I'm trying to use hdparm to secure erase an SSD as suggested here.

Following the directions in that guide has worked okay so far, but I can't seem to resolve this error:

~ $ sudo hdparm --user-master m --security-set-pass NUL /dev/sda

 Issuing SECURITY_SET_PASS command, password="NUL", user=master, mode=high
SECURITY_SET_PASS: Input/output error

I've searched around and tested things, as suggested here, but to no avail. How else can I deep-wipe an SSD, if this is not an option?

Note: Yes, there is a BIOS password "on" the hard disk, in that it must be typed at boot, but it's not (as far as I know) attached to the disk itself.

sudo hdparm -I /dev/sda:


ATA device, with non-removable media
    Model Number:       SanDisk SDSSDA240G                      
    Serial Number:      153655402044        
    Firmware Revision:  U21010RL
    Media Serial Num:   
    Media Manufacturer: 
    Transport:          Serial, ATA8-AST, SATA 1.0a, SATA II Extensions, SATA Rev 2.5, SATA Rev 2.6, SATA Rev 3.0
    Used: unknown (minor revision code 0x0110) 
    Supported: 9 8 7 6 5 
    Likely used: 9
    Logical     max current
    cylinders   16383   16383
    heads       16  16
    sectors/track   63  63
    CHS current addressable sectors:   16514064
    LBA    user addressable sectors:  268435455
    LBA48  user addressable sectors:  468862128
    Logical  Sector size:                   512 bytes
    Physical Sector size:                   512 bytes
    Logical Sector-0 offset:                  0 bytes
    device size with M = 1024*1024:      228936 MBytes
    device size with M = 1000*1000:      240057 MBytes (240 GB)
    cache/buffer size  = unknown
    Form Factor: 2.5 inch
    Nominal Media Rotation Rate: Solid State Device
    LBA, IORDY(can be disabled)
    Queue depth: 32
    Standby timer values: spec'd by Standard, no device specific minimum
    R/W multiple sector transfer: Max = 1   Current = 1
    Advanced power management level: disabled
    DMA: mdma0 mdma1 mdma2 udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 udma4 udma5 *udma6 
         Cycle time: min=120ns recommended=120ns
    PIO: pio0 pio1 pio2 pio3 pio4 
         Cycle time: no flow control=120ns  IORDY flow control=120ns
    Enabled Supported:
       *    SMART feature set
       *    Security Mode feature set
       *    Power Management feature set
       *    Write cache
       *    Host Protected Area feature set
       *    WRITE_BUFFER command
       *    READ_BUFFER command
            Advanced Power Management feature set
            SET_MAX security extension
       *    48-bit Address feature set
       *    Device Configuration Overlay feature set
       *    Mandatory FLUSH_CACHE
       *    FLUSH_CACHE_EXT
       *    SMART error logging
       *    SMART self-test
       *    General Purpose Logging feature set
       *    64-bit World wide name
       *    {READ,WRITE}_DMA_EXT_GPL commands
       *    Segmented DOWNLOAD_MICROCODE
       *    Gen1 signaling speed (1.5Gb/s)
       *    Gen2 signaling speed (3.0Gb/s)
       *    Gen3 signaling speed (6.0Gb/s)
       *    Native Command Queueing (NCQ)
       *    Host-initiated interface power management
       *    Phy event counters
       *    READ_LOG_DMA_EXT equivalent to READ_LOG_EXT
       *    DMA Setup Auto-Activate optimization
            Device-initiated interface power management
       *    Software settings preservation
            Device Sleep (DEVSLP)
       *    Data Set Management TRIM supported (limit 8 blocks)
    Master password revision code = 11822
    not frozen
    not expired: security count
        supported: enhanced erase
    Security level high
Logical Unit WWN Device Identifier: 5001b44ed2285a3c
    NAA     : 5
    IEEE OUI    : 001b44
    Unique ID   : ed2285a3c
Checksum: correct
Device Sleep:
    DEVSLP Exit Timeout (DETO): 70 ms (drive)
    Minimum DEVSLP Assertion Time (MDAT): 31 ms (drive)
  • Does anything appear in the kernel logs? Often there's extra information in the logs when some hardware errors out — the interface between the kernel and the application only has room for a non-descriptive error code. – Gilles Dec 30 '15 at 22:49
  • I ended up avoiding the need to deep-wipe the disk anyways, because disabling the BIOS password allowed Ubuntu to install. – cat Dec 30 '15 at 23:17

My computer's BIOS had a password on it.

Removing the password, rebooting, and retrying the above command fixed the problem.

My BIOS has a password again.

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