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  1. #1
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    Laptop SSD tweaks

    My new laptop SSD is a Kingston ‘SSDNOW V 200’, 128 GB, which appears from their SITE to be a current model. It cost me $130 (at Staples), which is the price per GB I normally expect to pay for external flash drives when they are on sale. This was at a reduced price with a coupon as well. I bought it on impulse, I had done no homework beforehand, but ‘I had to have it’ after spotting it in the store. It is the right size for my system and the 750 GB drive it replaces is a valuable ‘leftover’, for which the manufacturer has thoughtfully provided an external drive enclosure. The SSD is the sole internal drive on this computer, and I have enough external flash storage that I can get by without any mechanical drive most of the time.

    I’m delighted with the SSD and it is very easy to install, but the system needs tweaks that I am only now learning about from other sites. I haven’t seen SSDs discussed in this forum, so this thread is to share my experience and hope that others can provide input. I need all the tips and tricks I can get.

    The hardware installation and data migration for my drive is shown in two videos at the site linked above: for hardware, you remove the existing drive, install it in the supplied enclosure, and replace it with the SSD, which is the same size. For migration, you clone the drive in the enclosure to the SSD using the supplied Acronis CD. I had never cloned a drive before, and was foolishly trying to restore from backup before I reviewed the instructions; it is a smooth operation straight from drive to SSD.

    I am not promoting this particular product; it is my only SSD experience. Given the tweaks that the system requires, the ideal product would be a computer with a pre-installed SSD and the system configured to suit.

    Many system tweaks must be made, and I think the obvious thing to do is to make changes on the original drive before you clone it. If you make changes on the installed SSD, it may cause the very behaviour you are trying to avoid. Turning off hibernation may be no big deal, but turning off indexing is a nightmare. Many of the tweaks, such as turning off hibernation, must be done with elevated privileges at the command line, and others were hard to follow and left me wondering whether I had done it correctly. I may have to swap drives again and tweak the first drive before cloning (again).

    The drive is dandy but the tweaks are terrible, and it is important to have up-to-date and reliable information. I may have got a bargain, but the economics of SSDs are shifting, and any number of readers may now be interested. Suggestions or links from experienced users are welcome.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Bought a Crucial M4 128 Gb SSD from Amazon for my Laptop for $99. Did a Clean install of windows 8 which properly aligned the drive and uses Trim in the in the scheduled Defrag in place of an actual defrag. So I didn't have to do any tweaks. I have the laptop close lid settings to Hibernate with no power brick attached and to sleep when it is. Made those changes after I booted. I don't see any advantage to making them any earlier It seems to be running fine.

    You said you made many system tweaks. I don't know of any others that need to be made. What other teaks did you use?

    Jerry

  3. #3
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    I confess I am more confused now than I was when I made the post. Two sources are prominent.

    One source I was looking at is Section 9 of the first of the list that follows, and I think you will agree that it is substantial. I had been linked to that by a source that made it sound reliable, but I can’t remember what it was. The other, more impressive, source is second in the list. The remainder of the list is unsorted and just a small portion of those a search turned up. I was actually going through these things and making changes based on the detailed instructions. I don't think Kingston gave any instructions at all in this regard, although I may have missed it. Plug-and-play, they seemed to say.


    So you wanna buy a SSD? Read this first.


    SETUP AND MANAGE SOLID STATE DRIVE WITH WINDOWS 7l

    Windows 7 and SSDs: Setup secrets and tune-up tweaks

    Sean's Windows 7 Install & Optimization Guide for SSDs & HDDs

    Windows 7 and SSD — Get the most our of you computer

    Windows 7 Solid State Drive Setup

  4. #4
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I don't have the specific links right now but the ones I read indicated that both Windows 7 and Windows 8 were SSD aware and you really didn't have to do anything special. As I said in the post above, I let Windows 8 set up the partitions and they were properly alligned. Windows 7 disables automatic Defrag for SSDs and Windows 8 changes it to Trim operations.

