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How to destroy an SSD & keep your data safe

Last checked and updated on 9 August 2022

When it comes to data security, there are a few different ways to protect your information – and destroying a Solid State Drive(SSD) is one of them. If you’re getting rid of an old SSD, or if you want to make sure that your data can’t be accessed by anyone else, then you’ll need to know how to destroy the drive securely.

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In this article, we’ll talk about how an SSD works differently from a HDD, and we’ll discuss the different methods you can use to destroy an SSD. We’ll also cover how to erase data on an SSD securely, and we’ll mention some mistakes that you should avoid when destroying an SSD.

When to destroy an SSD?

There are a number of reasons why you might want to destroy an SSD.

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  • Measure sales conversions
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  • Upgrading your device – to a newer model so you’ll want to make sure that your data can’t be accessed by anyone else on your old device.
  • Selling your device – and want to make sure the new owner can’t access your data.
  • Donating your device – to someone and don’t want them to have access to your personal data.
  • Cleaning up device – for other users in your home, so they can’t access your data.

How an SSD is different from a HDD

SSDs are different from HDDs, or hard disk drives, in a few key ways. With an HDD data is recorded onto a magnetic spinning disk. The data on an SSD is instead stored on interconnected flash-memory chips, transistors, and capacitors. Because of how they’re constructed, SSDs are generally more durable than HDDs – they’re not as susceptible to physical shocks, and they don’t have any moving parts that can break down.

As SSDs don’t have any moving parts they are much faster than HDDs, which means they can boot up your computer more quickly and access data more quickly.

As SSDs and HDDs function differently it means that some ways of sanitising HDDs don’t work on SSDs. For example, with an HDD you can physically destroy the disk platters with a hammer or drill. This will make sure that the data on the drive is irretrievable – but it doesn’t work for SSDs, as they don’t have a platter.

The same goes for degaussing, which is a process of using magnets to scramble the data on a drive. This can work for HDDs, but SSDs don’t store data magnetically so degaussing won’t have any effect.

How to erase data on SSD?

There are a few different ways to destroy an SSD.

Built-in purge functionality

The first is to use the built-in purge functionality that some SSDs have. This is a feature that’s designed to securely erase all the data on an SSD. To use this feature, you’ll need to run a special command on your computer. The process will vary depending on your specific drive, so you’ll need to consult your SSD’s documentation.

Wipe with disk-wiping software

Another option is to use disk-wiping software, which is a program that overwrites all the data on a drive multiple times. This will make it impossible to recover any of the data that was on the drive. To use this method, you’ll need to install the disk-wiping software. Once the software is installed, you’ll need to follow the program’s instructions to securely erase your SSD.

Physically destroy the SSD

If you don’t want to take any chances with your data, then you can physically destroy your SSD. This will make it impossible for anyone to recover any of the data that was on the drive. To do this, you’ll need to use hard drive shredder, which will shred the SSD into small pieces. With this method you have to be careful as SSDs contain toxins which are harmful to your health and the environment. If you do choose this method using a professional service is probably the best option.

Mistakes to avoid when destroying an SSD

One mistake to avoid is trying to degauss or physically destroy an SSD in the same way you would a HDD. As we mentioned earlier, this won’t work as SSDs don’t store data magnetically and they don’t have any moving parts that can be destroyed.

Another mistake to avoid is using a regular data-wiping program to erase your SSD. While this might work for HDDs, it’s not effective for SSDs. This is because most data-wiping programs only overwrite the data on a drive once, but SSDs can store multiple layers of data in the same location. This means that some of the data on the SSD might still be recoverable even after you’ve used a data-wiping program.

The best way to make sure your data is truly gone is to use a professional service that specialises in data destruction. They will have the necessary tools and expertise to securely erase your SSD so that your data can never be recovered. They also will provide you with a certificate of destruction, which can be handy if you ever need to prove that you destroyed your data.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to destroy an SSD, then you have a few different options. You can use the built-in purge functionality, wipe the drive with disk-wiping software, physically destroy the SSD, or use a professional service. Whichever method you choose, just make sure that you don’t try to degauss or physically destroy an SSD in the same way you would a HDD. Doing so won’t work and could potentially lead to data recovery by outside actors.

Destroying an SSD is a permanent way to make sure your data can never be recovered. If you have sensitive data on your drive, then you should consider using one of the methods we’ve mentioned in this article. With the right tools and expertise, you can securely erase your SSD so that your data is truly gone.

FAQs on how to destroy an SSD

Can I physically destroy an SSD by myself?

Yes, you can physically destroy an SSD by yourself. However, it’s important to note that this will void any warranty that you have on the drive.

Is there a way to securely erase data on an SSD without destroying the drive?

Yes, there are a few ways to securely erase data on an SSD. You can use the built-in purge functionality or wipe the drive with disk-wiping software.

I don’t want to take any chances with my data. Is there a way to make sure it’s truly gone?

The best way to make sure your data is truly gone is to use a professional service that specialises in data destruction. They will have the necessary tools and expertise to securely erase your SSD so that your data can never be recovered.

What are some mistakes to avoid when destroying an SSD?

Some mistakes to avoid include trying to degauss or physically destroy an SSD in the same way you would a HDD and using a regular data-wiping program to erase your SSD.

I need to prove that I destroyed my data. Can a professional service provide me with this?

Yes, most professional data destruction services will provide you with a certificate of destruction. This can be handy if you ever need to prove that you destroyed your data.

What are the differences between SSDs and HDDs?

HDDs are traditional spinning drives that store data magnetically on disk platters. SSDs are newer drives that use flash memory to store data. SSDs are typically faster and more durable than HDDs, but they also cost more.

Can you destroy a SSD by degaussing?

No, degaussing will not destroy a SSD. This is because SSDs don’t store data magnetically.

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