Users who crave for more performance out of their system would definitely consider investing a pretty decent ssd to speed up their PC. Unlike hard drives SSD’s work in an different manner. Users who upgrade from hard drives to SSD’s often get confounded with doubts whether they need to do the required maintenance which they might have been doing with the hard drives, to speed up ssd and optimize its performance.
With Windows 7 came the Windows Experience Index which gave a numerical rating for your system performance and for most systems it was obviously the hard drive that was responsible for getting low WEI scores. But things changed when an SSD (Solid State Drive) replaced the slow moving hard drive. Though expensive, they are super fast and deliver superior performance gain over traditional hard drives. Although they excel over the hard drives in speed, power consumption, noise and shock resistance, they do have some cons which could be taken care of if we could use and maintain them properly.
You could use many techniques to take full advantage of your SSD. In this guide, we’ll see the steps and its explanations which includes speeding up your SSD, Optimizing its performance and thereby maximizing its life span.
We’ve spend hours to research and collect the information on this guide that would certainly be beneficial in optimizing your ssd. So, make sure you take the time to read out the full guide if you wish to get the best from your expensive drive. While most of the steps to speed up ssd targets windows 8 and windows 7 users, some steps are common for all platforms. We’ve included a lot of general information, so that you’ll get an idea on when and where to use these steps once you’ve finished reading the guide.
Speed Up Your SSD
Playing a video file from an SSD doesn’t make a noticeable speed difference and this is the same case with documents, PDFs etc.
You’d definitely see the speed and performance of an SSD when you try read / write operation of large files from your drive. This is the case when you load games, load a bunch of images in Adobe Photoshop, loading video files in Adobe Premiere etc.
1) Enable Write Caching in Windows 7
This tweak would enable the write caching on your SSD which helps to speed up SSD by a small margin. This tweak would force windows to cache the write commands sent to the SSD, to be stored in the memory which is many times faster and thus would result in a much faster operation.
- To do this navigate to, Computer > Properties > Device Manager >Disk Drive
- Now, right click and select Properties of your SSD and click on policies tab and just select the Enable write caching in Windows option, Click Apply > OK and you’re done.
For Users who have plenty of Ram installed on their system, you may consider using your RAM as a cache for the SSD.
Note: Consider this only if your have a proper redundant backup power supply for your system and also if you have a lot of free memory (2 – 4GB free) after loading up your daily used programs on your system.
2) Speed Up SSD by Using RAM Cache
What it does is that, the temporary read / write operations on your system would be done in the ram which is many times faster than a SSD.
- Begin the process by downloading Fancy Cache (~2MB) software.
- After installation and starting up the program, the software interface would list out the storage mediums connected to your pc.
- Select your SSD from the list and configure a cache size for it (Refer the image). The cache size may be set to suit your needs. We’ve allocated currently 3192 MB of RAM as the cache and the defer caching has been also set to enabled.
- After setting the cache size for your SSD and related options on fancy cache, click Start Caching and you’re ready with the caching setup for your SSD.
Fancy Cache is a trial software and it gives you a 180 days trial period which is plenty, to test it out comprehensively.This software really does give a significant performance boost to speed up ssd and would make the file operations agile. The result is an experience of a much responsive and snappier system.
Fancy Cache can also speed up your hard drives, but things might get worse once you try copying files which are larger than the cache size, set for your traditional hard drive in fancy cache. This happens because, once the allocated cache memory in the ram has been filled up, the stored data needs to be transferred to the hard drive. So, you may notice a lag in performance when you copy a file which is larger than the cache size. It may seem like the hard drive is carrying out the file operations at its normal speed without any speed boost via the cache, where as small file operations would be carried out much faster.
We’ve used CrystalDiskMark to benchmark ssd performance before and after enabling fancy cache and the results are as below.
Now here are the results after we’ve configured and setup FancyCache for the ssd.
The software actually gives you an impression that the data operation has been completed on the drive, but it actually works in the background even after that to offload the data to the drive from the memory. So, this is why we recommend you to have an uninterrupted power supply because in case of a sudden power loss, the contents of the ram gets erased and the final result would be a data loss!
Note : You may turn off Write caching in windows 7 if you are using fancy cache to speed up ssd performance.
Optimizing and Maintaining Your SSD
SSD’s use flash memory which performs notably better at purchase time than after significant usage. There’s probably no way to avoid it other than to minimize its speed degradation by reducing the frequency of read / write cycles on the SSD .
The TRIM Command
The very first step after setting up an SSD is to enable the TRIM Command in Windows. Windows 8 has the TRIM command already enabled if you are using an SSD. It is important to have the TRIM command enabled on your system as it helps to maintain the SSD’s life by optimizing the garbage collection in windows.
