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How to setup and keep your SSD running optimally

August 6th, 2011
SSD’s are not the same as mechanical hard drives and require different configuration & maintenance to keep them in tip top condition.

Here are my top tips to help:


Basic Setup


  • Set AHCI mode in your BIOS
  • If available make sure you set this mode rather than IDE as this allows Windows 7 to use the TRIM feature; which greatly helps in maintaining a your SSD and NCQ which should improve performance.

  • Windows Experience Index
  • By running the in-built Windows tool this should automatcily enable TRIM and also disable Defrag; but it’s worth checking below to make sure.

  • Check TRIM is enabled
  • Open a Command Prompt with Administrative privileges (run as administrator) and enter the following command:

    fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify

    If the result is ‘0’ TRIM is enabled.

    You can also use a free tool like CrystalDiskMark to check TRIM and NCQ.


Tweaking Windows 7 settings


To help keep things simple there is now a great tool that will make most of the required changes for you:

SSD Tweaker

With all the advice online for SSD hard drives it can take hours of research and fiddling to properly setup your SSD drive. Now with this little app you can Tweak Windows 2K/XP/Vista & 7 including x64 in seconds.

SSD Tweaker allows you to tweak the following:

  • Windows Services
  • Query and Set Windows 7 TRIM Status (Pro Only)
  • Experimental TRIM Optimization (Pro Only)
  • Hibernation Settings
  • Use Large System Cache
  • Ntfs Memory Usage
  • Disable 8.3 Filenames
  • Disable Date Stamping
  • Disable Boot Tracing
  • Windows Prefetcher
  • Windows Vista Superfetch
  • Windows Indexing Service
  • System Restore
  • Windows Defrag


Other Tips


  • Don’t overfill your SSD
  • I know that sounds like a pain; especially since you have paid so much for so few GB’s already, but for the SSD to work effectively it is best practice to keep at least 20% free space on your drive, this allows the internal cleanup routines to work more effectively.

  • Avoid running disk benchmarks too often!
  • Try not to run Disk Benchmarks too often; this can cause additional ware on your
    drive and can confuse the built in processes that try to keep things in shape. – Yes they can be useful to determine if your drive is slowing down; but use them too often and you may end up causing an adverse effect!

  • Allow the in-built clean up routines to run
  • Some drives like the Vertex 3 require a period of inactivity before their internal clean up routines start to run; this is best achieved by booting your machine into the bios and leaving it there for a few hours.

  • Secure Erase – Last resort
  • If you find your drive performance has dipped considerably; it might be time to perform a Secure Erase.

    This requires making a full backup, running the Secure Erase tool which is a Linux utility; (but don’t worry there is a simple to use bootable cd image available here) and then a full restore – so should probably only be done as a last resort.

    Once you have restored your backup you may want to check that it is aligned correctly; use this Partition Re-alignment software to help you.

  • Firmware Updates
  • A word of caution here; there have been a lot of duff updates recently so don’t be the 1st to jump on the bandwagon; let others test them out for you (like us, lol!). After a few weeks you should be able to guage from others feedback as to wether it is worthwhile upgrading or not.

    So hopefully if you have followed my tips above, your SSD should be running and performing optimally, so go play some games, already! 😉

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