SSDs are built differently from hard drives physically, but both have the same functionality and the same methods to delete files safely and completely without leaving any traces.
Making sure that all data is entirely deleted from your solid-state drive (SSD) is essential, whether you’re getting rid of an old computer or simply cleaning up critical information. Due to their intricate internal architecture and wear-leveling mechanisms, SSDs pose distinct difficulties when safely removing data, unlike regular hard drives.
Here, we are going to guide you on how you can delete all your data completely and securely from your SSD. By adhering to these recommendations, you can delete data and remove it’s traces from your SSD.
How To Securely Delete Files Stored On A SSD?
Here are the 5 ways to do so:
- Use Secure File Deletion Methods
- Perform Secure Formatting
- Use a Reputed Third-Party Tool
- Physical Destruction as a Last Resort
- Enable Full Disk Encryption (FDE)
You can securely delete your stored file using ATA or secure erasing methods, performing secure formatting, physical disk destruction, or using the enabled full disc encryption method. You can also use professional applications to delete your data securely and completely.
Use Secure File Deletion Methods
It is critical to use safe file deletion mechanisms to further improve data security. Traditional approaches, such as pressing the “Delete” key or dragging files to the trash bin, are insufficient since they indicate the storage space as ready for reuse. Secure erase and ATA secure erase are two effective approaches for safe file deletion.
Some SSD manufacturers have a built-in secure erase capability that completely wipes the disc. Each flash memory cell is reset during this operation, making data recovery difficult. Check the paperwork or website of your SSD manufacturer to see if this capability is available for your drive model.
You can use the ATA Secure Erase command if your SSD lacks a secure erase function. This command directs the SSD’s software to wipe the whole disc, permanently erasing all data. Several third-party applications, including Parted Magic and Secure Erase, make ATA Secure Erase easier to use.
Perform Secure Formatting
If you want to sell or gift your SSD, encrypted formatting is a good way to protect data privacy. Secure formatting entails completely deleting the disc, including the file system structures, leaving the contents unreadable. Use disc formatting software such as Disc Utility (Mac) or Disc Management (Windows) to safely format your SSD.
Disc Management’s safe formatting feature in Windows 10 makes it simple to completely remove all data from a storage drive while also assuring that it is securely destroyed and cannot be restored.
Here is a step-by-step tutorial on utilizing Windows 10’s Disc Management to execute secure formatting:
The first step is to launch Disc Management by pressing the Windows key + X and choosing “Disc Management” from the pop-up menu. You will get a list of all the storage devices connected to your computer once Disc Management opens.
Decide which device you wish to safely format. Ensure you choose the right device because the operation will wipe all its data. Choose “Format” from the context menu when right-click on the destination device.
The file system for the device can be selected in the Format dialogue box that displays. NTFS is often the choice that Windows 10 recommends. Make sure the “Quick Format” checkbox is not selected. This option formats the data more quickly but does not safely delete it.
To begin the formatting process, click the “OK” button afterward. You’ll receive a notification informing you that the device will be completely deleted. Before moving on, make sure you have chosen the proper device.
After you approve the formatting, Disc Management will safely delete all the device’s data. Depending on the size and speed of the device, this operation might take some time.
Use a Reputed Third-Party Tool
Several trustworthy third-party solutions are accessible for safely erasing SSD data. CCleaner, Eraser, and DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) are examples. Download these programs from their official websites to avoid any potential security issues.
It is essential to back up any vital data you wish to save before beginning the secure deletion procedure. This step protects you from unintentionally erasing crucial files. Once you’ve downloaded the chosen third-party tool, install it on your Windows 10 computer, then start it.
Find and choose the SSD drive that you wish to safely remove data from from the tool’s interface. Carefully select the appropriate drive to prevent unintentional data loss.
Every third-party program provides a variety of secure deletion approaches, such as repeated passes or data overwriting methods. Choosing the best approach depends on your needs. Multiple passes using random data are typically seen as safer.
Once you’ve decided on the secure deletion technique you want to use, the program will prompt you to begin the procedure. This procedure might take a long time, depending on the size of the SSD and the technique used.
Physical Destruction as a Last Resort
Physical destruction of the SSD is the most failsafe option in severe instances where total data protection is necessary. Disassembling the disc and physically destroying the flash memory chips ensure the data is completely irrecoverable. However, this should be considered only when all other options are impractical or impossible.
