The SSD Optimization Guide Ultimate Windows 8 (And Win7) Edition

12. DISABLE WINDOWS SEARCH – ENDURANCE

Disabling Windows Search is part and parcel to Indexing and you are not disabling the typical search function, but rather, you are disabling Windows Search indexing, thus reducing total writes to the SSD.  Locating search is a bit of a different animal, however, as we need to jump into Windows Services to do it.

Windows 8 SSD Optimization Search

In either Windows 7 or 8 systems, press the Windows key and the letter ‘S’ simultaneously. Once in the Services menu, scroll down to Windows Search, ‘Stop’ the service, and ‘Disable’ it.

13. DISABLE WRITE CACHE BUFFER FLUSHING – PERFORMANCE

One can credit older Intel SSDs for the discovery of this optimization, however, it remains to be a point of discussion and is not consistent with every SSD.  Some SSDs perform better with Write Cache Buffer Flushing enable and some run better with it disabled.  Common sense dictates that, unless a much needed and significant performance advantage is gained, it is best to leave this selection unchecked for data safety.

Buffer Flushing

One can check out Write Cache Data Buffering by once again going into the Device Manager, selecting Disk Drives, right clicking on the drive of interest and selecting ‘Properties’.

14.  DISABLE SUPERFETCH – ENDURANCE

This is probably the most confusing optimization if we listen to Microsoft.  Initially, having it enabled was the flavor of the day but then they seemed to have taken note of our SSD Optimization Guide and changed their tune.  In Windows 8, it is enabled again.  In doing a bit of background, the flavor today seems to be that it remains enabled for the ease of the system user, but does not function once the WINSAT identifies that the SSD is in use.  This brings us right back to the mindset of why we want something enabled that has no job.  It is like having a car with five wheels.

The purpose of Superfetch originally,  when it first appeared in MS Vista, was to allow Windows to manage the systems memory for smoother system activity.  We spoke of something similar in Pagefile which we disabled.  Basically, Superfetch (and Prefetch) stored the location of frequently accessed files in a trace file for quicker access, resulting in shorter boot times for the most part.  In todays system, features such as Prefetch and Superfetch are disabled by Windows 8.  We prefer the comfort of disabling it first hand, however.

Windows 8 SSD Optimization SuperFetch

15.  DISABLING PREFETCH – ENDURANCE

First off. lets get back into Services by pressing the Windows key and ‘S’ simultaneously, finding Superfetch and then stopping and disabling it.  From there, we need to go into the Windows Registry to confirm all is shut down. Hit the Windows Key and ‘R’, type in ‘Regedit’ and hit enter.  From there follow this route:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters

Prefetch

Once your system has recognized that an SSD is running the show, Windows 8 should delete the Superfetch key automatically.  We found that Prefetcher was still enabled in our systems and disabled it.

16.  CONFIRM TRIM IS FUNCTIONING – PERFORMANCE

TRIM is notification from Windows 8 to the SSD that files have been deleted and blocks need to be wiped clean prior to new data being stored there.  Unlike a hard drive, which only removes the index that provides a location to information when deleted and then simply writes over old information, the SSD has to have a clean area to store information.  That is what garbage collection and Idle Time Garbage Collection (ITGC) do.  TRIM simply informs the SSD that something has been deleted and it needs to TRIM the drive.

Without this, storage of data would entail checking a spot for storage, realizing that it has old deleted info, moving good data from that block to a new location, cleaning that block and then storing the new data. This slows SSD performance significantly. ITGC wipes old data in the background during idle time.  We are able to check whether the TRIM command is being sent to the SSD by typing ‘fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify’ in a DOS screen.

If it returns ‘0’, this means that it is enabled and if it returns ‘1’, TRIM is disabled.

Windows 8 SSD Optimization Checking TRIM

This does a great jobin telling us whether the signal has actually been sent but it does not tell us whether TRIM is actually working or not.  Until recently, this has been a problem with many users finding out that TRIM was not working in their new installation only after performance dropped significantly an to a visible level.  Fortunately, a free utility called TRIMcheck was created and much of the testing conducted with the author on our own Forum Thread where it’s background can be examined and a free copy downloaded.

17.  UNDERSTANDING SSD DISKSPACE

As we explained earlier, SSD storage is a bit tricky as a block can contain both deleted and valid information, the valid information having to be relocated when the block has to be cleaned.  This is all and well so long as that unused storage space is available for this movement and this also explains overprovisioning where SSDs may use a specific portion for this purpose.  What happens when we are nearing a full SSD though?

In simplistic terms, that valid data that may have to be relocated might be larger than available space and your drive slows significantly while some housekeeping is done.  This is not at all a new discovery and has been around snce the first consumer SSDs were released back in 2007.  To ensure top performance and endurance, it is best to leave AT LEAST 15% free at all times to accomplish this, depending on the capacity of the SSD.  For a bit further elaboration, Kent Smith of LSI wrote this excellent blog post recently.

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Grec
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Grec

Nice work! Many of these are a repeat of what we typically see, even from your previous, but it a huge step up from just saying do this and that. Great links and pulled 128MBs 4k write out of that last tweak…Thanks.

Les@TheSSDReview
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The fact that some were rehashed is why we were so late to the game. Only when we sat down and dug into Win8 did we then find it viable to demonstrate the rehashed options by that route. Add on a few new ones, including one very powerful tweak that we hadn’t seen in guides prior, as well as plenty of free software links, and we are happy with the final package. Thanks for the support.

PommieB
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PommieB

Thanks Les read every word and liked it immensely, hope you don’t mind me adding it to my sticky on the extreme overclocking forum, didn’t agree with everything but was very impressed with your explanations, keep up the good work.
PommieB.

Les@TheSSDReview
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Pommie my old friend. Of course I don’t mind you adding it and not everyone will ever agree with all. We have come a long way since 07 though when we were condemned for even mentioning Pagefile and restore. Egad! My son is in your end of the world and loving it! University in Australia…how great does life get?

PommieB
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PommieB

Thanks Les, the weathers superb in Australia at the moment, I’m right in the middle of renovating the house, didn’t do the traveling bit, it was costing me too much time so I’m living on the place. Your sons about 700km from where I am but the coasts the place to be, used to live on the coast, did a lot of skin diving when I was younger, intended to live there permanently but never quite managed it due to work. Didn’t get into ssd’s till mid 2009, too expensive then. Couldn’t live without one now. There were only the… Read more »

fiftyone
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fiftyone

+1 fort sticky & +1 for Les. top article

MikeGR7
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MikeGR7

Thank you for this Les!
I knew the tips for Win 7 already but you put them nice
together in one place made a perfect bookmark!

Panos Stathakis
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From what i see Mr.Les removes comments that he doesn’t like and only leaves the possitive ones. Typical i guess.

ladril
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ladril

Is it possible to get this guide in a complete PDF format?

Mars
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Mars

+1 That’ll be convenient

Alan Smith
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Alan Smith

+ another 1

rocky01
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rocky01

Indeed

THRobinson
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THRobinson

Given the age of this post, I’m assuming they aren’t making it print friendly. Shame, it’s definitely something you’d want in front of you while setting the drive up on a new system.

Bar?? Yaz?c?
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Bar?? Yaz?c?

I made myself a PDF from the webpages, can dowload it here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByMAJcK3ic0rWEpUNlNialZHcHM/view?usp=sharing

External HDD
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That would be great 🙂