    With With regard to Hibernate, I found this at http://superuser.com/questions/37817...-bad-for-ssds:


    It depends on the size of the SSD. The number of writes an SSD can handle increases exponentially with size. If your SSD is a 32 GB drive you might want to worry, but with anything 100 GB+ there is nothing to worry about.

    When you hibernate you don't write the full 8 GB to drive, only the amount that is actually in memory. So if you are using 4 out of 8 GB you will only get 4 GB of writes.

    For example: a good quality 128 GB SSD with MLC NAND rated for 3000 write cycles, can usually handle something like 720-2520 TB of writes before it gives up. This is because in typical desktop load an SSD usually can to 2-7x the rated number of write cycles. Assuming typical memory usage of 4 GB that means you can hibernate it around 400 000 times or once a day for 1000 years. Other usage will produce more writes than this so in reality it will be lower, but still nothing to worrying about.

    The other option is to shut down which also uses Write cycles, so i figured it was no big deal. I like Hibernation, so I left it enabled. Didn't see much else in your list that wasn't automaticcally taken care of by Windows 8, so we'll see how long my SSD lasts.

    Jerry

  5. #5
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    The following links may be more up-to-date and reliable. This is still a limited search but it might influence your own thinking about the need for tweaks. There is enough material here to convince me that tweaking is needed, but I haven't decided exactly what course I will follow with my own machine. I am less confused about it, at least.

    SSD Tweaker

    Windows 7 and Optimization for Solid State Drives

    Engineering Windows 7


    Intel releases Windows 7 SSD optimization toolbox


    Optimize Windows For Solid State Drives Usage
    Another item for your SSD toolkit: CrystalDiskInfo


    Windows 7 SSD optimization tools and benefits



    Configuring storage for virtual desktops


    Buy Smarter: what you need to know about... SSDs

    SSD for laptops and desktop computers: What type and how to install it

    SSD firmware, performance measurements for Windows 7



    FAQ: What you should know before choosing a desktop or notebook SSD


    How to avoid VDI boot storm problems using SSD

    Where Windows managers should spend their upgrade money

    Windows 7 troubleshooting: Top 10 resources

  6. #6
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    KISS solution

    SSD Tweaker is a free program that can perform many operations manually, and it has a single box, ‘Auto Tweak Settings’, to let the program do it for you.

    CrystalDiskInfo is another free program that works on conventional drives as well as SSD, and it, too, has a single box, ‘Health Status’, which we hope will display the word ‘Good’. (NCQ and TRIM are the important features you want to see reported.)

    I suggest you download and install both, run them, and you may be confidently in business if all goes well.

    Both programs are more complicated than that, and SSD Tweaker has a paid version ($13 for home use) that will make advanced tweaks which I may discuss in another post, but this is now and that is then.

    I apologize for the confusion and links in my previous posts.
    Last edited by dogberry; 2012-07-21 at 10:01.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Just be sure not to disable SSD Defrag in Windows 8. See

    Kiran Bangalore's [MSFT] post at:
    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/...5-437d5e212c9c
    Hello, In Windows 7 - we turned off defrag for SSDs as you mention in your entry; but in Windows 8, we have changed the defrag tool to do a general optimization tool that handles different kinds of storage, and in the case of SSD's it will send 'trim' hints for the entire volume;

    SSDs are storage devices made of flash memory; flash memory unlike hard disks are block erasable devices - they can be written to at a byte level but need to erased at a block level; Trim is a storage level hint that was introduced in the Windows 7 days to indicate that Windows is not using certain regions of the storage device; NTFS will send these trim hints when files are deleted or moved from those regions; SSDs consume these hints to perform a cleanup in the background called as 'reclaim' that helps them get ready for next writes. The SSD may choose to perform the optimization immediately, store the information for later optimization or throw away the hint completely and not use it for optimization since it does not have time to perform this optimization immediately.

