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format/wipe SSD
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Author:  toronado455 [ Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:49 pm ]
Post subject:  format/wipe SSD

Is formatting a SSD any different from a HDD? I've always just booted from a CD with some disk formatting tools and done it that way. But the CD I use is a really old Seagate tools thing. Can anyone recommend something more up to date?

Author:  CA_Steve [ Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

I used the Windows 7 install disk to format the SSD.

Author:  pet [ Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

CA_Steve wrote:
I used the Windows 7 install disk to format the SSD.

And Windows 7 will partition the SSD so that it is well aligned to 4Kb boundaries.

That's important, failing to do so can impact the SSD performance.

Author:  andyb [ Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

Anything that either wipes the MBR (master boot record) or formats the drive in any other format from the one that you will actually be using will work because when you come to format the drive via the OS Loader (e.g. Windows 7 DVD) it will then either see an empty MBR and replace it as it formats it, or it will see a different partition type (e.g. fat32) and reformat it which will also overwrite the MBR.

The preferred option is the one that simply overwrites the MBR.


Andy

Author:  toronado455 [ Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

I don't need to do a low-level format, but I would like it to look like a blank, previously unformatted, unpartitioned disk. Just "unallocated space" I guess is what it's called. I think I can do that with GParted. I'm trying to avoid having the Windows installer give me that message "We've detected a previous Windows installation" yadda yadda yadda.

Author:  Spoon Boy [ Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

doesn't your ssd manufacturer provide a tool to wipe the drive ?
I have a OCZ drive and there toolbox lets you wipe it returning it to factory settings, blanking the drive.

Not that you should need to, just treat it like you used to with your HDD, i don't think formatting programs know if its a SSD or HDD.

Author:  m1st [ Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

If you're not looking to sanitize the data and are just trying to make it look like a completely blank disk, this can be done via DISKPART.

I'm assuming you can throw the disk into a computer running Windows XP or later.

1. Open a command prompt with administrator rights.
2. Type "DISKPART"
3. Once this opens, type "LIST DISK"
4. The physical disks connected to the computer will be listed. Identify the drive you want to wipe. ***MAKE SURE YOU IDENTIFY THE RIGHT DISK!!!***
5. Assume the disk you want to wipe is disk 1. Type "SELECT DISK 1"
6. Type "CLEAN"

This will wipe all configuration information off the disk, including partition and MBR information. You can type "EXIT" twice to exit DISKPART and cmd.

Author:  Spoon Boy [ Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

You don't even need a operating system installed to access diskpart,
It can be done when you boot up using the windows 7 install media just hit Shift+F10 and it will bring up a command prompt.
This helped me out a few times when things had gone horribly wrong :oops:

Author:  mkk [ Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

A regular Windows 7 installation image will let you delete partitions before installing if you so wish, through its clickable menu system. People are so used to the tools they've used before that they might not look for new standard features. :)

Author:  toronado455 [ Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

pet wrote:
CA_Steve wrote:
I used the Windows 7 install disk to format the SSD.
And Windows 7 will partition the SSD so that it is well aligned to 4Kb boundaries. That's important, failing to do so can impact the SSD performance.
I don't have a Windows 7 install disk. I have an XP install disk. What is my best option? Use the XP install disk to format the drive, or some other boot media / disk tool? I want to boot from some sort of optical media to do this.
Spoon Boy wrote:
doesn't your ssd manufacturer provide a tool to wipe the drive ?
Not that I could find on the Crucial site. It's a Crucial SSD.
Spoon Boy wrote:
I have a OCZ drive and there toolbox lets you wipe it returning it to factory settings, blanking the drive.
Not that you should need to, just treat it like you used to with your HDD, i don't think formatting programs know if its a SSD or HDD.
Well, that gets to the heart of my question. Does it require any "special handling" because it is an SSD? According to pet it needs to be partitioned "so that it is well aligned to 4Kb boundaries". I have no idea how to do that.

Author:  washu [ Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

toronado455 wrote:
I don't have a Windows 7 install disk. I have an XP install disk. What is my best option? Use the XP install disk to format the drive, or some other boot media / disk tool? I want to boot from some sort of optical media to do this.

No, you cannot use an XP install disk to create properly aligned partitions, at least not easily. If you can, find a PC with Windows 7 and create the partition there. Another option is to download the Windows 7 trial and make a partition using the installer. After that cancel out and start the XP install. Format, but DO NOT delete the partition that windows 7 created.

Author:  toronado455 [ Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

washu wrote:
toronado455 wrote:
I don't have a Windows 7 install disk. I have an XP install disk. What is my best option? Use the XP install disk to format the drive, or some other boot media / disk tool? I want to boot from some sort of optical media to do this.

