Setup SSD for Windows 10

Let’s talk about how to configure an SSD for Windows 10. Start simple: in most cases, any tweak and optimize SSD for the new OS is not necessary. Moreover, according to the Microsoft support staff, independent attempts of optimization can hurt both the system and the disc itself. Just in case, for accidentally coming: What is SSD and what are its advantages.

However, some details still should be considered, and at the same time to clarify things related to the way that Windows 10 SSD drives work, let’s talk about them. In the last section of the article there is also information of a more General nature (but useful) relevant to the work of the SSD at the hardware level and applicable to other OS versions.

Immediately after the release of Windows 10, in the Internet there are numerous guides on SSD optimization, the vast majority of which are copies of the manuals to the previous versions of the OS, without consideration (and, apparently, attempts to understand them) introduced modifications: for example, continue to write, you need to run WinSAT to the OS detects the SSD or disable automatic defragmentation (optimization) is enabled by default for these drives in Windows 10.

Configuring Windows 10 to SSD drives by default

Windows 10 default is set to maximum performance for SSDs (from the perspective of Microsoft, which is close to the point of view of the SSD manufacturers), it detects them automatically (without having to run WinSAT) and applies the appropriate settings, any way to trigger this is not required.

And now the points about how exactly Windows 10 optimizes the SSD when they are found.

  • Disables defragmentation (more on that later).
  • Disable ReadyBoot.
  • Uses Superfetch/Prefetch is a feature that has changed since Windows 7 and it doesn’t require cutting for SSD in Windows 10.
  • Optimizes nutrition the SSD.
  • TRIM is enabled by default for SSD.

What remains unchanged in the default setting, and causes differences in terms of setup needed when working with SSD: file indexing, system protection (restore points and file history), write caching for SSD and flush the buffer cache of records about it — after interesting information about the automatic defragmentation.

Defrag and SSD optimization in Windows 10

Many have noticed that by default, the automatic optimization (in previous versions of Windows — Defrag) is enabled for SSD in Windows 10 and someone rushed to turn it off, someone explore what is happening in the process.

In General, Windows 10 does not perform defragmentation of a SSD and optimizes it by clearing blocks through TRIM (or, rather, Retrim) that is not harmful, but even useful for SSDs.

Some have written voluminous articles on the topic of how optimize SSD in Windows 10. I will quote part of the article (only the most important for understanding parts) from Scott Hanselman (Scott Hanselman):

I dug deeper and spoke with the development team, working on implementing storage in Windows, and this post was written in complete accordance with the fact that they answered the question.

Optimize drives (Windows 10) produces a defragmentation of the SSD once a month if you have enabled volume shadow copies (system protection). This is an effect of fragmentation on SSD performance. There is a misconception that fragmentation is not a problem for SSD if a SSD will be highly fragmented, you can achieve maximum fragmentation, when the metadata can’t represent any more file fragments that will lead to errors when recording or may increase the size of the file. In addition, more file fragments means the need to process more metadata for read/write of the file, resulting in a loss of productivity.

With regard to Retrim, this command runs on a schedule and required in connection with how runs the TRIM command on file systems. The command is executed asynchronously to the file system. When a file is removed or the vacancy occurs otherwise, the file system puts a request to TRIM in the turn. Due to restrictions on peak load, this queue could reach the maximum number of TRIM requests, resulting in the subsequent will be ignored. In the future, optimize drives Windows automatically Retrim for cleaning blocks.

To summarize:

  • Defragmentation is only performed if you have enabled system protection (restore points, file history uses VSS).
  • Optimize drives is used to mark unused blocks on the SSD that were not marked with the TRIM work.
  • Defragmentation for SSD may be needed and, if necessary, automatically applied. (This is from another source) for solid-state drives use a different defragmentation algorithm in comparison with HDD.

What features to disable for SSD and is it necessary

Anyone wondered setup SSD for Windows, met tips related to disabling Prefetch and SuperFetch, disabling page file or move it to another drive, disabling system protection, hibernation and indexing the content of the disc, transfer folders, temporary files and other things on other drives, disabling write caching on the disk.

Some of these tips came from Windows XP and 7 and does not apply to Windows 10 and Windows 8 to new SSD (disable SuperFetch, write cache). Most of these tips really could reduce the amount of data written to disk (and SSD has a limit on the total number of recorded data for the whole period of service), which in theory leads to prolongation of its service life. But: by the loss of productivity features when working with the system, and in some cases to failures.

Here I note that despite the fact that the life of the SSD is considered to be smaller than that of the HDD, likely bought today SSD average price in normal use (games, work, Internet) in a modern OS and if you have a backup tank (for no loss of productivity and extended life should keep 10-15 per cent of the space on the SSD free and is one of the tips, which is relevant and true) will last longer than you need (i.e. will be replaced with a more modern and capacious). The screenshot below is my SSD, period of use year. Pay attention to the «Total enrolled», the guarantee of 300 Tb.

And now the points about the different ways you can optimize SSD in Windows 10 and the appropriateness of their use. I note again: these settings can only slightly prolong the service life, but will not improve performance.

Note: this method of optimization, as installing programs on the HDD in the presence of a SSD I will not be considered, because then it’s not clear why you purchased the SSD is not fast does start and run these programs?

Disabling the pagefile

The most common advice is to disable the swap file (virtual memory) Windows or move it to another drive. The second option will cause a decrease in performance, because instead of a fast SSD and RAM will use the slower HDDs.