When you delete a file from a normal Hard drive, it basically removes the address of the particular data and the file will not be actually deleted and windows just show it as a free space. When you write new files, the data gets overwritten. Doing the same process wont speed up ssd and degrade its performance over time. So, its essential to have the data deleted properly once its not needed. For this, we use the TRIM command
3) Enabling TRIM Command to Optimize SSD
- From the Start Menu, type CMD in the search box.
- Right click the command prompt icon and choose Run as Administrator.
- Now type fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify and press Enter.
- If its shows you disabledeletenotify = 0, the TRIM command is enabled in windows and you don’t have to make any modifications. If not, it would display, disabledeletenotify = 1.
- If TRIM is not enabled, type fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0
- The TRIM Command would now be set to enabled.
4) Should You enable hibernation while using an SSD in Windows ?
The fact is that, hibernation can be enabled on windows which is installed on an SSD, as it doesn’t cause much speed degradation since the read / write hibernation data is done sequentially as large blocks of data. Hibernation really saves you a lot of time if you’re a productive windows user. So, its illogical to compromise your productivity for just a matter of gain in life span of an SSD.
Drive Defragmentation in Windows 7
Drive defragmentation helps in organizing the fragmented data and helps in improving the performance of a hard disk. But drive defragmentation doesn’t speed up SSD, as these drives doesn’t contain any rotating parts and defragmenting a drive would involve the transfer of data i.e. more read/write cycles which actually shortens the life span of the SSD. So, its always good to disable drive defragmentation in windows.
If you use a windows system with an SSD and a hard drive, you could selectively implement drive defragmentation for the hard disk alone.
Windows 8 and 7 would automatically exclude the drive that declare themselves as SSD’s or if it possess a random read speed of over 8 MB/sec. In case if it haven’t done this automatically, here’s what you’d need to do.
5) Disable Drive Defragmentation in Windows 7
- Click on the Start Menu and type Disk, the disk defragmenter will be shown under the programs.
- Click Configure Schedule in the disk defragmenter window and Click on Select disks…
- You’ll see the drives being listed out. Just exclude your SSD drive from the listed drives and proceed by clicking OK.
6) Turn Off Super fetch, Prefetch in Windows
All these tweaks would make use of the RAM to speed up the performance of the system as in the case of Fancy Cache (mention above). When you enable these options in windows, frequently used files would be moved on to RAM for faster access there by avoiding the seeking of data from SSD, but it compromises the performance of the system if you have very less memory available. So its better to disable them if you have 4GB or less memory. If you have plenty of RAM installed, enabling them might give an iota of boost and would speed up SSD performance.
- Bring up the Registry Editor in Windows by Typing regedit on RUN Window (WIN + R) and pressing Enter.
- Now navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters“
- You’ll see Enable Prefetcher and Enable Superfetch options being list out on the right window pane.
- Double click each and set the value from 3 to 0.
- Now restart your system for the changes to be enabled.
7) Placing the Page File on SSD
The page file in windows is used to improve the system reliability. When contents gets filled in RAM the unused data gets moved on to the secondary storage medium to pave way for new data in the RAM.
While most guides on Optimizing SSD Performance advice you to turn of paging on your system, the fact is that Page file read sizes are generally small and writes are comparatively large.
Considering the pagefile reference patterns and the SSD’s favourable performance characteristics over the patterns, there are few files better than windows pagefile to be stored on an SSD. So it wouldn’t make much of a performance impact in the long run of SSD.
8) Drive Compression
You might have noticed an option in your Drive Properties window to Compress your drive. If you are concerned with performance and not drive space, then its better to have this option disabled.
But if space is your concern, this might save you a few GB’s and remember, drive compression uses your CPU when file modifications take place. So, file compression may be a good trade-off for infrequently modified files and data.
9) Disabling Drive Indexing to Optimize SSD
SSDs are speedier than hard drives and have an access time of 0.1 milli second. Drive indexing results in increasing the number of file write operations doesn’t really speed up SSD and its better to have it turned off.
- Open My Computer and just right Click Your SSD and choose properties.
- Just untick the Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties option. You’ll be prompted with warnings just after clicking Apply.
- Proceed by pressing Ignore All and it would show you a processing window and would take a few minutes for the changes to be applied.
On top of all these tweaks, you must also make sure AHCI mode is enabled for your SSD. This setting is usually configured in BIOS/UEFI.
If you have gone thoroughly through the guide and implemented the required tweaks, be happy that you’ve optimized your SSD to its best performance and Life. There had been a bit of controversy regarding the hibernation setting and placing the page file on the ssd. Well, there’s nothing that you’d need to bother regarding those two settings for now as what you’ve implemented is better and safe for your SSD and your system.
We could’ve made the guide much shorter and quick, but it wont be complete unless there’re explanations for the purpose and what these settings actually do to your system. We’ve exempted those tweaks which could tamper your system reliability and almost all these ssd tweaks are safe to implement on your system; provided, you read them well.
If you like to appreciate the effort we’ve put on, please do share this guide to reach it better to the masses.