Enable Full Disk Encryption (FDE)
Full Disc Encryption is one of the most effective techniques to ensure safe file deletion on an SSD. Enabling FDE automatically encrypts all data saved on the SSD. When you remove a file, the encryption key is lost, making the contents unavailable. Encryption techniques such as BitLocker (Windows) or FileVault (Mac) can be used to enable FDE.
Microsoft’s BitLocker disc encryption technology is available in several editions of the Windows operating system. It is intended to prevent unauthorized access, theft, or loss of the data on your computer’s hard drive or other storage devices.
A drive’s entire contents are encrypted when BitLocker is activated, rendering it unusable without the proper encryption key. It gives your data a high degree of security, even if someone steals your computer or physically takes the disc from it.
Are SSDs More Secure than HDDs?
SSDs have several benefits over HDDs in terms of security. Hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs) are two common types of storage used in computers and other electronic devices. The different methods for storing and retrieving data are one of the primary causes.
SSDs employ flash memory chips to store data instead of spinning magnetic discs and read/write heads like HDDs do. Because of this basic technological distinction, SSDs provide several security advantages.
First, SSDs are less vulnerable to physical harm and data loss from drops or shocks because they don’t have any moving components. It indicates that information saved on SSDs is often more secure against inadvertent harm brought on by carelessness or accidents.
SSDs provide rapid and efficient data erasure capabilities, another security benefit. SSDs employ a procedure called “TRIM” to improve speed to identify data blocks that are no longer in use.
The TRIM command guarantees that the related memory cells are instantly and securely erased when data is destroyed from an SSD, making data recovery more challenging. On the other hand, HDDs store data magnetically on rotating discs, and even when files are removed from a drive, remnants of the data may still be there, making the data theoretically recoverable.
SSDs also provide improved security via encryption against unauthorized access. Modern SSDs frequently have hardware encryption built right in. It implies that information on the device can be encrypted using cutting-edge methods, making it more challenging for unauthorized users to access or retrieve private data.
Although software-based encryption is also an option for HDDs, the procedure frequently causes the drive’s performance to suffer, in contrast to hardware encryption on SSDs, which has little effect on speed.
Do SSD Retain Deleted Data?
Yes, SSD retains data, and you can recover it anytime. SSDs use NAND flash memory technology, which comprises cells storing electrical charges. These cells are arranged into pages, and a block comprises several pages. These pages retain data on them.
When data is written to an SSD, the cells’ electrical charge is changed to store the information. Programming enables the quick and effective storage and retrieval of data.
An SSD’s controller designates the associated cells as being accessible for writing new data when data is removed from the SSD. To put it another way, the SSD no longer accepts the erased data as legitimate.
However, SSDs use a process known as wear leveling as opposed to conventional hard drives, where the data is instantaneously replaced. Wear leveling equally distributes write operations among all accessible cells to save certain cells from wearing down more quickly than others.
Wear leveling extends the life of an SSD but also increases the chance that erased data may remain on the disc for a while after deletion. It occurs because, to preserve peak performance and prevent excessive wear on a particular group of cells, the drive’s controller does not instantly erase the deleted data cells.
It’s crucial to remember that compared to conventional hard drives, and an SSD has a far smaller probability of having lost data recovered. Data retention on SSDs decreases over time as fresh data is written due to the nature of NAND flash memory. Furthermore, retrieving erased data from an SSD is a difficult procedure that requires specialized equipment and knowledge.
Protecting sensitive data requires safely erasing files from an SSD. Specific approaches should be used to ensure that data is entirely deleted and cannot be retrieved by unauthorized people due to the distinctive architecture and wear-leveling features of SSDs.
When Full Disc Encryption (FDE) is enabled, all data on the SSD is encrypted and rendered unreadable when files are removed. By resetting the memory cells and permanently wiping data, secure file deletion techniques like secure erase and ATA secure erase can further improve data security.
Physically destroying the SSD might be the last option in situations where complete data security is required. It’s vital to remember that SSDs provide security benefits over HDDs, including physical damage resistance, effective data-erasing capabilities, and built-in encryption features.
The chances of retrieving lost data from an SSD are substantially lower than from conventional hard drives, even though SSDs keep erased data for some time due to wear leveling.
Hey, I’m Hammad. I write for this website to help you with the IT advice about PC, RAM, CPU, Motherboard, PSU, and other PC components.
I will provide detailed guides with images, and explain step by step so you can understand the process. Check all my articles here.