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How to Optimize SSDs for Windows 7

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TweakTown has a guide posted today about how to properly configure SSDs for Windows 7. I don't know why it's split into 8 small pages, so I've dumped you into the most interesting parts, starting at page 6.

Their more advanced recommendations include:

  • Select high performance power plan
  • Disable Indexing
  • Enable Write Caching
  • Disable Defrag
  • Disable System Restore
  • Disable Superfetch
  • Disable Prefetch

Are there any hardcore SSD Windows 7 users out there who have found other tweaks to optimize performance without crushing battery life (for notebooks)?

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TweakTown has a guide posted today about how to properly configure SSDs for Windows 7. I don't know why it's split into 8 small pages, so I've dumped you into the most interesting parts, starting at page 6.

Their more advanced recommendations include:

  • Select high performance power plan
  • Disable Indexing
  • Enable Write Caching
  • Disable Defrag
  • Disable System Restore
  • Disable Superfetch
  • Disable Prefetch

Are there any hardcore SSD Windows 7 users out there who have found other tweaks to optimize performance without crushing battery life (for notebooks)?

Well, I can certainly understand why you would want to disable Superfetch, Prefetch, and Defrag, since their benefits would probably be minimal on a SSD. Write Caching (at the OS level) seems like a good idea in order to reduce writes and also allow more possibility for "combining" writes to the same sector.

However, completely disabling System Restore, which I'm sure would improve performance, seems like a more questionable move. The whole point of System Restore is to be able to "turn back the clock" if you have a problem after a software installation without having to do a complete reinstall of the OS. You can also easily limit how much storage is used to keep Restore points. Considering that all SSDs use wear-leveling, I don't think that disabling System Restore will actually make much of a difference in the usable life of an SSD, and having it available might prove a valuable time saver.

Indexing can be very useful, if you use Windows Search, to find files/items if you don't remember exactly where they might be, but it's usefulness is more dependent on whether you use Windows Search or not. IIRC, you can also modify how often the Indexing service updates the index in order to have better control over scheduling.

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TweakTown has a guide posted today about how to properly configure SSDs for Windows 7. I don't know why it's split into 8 small pages, so I've dumped you into the most interesting parts, starting at page 6.

Their more advanced recommendations include:

  • Select high performance power plan
  • Disable Indexing
  • Enable Write Caching
  • Disable Defrag
  • Disable System Restore
  • Disable Superfetch
  • Disable Prefetch

Are there any hardcore SSD Windows 7 users out there who have found other tweaks to optimize performance without crushing battery life (for notebooks)?

Indexing is best left on... Defrag is disabled automatically by Windows 7...

Superfetch or Prefetchis too - the other is best left on - system restore - switching it off can be a risk - its better left on.

If you really wanted to - you can still switch it off.

High performance power plan is nonsense - its not really better, also, if you want to use your laptop "On the go" that makes it useless.

Performance - I have run CrystalDiskMark on my Intel 160GB G2 on my Vaio maximum Powersave plan - my CPU downclocks to 1,6GHz (from 2,5) my screen get's dimmed, components switched off... still I get similar benchmarks.

People - are obsessed with "tweaking" then come to forum like NBR and complain it doesn't work.

My advise to all SSD users on Win7 - LEAVE IT ALONE!!!

On Vista:

Disable scheduled defrags - that's all.

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This is even more important if a Windows operating system

has been installed on the Solid State Drive. (It is basically the same deal for Linux users who should think about moving all write intensive tasks to other drives)

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This is even more important if a Windows operating system

has been installed on the Solid State Drive. (It is basically the same deal for Linux users who should think about moving all write intensive tasks to other drives)

On Windows 7 leave the OS ALONE!!!

Windows 7 knows how to handle a SSD - and even on Vista - you can mainly leave it alone - mainly, yes, you should disable scheduled defragmentations on Vista - all else is not required.

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In Win7, hell in Vista, just leave it alone, it is already fairly intelligent about performance. Aside from disabling defrag (Vista only), none of the recommendations actually do anything useful.

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I'll NEVER EVER disable System Restore.

It saved my a*s countless times. Best thing that Vista introduced.

I've never had any gains from it... it only broke stuff - but everyone to his/her own.

Question:

Can you create a back up to keep at home or carry along that you can use so you can just copy your system back?

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I've never had any gains from it... it only broke stuff - but everyone to his/her own.

