Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/170752/htg-explains-should-you-use-an-ssd-optimization-utility/
Traditional mechanical disk drives need to be defragmented for optimum performance, although Windows now does a good job of doing this automatically. Some software companies claim that their tools can “optimize” SSDs, just as disk defragmenters could speed up mechanical drives.
Well done and informative. I hope this clears up a few lingering questions. Though to be fair you would be excused for thinking optimization was still necessary. After all we've sorta had to be doing it for a long time with mechanical drives.
Modern operating systems like Windows 7 and Windows 8 won’t attempt to
This is not quite true... Windows 8, for example, recognizes indeed that the disk on which it is installed is a SSD, but if a second SSD is present in the PC, with another OS, it is in its list of disks to optimize (and thus to defragment)
I have in my PC both SSD and 3 mechanical hard drives. Windows 8 is installed on one SSD, on the other, Windows 7 is installed. Windows 8 was preparing to optimize SSD where Windows 7 is installed, as for mechanical drives. Therefore we must be very careful if there are other SSD than that. I read a lot of testimonies of people who have had SSD on which was not Windows 8, destroyed like that...
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the article clearly states that "optimizing" the SSDs in Windows 8 means running TRIM on them, and not defragmenting them.
Windows 8 will 'Optimize and Defragment Drives', meaning: it will defragment mechanical drives and optimize (TRIM) SSD drives.
Great article... What about Mac? I have a MacBook Air with 128GB SSD. Am I supposed to do anything in particular to take care of it?
It has been mentioned several times that Windows 7 recognizes when an SSD is present in the system and disables Defrag automatically, but my experience has been just the opposite. First thing I do whenever I have a new PC in hand with an SSD installed is look to make sure that Defrag is disabled in Task Scheduler. I have yet to see it disabled for any SSD by default.
Oh, bloody hell. All this talk of optimization - makes me cringe thinking of the overhead!
How I miss the days of physical RAM disks (battery-backed) that required none of this foolishness except occasional defrags. No worries about limited writes. Ability to recover deleted files.
So how do we use apps that require a lot of read/write cycles? Do we have some line in the sand that says an SSD is best for storage and a mechanical HD is best for apps requiring many read/write/update cycles?
What about early SSD drives that don't support TRIM? Is there any way to optimize them?
What I think is really needed is a set of basic procedures to go through for somebody setting up an SSD for a Windows 7/8 machine. My personal opinion is that the instructions should include things like installing a "scratch" standard hard drive that you move everything like data, TMP and TEMP, cookies, and all software scratch drive locations to. Right now I have to hunt all over the place to find all that information, and it still isn't complete. For example, I didn't know that if you changed the TMP locations that didn't affect cookies, which require a regedit modification. A consolidated list of all the procedures would help enormously.
I'm still using old hardware and have yet to work with SSD's or Win8.
But in the process of learning about all this new stuff, I have questions that I've yet seen to be addressed.
Like, with older Windows, you move something to trash it's not deleted until you empty it. I'm supposing this is still the case.
But, with older Windows (and drives), even when Deleted if you said "Help I didn't mean it!" you could still recover it as it was still there unless overwritten, and even then with the right tools you might still be able to get at it.
So. My question (you can probably guess it by now) is how recover - able is information from SSD's once "Trimmed"?
There are a few things to turn off, in windows 7 at least, if you have an ssd, like superfetch, prefetch and some caching. Also move your page file to another drive or turn it off as it will decrease the lifespan of the drive.
I have an intel ssd and it came with a lightweight util that does this for you, a few are disabled by win7 automatically but best to check, it also checks the health of the drive.
Good tip, stillwell_john. Now how do I do this on Windows 7? Where do I find the util and how do I check if I am disabled or where it is? Sorry, that much of an in depth computer geek here. Thanks in advance for any advice, direction or info you could pass on.
From what I understand, TRIM is only activated if you choose to activate the feature while performing a clean install of Windows. Seeing as a lot of people use SSD's to upgrade their current system - myself included - this feature is many times not activated if the HDD is cloned to the SSD. I'm wondering if these TRIM utilities would work for a system that has not had a clean install of Windows?
There is one important use case for explicitly TRIMming the drive that is often overlooked: When migrating to a new SSD, if you do a sector-by-sector clone of your old drive onto your new SSD, you're going to want to explicitly TRIM the unused parts once afterwards. After doing a clone like this, essentially every single block on the SSD will end up being marked as containing data. Not TRIMming it after doing this is not only bad for performance, but for reliability as well, as it puts the drive in its worst-case state for wear-levelling. Heed what this article says about not needing to repeatedly run TRIM, but do make sure you do it just once after a clone.