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I used PartedMagic to secure erase my Samsung EVO SATA SSD. I had created a bootable USB pen drive for the same. The process went well and SSD has been erased. It took hardly less than a minute to erase it.

However there’s one step that I did not understand. When I selected the drive, on the secure erase screen, there was a textbox for entering password. A phrase password was already written therein.

I cleared it however as I was not too sure what that password is meant for. Secure erase went fine and later I could install a fresh copy of Windows 7 on to it too. So everything looks fine. I ran 2 different data recovery software’s including Recuva and those did not find any old data despite deep scan. The only data they could find was all temporary files created and deleted by newly installed Windows only.

However the documentation https://partedmagic.com/secure-erase/ says it’s best to leave password column as default phrase ‘password’. However no further technical explanation is given therein.

What is the purpose of that password phrase in SSD Secure erase? And has leaving it blank compromised anything with respect to the secure erase process?

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The purpose of the ATA Secure Erase password is to ensure that the erasure completes successfully and cannot not be aborted to access data - even if the drive is no longer attended - unless you know the password.

Once the password is set and the erasure begins, the only actions that can be performed on the drive without knowing the original password are to either A) continue to execute the current erasure, or B) start a new erasure from scratch with a different password. The drive cannot be accessed to attempt to retrieve the original data.

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