32 comments

SSD Optimization Tweaks to Increase SSD Performance

By Liz Cornwell 10 December 2011 in Computer Optimization
SSD

We all love fast computers and installing an SSD (Solid State Drive) can speed up your PC more than you ever thought possible. In the SSD vs hard drive comparison SSDs are always the winner – they are significantly faster than conventional hard drives, are more reliable because they have no moving parts, are less susceptible to shock, use less power, and are really quiet. Sure, SSDs are still expensive compared to ordinary hard drives, but prices are starting to drop as SSDs are becoming more common.

Even though SSDs serve the same purpose as HDDs, they work differently. And because they are not really mainstream yet, a lot of users are confused whether SSDs need to be maintained in the same way as HDDs or not. On top of that, there are people who are looking for ways to speed up SSD even more. In this article we are going to show you some SSD optimization tweaks and help you ensure that your SSD runs at its peak performance.

Disable scheduled disk defragmentation

We had a lot of users ask us whether they should defragment their SSDs. The answer is “No”. Conventional defragmentation is only useful for spinning hard drives that have moving parts because it puts all file fragments together and thus lets the hard disk open files in one smooth move. This is a lot faster than having the read arm dash all over the hard drive when reading a file. SSDs don’t have any mechanical arms and they don’t care whether the file is contiguous or fragmented. For SSDs, free space defragmentation is not even available if you use the Windows built-in defrag. Moreover, defragging your SSD can theoretically shorten its lifespan because SSD cells can support only a certain number of write operations (usually around 10,000 writes per cell).

Being the latest operating system, Windows 7 deals with SSDs better than any other Windows version. That’s why scheduled defragmentation that is enabled by default for HDDs is actually disabled for SSDs (in case of a fresh install of Windows to an SSD). However, it’s still best to make sure defragmentation is disabled. To do that:

  • Click on Start and type dfrgui in the Search bar
  • Highlight your SSD and click on Configure Schedule
  • Make sure Run on a schedule is unchecked. If it’s checked, uncheck it.

Another SSD optimization tweak - Disable indexing

Indexing is a Windows service that is designed to speed up Windows search. The indexing service automatically keeps track of the files on your computer, which makes searching for files faster. However, indexing performs numerous small write operations to maintain the database of file indexes when you create, modify or delete files. And, as you already know, the fewer writes there are to an SSD, the longer it will perform well. As for Windows search, it will perform just as well with indexing switched off. To disable indexing, do the following:

  • Go to Start and click on Computer
  • Right-click on the SSD drive and select Properties
  • Uncheck Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties

Make sure TRIM support is enabled

You probably know that when you delete files, they don’t get deleted immediately. The files stay where they are, but their index is changed so that the space they occupy is marked as free. When you write new files to the disk, the whole block of data gets scrubbed for the new files to be saved. This technology works well for HDDs. But SSDs store and overwrite data in a different way. Therefore, it’s best for the SSD to use TRIM command and scrub deleted files rather than perform an entire block erase when new data is written to the disk. TRIM command allows your operating system to inform your SSD drive which blocks of data are not in use anymore and can be wiped. Basically, TRIM helps to avoid write performance degradation thanks to the way it handles deletes and writes.

Windows 7 supports TRIM out of the box, but it’s still good to make sure TRIM support is enabled. Here is how you can do it:

  • Launch the elevated command prompt by clicking on Start, typing cmd.exe in the Search box and pressing Ctrl+Shift+Enter
  • In the command prompt window, type fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify
  • DisableDeleteNotify = 0 means that TRIM is enabled and DisableDeleteNotify = 1 means that it’s disabled.
TRIM


Disable, move or reduce the page file

Your system starts using the page file (virtual memory) when it runs out of memory while working with applications. When the system is using the page file, there are writes to your drive. Because it’s best to reduce writes to SSD, it’s best to either reduce the size of the page file, move it to another drive or disable it altogether. Here is how:

  • Click on Start, right-click on Computer and go to Properties
  • Choose Advanced System Settings link on the left-hand side and go to Settings under Performance
  • Go to the Advanced tab, find Virtual memory and click Change
  • Uncheck the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives checkbox
  • Under Drive [Volume Label], click on the drive where you want to change the size of virtual memory. If your system uses an HDD in addition to an SSD, it’s best to move the page file there.
  • Click Custom size and type the new size in MB in the Initial size (MB) and Maximum size (MB) boxes. Make sure it’s the same amount to prevent your CPU from constantly adjusting virtual memory
  • Click Set and then click OK
  • If you want to disable the page file, simply select No paging file and click OK

Keep in mind that if you disable the page file altogether and run out of RAM when using some applications, they will crash.


