How to Extend the Lifetime and Make Better Use of Solid State Drives (SSDs) in Windows 7 PCs

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Are you one of those who has a computer with a nice speedy SSD? Then you will want to take good care of it and do everything possible to use it efficiently. Because of the generally smaller size and the fact that the lifetime of SSDs is limited to a finite number of reads and writes, there are some special considerations for using SSDs. Here are tips to reduce wear and tear on your SSD and ways to use the limited space better. Please note that there are differences of opinion about some of the possible steps to take and I have indicated this where appropriate.

Make sure TRIM support is enabled

Because SSDs cannot write over existing data without first erasing it, a special feature called TRIM  is needed. Windows 7 implements TRIM natively but older versions of Windows do not support it. This is an essential feature and is usually turned on by default in Windows 7. But just in case, here’s how to check if TRIM is enabled:

  1. Open a command prompt with elevated privileges (this link explains how) 
  2. Enter this command: fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify
  3. If a message "DisableDeleteNotify = 0" is given,  then TRIM is enabled. If the message says "DisableDeleteNotify = 1", it is disabled
  4. If necessary, enable TRIM by using the command:  fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0

Disable scheduled disk defragmentation

The structure of SSDs does not benefit from the standard Windows defragmentation and is normally disabled for SSDs. To make sure, here is the procedure:

  1. Open the Disk Defragmenter from Control Panel or by entering “dfrgui” (without quotes) in the Start search bar
  2. Make sure the SSD is marked “Never run” in the Disk Defragmenter interface

Less critical but often desirable tweaks

Here are some tweaks that help free up space and cut down SSD traffic. They are useful for many systems but may not apply to all users.

  • Disable hibernation
    This is primarily for desktop systems where you need to save the space that hibernation uses. See this previous tip for instructions on managing hibernation. The speed of an SSD means quick boot ups so the time-saving aspect of hibernation is less useful. However, laptop owners may wish to keep hibernation for the power management features.
  • Move personal folders to another disk
    Considerable space can be freed up by moving personal folders like (My) Documents, Videos, Pictures, and Downloads to a second hard drive. See this previous tip for instructions.
  • Move or reduce the page file (virtual memory)
    There are a variety of opinions about the correct size for a page file. It depends on how many applications you keep open, how much RAM you have, and other factors. If you have at least 4 GB of RAM, I think that a 1 GB page file on the SSD is sufficient for average users, especially if you add a separate page file of several GB on any second  drive that you have (not a partition, a separate disk). Power users may want to make the SSD page file larger. Details on managing the page file are at this link
  • Disable indexing
    Whether or not to disable indexing for an SSD is a hotly argued subject. The article at this link is in favor; the article at this link is against but recommends moving the index folder to another disk to free up space. Details on managing indexing are at those two references.

And there you have it. By using these tips, you’ll  prolong the life of your SSD and keep it lean and efficient.

Thanks go to Gizmo for suggesting this topic.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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