Question:

Can you create a back up to keep at home or carry along that you can use so you can just copy your system back?

Here is a thought if you are running TRIM. Observe how lengthy and problematic it is to run the Intel Toolbox with System restore on in comparison to shutting it off. I don't know if the Tool doesn't like system restore allocation of its files but it is a very lengthy and difficult run compared to having it shut down which takes only a second.

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Here is a thought if you are running TRIM. Observe how lengthy and problematic it is to run the Intel Toolbox with System restore on in comparison to shutting it off. I don't know if the Tool doesn't like system restore allocation of its files but it is a very lengthy and difficult run compared to having it shut down which takes only a second.

Well Les, I've switched it off because for me System Restore has the very few times I did use it, broken more than it fixed...

And System Restore - the original toolbox had a problem with them too - it made then unusable for some reason...

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Indexing is best left on... Defrag is disabled automatically by Windows 7...

Superfetch or Prefetchis too - the other is best left on - system restore - switching it off can be a risk - its better left on.

If you really wanted to - you can still switch it off.

High performance power plan is nonsense - its not really better, also, if you want to use your laptop "On the go" that makes it useless.

Performance - I have run CrystalDiskMark on my Intel 160GB G2 on my Vaio maximum Powersave plan - my CPU downclocks to 1,6GHz (from 2,5) my screen get's dimmed, components switched off... still I get similar benchmarks.

People - are obsessed with "tweaking" then come to forum like NBR and complain it doesn't work.

My advise to all SSD users on Win7 - LEAVE IT ALONE!!!

On Vista:

Disable scheduled defrags - that's all.

Not sure what you mean with Superfetch and Prefetch, but neither are turned off in my system with Windows 7--both are on by default.

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Not sure what you mean with Superfetch and Prefetch, but neither are turned off in my system with Windows 7--both are on by default.

Turning off Superfetch and Prefetch will not gain any perfgormance that I am aware of although some may say that somehow it reduces the total number of SSD writes which means your ssd may last an extra 15 years or so (pun intended). Alot of ssd tweak sites recommend prefetch be disabled and some prefetch; personally its probably a moot point one way or another.

I have both disabled on my system and it is recommended in the SSD Optimization Guide below.

For me personally, its a matter of asking myself why I would want so many different things running that aren't beneficial to the system as the SSD is so fast at access speeds.

Edited by LesT

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I'd agree with DetlevCM and leave SuperFetch and Prefetch on. There's no reason at all to turn these off, and it'll probably reduce performance. The point of these features is to speed the system up by reducing disk access and loading things from RAM instead of disk. SSDs may be fast, but dual-channel DDR2 RAM is much, much faster.

As for system restore and indexing, yes you could turn these off to push for the ultimate level of performance but this is nothing to do with SSDs and isn't specific to SSDs or any type of drive. You could equally well do this on a HDD. In fact you'd probably notice a bigger difference turning off system restore on a HDD than you would on an SSD, simply because an SSD already handles the very few operations it adds much faster. I'd leave system restore on for safety and maybe turn off indexing if you don't ever search the contents of files. An index may not speed up disk access for file-name searches on an SSD but it makes full-text and content searches a hell of a lot faster - they're as much CPU bound as they are disk bound and the extra processing of doing this without an index slows things down by an order of magnitude.

I'll NEVER EVER disable System Restore.

It saved my a*s countless times. Best thing that Vista introduced.

Except it wasn't introduced in Vista, it was already there in XP. In fact, I preferred the implementation in XP better. Under XP you could manually access and restore individual files and registry hives from any restore point, in Vista it's just one big-ass archive file you can't look inside.

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I'd agree with DetlevCM and leave SuperFetch and Prefetch on. There's no reason at all to turn these off, and it'll probably reduce performance. The point of these features is to speed the system up by reducing disk access and loading things from RAM instead of disk. SSDs may be fast, but dual-channel DDR2 RAM is much, much faster.

As for system restore and indexing, yes you could turn these off to push for the ultimate level of performance but this is nothing to do with SSDs and isn't specific to SSDs or any type of drive. You could equally well do this on a HDD. In fact you'd probably notice a bigger difference turning off system restore on a HDD than you would on an SSD, simply because an SSD already handles the very few operations it adds much faster. I'd leave system restore on for safety and maybe turn off indexing if you don't ever search the contents of files. An index may not speed up disk access for file-name searches on an SSD but it makes full-text and content searches a hell of a lot faster - they're as much CPU bound as they are disk bound and the extra processing of doing this without an index slows things down by an order of magnitude.