The first option (disable the pagefile) — very controversial. Indeed, the computers with 8 GB or more of RAM in most applications can work with a disabled page file (but some programs may fail to start or to detect failures during operation, for example, Adobe products), thereby saving provision the SSD (fewer write operations).

At the same time, it is necessary to consider that in Windows the swap file is used this way to refer to him as little as possible, depending on the size of available RAM. According to the official information of Microsoft, the ratio of reading to writing to the swap file during normal use is 40:1, i.e. a significant number of write operations does not occur.

Here it is worth to add that SSD manufacturers such as Intel, Samsung recommended to leave the pagefile enabled. And another note: some tests (from two years ago, however) show that disabling the page file for unproductive cheap SSD can lead to greater productivity. Cm. How to disable the Windows swap file, if you do decide to try.

Disable hibernation

The following possible settings — disabling hibernation, which is also used for the fast startup feature of Windows 10. File hiberfil.sys written to disk at shutdown (or hibernation) of your computer or laptop and used for subsequent quick start takes several gigabytes on the drive (approximately equal busy amount of RAM on the computer).

Laptop disable hibernation, especially if it is used (for example, automatically turn on after closing the laptop lid) can be inappropriate and lead to inconveniences (the need to switch off the laptop) and may reduce battery life (rapid start and hibernate saves battery compared to conventional activated).

For PC disable hibernation may make sense if you want to reduce the amount of data written to the SSD, provided that the quick download you do not need. There is also a way to leave fast boot, but disable hibernation, reducing the file size hiberfil.sys twice. More about: hibernate, Windows 10.

Protection system

Automatically create Windows 10 recovery points and file History when enabled, the corresponding function, of course, written to disk. In the case of SSDS, some recommend to disable the protection system.

Among some Samsung recommending to do this and in my Samsung Magician utility, and in the official guide to SSD. This specifies that the backup can cause a large number of background processes and reducing productivity, although in fact the protection system operates only when changes in the system and while the computer is idle.

Intel for their SSD does not recommend this. As Microsoft recommends not to turn off system protection. And I wouldn’t become: a significant number of readers of this site could fix computer problems much faster if they had included protection Windows 10.

For more information about enabling, disabling and checking the status of system protection in article restore Points Windows 10.

Transfer files and folders on other HDDs

One of the options optimize for SSD migrate user folders and files, temporary files and other components on a conventional hard drive. As in the previous cases, it can reduce the amount of data being written simultaneously to reduce performance (during transfer of the storage location of temporary files and cache) or excellent performance (for example, when creating thumbnails of photos from the user folders moved to HDD).

However, if you have a separate capacious HDD in the system it may make sense to store really bulky media files (movies, music, any resources, archives), which don’t need frequent access on it, thereby freeing space on your SSD and prolonging life.

Superfetch and Prefetch, indexing the contents of disks, write-caching and flush the cache buffer entries

With these features there are some ambiguities, different manufacturers give different recommendations, which, I think, should be found on the official sites.

According to Microsoft, Superfetch and Prefetch are being successfully used for SSD, the functions themselves have undergone a change and work differently in Windows 10 (and Windows 8) when using SSDs. But Samsung believes that this feature is not used SSD. Cm. How to disable Superfetch.

About the cache buffer entries in whole, the recommendations boil down to «leave on», but on the flushing of the buffer cache varies. Even within one manufacturer: in Samsung Magician it is recommended to disable the buffer cache entries, but on their official website about this says that it is recommended to keep it enabled.

Well, what about indexing the contents of disks, and web searches I don’t even know what to write. Search in Windows is a very effective and useful thing to work, however, even in Windows 10, where is the search button in sight, hardly anyone uses, in the habit of looking for the desired items in the start menu and multi-level folders. In the context of the same SSD optimization disable indexing the content of the disc is not particularly effective — more read operations than write.

General principles for optimize SSD in Windows

Up to this point, we were talking about the relative uselessness of manual settings for SSD in Windows 10. However, there are some nuances, it is equally applicable for all brands of SSD’s and OS versions:

  • To improve the performance and lifetime of SSD is useful to have about 10-15% free space. It is connected with features of storing information on solid state drives. All utilities manufacturers (Samsung, Intel, OCZ, etc.) to configure the SSD have the option of allocating this place «Over Provisioning». When using the functions on the disk creates a hidden empty partition, which ensures the availability of free space in the right quantity.
  • Make sure your SSD is running in AHCI mode. In IDE mode some of the functions that affect the performance and service life are not working. Cm. How to enable AHCI in Windows 10. To view the current operation mode in the device Manager.
  • Not critical, but: when you install a SSD on a PC it is recommended to connect to ports SATA 3 6 GB/s, not using third-party chips. On many motherboards there are two SATA ports on the chipset (Intel or AMD) and additional ports for third-party controllers. To connect better to the first. Information about which ports are «native» can be found in the documentation for the motherboard, on numbering (signatures on the Board) they are the first and usually differ in color.
  • Sometimes look on the website of the manufacturer of your drive or use a proprietary program to check SSD firmware update. In some cases, the new firmware significantly (for the better) impact on the drive.

Perhaps, for now. General summary of the article: nothing to do with solid state drives in Windows 10 in General is not necessary unless expressly required. If you just purchased the SSD, then you may be interesting and useful instruction How to transfer Windows from HDD to SSD. However, more appropriate in this case, in my opinion, will be a clean install of the system.

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