Question How to Securely Wipe a USB Flash Drive?

Jan 6, 2021
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How do you securely wipe USB flash drives? I guess the real question is, do you wipe it like an SSD or an HDD?

I wipe my SSD and NVMe drives with either the manufacturer's software tool using the secure erase functions, or I load up Parted Magic and use the secure erase function on there.

I wipe my HDD drives using either Kill Disk or any other software that will just overwrite the entire drive with random characters a few times over.

I know to you have to wipe the different drives using different methods because of the differences in their composition and how they function. What about a USB flash drive or an SD memory card? They are essentially SDDs, yet most the information I read online say to wipe them like an HDD. Just write random things to them over and over again. I know that's a big no no for SSDs because that will severely degrade their life and you will not get the areas that is reserved for over-provisioning.

However, is that the proper way to securely wipe all the data from a flash drive? If not, what is?
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
Welcome to the forums, newcomer!

I tend to wipe any USB drive via formatting off of the OS, since I hold onto the drives and they don't switch hands to another user. I also have people around me who can't retrieve data from said drives ;)
 
Why do you have the need to wipe a usb drive?
If you are going to reuse the drive yourself, s simple reformat should do.
If you are going to trash them, just crush them.

If you are going to give them away, IDK, depends on who the recipient is.
 

P_1___

Honorable
Nov 17, 2015
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10,520
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How do you securely wipe USB flash drives? I guess the real question is, do you wipe it like an SSD or an HDD?

I wipe my SSD and NVMe drives with either the manufacturer's software tool using the secure erase functions, or I load up Parted Magic and use the secure erase function on there.

I wipe my HDD drives using either Kill Disk or any other software that will just overwrite the entire drive with random characters a few times over.

I know to you have to wipe the different drives using different methods because of the differences in their composition and how they function. What about a USB flash drive or an SD memory card? They are essentially SDDs, yet most the information I read online say to wipe them like an HDD. Just write random things to them over and over again. I know that's a big no no for SSDs because that will severely degrade their life and you will not get the areas that is reserved for over-provisioning.

However, is that the proper way to securely wipe all the data from a flash drive? If not, what is?
Just in-case you didn't do it yet.....
There are as many tools out there today to delete data, as there are drive manufacturers But, whatever tool you do use to wipe it, always look at the tools information on how it's done. When data is written to , accessed from , and/ or stored on a device, all of that data consists of nothing but ones & zeros. From the CPU, the GPU, the memory, the BIOS, everything reads & writes data to & from one componet to another using ones & zeros in a certain configuration that is A MUST for it to be read.
It's the way those ones & zeros are arranged that are the entire key to if it can be read.
Tools to clean ( delete) storage devices write all ones or all zeros, then rewrites over that with just the opposite. Or it may have its own proven way with a certain array of one or the other.
Then (depending on that tool) it will do it again & again. But how many times it does, depends on the tools default setting , or if it has an option for the user to do more or less.
Take a few minutes and read...
 

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