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Securely erasing SSD, without performance loss

20753 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Jan 24, 2014 5:09 AM by Lemon17. RSS
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Lemon17. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 23, 2013 5:07 AM

Hello,

 

I'm planning to format my MBP Retina.

Since it has a built in SSD, i'm not sure how to achieve a ?complete erase? of the Drive.

 

As far as I know there are 3 ways:

 

  • Simply choose "erase" in Disk Utility (Security Options are greyed out becuase of the SSD), and let TRIM do it's work.
  • Use a workaround to make "Secure Erase" possible: Erase the drive using "Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled, Encrypted)" to make Security Options available. Then Secure Erase the SSD. After that, erase the drive a second time using Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  • ATA-Secure Erase using a program like "Parted Magic".

 

 

So which should way should I go? I don't want to get this right because of security-reasons (I'm not selling it), but to get maximum performance after formatting it, without still having old trash slowing down my SSD.

 

 

 

 

Thanks,

Lemon17

MacBook Pro with Retina display, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 23, 2013 5:22 AM (in response to Lemon17.)

    Secure erase in Disk Utility write Ones then Zeros to the drive and can do that over and over for many passes. That is Extremely Bad for a SSD. That is why it is greyed out.

     

    There is in Gparted and or Parted Magic that works on a BIOS based system to run a Clean/Secure Erase command on SSDs but I'm not sure it will boot on a Mac EFI based system.

     

     

    There was a post on these forums on how to properly secure erase a SSD and it is supposedly supposed to Restore the original speed of a SSD.

     

    Here is an article on Parted Magic. I have used it on both my Intel 320 SSDs but they are installed in Windows computers.

     

    http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-20115106-285/how-to-securely-erase-an-ssd-dr ive/

  • NingOnline Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 23, 2013 6:39 AM (in response to Lemon17.)

    Hi Lemon17,

     

    Am I right when I say that you want to format your SSD and reinstall Mountain Lion OSX on it? Because I just did this yesterday with Apple Care on the phone. I have a MacBook Pro Retina 13" myself and I had to clean install it for some reasons - according to Apple Care.

     

    So we did the following (of course make sure you have backed up everything you do not want to loose):

    1. Shut down your rMBP
    2. Turn it on and while doing that, press the [command] + the [R] at the same time until you see a popup
    3. Make sure you have Internet connection (ethernet or Wifi) and enough power
    4. Select Disk Utility and continue
    5. Then select the disk you want to erase (Macintosh HD?) and click tab [Erase] and erase
    6. After this is done, you quit this screen and go back to that popup menu
    7. Choose Reinstall Mountain Lion OSX and follow the steps

     

    I asked them beforehand if this really was a clean install and if the SSD would be formatted and he said yes.

     

    Hope I could help you a little bit .

     

    Oh btw, may I ask you whether you have a 8GB or a 16GB rMBP? I am dying to find someone who has a 8GB and can tell me what the average shutdown time is since mine is (brandnew) and has always in every circumstance a shutdown time from at least 23 seconds.

     

    Message was edited by: NingOnline (added the last question to it)

  • Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)
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    Jan 23, 2013 8:03 AM (in response to Lemon17.)

    A simple Google search turned this up.

    Although it is from 2009.

     

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=841182

  • Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 23, 2013 8:18 AM (in response to NingOnline)

    I find on a normal standard MBP with Mt Lion the shutdown is slower then with Lion but not 23 seconds. More like maybe 3-9 seconds, maybe longer in some circumstances.

    With Lion the SD is almost instantaneous from selecting Apple Logo Shut down and clicking OK or from a Press of the power button and hitting the enter key.

    NingOnline wrote:

     

     

    Oh btw, may I ask you whether you have a 8GB or a 16GB rMBP? I am dying to find someone who has a 8GB and can tell me what the average shutdown time is since mine is (brandnew) and has always in every circumstance a shutdown time from at least 23 seconds.

     

     

  • NingOnline Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 23, 2013 1:27 PM (in response to Lemon17.)

    Lemon17. wrote:

    Ok, because that's what I'm curious about.

    Some People say a normal Erase (->TRIM) would not bring back all the performance / speed. Instead you should do a ATA-Secure Erase to reset the SSD to it's "factory-conditions" and to have full performance / speed.

