Optimize Windows for SSDs

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This article provides important information on how to optimize your Windows 7 operating system for maximum performance with SSDs. Regarding information from Microsoft and our own tests we identified that Windows 8.1 and 10 handle SSDs correct, the described task in this article are not neccessary anymore for these operating systems.[1]

Turn Off Defragmentation

Defragmentation reorders the logically related data blocks scattered across the storage medium so that they are organized as sequentially as possible on the drive.[2]

SSDs are not meant to be defragmented. Although defragmentation can improve the performance of normal hard drives, defragmenting SSDs provides no performance benefit and can instead have a negative impact on performance.

For configuration steps, see Deactivating Windows 7 Defragmentation for Solid-state Drives.

Deactivate Prefetch and Superfetch

Prefetch is responsible for ensuring that frequently used data is stored at the "front" of the hard drive.

Superfetch stores frequently used data & programs directly in RAM.

Both are unnecessary for SSDs due to their superior read speed.

Configuration steps:

  1. Start
  2. Open regedit as administrator
  3. In the directory on the left, open the drop-down menu for "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE"
  4. Navigate through the drop-down menu to "SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/SessionManager/MemoryManagement/PrefetchParameters"
  5. Open "Enable Prefetcher" and "Enable Superfetch" by double-clicking on them and set their respective values to "0"

Additional resources:

Deactivate Readyboot

Readyboot accelerates the boot process of Windows. Readyboost uses external USB Flash Memory (USB sticks) as a cache for a slower, internal HDD.

Configuration steps:

  1. Start
  2. Control Panel
  3. System and Security
  4. Administrative Tools
  5. Performance Monitor
  6. In the left panel, open the "Data Collection Sets" and click on "Startup Event Trace Sessions"
  7. In the right panel, double-click on "Readyboot"
  8. Open the "Trace Session" tab
  9. Remove the check from the "Enabled" checkbox

Additional resources:

Move Paging File to HDD

A paging file or swap file increases the amount of usable memory on a computer. If the capacities of the existing physical memory (RAM) are exhausted, Windows moves some of this data to the paging file in order to avoid program or system errors.

For computers equipped with both an SSD and conventional HDD, the paging file can be moved to the HDD to save space on the SSD.

Configuration steps:

  1. Right-click on My Computer
  2. Select Properties -> Advanced System Settings
  3. In the Performance section, click on Settings
  4. Select the Advanced tab
  5. In the Virtual memory section, click on Change
  6. Deselect "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives"
  7. Select the SSD drive (system drive) and choose the option "No paging file"
  8. Select the desired HDD
  9. Choose either the "System managed size" or "Custom size" option
  10. Click Set and exit

Additional resources:

Check TRIM Support

With the ATA Trim command, the operating system informs an SSD which data sections are no longer needed and can therefore be considered as deleted. Once the entire capacity of an SSD has been written to, ATA TRIM increases the service life and performance of the SSD.

Configuration steps:

  1. Open Run/Command Prompt as administrator
  2. Enter "fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify"
  3. If the response is "Disable Delete Notify =1", TRIM support is deactivated and can be activated with the command "fsutil behavior set Disable DeleteNotify 0"

Additional resources:

Deactivate Hibernation

Hibernation notably reduces the amount of time that Windows needs for the boot process when operating with conventional HDDs. SSDs have considerably higher access speeds compared to disk drives, which makes the booting process significantly shorter. Systems with SSDs therefore hardly benefit from hibernation mode.

With hibernation activated, Windows places a file on the system drive that is equal to the computer's amount of physical memory (RAM). Particularly with smaller SSDs, deactivating hibernation can free up valuable space on the drive.

Configuration steps:

  1. Open Run/Command Prompt as Administrator -> enter "powercfg -h off"

Additional resources:

Deactivate System Restore

Additional resources:

Optimize Autostart

If there are a lot of programs installed on the computer that have processes loading during the Windows startup, this can have a very notable effect on boot times.

Configuration steps:

  1. Enter "msconfig" in Run/Command Prompt
  2. Open the Startup tab
  3. Deactivate all unnecessary programs

Activate AHCI Mode in the BIOS

In IDE and RAID mode, hard drive controllers often operate with outdated drivers. This results in TRIM not functioning, which is why AHCI mode is needed. However, if one simply switches the hard drive controller to SATA AHCI in the mainboard BIOS, the system will not boot – the boot process will end with an error message (blue screen). Please use the following steps to avoid such errors.

Configuration steps:

  1. Start
  2. Open regedit as administrator
  3. Navigate to either: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/System/CurrentControlSet/Services/Msahci" or: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/System/CurrentControlSet/Services/iaStorV"
  4. In the right panel, double-click on "Start" and enter "0" into the value field
  5. Restart PC/server
  6. Activate AHCI mode in the BIOS

Additional resources:

References

  1. Windows und SSD - Konfiguration und Optimierung (answers.microsoft.com)
  2. Defragmentation (en.wikipedia.org)

Additional Resources


Author: Armin Oberneder

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