The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type

Starred Paper

Degree Name

Information Assurance: M.S.


Information Assurance and Information Systems


Herberger School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Mark Schmidt

Second Advisor

Dr. Lynn Collen

Third Advisor

Dr. Sneh Kalia

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Solid State Drives, Trim, Trim Enabled, Trim Disabled, Hard Disk Drives, Digital forensics


There has been a tremendous change in the way we store data for the past decade. Hard Disk Drives, which were one of the major sources of storing data, are being replaced with Solid State Drives considering the higher efficiency and portability. Digital forensics has been very successful in recovering data from Hard Disk Drives in the past couple of years and has been very well established with Hard Disk Drives. The evolution of Solid State Drives over Hard Drive Drives is posing a lot of challenges to digital forensics as there are many crucial factors to be considering the architecture and the way data is stored in Solid State Drives.

This paper gives a very detailed picture of the evolution of Solid State Drives over Hard Disk Drives. We understand the differences in their architecture and the ways to extract data from them. We further discuss in detail the various challenges Solid State Drives pose to the field of digital forensics, and we try to answer contradictory beliefs those are 1) Would data be permanently deleted in a Solid State Drives destroying the forensic evidence required to solve a case? 2) Can data be restored in a Solid State Drives by using proper techniques and still can be used as evidence in digital forensics? In this paper, we talk about the introduction of concepts such as the TRIM Command and Garbage collection, their importance, and we set up an experimental scenario where we implement the TRIM command and try extracting data from different types of Solid State Drives. We compare and evaluate the results obtained through the experiment and try to analyze the uses of the TRIM command and its performance over various Solid State Drives. The paper also discusses future work to make the role of Solid State Drives more efficient in digital forensics.