How to securely dispose of your solid state drive according to Backblaze

By Shawn Knight ยท 32 replies
Mar 16, 2017
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  1. Whether you’re looking for more capacity, better performance or are simply replacing a dead drive, every storage drive eventually reached end-of-life status.

    There are plenty of commonly-accepted methods for disposing of a traditional hard drive but as Backblaze reminds us, many of these techniques aren’t effective when dealing with solid state drives. Here, then, are a few useful techniques for disposing of dated solid state drives.

    Degaussing a drive by subjecting it to a very strong magnet can be effective against spinning media but is useless against data stored on chips inside SSDs so don't waste your time.

    Physically destroying a drive by drilling into it or hammering in nails is incredibly effective against mechanical drives but not so much with SSDs. Unless you ensure that the drill or nail goes through each and every memory chip, it’s technically possible for data to still be retrieved from a drive that appears to be destroyed.

    One of the better ways to protect data on an old SSD is to encrypt the drive. Without the passcode or encryption key, Backblaze notes, any data on the drive will be useless to those that may come across it. As an added step, the online storage provider suggests reformatting the drive, encrypting it and reformatting it again.

    If you want to be absolutely certain that nobody can retrieve data from your old SSD, take the above steps to encrypt it and then shredding it into tiny pieces. This method isn’t cheap, however, as you’ll need special equipment to do so although I suspect some quality time with a selection of power tools could pull off similar results. Or, you could always burn it.

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  2. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 574   +316

    Dust your pestle and mortar for 100% success.
  3. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,019   +661

    "Or, you could always burn it." Temperature? Duration?
  4. mcborge

    mcborge TS Guru Posts: 426   +278

    Thermite, that will do the trick.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,339   +1,986

    So a trip through the garbage disposal followed by internment in the septic tank isn't secure enough? Can't imagine any self respecting ruskie spy taking that swim ....... or maybe General Flynn ..... ???
    Ben Myers likes this.
  6. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 718   +236

    You know what the best part is, the moment you actually deleted something important want to recover it no amount of effort or time in the universe can get that file back.

    But when you want to wipe and old drive you need to detonate 4 nukes on it to be safe or else someone is just gonna slap that in linux and see all your data with 2 keystrokes?
    James00007, lazer, JamesSWD and 5 others like this.
  7. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
    madboyv1 likes this.
  8. SpatulaCity

    SpatulaCity TS Rookie

    Seems like a perfect solution for a company like Backblaze. :)
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,725   +3,699

  10. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,283   +242

    Use AMD to destroy storage media... I mean a steamroller... ;)
  11. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Addict Posts: 173   +55

    What are people storing on their systems that makes blending a necessity??? The mind boggles....
  12. Steed

    Steed TS Booster Posts: 46   +27

    Special Equipment ? But does it blend ? Just chuck the M2 ssd into your blendtec blender and I am pretty sure it will be disposed of just as well as if done with the special expensive equipment.
  13. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    The most effective and cheapest way to do it it to hand it to one of those stupid YouTubers who like to destroy tech. That way you know your data gets destroyed and they get to upload another meaningless video just to get another 10 views. It's a win-win both ways.
  14. MarkHughes

    MarkHughes TS Addict Posts: 143   +73

    A cheap angle grinder will reduce most chips to dust in quite a short time. Some particles of which will blow away in the wind... Good luck recovering data from that. The real cloud based data storage.
  15. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    Samsung could make a self-destructing drive ;)
  16. MarkHughes

    MarkHughes TS Addict Posts: 143   +73

    That's a major burn right there....
    cliffordcooley and stewi0001 like this.
  17. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,339   +1,986

    I thought they already did that with phones and washing machines? Should be an easy adaptation .....
    I thought they already did that with phones and washing machines? Should be an easy adaptation .....
    MonkeyBoyX8000 likes this.
  18. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    Mmmm that's something I oddly never thought about, we always tend to "reformat" an X number of times with the old HDD, but I never thought about encrypting it, once and that's it, much simpler, I like it!
  19. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 529   +7

    This is definitly the easiest solution for most people here. I have a nice dewalt angle grinder that would mess up all the chips pretty easily in about 1 min :) Any cheap one would do the trick nicely though. way easier then drilling.
  20. erickmendes

    erickmendes TS Maniac Posts: 308   +107

    You can bath it in goat's blood then draw a pentagram on it. Always work for me.
    Cycloid Torus and mcborge like this.
  21. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    A lot of times its just the controller that goes bad, which can be repaired/replaced, albeit its expensive. The guys from said they get countless SSD's like the old Vertex 2's where motherboards/Windows won't recognize the drive at all, but the NAND is still good so the data is still there.
  22. skribat

    skribat TS Rookie

    I like that, you haven't lost your sense of humour
  23. MarkHughes

    MarkHughes TS Addict Posts: 143   +73

    I find it hard getting gallons of goats blood these days though, All health and safety bullshit if you ask me. It's PC gone mad I tell you.
    mcborge likes this.
  24. Godel

    Godel TS Booster Posts: 76   +27

    There's also the program HDDErase which uses a firmware routine in all modern drives to supposedly wipe the whole disk, including bad sectors and reserved space.

    I think it wasn't always implemented properly in early SSDs but hopefully that's been fixed. I know that at least one of the SSD manufacturers recommends it as the preferred wipe method (Kingston?).
  25. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 711   +381


    L M A O

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