<

Solid State Drive / SSD Performance and Optimization Tips

Published on
29,399 Points
17,899 Views
20 Endorsements
Last Modified:
Approved
Community Pick
Solid State Drive Performance Tips:

Solid state storage technology is now a standard.  After testing and using several different brands and revisions of SSD's over the years I have put together a collection of tips,tools and suggestions that I have tested and found extremely useful here on EE for everyone to use.  These tips will help you configure Windows to minimize writes to your SSD, and optimize your Windows PC to properly use an SSD as an OS stand-alone drive.

Windows 8 and Windows 7 TRIM Functionality:

The TRIM command is a feature of Windows 8 and Windows 7 that has been designed to maintain performance of solid state drives over the course of an SSD's lifetime.  In Windows 7 TRIM can either be on or off, but in Windows 8 TRIM is always set to on.

TRIM actively deletes invalid data from an SSD’s memory cells to ensure that write operations perform consistently and at full speed.  Invalid data is defined as data that has been deleted by the user/host OS, but which remains physically stored on the memory cell until it is overwritten.  Since a memory block must be erased before it can be re-programmed, TRIM improves performance by pro-actively erasing data blocks containing invalid data, thereby allowing the SSD to write new data to the memory without first having to perform a time-consuming erase command.

Only Windows 8 and Windows 7 support TRIM functionality.

How To Verify If TRIM is set to "on" with your Windows 7 System:

Open up a command prompt with Administrative rights and enter in the following command:
fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify

Open in new window


If the result of the query is 0 then TRIM is working as intended.  If the result of the query is 1 then TRIM is disabled.

To enable TRIM on a system use the following command:
fsutil behavior query|set DisableDeleteNotify = 0

Open in new window


(The DisableDeleteNotify command only indicates that the operating system is passing the TRIM command on to the storage drivers. It does not indicate whether or not the storage drivers are passing the command on to the storage controller IC in the SSD, or whether the storage controller IC supports TRIM. As such, as result of “0” is not a guarantee that TRIM is functioning correctly.)

Most all modern SSD's firmware controllers support TRIM.  If you are using an older drive, check with your drive manufacturer's website to see if there is a firmware update that will allow your controller to support it.

To determine whether TRIM is functioning correctly, you can periodically measure the performance of your SSD using tools such as ATTO and CrystalDiskMark.

Increasing Performance By Minimizing Writes To Your Drive

The most important thing to remember about SSD's is that anything that writes to the drive frequently can be a cause of performance degradation over time.  So, if you are using your SSD as your main OS drive you will want to minimize these writes by redirecting your commonly written to directories to your larger data/storage drive.

Move your Windows Libraries to your data drive: Lets start this by moving your Windows libraries to your data drive.   Create directories on your data drive for each of these new libraries and  Go to "My Computer" and right click on each of your systems libraries (eg: My Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos...etc.).  Create directories on your data drive for each of these new libraries.  Then in the properties area of the menu, check your "Library Locations:" and make sure that your new data drive location for each of these is the only directory listed there.  
 
Move your temporary internet files folder:  The last thing you want on your new SSD is thousands of files being written to it by your internet browsing sessions.

Internet Explorer:

Open IE and select Tools>Internet Options
In the "General" tab under the header "Browsing History" select the "Settings" button.
Once there click the button marked "Move Folder" and then select its new location. You will then be logged off for the changes to take effect.

Firefox:

You can view your settings in Firefox by typing "about:cache" in the address bar.

To change these settings follow these steps:

Type "about:config" in the Firefox address bar.
Right click on any "Preference String" area and select New>String from the menu.
Enter in "browser.cache.disk.parent_directory" as the preference name and then put in the path to the new folder location (Ex: D:\Temp\Firefox).  Once this is set, a new directory called "Cache" will be created in the folder that you entered in.
Restart Firefox to enable.

To change the offline cache directory, follow the steps above, but use the string "browser.cache.offline.parent_directory".  You could also disable the offline cache as an alternative by setting "browser.cache.offline.enable" to false.

Next we will want to set up a new temporary files directory on your data/storage drive.

Browse to your data drive and create a new folder called "Temp"
Now go to your Start Menu>Control Panel.  Once there, select "System"
On the left you will see a set of links, select the one called "Advanced System Settings"
Click the "Environment Variables" button
Click the variables for your Temp folders one at a time and click "Edit" and then change the location to your new "Temp" folder (i.e. D:\Temp).
Go to the "System Variables" area and find the other two temp entries and repeat the above process with the "Edit" button.

When you're done click "OK" and you will get a warning that you need to restart your computer, do not do this just yet.

Adjusting Your Paging File Size

By default Windows sets you're paging file to 1.5x your physical RAM.  This is WAY to much in these days of 6 GB - 12 GB RAM and if you are using an SSD for your OS drive.

In the "Advanced" tab of the Advanced System Settings window, select "Settings" under the "Performance" header.
Select the "Advanced" tab.
Click "Change" under the Virtual Memory header.
Select the radio button titled "Custom"
Edit the settings so that you're "Initial Size" is 1024 and "Maximum" is 2048
Click "Set", then click "OK", "OK" and then "Close" till you are back to your desktop
Reboot your machine

How to turn off and delete the Windows hibernation file in Windows 7:

The Windows hibernation file is usually a large file that keeps the current Windows State saved so that when you exit hibernation the system will resume it's previous state.  If you do not have any particular reason to have your PC hibernate then you will want to disable and delete the hibernation file.

To delete this file, you will have to use an elevated command prompt to manually turn off hibernation. If you turn off hibernation via the Windows Power Options it will not actually delete the hibernation file itself.

Open an elevated command prompt in Windows 7 by typing "cmd" in the search box.  Right-click "cmd" and choose "Run as Administrator".

To delete the hibernation file and to disable hibernation, type in this command at the prompt:

powercfg –h off

Open in new window


This will disable hibernation and will remove the hiberfil.sys file from your system.

I hope these tips help someone who is in need of this information here at EE.  Your SSD will now have significantly less writes as well as less data filling it up and will hopefully last you a very long time and continue to  perform at it's best.

Here are some links to SSD benchmark and performance tools:

HDTune: http://www.hdtune.com/
CrystalDiskMark: http://crystalmark.info/?lang=en
ATTO: http://www.attotech.com/products/product.php?scat=20&prod=70&sku=Disk_Benchmark


Tribus



(Sources: Corsair SSD forums, Wikipedia, HelpDeskGeek.com)
20
Author:Tribus
Ask questions about what you read
If you have a question about something within an article, you can receive help directly from the article author. Experts Exchange article authors are available to answer questions and further the discussion.
Get 7 days free