    Oh about that I am really not sure, I am sorry. I did find an Apple Support link with what I just told you, but this is the 'official Apple way' : http://support.apple.com/kb/PH11273

     

    Shootist007 wrote:

    I find on a normal standard MBP with Mt Lion the shutdown is slower then with Lion but not 23 seconds. More like maybe 3-9 seconds, maybe longer in some circumstances.

    With Lion the SD is almost instantaneous from selecting Apple Logo Shut down and clicking OK or from a Press of the power button and hitting the enter key.

    Thank you so much for your reply! I am afraid there is really something wrong with my rMBP, although pretty much everything else is working fine (for now). They already replaced the SSD though. Stil always and in any circumstance needs 23 seconds to shut down , my brand new rMBP..

  • NingOnline Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 23, 2013 1:48 PM (in response to Lemon17.)

    Weird, I got an error while editing my previous post and now it's gone and I cannot edit it again .

    Lemon17. wrote:

     

    I got shutdown-times from 3 sec up to 12 sec.

    When I press Shutdown and close my MB right aftwerwards, the Apple-Logo sometimes glows for up to 20 sec! Strange...

     

    Thank you also for checking that out for me, I really appreciate it! I think it is just my rMBP having issues, as I said above .

     

    About your glowing Apple Logo. I think that is because you closed the MB before it was really shut down. I was talking to a friend of me about my new rMBP issues and he asked me whether those 23 seconds were before or after I close the MB. In my case it is before; I press 'shut down' and is goes immediately out of ML OSX and then it got stuck for 22 seconds in a white screen with a spinning wheel.. But it happens that the Apple Logo keeps glowing - like in your cases - when you close the MB too fast. Not sure if that would harm anything though. I am curious about what would happen if you'll wait until the MB shuts down. Would it then also take 20 seconds? Like the glowing?

  • NingOnline Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 23, 2013 2:17 PM (in response to Lemon17.)

    Lemon17. wrote:

     

    The only question now remaining is if a ATA-Secure Erase really gives you more performance / speed afterwards.

    I asked them beforehand if this really was a clean install and if the SSD would be formatted and he said yes.

    Ok, because that's what I'm curious about.

    Some People say a normal Erase (->TRIM) would not bring back all the performance / speed. Instead you should do a ATA-Secure Erase to reset the SSD to it's "factory-conditions" and to have full performance / speed.

    I googled some (Dutch) forums for you and what I have understood was that with an ATA-Secure Erase all the flashcells will be recovered and set back to zero/empty. And to answer your question; it will bring back the original performance - as they say .

     

    (You can translate the page via Google, first one is in English)

    1. http://www.anandtech.com/show/2738/11
    2. http://gathering.tweakers.net/forum/list_messages/1470796?data%5Bfilter_keywords %5D=ssd%20formatteren&data%5Bboolean%5D=AND
    3. http://www.onemorething.nl/community/topic/ssd-in-plaats-van-superdrive/
    4. http://www.webhostingtalk.nl/colocation/170929-reden-om-geen-ssd-te-gebruiken-vo or-server-3.html#axzz2Iq1eML9g
  • NingOnline Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2013 2:25 PM (in response to Lemon17.)

    You're welcome . I think the difference is lying in the kind of SSD they are talking about? Because Apple has a different kind of SSD than another brand like Samsung. But I am not an expert at this field haha.

     

    And what I meant about the glowing logo was; you said when you shut your MB down and close it directly after, the logo keeps glowing for like 20 seconds (is your MB already 100% shut down or is it processing the shut down?). I was wondering if the shut down also would be 20 seconds if you had not closed the MB in that same case.

  • Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2013 3:01 PM (in response to NingOnline)

    There are no Different Kinds of SSDs. There are different Controllers used but a SSD is a SSD (Solid State Drive).

     

    The difference between the one used in an Air model and the one used in any other standard computer, whether notebook or desktop, is the case that surrounds the Flash Memory. In a Standard model it looks just like a notebook, 2.5", hard drive, whether it is used in a desktop or notebook, and the one used in the Air models don't have any case around it and it may be of a different shape. That is so Apple could fit it into the confined space of the Air model.

  • NingOnline Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2013 3:28 PM (in response to Shootist007)

    Isn't it so that there are different kinds of qualities in SSD? Like this is also the case with batteries or HDDs. Maybe some react different after an ATA Secure Erase than others? I am thinking aloud now, just curious and always good to know .

     

    Also, we are discussing the SSD in a MacBook Pro Retina. Would that be the same as the one you mentioned about the Air?

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