How do I format SSD without enclosure?

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by Gjwilly, May 2, 2014.

  1. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

    May 1, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    I'm going to replace the SSD in an Air and I want to be able to sell the old SSD without my data, naturally.

    Am I right in thinking that I just boot off of a Mavericks USB -- format the installed SSD using Disk Utility -- power down -- swap the SSD -- and then boot from the Mavericks USB again and install onto the new SSD?
    I don't care at all about backing up or transferring anything.
  2. dmccloud macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Anchorage, AK
    I've seen a USB dongle that just connects directly to the SATA ports of an internal HDD/SSD at Best buy for under $40. You could just pick that up and plug any drive with the standard SATA connections into it.
  3. laurihoefs macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2013
    Yes, that's all you need to do, if you don't want to transfer anything.

    Disk Utility can not securely erase SSDs, so it is possible to recover data from the drive, even if the partitions are formatted or removed. If you don't mind that, then just using Disk Utility is fine.

    If you wan't to securely erase the disk, you'll need to use PartedMagic or a similar tool, which can be booted from a CD or a USB drive. Disk Utility does not support ATA Secure Erase instruction, which is the only way to erase an SSD completely without causing excessive wear.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Doesn't the MBAir use a specialized "mini-SSD" with its own proprietary-type connector?

    If you put a completely-un-initialized SSD in there, without even a recovery partition on it, how will you boot? I could be wrong, but I don't think you can even get to a "net boot" with the internal drive in that condition.

    I looked over on ebay for possible solutions:

    Shown are some adapters and enclosures that might be of use to you.

    Actually, it might be best to get one of these gadgets FIRST, and "prep and test" the new SSD BEFORE you do the drive swap.

    Could save you A LOT of trouble.
  5. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    I wouldn't consider a single-pass erase to be "excessive wear". It'll write zeros to all the user-accessible LBAs once, which pretty much destroys the chance of data being recoverable. I would say it's a much better option than spending money on an adapter just to be able to issue the ATA secure erase command.
  6. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Airs and other recent Macs have internet recovery which doesn't depend on a disk having a partition at all and don't require having an OS installer on USB.
    You can erase a disk or format and put an OS on a brand new disk perfectly well using the internet recovery boot. Using a local USB OS installer will be quite a bit faster, though.
    Anything newer than the computers in this document will include internet recovery, except for the Mac Pro, which never got internet recovery capability until the current 2013 model was released.
  7. laurihoefs macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2013
    I don't think spending money on an adapter would be reasonable either, which is why I suggested using a bootable USB drive or CD.

    I was under the impression, that the secure erase options in Disk Utility are disabled, if the target drive is an SSD. If they are in fact not disabled, then using Disk Utility is of course the easiest option, and I apologise for any misinformation.
  8. Gochugogi macrumors regular


    Oct 27, 2013
    Sandwich Isles
    You can buy an inexpensive USB enclosure for less than a jackson and use it to format and test your old and new drives. I think paid $10 for one on Amazon and used it to clone my drive before dong the SSD transplant. The old HD now lives in the enclosure. Other options--bare drive adapters--are more expensive.
  9. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    Depends on which Air, but probably yes. Only the very early 2008/2009 Airs used a "normal" 2.5" SATA drive. The 2010-2012 use a SATA "Blade" storage, and the 2013-2014 use PCIe. There are some aftermarket SATA Blade upgrades; i have not seen any aftermarket PCIe options though.
  10. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Even the oldest Airs didn't use the 2.5" drive. Those are 1.8".

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