    In Windows 8, when the Storage Optimizer (the new defrag tool) detects that the volume is mounted on an SSD - it sends a complete set of trim hints for the entire volume again - this is done at idle time and helps to allow for SSDs that were unable to cleanup earlier - a chance to react to these hints and cleanup and optimizer for the best performance. We do not do a traditional defrag (moving files to optimizer there location for space and performance) on SSDs.

    Thank you for your question and I hope this clarifies the need to run the Storage Optimizer on a regular basis.
    Jerry

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    Thank you for that information. It will be interesting to see if they will make that available to Windows 7 users as an update.

  9. #9
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    Another good tool for those who cloned an hdd to an SSD is paragon alignment tool. this ensures that the first files start in correct place on drive so as not to have to write to 2 blocks when it could write to one if the start point was correct. Not really needed if you do a clean install with win 7 as it aligns correctly during format and install automatically but a clone of a normal HDD will copy the clone drive exactly even if it is aligned incorrectly..
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Checking the output from MSInfo32 will show the drive alignment, no need for 3rd party bloatware - we're talking SSD's, space is at a premium

    Components > Disks, find your SSD and look at the bottom line: Partition Starting Offset 1,048,576 bytes or multiples thereof is good, anything else is bad.

  11. #11
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    All of the information I have seen to date is confined to the system itself. I suspect there must be many third-party programs that are incompatible with such a system, and I wonder if there is any guidance available for that problem. Desktop search engines come to mind as one example.

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    MSinfo only shows starting point have to do maths to workout if aligned and if it is ms-aligned will not re-align drive for you like paragon alignment tool. (Although have to have paid version to do it but free version can easily check it for you without having to do maths). And it does it without losing any data. It will also align normal HDDs so that when doing image backups to an external HDD the alignment is maintained on restoring.

    Plus when done it can be uninstalled if space is at a premium.
    Last edited by curiousclive; 2012-07-22 at 05:05.
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogberry View Post
    All of the information I have seen to date is confined to the system itself. I suspect there must be many third-party programs that are incompatible with such a system, and I wonder if there is any guidance available for that problem. Desktop search engines come to mind as one example.
    There are not many programs incompatible with win 7. Maybe with win 8 as OS is so new but that will change. Most sites offering programs often state whether it is compatible with the OS you are using but not all. Win 7 also has a compatibility mode to allow you to run it in native mode such as vista or XP.
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curiousclive View Post
    It will also align normal HDDs so that when doing image backups to an external HDD the alignment is maintained on restoring.
    Clive,

    So if I am understanding this right ? I can use the Paragon Alignment Tool to align my current laptop's spinning hard drive. then Image it using Macrium Reflect (or do I need to use Paragon's Imaging Tool), then restore the image to my new SSD and it will be aligned?
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by curiousclive View Post
    There are not many programs incompatible with win 7. Maybe with win 8 as OS is so new but that will change. Most sites offering programs often state whether it is compatible with the OS you are using but not all. Win 7 also has a compatibility mode to allow you to run it in native mode such as vista or XP.
    My concern is with Win 7 on SSD. I have many processes running, and in many cases they are presumably reading from the drive and in some cases writing to it. Among programs, some utilities may be worse than useless. Some up-to-date programs will be SSD-aware, but many may not be.

    A suite like System Mechanic scans the drive and checks for fragmentation in the background, and MyDefrag is set by default to run a defrag at 5 AM or some such thing. Anything that operates on the drive itself as if it were a disk is presumably taboo, but you have to figure out what might and what might not and see whether or not you have it. Some of us have long-forgotten installations. At least two programs I can think of claim to defragment SSDs: My Defrag and Diskeeper, and I have another program that claims to securely erase them.

    Is it OK to use CCleaner? Are there any settings in it that should be changed?

    I don’t even know how to empty the recycle bin.

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