Disable hibernation

You can free up a lot of space on your SSD (roughly the amount of your RAM) by disabling hibernation. Disabling hibernation will prevent you from using this power-saving mode, but the free space benefit is worth it. Here is how you can disable hibernation:

  • Click on Start, type cmd, right-click on the cmd icon and select Run as Administrator
  • In the command prompt window type powercfg -h off and press Enter

And our last SSD optimization tweak - Enable write caching

Write caching is a feature that improves the performance of both SSDs and HDDs. Even though the advantage of SSD vs hard drive is increased speed, write caching can still improve its performance. When write caching is enabled, high speed volatile memory is used to collect and cache write commands sent to the disk drive. This helps to improve the performance of the drive. Another useful feature of write caching is NCQ (Native Command Queuing) – a feature that introduces write combining and enables the drive to make intelligent choices when writing and reading data.

To enable write caching, do the following:

  • Click on Start, right-click on Computer and go to Properties
  • Click on the Device Manager on the left-hand side
  • Open the Disk drives section, right-click on your drive, select Properties and go to the Policies tab
  • Check Enable write caching on the disk and click OK

These SSD optimization tweaks will help you make your solid state drive even faster, prolong its lifetime, and make your computer a real pleasure to use.

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About the Author

Liz Cornwell Liz Cornwell
PR specialist at Auslogics. Liz can optimize just about any computer.

Discussion

Found all the tips helpful, in particular the one about hibernation. I was being driven mad trying to figure why my ssd was showing more used space than all of the combined files! Turning hibernation freed up that mysterious 14 gigs.
Thanks!!!
tony buchen
January 19th, 2012 @11:51 am
Reply
+10
You suggest turning off pagefile and hibernation on SSDs, but Microsoft's Windows Guru, Stephen Sinofsky, says explicity, "In fact, given typical pagefile reference patterns and the favorable performance characteristics SSDs have on those patterns, there are few files better than the pagefile to place on an SSD."

So you're saying he is wrong?
(Source: https://blogs.msdn.com/b/e7/archive/2009/05/05/support-and-q-a-for-solid-state-drives-and.aspx?Redirected=true)
B. Goodman
April 27th, 2012 @11:19 am
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-5
B. Goodman, at least read properly before you post. As said above it reduces write which is great and will improve performance. What the microsoft guy is getting at is that ssd will work greatly with the pagefiles however it's common sense and makes sense that no pagefile is best if you have enough ram that is. Also microsoft guru's are not anything special ;) heck microsoft is not anything special if they were they wouldn't have implimented features into their latest filesystem which linux filesystems have had for two maybe three years now.
Jimmy
May 17th, 2012 @08:34 pm
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-4
First of all, thanks for the great Defrag product. Regarding SSD defragment, some defrag apps (i.e. Raxco PerfectDisk) offer "SSD optimization" procedures, which basically involve only consolidating free space by moving intermediate blocks wherever possible (without defragmenting files). This apparently improves write speed as it allows the OS to issue less commands when writing, and prevents future fragmentation. The actual effect should be benchmarked more thoroughly, but there are large differences between sequential and random writes, so for severely fragmented files it may actually make a difference. Just my 2 cents. Since SSDs are becoming more common, it might be good for you to check this and maybe implement it, at least from a business point of view.
Groo
May 18th, 2012 @04:38 am
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-1
Jimmy, since pagefile is only written to when Windows wants to swap a part of used memory (cached memory is never swapped to disk), and this doesn't happen unless you are actually running out of physical memory, for stable multitasking a pagefile should nevertheless be present. If disk space is of concern, one could configure its size manually, say 256Mb minimum but allowed to grow to several GB if necessary (it's then restored to minimum on next reboot). For example, a system with 8GB of RAM might only need to swap 1GB of RAM once in a while, when a large amount of apps are open. And you will rarely exceed the recommended daily limit of 20GB writes unless you constantly use more apps than your PC is supposed to run at once (and remember that you wouldn't be able to do this at all without a swap file). Personally, I have it enabled as I've said, and it mostly stays at minimum, unless I open many Visual Studio instances, Photoshop, and lots of browser tabs. But I only have 3GB of usable ram on my 32 bit Win7, and SSD allows me to get a faster virtual memory (that's why Sinofsky's remark makes perfect sense). Disk wear and estimated lifetime? According to current usage, SSDLife says 9 years (and it's a developer machine, used at least 50 hrs/week).
Groo
May 18th, 2012 @05:06 am
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-1
Nice tips sir. It helps me alot fixing my own computer without really needing a computer technician
Increase pc performance
May 22nd, 2012 @06:58 am
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0
Thanks for the tips, using a 60GB SSD with a 500GB HDD for non speed demanding programs. For those of you out there with both, move your pictures, desktop, music, etc to the HDD for more longevity and space on your SSD. You can also set your page file, cache, and indexing there for fast media retreival.
RAJ
May 28th, 2012 @11:43 am
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0
Good tips here. Several of them are enabled by default when you install straight to an SSD, but good to know if you migrated your install from an HDD to SSD. One thing to point out, however, is that the description of disabling the Indexing actually does not do that. If you read the option carefully, you'll see that it is just changing from indexing "contents" to indexing "file names and attributes" only. To actually make it stop indexing that drive, you need to:
1. - Go to the control panel
2. - Select "Indexing Options"
3. - Click the "Modify" button
4. - Uncheck all the options that would include parts of your SSD

