How to Secure Erase SSD Under Frozen State in Windows?

October 18, 2017

What is SSD Frozen State that you encounter in SSD Secure Erase? This article answers this question and offers viable solutions to securely erase Frozen SSD on Samsung/ASUS laptop.

 Scenario

“Help please. I have a Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB installed on my ASUS desktop with Windows 7 running. It is not the system disk and I accidentally cloned some programs on to it from my HDD. I’d like to completely wipe this SSD so I turn to Samsung Magician. Nevertheless, it is constantly in a Frozen State during the secure erasing process. What should I do?”

With the widely use of SSD, its erasing behavior becomes more and more common. SSD secure erase is important because it wipes data thoroughly without hurting its lifespan and performance. More specifically, restore SSD lost performance.

However, many potential issues followed by. Secure erase frozen SSD is one of them. Certainly, there are many more users facing similar troubles and involved SSDs also includes Intel SSD, Kingston SSD, Crucial SSD, SanDisk SSD, etc. For example, you may get Intel SSD secure erase frozen state when using Intel SSD Toolbox. Then what can you do to work this out?

What is SSD Frozen State?

Before you learn how to secure erase frozen SSD, it is important to know what SSD frozen state is and its effect is. Actually, it is quite simple to understand:

SSD frozen state is designed for protection. It ensures that nobody can alter your drive settings, like putting a password on it to hijack your SSD or wiping important files on that drive.

Can frozen SSD unfreeze? Absolutely, the answer is positive. A power cycle after BIOS Post usually removes the lock and allows securing erase SSD in DOS/Linux smoothly. Likewise, a hot swap can do the same job. After knowing this, let’s figure out how to operate specific steps one by one.

How to Secure Erase SSD in Frozen State?

Different situations require different solutions. Three cases about secure erase frozen drive using different erasing tools are illustrated below.

Parted Magic Secure Erase SSD Frozen

Parted Magic is one of the best known SSD secure erasing software and many users wipe SSD data with this program. The frozen state with Parted Magic is similar to ATA secure erase frozen. When you do secure erase with ATA command line, the first thing you need to do is to ensure the SSD is in “not frozen”. If the command output shows “frozen”, then you cannot continue erasing.

BIOS protects SSD if you have a password set. As a result, you can remove the password using the BIOS and powering down the system to see if that disables the freeze. If not, you may need to use a different motherboard which has different BIOS. Or, try secure erasing with another method.

Samsung Magician Secure Erase Frozen

Thanks to the widely use of Samsung SSD, Samsung Magician is frequently applied by its users. To secure erase Samsung SSD, you need to first create bootable USB drive. Then boot up your computer with that bootable device. If you receive a message saying your drive is in “frozen state” after disk scanning, you can perform a Power Cycle:

1. Unplug the power cable of Samsung SSD.

2. Unplug the SSD’s SATA cable.

3. Re-connect the SATA cable to the SATA port of SSD.

4. Re-connect the power cable to the power port.

After that, you can press Y to continue secure erase. Please note that, if you cannot create bootable USB flash drive for securely erase, download the latest version of Samsung Magician and try again. If that still does not work, you may need to turn to other tools.

Intel SSD Toolbox Secure Erase Frozen

This problem has something in common with Samsung SSD frozen. So a power cycle would solve the problem. You can refer to aforementioned steps in Samsung Magician section.

Once the drive is detected, continue with the Secure Erase. If the Security warning message displays again, repeat the power-cycling process. Quickly remove and reconnect the SATA power cable.

If that still not work, you may use a Linux Operating System to do the secure erase. Or, change Intel RST settings to modify the refresh rate, or use a third-party tool run the low-level format.

Better Tool to Securely Erase Frozen Drive in Windows

As covered, if you still cannot secure erase SSD with the solutions, you can try one different SSD erasing tool. Also, to solve SSD frozen in situations that did not mentioned before, a professional tool is also of great help. AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is one of best free partition managers that will help you secure erase SSD in frozen state. Before learn how to operate erasing, you may want to download it first.

Step1. Install AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard on a Windows 7 based computer and then launch it.

Step2. Connect the SSD you’re about to secure erasing to that computer and make sure it is not the boot drive.

Step3. In AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, right click the SSD and select “SSD Secure Erase” option. Read the follow-up note.

SSD Secure Erase

Step4. Select the SSD from given list at the pop-up window.

Select SSD

Step5. This is the place you’ll get SSD in frozen state. Don’t worry. You can perform a hot swap which is similar to power cycle to unfreeze it.

SSD secure erase frozen state

1. Open your computer case, and disconnect power cable and SATA cable of SSD. Mind the operating sequence.

2. Reconnect the SATA cable and power cable of SSD. Mind the operating sequence.

Step6. You computer should be able to recognize the SSD now. Click “Next” to continue with secure erasing.

SSD wiping process

Step7. Wait for the process to be completed. Then you can go to Disk Management to initialize it to GPT or MBR.

Tips:

  • To fix Samsung secure erase frozen state on laptop or SSD on other laptop brands, it is suggested to uninstall that SSD and reconnect it to a Windows 7 based PC and repeat above steps.

  • Do not secure erase your SSD frequently because it has self-sufficiency method (SSD TRIM) to clean up unused files permanently. 

In conclusion, SSD frozen state is a rather common issue in SSD secure erasing. But you barely see it in SSD format. Anyway, to secure erase frozen SSD, the most important thing is unfreeze it first. Next, choose right disk secure erasing tool.