Quick steps and results (summarised from the ATA Secure Erase page) follow: If the output is not what is expected, see the full page. Replace
/dev/X with your device.
hdparm -I /dev/X should include "not frozen" - if frozen (see notes below on what went wrong for me):
- Suspend the computer, complete the rest of these steps then power off (see notes)
- or try
printf mem > /sys/power/state (from the comments; didn't work for me - permission denied)
hdparm --user-master u --security-set-pass password /dev/X
hdparm -I /dev/X should include "enabled"
hdparm --user-master u --security-erase password /dev/X
hdparm -I /dev/X should include "not enabled"
From the page's results, it seems that these steps should be able to be done in a couple of minutes on an Intel X25-M 80GB SSD. Correction: On my Intel X25-M, I was done in just over a minute: step 2 is instant.
Notes on unfreezing via suspend:
Suspending my computer to unfreeze the disk worked for me. I:
- installed Ubuntu
- booted it
- added graphics drivers
- Rebooted - but it froze on shutdown
- Reset power, and found an unbootable system.
Re-launching the install showed that there were no partitions on my drive. It seems that bypassing the BIOS security left my partitions in memory of some kind.