, in summary:

What are the pros and cons of SE versus SE+?

How can I ensure the drive was truly and thoroughly wiped?

Which linux distribution should I use?

share|improve this question
If you want to be sure, then do it yourself: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX iflag=nocache oflag=direct bs=4096 Replace sdX with the drive not partition, you want to wipe. A single pass is sufficient: – Paul Jul 2 '14 at 1:42
The only way to assure a drive is really "wiped" is to drive over it with your car a few times. Then drop it in an acid bath. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 2 '14 at 2:05

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