Except it wasn't introduced in Vista, it was already there in XP. In fact, I preferred the implementation in XP better. Under XP you could manually access and restore individual files and registry hives from any restore point, in Vista it's just one big-ass archive file you can't look inside.

This is fresh out from Intel regarding Superfetch:

http://download.intel.com/support/ssdc/hpssd/sb/newusersguide.pdf

With respect to System Restore with an ssd, the question isnt whether it will speed up your system, but rather, what System Restre will d to your system in the process, especially with the Intel drive as it is best shown with this. Myself, I believe that System Restore is the key factor in SSD slowing that we have noticed over the past few years and, in many cases, stil hasn't been looked into close enough by Intel although they are doing this now.

If you have an Intel and System Restore on, you should download Intels Toolbox and run the Optimizer which for the most part is manual TRIM. If it takes anymore than a few quick seconds (and in most cases a split second) you need to consider that something is getting in the way of TRIM doing its job. The culprit I have found in every case is System restore. Turn it off and then run the Optimizer again and watch how fast things work.

In addition to this, I like to suggest Crystal benchmarks right at the beginning and then right at the end. There always seems to be a drastic diff in the performance of the drive. Further yet, I hang around probably 8-9 sites and people are regularly coming on saying their ssd has slowed considerably to which I suggest the above possibility and in every case thusfar....Restore has been the culprit.

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Thanks for the info, LestT. Still I wouldn't want to turn off system restore - it's one of the great things MS has developed in the past and part of what makes Win 7 (and to some extend Vista) just feel so much better and modern. If something goes wrong, just tell the OS to repair. So far it has always succeded for me, no further hassle.

Having said that it would probably be a good idea to switch system restore off on the Intel drives every now and then. Then manually trim it and enable restore again (having deleted all old restore points). Would that restore the drive to full performance at minimal risk? Are Sandforce drives as prone to this issue as the Intels?

MrS

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MrSpadge' date='09 May 2010 - 06:57 AM' timestamp='1273402674' post='261514']

Thanks for the info, LestT. Still I wouldn't want to turn off system restore - it's one of the great things MS has developed in the past and part of what makes Win 7 (and to some extend Vista) just feel so much better and modern. If something goes wrong, just tell the OS to repair. So far it has always succeded for me, no further hassle.

Having said that it would probably be a good idea to switch system restore off on the Intel drives every now and then. Then manually trim it and enable restore again (having deleted all old restore points). Would that restore the drive to full performance at minimal risk? Are Sandforce drives as prone to this issue as the Intels?

MrS

Yup but I am always interested in the performance difference, if any, that your system may experience. Next time you are going to shut her down and then manually TRIM, do a Crystal score before and after and also try to keep track as to how long the optimization takes.

With respect to SandForce, I have a new OWC drive with the uncapped and Force 1200 in my system as we speak. I am going to play with it for a few weeks or so before jumping to any conclusions. What would be ideal is for a company to come out with a manual optimization similar to Intels for all ssds.

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You guys are brutal. Did you ever think the author of that might be lurking around from time to time:)

The article wasn't just written on a whim, the author spent a couple of months playing around with different settings. As for System Restore, you will see a speed increase on any HDD or SSD. The thing with SSDs when that article was written was that you didn't want to go around thrashing them with random writes all of the time. We were really still trying to understand TRIM at the time. Also, TweakTown is written mainly for enthusiasts but we do get some regular traffic too, err I mean they might get some regular traffic too. That is why all of the risky stuff is labeled as such. Anyhow, I spent a lot of time getting that list together and have mounds of first hand data from testing.

Err I mean someone must have mounds of data:)

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This is fresh out from Intel regarding Superfetch:

http://download.intel.com/support/ssdc/hpssd/sb/newusersguide.pdf

With respect to System Restore with an ssd, the question isnt whether it will speed up your system, but rather, what System Restre will d to your system in the process, especially with the Intel drive as it is best shown with this. Myself, I believe that System Restore is the key factor in SSD slowing that we have noticed over the past few years and, in many cases, stil hasn't been looked into close enough by Intel although they are doing this now.

