When to Run a Low-Level Format or Secure Erase on Intel® Solid State Drives and Tools to Use


Maintenance & Performance



What am I seeing?

The following are some possible problem scenarios when you run a low-level format or secure erase on the Intel® Solid State Drive (Intel® SSD):

  • If the operating system experiences slowness or freezing
  • If errors seen during installation of an operating system
  • If failures seen during read or write diagnostics
  • If errors seen during a regular format/initialization or partition on the Intel SSD
  • If there are suspected issues with data integrity on the Intel SSD

Keep in mind that a low-level format or secure erase will remove all data contained on the Intel SSD. If the Intel SSD is the boot drive, a fresh installation of the operating system is recommended after the low-level format or secure erase.

Always back up your software before you run a low-level format or secure erase.

What tools can I use?

Several Intel® tools have the capability to perform a low-level format or secure erase. Some recommendations are located at the following support page along with how-to instructions: Three Ways To Run Low-Level Format Using Intel® Software Tools.

Here are some third-party tools that you can also use to run a low-level format:


A quick format done through Windows* sets up an empty file system on the disk and installs a boot sector. The full format in Windows does the same as a quick format and scans the whole disk for defects.

A low-level format queries each cell to see if it has been written to. This format then writes a zero to the cell. This type of format is also known as zeroing the drive, or flushing the drive.

A secure erase deletes all data from the drive. This means that the system writes 1 and 0 on the drives, which causes minimum wear of the drive.

We provide links to third-party tools and sites for your convenience. We don't necessarily endorse the content, products, or services offered there. We don't offer support for third-party tools.

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