Personally, I unchecked the root of my primary drive (SSD) but left a few folders on it checked (mail, etc), then made sure all my filestore HDDs were checked. The one question I'm debating now is whether to move the index location off of the SSD. Seems like the best option for prolonging SSD life, but I wonder how much of a performance hit I'll take when I use the search...
techturtle
May 31st, 2012 @11:40 pm
Reply
+4
Thanks Liz and techturtle for the tips. Very useful.

For ultra fast searching regardless of whether you have and SSD or not, try "Everything Search Engine". It is instantaneous search. MS should integrate that into Windows, really.
nikescar
June 15th, 2012 @01:02 pm
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+1
Thanks for the insight of SSD. I just teakwd my new corsair and it made quite a difference in start up time. The only part I could not do was the TRIM. The command was written exactly as in your brief but the command was not accepted. I am running win 7.1 I did it three times but the command perimeter seems incorrect. It may not be that important but I would like to have it set up the best I can. Thanks for any help you can give.
Kind regards
Gerry Schoorl
June 30th, 2012 @07:22 pm
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0
My blue........I did not write it exactly.... my apologies....I wrote behaviour not behavior. All set up nicely now Thanks again
Gerry Schoorl
June 30th, 2012 @07:37 pm
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+1
i got 128 gb SSD and 2TB HDD and 8GB of Ram.

i am extreme gamer and if i change page file, what settings is best for me? For the Initial size (MB) and Maximum size (MB)
elvir
July 12th, 2012 @10:21 am
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0
Sounds like similiar setup to mine, if you have 6 - 8GB just turn the pagefile off, if any programs give you memory errors about not enough memory after it's turned off then turn it back on but store pagefile on a regular HDD and have the min and max numbers the lowest possible as you most likely will never use the pagefile much.
KnightChatX
August 18th, 2012 @01:10 pm
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0
Some older programs and a few newer ones are designed in a way that uses the pagefile's memory method rather than system memory to do things so turning it off will create such error's, it's the software not your computer in that case.

This is why sometimes even if you have a bunch of memory and never use the full amount and you still get that type of memory error.

The system's memory is often cached to the hardrive for backup purposes and certain memory operations and to prevent data loss and speed up computer resume.
Kurt
August 18th, 2012 @01:16 pm
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+1
Thanks for the article - top notch :)

Submitting this as a genuine thank you and a way of registering for follow up comments.

Regards
David
David Lawson
August 19th, 2012 @07:40 pm
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+1
All this talk of moving the pagefile off of the SSD is nonsense. Read the FAQ posted by B. Goodman, which explains clearly why putting the page file on the SSD is a good idea. If you have a page file, put it on the SSD, end of story. Whether you believe a page file is necessary is an opinion. Microsoft says that you should leave the page file enabled even with ample RAM. Geeks in many forums argue that "logically" you don't need a pagefile if your typical usage does not use all of your physical ram, and you can gain performance by disabling the page file all together; Microsoft consistently encourages otherwise. Personally, I leave caching on, I have 8gb of RAM, and if I check my paging file, it is always very small, because the system doesn't need it.

