I know that I wipe a USB drive from Linux by doing a dd overwriting the whole device with random data. This however may take a very long time.

Is it possible to do this faster (and still safely), by asking the drive to erase all unused space? That is to activate the flash erase process.

Edit: What I'm looking for is a way to do the electrical erase of all blocks in the flash. Blocks set aside for wear leveling should also be possible to erase.

Perhaps SD cards have better features for this.

  • 2
    First sentence is unfortunately wrong, due to logical remapping and wear levelling. This question has been asked and answered a dozen times already.
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 14:30
  • 1
    The first sentence only applies to HDDs afaik Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 15:34
  • iirc speed depends also on dd options like "bs"
    – secfren
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 16:40
  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Is it enough to only wipe a flash drive once?
    – Zac67
    Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 16:57
  • That is very interesting answer, but my target is USB drives. Suppose that USB drives with these features can be bought. Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 21:22

1 Answer 1


Actually I found an other solution, that secures my data. Being in a Linux world, I simply format the drive with LUKS before saving anything secret on the drive. This is actually similar to the SSD encryption in the question @Zac67 referred to.

There is a fine description of formatting a drive here: https://sorenpoulsen.com/encrypting-a-usb-flash-drive-on-ubuntu

And the best thing is that it works out of the box with latest Ubuntu. I'm sure that similar things are available for Windows.

  • 1
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    Commented Jun 23, 2023 at 23:51

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