No, you cannot use an XP install disk to create properly aligned partitions, at least not easily. If you can, find a PC with Windows 7 and create the partition there. Another option is to download the Windows 7 trial and make a partition using the installer. After that cancel out and start the XP install. Format, but DO NOT delete the partition that windows 7 created.
Aren't there free disk tools out there that can do what I need? Something that is designed specifically for this task? I thought GParted was such a tool, but I don't really know.

Author:  washu [ Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

toronado455 wrote:
Aren't there free disk tools out there that can do what I need? Something that is designed specifically for this task? I thought GParted was such a tool, but I don't really know.

Yes, you could use GParted, but the Windows 7 trial is free as well and does what you want fairly automatically. You don't actually need to install Win 7 at all, just have it create the partition.

Author:  toronado455 [ Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

washu wrote:
toronado455 wrote:
Aren't there free disk tools out there that can do what I need? Something that is designed specifically for this task? I thought GParted was such a tool, but I don't really know.

Yes, you could use GParted, but the Windows 7 trial is free as well and does what you want fairly automatically. You don't actually need to install Win 7 at all, just have it create the partition.

Thanks. I downloaded the latest GParted live ISO. My bandwidth is too poor to grab Win 7.
I found this article: http://lifehacker.com/5837769/make-sure ... erformance
I checked and the "Partition Starting Offset" (as created by my Windows XP installer) is 32,256 bytes which is not evenly divisible by 4096, which means it isn't properly aligned. I'm going to delete the partition and try following those instructions to create a new partition "aligned to exactly 2048 blocks after the beginning of the disk, which allows for optimal SSD performance."

Author:  Das_Saunamies [ Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

In case you're wondering how big of an impact alignment has: http://imgur.com/a/aNVeO.

If you're going to use that drive yourself, consider an OS with TRIM support. XP doesn't have it. Even if the drive has an independent garbage collection routine, it's not a 1:1 replacement for TRIM. Windows 7 is nice and compatible, and since Win8 isn't looking that hot, it might well serve you a long time still - might even be some good deals on discs out there. :wink:

PS. The misalignment is the result of outdated software. I tried to correct with Gparted, but it was a sheer nightmare fighting with that thing (mostly due to booting issues), even if my geek-fu is strong. Win7 Just Works™.

Author:  CA_Steve [ Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

Crucial SSD performance will degrade over time w/o TRIM. Spend the $90 for a copy of Win7 Home OEM.

Author:  xan_user [ Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

CA_Steve wrote:
Crucial SSD performance will degrade over time w/o TRIM. Spend the $90 for a copy of Win7 Home OEM.

agreed! ssd without TRIM is nearly pointless (after some time passes).

Author:  toronado455 [ Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

CA_Steve wrote:
Spend the $90 for a copy of Win7 Home OEM.
I'm only going to have XP on the SSD for a short while. I'm planning on spending $40 to get Windows 8 Pro.
http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bl ... 39-99.aspx

Author:  Das_Saunamies [ Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

It's cheap for a reason: it's a rather closed platform and a store interface more than the operating system we all know and love/hate/love-to-hate, so Microsoft is pushing it on people like a, well, pusher. But that's a whole another can of worms. :(

I would definitely shell out for Win7 instead while supplies last. If the old signs are correct, Win9 will be decent again. Every other Windows version goes horribly wrong somehow.

Author:  CA_Steve [ Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

Das_Saunamies wrote:
If the old signs are correct, Win9 will be decent again. Every other Windows version goes horribly wrong somehow.

It's the Star Trek movie curse :D

Author:  andyb [ Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

Quote:
agreed! ssd without TRIM is nearly pointless (after some time passes).


I totally disagree. Yes you will lose a load of "Write" performance as time goes by, but the read speed remains unchanged as does the low latency.


Andy

Author:  toronado455 [ Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

andyb wrote:
Quote:
agreed! ssd without TRIM is nearly pointless (after some time passes).

I totally disagree. Yes you will lose a load of "Write" performance as time goes by, but the read speed remains unchanged as does the low latency.

My SSD is for use as a boot/system drive, and my data is stored to HDD, so I think write performance on my SSD is not a high priority for me. Hopefully Windows 8 has TRIM. For $40 I'm at least going to give Win 8 a try first before buying Win 7 for $90. :-)

Author:  xan_user [ Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

andyb wrote:
Quote:
agreed! ssd without TRIM is nearly pointless (after some time passes).


I totally disagree. Yes you will lose a load of "Write" performance as time goes by, but the read speed remains unchanged as does the low latency.