If you have an Intel and System Restore on, you should download Intels Toolbox and run the Optimizer which for the most part is manual TRIM. If it takes anymore than a few quick seconds (and in most cases a split second) you need to consider that something is getting in the way of TRIM doing its job. The culprit I have found in every case is System restore. Turn it off and then run the Optimizer again and watch how fast things work.

In addition to this, I like to suggest Crystal benchmarks right at the beginning and then right at the end. There always seems to be a drastic diff in the performance of the drive. Further yet, I hang around probably 8-9 sites and people are regularly coming on saying their ssd has slowed considerably to which I suggest the above possibility and in every case thusfar....Restore has been the culprit.

Thanks for posting that Intel info about Superfetch. However, nothing said about Prefetch and that still leaves me wondering...

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Indexing is best left on... Defrag is disabled automatically by Windows 7...

Superfetch or Prefetchis too - the other is best left on - system restore - switching it off can be a risk - its better left on.

If you really wanted to - you can still switch it off.

High performance power plan is nonsense - its not really better, also, if you want to use your laptop "On the go" that makes it useless.

Performance - I have run CrystalDiskMark on my Intel 160GB G2 on my Vaio maximum Powersave plan - my CPU downclocks to 1,6GHz (from 2,5) my screen get's dimmed, components switched off... still I get similar benchmarks.

People - are obsessed with "tweaking" then come to forum like NBR and complain it doesn't work.

My advise to all SSD users on Win7 - LEAVE IT ALONE!!!

On Vista:

Disable scheduled defrags - that's all.

Not true. I´ve got a intel X25-M SSD in my Asus ul30a. I notice when I use the power4gear and set the "high performance power plan" the notebook is faster. Also I have done a HDTune test and the results are totally different if I use "high performance plan" or "battery saving /quiet office plan".

The read test are around 200mb/sec with "high performance plan" and 150mb/sec if I use the "quiet office plan"

I´m trying to know what I have to change to get the maximum performance of my SSD in all plan modes

Edited by panic

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Not true. I´ve got a intel X25-M SSD in my Asus ul30a. I notice when I use the power4gear and set the "high performance power plan" the notebook is faster. Also I have done a HDTune test and the results are totally different if I use "high performance plan" or "battery saving /quiet office plan".

The read test are around 200mb/sec with "high performance plan" and 150mb/sec if I use the "quiet office plan"

I´m trying to know what I have to change to get the maximum performance of my SSD in all plan modes

Then blame Asus for that - because on my Vaio I will get the same benchmarks for my Intel - on max. Powersaver mode or on my normal mode.

And max. powersaver (Sony one) more than doubles battery life.

And regarding "wired use" - http://forum.notebookreview.com/windows-os-software/410831-power-plan-controversy.html

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I plan to perform a few clean Windows installations on my laptop in the next few days so I will grub the opportunity to run a couple of benchmarks with the default Windows settings (out of the box installation) and a couple of benchmarks after I apply a few tweaks. I am sure you will be interested to see the decrease or the increase in the performance of the SSD.

Stay tuned.

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That would be good...a progressive benchmark as settings are tweaked. I think most SSD buyers "set it and forget it" but if there were a tweak or two that added significant performance, that would be good to know. In the end I don't think users will "feel" much difference, but there's something to be said for running in an optimal condition.

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I am getting a new PC next week with a 128 GB ADATA S599 MLC SSD as the primary drive.

The data drive is a 30 GB Kingston SSDNow V Series MLC SSD (this was a free giveaway for their Black Friday sale ..) that I'll use to install some applications on. I have other HDD on the system for my data storage.

The PC will come with Windows 7 (64 bit) installed on the ADATA (hopefully).

Honestly, I am getting freaked out by reading about the problems with SSD, especially durability in general and ADATA S599 in particular!

My question is: How do I customize Win 7 so that the files/directories that are most dynamic (written or updated frequently) are moved to another drive (my HDD)?

Some of those would be:

TEMP directory,

swap file,

"C:\Documents and Settings\All Users" area where applications store their settings and files

IE cache+cookies,

Firefox cache+cookies, etc.

Anyone made a list of such changes one can make to a Windows 7 installation that would minimize writes to the "C:" drive?

Most of the discussion here is about increasing the speed of the system. I am more interested in increasing the longevity of my SSD by reducing the writes to that volume (especially random writes).

Thanks.

Aloke

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