The article was pointing to the fact that paging will increase writes on the SSD, which in turn will deplete the useful life. This is true, but the number of writes due to paging will shorten the life only negligibly, and the benefits of 10x faster read and write speeds are enormous. In terms of paging to the SSD reducing performance, that's just nonsense. It will increase performance, because a fast SSD will read/write 400mb/s easy, and some much faster than that.
B Hurd
September 4th, 2012 @03:24 am
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+1
Dear Mr. Gamer,
Perhaps boosting your system to 64GB of RAM would make your gaming experience less "extreme". Good day.
S. Hoffman
September 6th, 2012 @06:15 am
Reply
-4
I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me, and I am completely satisfied with your website.
All comments and articles are very useful and very good. Everything is very attention-grabbing.
Nick
September 17th, 2012 @04:39 am
Reply
-2
A better tip than completely disabling Hibernating is to reduce the size of the file!

Try this command: powercfg.exe /hibernate /size 50

NOTE: 50% is the maximum you can reduce it!
Brandon Giesing
December 6th, 2012 @03:37 pm
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0
Thanks for all these tips. I have an 30GB SSD integrated with my 750GB harddrive. I could implement all tricks except hibernation.

While trying to disable hibernation, I am getting this error "The system firmware does not support hibernation"

Could you please tell me what is the problem ?
Jigar
March 21st, 2013 @10:28 pm
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0
I have 24 GB of ram in my system. I recently went from my 2tb main HDD to a 120Gb SSD with the 2 tb as a data drive. I noticed about 30 GB of space just mysteriously being used for no reason. I understand the usefulness of hibernation with a laptop when you are low on power to save your work. But, on my desktop system its pointless. When i found this post, i immediately disabled it. Wow My SSD space is free again. Thanks alot!!
Charlie
March 27th, 2013 @08:44 pm
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0
OK, thank you for the very useful info. I deactivated pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys according to your recommendations.
I use pagefile on HDD only.

But there is a SWAPFILE.sys in C:\ 250MB which was not affected and I read that it is used like a pagefile.sys (writing data and decreasing SSD's life span as well).

How can I disable it, delete it or move from SSD to HDD? Thank you very much
G. NIKOLAOU
May 3rd, 2013 @03:38 pm
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0
B. Hurd's comment about pagefiling makes sense. I'm using a 240 GB SSD with 2 x 1 TB HDDs, with 12 GB RAM. The "recommended" pagefile size was listed as 180 GB, so that's what I changed it to, but I'm sure I could get away with a much lower figure than this.

Any suggestions on a more appropriate size please?
Ben T
June 6th, 2013 @04:58 pm
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0
Ben T, 180GB!!!! Thats RIDICULOUS - i think U you meant 18GB? - STILL RIDICULOUS!!.At least up to Win7 the "recommended" pagefile size still uses the outdated rule of PF size = 2.5 x RAM size (thus U would get 18GB) even by the time XP was released it was swiftly becoming inaccurate when RAM sizes were rapidly increasing but i only new this in hindsight - my new PC in 2006 had 2GB ram, and i used the recommended PF size of a whopping 5GB - a couple of years when i discovered the REAL facts about the PF i found out with Gbs range of RAM my modest multi task home use system has only ever needed 500mb PF !! B Hurd has 8GB of RAM and says his is "very small" if it was even 1GB i would be surprised it was that big.

Thankfully many have noted the earlier Win OS ignorance of NOT having a PF ( however this list of tweaks is mostly now outdated/a waste of time for modern SSDs + their infinitely extended/tougher (NAND cell) write cycles/useful life they only applies to the problematic early generation SSDs that had a much shorter/less robust/useful life.) Unfortunately the web is FULL of peeps who dont know what dangerous ignorance they spout - one of the PFs most pivotal roles is REGARDLESS of the amt of RAM, NOT SWAPPING/STORING BUT helping to CHECK RAM for errors (like chkdsk does for errors on hhd/ssd ). Groo is one such offender being taken in by the hyperbole of defrag software companies desperate to find a new market with SSDs too.Their free space consolidation/SSD optimization, if you do objective enough research on the web with it, is utter + complete FUD for the very FACT that SSDs dont need file defraging, free space fragmentation is based on EXACTLY the same principle - with no moving arm fragmentation becomes IRRELEVANT moreso you have been IGNORANT that the file fragment arrangement you mention/base your "logic" on, is only what the OS sees('language it understands') as the SSD controller presents a conventional HHD tracks/heads/cylinders/sectors/clusters/magnetic particles, data layout not the corresponding actual layout (+HOW) the SSD controller has arranged on the NAND cells, which is a practical BLACK BOX to EVERYONE including ALL defrag software makers (or are U suggesting they have access to every SSD manufacturers technology? U or they cant know if the MOCK HDD defragmented free space you talk about has any corresponding replication on the REAL data layout on the (Nand cells of the) SSD - the exact programming of the controller is known ONLY to the manufacturer, the details of such technology unless they are open source are kept secret in the way of such business)
Al
July 5th, 2013 @12:48 am
Reply
+2
Ben T, sorry U wanted a a size suggestion;

