I have Windows 8 installed on my SSD. I would like to low-level format it several times (I heard it has to be at least 20 times on SSDs) to make the files unrecoverable. Does anyone know if it is possible for me to somehow do this to the same drive on which the OS is installed?”
- Question from LINUS TECH TIPS
Things you should know before SSD low-level format
Figuring out the following two points will help you understand the low-level format of an SSD and let you operate more easily.
▶ What is low-level format?
Format disk partition is actually the operation of initializing a disk or disk partition. Formatting can delete all files in an existing disk or partition. Formatting is divided into the low-level format and high-level format.
◥ The high-level format(HLF): refers to reformat each partition after the hard disk is partitioned. Just clear the data on the partition, generate boot information, initialize the FAT table, mark logical bad sectors, etc. The format we usually talk about is the high-level format.
◥ The low-level format (LLF): refers to the hard disk is divided into cylinders and tracks, and then divides the tracks into several sectors. Each sector is divided into identification part ID, interval area, GAP, and data area DATA. The low-level format is a necessary prerequisite for the high-level format. Each SSD and HDD has been low-level formatted before leaving the factory.
▶ The difference between HDD and SSD
HDD and SSD are both data storage devices, but there are differences between the two. HDD (mechanical hard drive) is mainly composed of a disk, a head shaft and a control motor, a head controller, a data converter, an interface, and a cache. Its speed is determined by RPM, the higher the RPM, the faster the device. Usually, it has a larger capacity but runs slower.
SSD (solid-state drives) is made of a solid-state electronic memory chip array. It consists of a control unit (FLASH chip) and a storage unit (DRAM chip). It is a smaller and faster running speed, but the price is higher than HDD. Due to the excellent performance of SSD, more and more users want to use SSD. Common SSD brands are Samsung, Kingston, Seagate, WD, Intel, SanDisk, etc.
Why do you need to low-level format SSD?
Generally, if you want to perform low-level format operations on SSD, it means that your SSD has the following conditions:
✦ As time goes by, the performance of SSD will be greatly reduced. If you want to restore it to its peak performance, you can perform low-level format on it. ✦ You can also perform low format SSD if you need to reinstall Windows. Because the regular format cannot really clean it, and it will actually damage the lifespan. ✦ In order to protect personal privacy, you need to delete all data from it without recovery.
The ways to low-level format SSD on Windows
Since the way of writing data on SSD is completely different from that on HDD, you cannot use the "zero fillings" method for low-level format. Secure Erase is a low-level format method for SSDs, which ensures that all data stored on the SSD storage device is cleaned up, to restore SSD performance.
✍ Note: If you want to know how to low-level format HDD, a low-level format tool for Windows may help you a lot.
Here, I will introduce to you an effective tool for securely erasing SSD. AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is an excellent third-party utility without any bundled software, suitable for various brands of SSD. It is loved by users in the market for its simple operation and powerful functions.
Warning: Connect the SSD to the Windows 7 PC through the SATA port. To ensure that the erasing process goes smoothly, you cannot connect through the USB port because there may be problems.
Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. In the interface of AOMEI Partition Assistant, click "Wipe" > "SSD Secure Erase".
Step 2.Select the SSD that you want to securely erase and click "Next".
Step 3. Double-check the SSD identification information in case of erasing the wrong SSD because the data is unrecoverable after the Erase. Now, you will see the SSD is in a frozen state. To continue, you need to perform a hot-swap.
Sometimes, Secure Erase SSD requires hot-swapping the drive to unlock it from the frozen state.
★ To perform Hot Swap
1. Open computer case, rear cover or drive shell and find out the SSD you’ll erase.
2. Unplug the power cable and then disconnect the SATA data cable from SSD.
3. After a few seconds, reconnect the SATA cable to the SATA port and then plug the power cable back to complete the hot-swap.
Step 4. Click "Next" to start the SSD Secure Erase.
After the secure erase process is complete, you will see the SSD shown as a block of unallocated space. Besides, it also allows erasing C drive if you need.
If you have read my above description carefully, I believe you have a clearer understanding of how to low-level format SSD. Especially with the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, you can easily low-level format SSD with a few clicks.