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Security Erase Can Save Your Drive


At Disk Drive Solutions we get a number of support issues about drives that are working in an unexpected fashion. The drives are properly identified by a system leading the hard drive recycler to believe the drives are working properly, but when they continue to process the drive with other testing commands there is a strange caveat that appears. Some examples of these odd occurrences is that a hard drive will only accept a specific type of format, or maybe the drive doesn’t allow reading but it allows writing, or maybe it doesn’t power on in certain environments. Don’t throw the drive out just yet because although they may appear broken, a great way to help resolve these issues is by performing the drive’s internal Security Erase process, that is as long as the drive supports this feature.

Security Erase is quite often misunderstood as it is not the same type of process as issuing a write command to all sectors. Security Erase is an internal process that was designed within the hard drive itself and therefore every security erase process can be different in different hard drives although they do try to follow a standard. However, sometimes the Security Erase feature will fill the drive with 0’s and sometimes it can be 1’s. Although each may have slight differences, there is one thing in common and that is you can usually count on it to reset your hard drive to its “factory-ish” setting.

A used hard drive will never get back to its original factory setting because the drive already has logs of its usage. That information will never go away, thankfully, so that end users can know exactly how many hours a hard drive has been in use or how many bad sectors are on the hard drive. There are also some hard drive where a Security Erase won’t solve its issues. Usually these hard drives have non-original firmware, are locked with an unknown password, or have power-up-in-standby feature enabled. The 3 cases I just mentioned are usually easy to identify, so as long as you can easily determine the issue isn’t caused by those mentioned, then most likely and hopefully the Security Erase will solve the hard drive issue. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to do more digging.
If you have a hard drive that is acting strange and Security Erase won’t set it free, send us a message and we can help get on the case with you!