Andy

nothing has slowed me down in the last 15+ years computing as much as a well used, un-trimmed ssd. when your drive is waiting 5-10 seconds to write stuff, shit gets r e a l l y s l o w . . . .

once the drive had been in use for a month, chrome took 30 seconds to load googles homepage.... "waiting for cache..." "waiting for pluggins...." firefox took over a minute to start. with trim correctly set up and the ssd properly aligned, its a couple of seconds, maybe.

Author:  Metaluna [ Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

toronado455 wrote:
My SSD is for use as a boot/system drive, and my data is stored to HDD, so I think write performance on my SSD is not a high priority for me. Hopefully Windows 8 has TRIM. For $40 I'm at least going to give Win 8 a try first before buying Win 7 for $90. :-)


I'd definitely give it a try. I've been using the final release for a couple of months now (since it became available on TechNet) and while the new UI is kinda weird, if you can get past that, you will get the benefit of a lot of under-the-hood improvements (especially in startup times), a great new task manager, explorer enhancements, native USB 3 support, Hyper-V etc.

The only caveat is that I believe $40 is the upgrade price, and requires you to have an existing OS installed on the drive (I think it will upgrade XP though). I'm not sure if the old Win 7 trick of installing it twice will work to fool the upgrade check.

Author:  m1st [ Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

xan, which SSD were you using that slowed down so much? Most modern controllers (Sandforce, Samsung, Intel, Marvell) do perform background garbage collection (some much better than others), which mitigates most slowdowns that would be caused by read-modify-write penalties. TRIM is nice especially in high usage scenarios, but under normal desktop usage (ie. light disk accesses 99% of the time) garbage collection should be able to keep the drive relatively peppy.

I've used the Intel X25-V 40GB, X25-M 80GB, 330 180GB, OCZ Solid 2 60GB, Agility 2 120GB, Agility 3 120GB, and Samsung SSD 830 120GB in my personal computers and haven't had any problems with normal usage. Granted, these drives were used with Win7 (which supports TRIM).

I've also used the Samsung SSD830 60GB, Intel 520 60GB and Intel 310 20GB for SRT setups (which does not pass along the TRIM command to the SSD) and haven't seen any slowdowns with them either.

Author:  toronado455 [ Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

washu wrote:
Another option is to download the Windows 7 trial


Where would I get that from?

I'm currently downloading from here:
http://www.mydigitallife.info/download- ... oad-links/

But I'm not sure if that is what you meant.

I installed Windows 8 upgrade but it is only 32-bit. I thought it would be 64-bit. Plus no drivers for my audio card. Also, because I was upgrading from XP it didn't give me the option to burn an ISO. I probably wasted $40. Now I think I'm going to shell out for Windows 7. :(

Author:  xan_user [ Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

m1st wrote:
xan, which SSD were you using that slowed down so much? Most modern controllers (Sandforce, Samsung, Intel, Marvell) do perform background garbage collection (some much better than others), which mitigates most slowdowns that would be caused by read-modify-write penalties. TRIM is nice especially in high usage scenarios, but under normal desktop usage (ie. light disk accesses 99% of the time) garbage collection should be able to keep the drive relatively peppy.

I've used the Intel X25-V 40GB, X25-M 80GB, 330 180GB, OCZ Solid 2 60GB, Agility 2 120GB, Agility 3 120GB, and Samsung SSD 830 120GB in my personal computers and haven't had any problems with normal usage. Granted, these drives were used with Win7 (which supports TRIM).

I've also used the Samsung SSD830 60GB, Intel 520 60GB and Intel 310 20GB for SRT setups (which does not pass along the TRIM command to the SSD) and haven't seen any slowdowns with them either.


I think it was also a factor of them being fairly small drives... and not being the most modern controllers.
i had speed issues in xp that seem to really get a lot worse over time with;
asus 8gb pcie. (xp nlite)
runcore 32gb pcie. (much much better with win 7 on it, even when fairly full.)
mydigital discount 64 gb half height ssd. (worked better after a firmware update, but not much once it was over half full. problems gone with win7)


just got last month i purchased the samsung 830 128 GB and it has been trouble free so far(fingers crossed), but thats been win7/8 only, with no plans on ever trying xp on it

Author:  aristide1 [ Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: format/wipe SSD

Quote:
just got last month i purchased the samsung 830 128 GB and it has been trouble free so far(fingers crossed), but thats been win7/8 only, with no plans on ever trying xp on it


Me too, I'm happy with it even though I hear it's what? $99 now? My new quad system is really fast, I had no idea how much time the cpu was consuming running website script files.

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