"If your PC has 4GB or more Samsung recommends you initially set the virtual memory to 100mb with a maximum size of 2GB"

This refers to the "custom size" in the 'System properties' 'Virtual Memory' menu.'Trial' /monitor the PF then if you find the actual
pagefile.sys gets larger (as seen in Explorer), adjust the initial size up
accordingly. If initial size does grow you should find it will stabilize in line with your own particular work-load.
Al
July 5th, 2013 @01:47 am
Reply
+1
Bent T,
Yep old age is getting to my 'memory' - the old PF size rule was 1.5 x RAM size so 1.5 x 12GB = 18GB that windows inaccurately recommends as the PF size etc
Al
July 5th, 2013 @02:15 pm
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+1
Excellent recap - thanks!
PS. I thought there were a few other tweaks re prefetch settings.
andrew
November 9th, 2013 @09:41 pm
Reply
0
The discovery that Skype and Chrome and AVG2014 all are very promiscuous in terms of disk usage. An uninterrupted stream of writes to disk. My configuration is now SSD+HDD combo so I used symlink/junction for C:\Users to D:\Users. The AVG was worst as it had file writes in many folders - now fixed with even more symlinks. The sysinternal procmon utility now shows significant calming down on usage of C: disk. Hundreds of event logging files were disabled using 'computer management' tool. But even with WriteFile(_) calls now heading mostly to D: drive the running apps and services are still constantly littering the registry with SetRegValue(_) calls. The consequence of modifying Registry will be the committing of the registry hive to persistent disk file and will therefore trash the SSD in the long run.

For example every time I press the Windows Start key the Registry value 'HKCU MuiCache LanguageList' is set by Explorer. The same value is set 7 times in a row. One would think that ONCE would be enough!? In Win7 the possibility to set permission for Keys in registry so I programmed 'deny write' for everyone, system, admin for the registry key. It did not crash the computer and writing the registry hive to disk seem to have gone down. Success? Maybe the registry key 'deny write' could be the generic approach to sand boxing seriously misbehaving apps? I fear that i go too far one day in the SSD tweaks. My 2 previous attempts to use SSD resulted in complete crashes in less than 2 months each. Third time a charm? Crossing fingers.
ae em
January 31st, 2014 @03:37 am
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0
Great article thanks for the tips.
Mariner
February 14th, 2014 @05:19 am
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0
The "Uncheck Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties" didn't work in windows 8.1 files are write protected.
BillyBud
March 17th, 2014 @02:27 am
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0
Your article was excellent and super helpful. Wonder if you could answer my question about my SSD. I was unaware of these fixes until just now, so I've had my Crucial SSD for over a year without the trim command turned on, or the page file set to another drive.

My question is, is there a way to repair or refresh the drive back to its original state performance wise? I know you mentioned life span of certain blocks or sections having only a 10k write lifespan. I'm just speak about speed.

Is there a software tool that can scan a SSD and tell you how much life is left in it? I was using my drive on a PC that I did a lot of filesharing/downloading with, so I think I put a lot of writes on this SSD.

Thanks for your help!
Kaayla
June 9th, 2014 @02:41 pm
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0
One part I am not sure about custom size to setup in MB

Selected drive: C: [Acer]
Space available: 99034 MB

(0) Custom size:
Initial size (MB): [ ]
Maximum size (MB): [ ]

( ) System managed size
( ) No page file [ Set ]

Total paging file size for all drives

Minimum allowed: 16 MB
Recommended: 24436 MB
Currently allocated: 16291 MB

OK now what I want to know how much MB in initial size and Maximum size too? I know both have to be the same with MB. If you know how much can I enter in the box with both initial and maximum size of Custom size. Look forward to get the answer about this.

Thank you,

John
John P. Mackay
August 26th, 2014 @10:13 pm
Reply
0

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