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Community Manager

Clearing X25-E/M drives (factory erase): Need software tool

We have dozens of the X25-E SSD drives which might hold senstive information. However, in order to reuse the drives for different systems (or to send out for warranty/transportation), they need to be wiped clean. While I know there are third-party tools which "overwrite" drives, this is not recommended for SSDs because it does not release the SLC blocks for writing as it were from the factory, nor can they guarantee every block is overwritten due to the extra unaddressable SLC memory and the proprietary firmware operating the Intel drive. Therefore, I'm looking for an Intel tool to 'zeroize' the SSD back to the factory state (before it was shipped). Some other companies utilize the ATA command for SECURE ERASE to destroy data (e.g. MemoRight SSDs).

Please do not reply with "just ecrypt your data" because this is not a feasible option for me and it does not reset SSD cell blocks. Also, please do not reply with something like "Use BCWipe" because this is not the same clearing procedure and it also does not reset SSD cell blocks.

I am aware that SSDs use a unique write procedure which involves reading/erasing/writing blocks of data unless those cells have been reset with ATA commands or a special erase tools by the manufacturer. You should be familiar with this, too, before you respond to this post.

Does anybody have something from Intel, or a link to instructions or a product which knows how to accomplish this erasure?

Thank you for any insight.


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sorry to be a pain but i doubt you'll get that tool by asking it here. I doubt that a public available tool that performs this function exists from intel.

i guess you're in the same boat as all of us. you'll just have to zero out the drive completely.

but i don't understand why you are worried about the zeroing out not writting data completely to the drives. true that SSD do come with spare sectors that get remapped in case a normal sector goes bad, but there is no reason to use these spare sectors unless an atual sector goes bad. (same with normal HDD, which have a grown defects list).


Community Manager

Just to clarify, "zeroing" an SSD drive certainly destroys data, but it does not necessarily clear (or attempt to clear) the bad sectors or any spare blocks. Also, using a data overwrite will never 'reset' the flash blocks so the firmware knows they are immediately available for overwrite (as opposed to executing the read/erase/write event for blocks which contain data already).

I ended up speaking with Intel and they recommended HDDerase, but they could not 1) guarantee it erases everything on the X25 and 2) they could not verify it would do the "SECURE ERASE" procedure specified in the ATA standards. I'll experiment with it and see if it can be accomplished, even if the system's BIOS ATA settings needs to be tweaked a little to succeed. If I learn anything, I'll update this thread.

Considering the Government and Military might be one of the largest users of flash drives initially, I find it very lazy on Intel's part not to supply this kind of utility to clear sensitive/classified data, especially should any SSD need to be RMA's for replacement. Who wants to send in a drive with potential sensitive data on it to an repair center?

Community Manager

Intel promised to release some diagnostic tool too, but I am tired to wait it...

I even don't know is my x25-e drive OK or not S.M.A.R.T. implementation is different from other manufacturers, that's why S.M.A.R.T. monitoring is useless (without additional knowledge)

Community Manager

To answer my own question, HDDErase does work and it works quickly on the X25-E drives. However, what Intel didn't mention before was that version 4.0 isn't compatible. HDDErase 3.3 is required, and the following page explains the situation in more detail:

and here:

So, for those of you looking for a secure erase (also helpful to remove pesky rootkits), this should help.