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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.