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DriveDX reporting Soft ECC Correction on brand new SSD


Topic starter

Hi folks,


I picked up a SK Hynix gold SSD on prime day. I’m using it as an external drive on my Mac mini media server. It’s actually used as a bootable clone drive for the internal SSD which is a Samsung 860evo. 
For some reason, driveDX is flagging this drive with a soft ECC Correction warning. This is the second brand new drive from Amazon that is doing this. I tried to reach binary fruit (the makers of driveDX) and haven’t heard back. The customer support at SK Hynix said that the drives are not compatible with macs. WHAT?

there were many reviews with people using this SSD on their macs. I’m not sure how many are using driveDX though. 

1: has anyone else run into this? Could this be a false positive warning/error?

2: in case in need to ship these back to AMAZON, how do I securely wipe them. There is no manufacturers software from SK Hynix to securely wipe the disks, and I’m not sure that the Mac disk utility completely erases the drive. I could use the secure option in disk utility, but isn’t that usually used for spinning disks?

how do you folks erase your external SSD drives in case you need to return them or sell them. I’ve never had to do this before. 

many thanks 

5 Answers

Erase instructions.



DriveDX is simply reporting the stats that are provided by the drive itself. It is quite possible that the drive firmware is incorrectly reporting a particular stat. My inclination would be to ignore this stat but you could look for another SMART reporting tool eg. how-to-m1-intel-mac-ssd-health-terminal-smartmontools

Support saying that the drive isn't compatible sounds like they're ignorant and may be talking about the drive coming preformatted as NTFS?

Technically there is no such thing as "erasing" an SSD from macOS. The concept instead is that the SSD should (always) be formatted as encrypted and then when you ask for an "erase" what is actually happening is that the encryption keys are thrown away. Certainly for internal SSDs you'll find that Disk Utility does this automatically (and won't present you with the security option for number of "passes" that you get with a spinning drive).

@kiwigraham thanks for the info. Regarding the soft ecc error, that is exactly what I asked both the folks at SK Hynix and the folks at binary fruit. The drive passes both short and long self tests in driveDX , and I confirmed that the drive , which is a bootable clone of my Mac mini internal drive does in fact boot.

This has been a learning experience and I guess I got caught. I didn’t encrypt the drive and cloned my entire Mac mini to it.

In hindsight, the encryption method of erasure makes perfect sense and is simple and easy to do.

In my case , Is there a way to retroactively encrypt the drive without erasing, and then erase the encryption key.

It seems you have to erase the drive first, and I’m not sure that cleans out the SSD, even with the secure erase feature.

So for now, because it’s an external drive ive got. A Mac with Yosemite running a 3 pass secure erase. And then I’ll encrypt the drive. I don’t know what else to do. I’m returning this drive to the vendor anyway, so I’m not worried about drive longevity for this one. And I’m going to research further the soft ecc error code before possibly returning the other drive.. from now on I’m gonna encrypt my external SSDs  from the get go  

Am I missing a simpler step for erasure of an external non encrypted drive full of data. It’s hanging inside a SAbrant usb enclosure.

and I have thought about taking a Dremel tool to the chips inside the Hynix drive case as a last resort before sending back  to vendor 

Thanks for the input and hopefully others will lean from my getting caught.

Using a version of disk utility that doesn’t know to avoid trying multi pass erase doesn’t solve the underlying security issue that the OS, including Disk Utility, does not get to choose which physical piece of media is written to. ie. when the SSD firmware receives an “overwrite” instruction it actually marks the existing cell as unused (ready for delete) and writes the new info into a different cell.


Can you just turn on FileVault on that drive, and let it finish encrypting?

@cpragman not for external drive that I know of,,,

If it’s bootable into macOS then you could boot into it and turn on FileVault then wait….

@cpragman great idea! That would do it. I’ll boot into it and file vault.

Topic starter

For everyone some additional info thanks for the suggestions to those that chimed in..

I wound up using a windows 7 session in parallels desktop. Then I installed a drive management utility from SK hynix. The utility only runs on windows, and I bet that’s why the support guy says the drive won’t work  on a Mac.

Anyway the utility has a secure erase feature that wipes drive to “out of box” condition. I’ll use this in the future if I need to send back the second drive, which is still showing the soft ECC correction warning in driveDX  

The manufacturers  utility does have a smart management feature that I’m going to play with further and see if the original problem of soft ecc correction is different on driveDX vs the manufacturers utility. Getting there, but from now on when I purchase a SDD, I’ll check for OS support for whatever SSD manufacturers disk management software. At least with parallels and a windows environment I can swap the drive into a different enclosure on my main machine and run the utility if need be. 

hope this info helps someone else down the line so we DONT GET CAUGHT


I'm going to experiment with the manufacturers utility's smart management function to see whether the initial problem of soft ecc correction is different on driveDX vs. the manufacturers utility. I'm almost there, but when I buy an SDD in the future, I'll double-check for OS support for the SSD manufacturer's disc management software. At the very least, I can switch the drive into a separate enclosure on my main system and run the programmed if necessary, thanks to parallels and a Windows environment.