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  1. #1

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    SSD Setup Tips

    Start with:
    - Disable automatic defrag (this means you'll have to manually defrag any connected platter-based hard drives - use Task Scheduler)
    - Disable Superfetch service
    - Disable Prefetch (through the registry)

    Details here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2727...rss&spid=14019
    Article is for Win7, but I'd expect it to apply to the other Windows client OS's

    Copy of this topic in Hardware Forum: http://www.sysnative.com/forums/show...SSD-Setup-Tips
    Last edited by usasma; 11-04-2012 at 09:16 AM.
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  2. #2
    Digerati's Avatar
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    I think there is some confusion here. You should never have to make any manual setting changes for SSDs - at least with Windows 7 and newer SSDs. Note the Microsoft link above says, Defrag is automatically disabled on the SSD (and only on the SSD) when a SSD is detected. So are the various fetch features on some devices. If there is a need to disable defragging it is because there was a fault with the SSD device during the boot handshaking - or it is an early generation SSD.

    That said on new SSDs, superfetch and prefetch can and should be enabled unless they prove to degrade performance - though there is no reason they should. On older SSDs, there was concern super and pre fetch would wearout the drive too quickly. Longevity is no longer an issue on new SSDs. And it should be noted SuperFetch and PreFetch simply preload portions of the applications you normally use and your SSD would need to access anyway.

    Sources:
    MSDN Blog SSD FAQs
    Windows 7 will disable disk defragmentation on SSD system drives.

    Be default, Windows 7 will disable Superfetch, ReadyBoost, as well as boot and application launch prefetching on SSDs
    Microsoft Power Point - Window 7 Enhancements for Solid-State Devices

    So my point is, users should not need to make any manual changes. However, I recommend enabling and using Superfetch and Prefetch for a few days. If performance improves, fine. If not, you can disable them again. I know for me, since I am a creature of habit and my computing routines are pretty routine, SuperFetch does seem to allow me to use Word quicker after booting - though SSDs are so fast at loading apps anyway, it may just be the placebo effect. Plus, I normally just let my computer go to sleep and only reboot when some update forces it - which means I may go for several weeks without rebooting.

    As for automatic defragging, I am against 3rd party defraggers that run in the background and I am against scheduled defragging so IMO, it should be disabled on all drives anyway - for two critical reasons.

    1. It is counterproductive to run defrag on a drive cluttered with potentially 1000s of tiny Temporary Internet Files, full recycle bins, and other junk. Therefore, you should always run Windows Disk Cleanup or some other disk cleaner before defragging and that cannot be done in real time, or [easily] by schedule.

    2. When Windows has booted into Normal boot mode, there are dozens of open, and therefore unmovable files that prevent a thorough and efficient defrag. Therefore, at least for the boot drive, you should only defrag in Safe Mode - which again is not available in real-time, or by schedule.
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  3. #3
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    You may be less confused if you read Article ID: 2727880 Bill, it's close on 3.5 years newer than the blog article. It seems to indicate that W7 does not always disable defrag and prefetch, etc. as you seem to infer. This also ties in with my experience - it pays to check.
    Disable automatic defrag for SSD drives

    Usually detects Windows 7 after installation or after the SSD disk and correctly wraps. This also includes the detection that some services are disabled, which would restrict the functionality, performance and service life of the drive. First of all, you should check whether the automatic defragmentation is disabled. This is not the case, you should disable the automatic deactivation for the disc manually.

    Disable SuperFetch

    SuperFetch and prefetch are storage management technologies in Windows that provide a fast-track access to data on traditional, slower hard drives. This really clever services provide only for unnecessary writes on SSD drives. Typically, Windows 7 automatically disables these services for your SSD disk. Otherwise disable it manually.

    BTW, Prefetch also tries to preload files that will never be used again, take a look in the Prefetch folder on a cross section of machines.
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  4. #4
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    I was not indicating it will happen for all drives, but it should with Windows 7 and newer SSDs. Windows 7 is designed that way. And I noted "at least with Windows 7 and newer drives".

    BTW, Prefetch also tries to preload files that will never be used again, take a look in the Prefetch folder on a cross section of machines.
    Ummm, yeah, but why is that a problem? Again, newer SSDs are not endanger of wearing out because of too many reads or writes - at least not for normal users. The prefetch contains 128 entries. If start using a new program, it will push out entries for the oldest.

    The issue is really, do prefetch and superfetch improve performance? Maybe. Do they hinder performance? Not likely. Do they hurt SSDs or wear them out faster? They will be obsolete before then - at least with the latest versions.

    Nevertheless, my main reason for replying was defragging.
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  5. #5
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    I was thinking about this while doing some errands and have to admit, my personal experience is limited on this to less than a dozen or so Windows 7 systems over 3 years plus one W8. But most of those were just builds very soon going out the door - only a couple SSD systems have used been on a daily basis.

    But I can't remember any Windows 7 build that did not properly ID the drive as a SSD, or disable defragging by default while leaving it enabled for standard hard drives. I know this because as I noted above, I don't like scheduled defragging so that is something I automatically change on all new Windows 7, and now Windows 8 builds.

    I think the limited write capabilities with early SSDs and Vista's problems adapting to early SSDs not helping created a general feeling that never went away after Windows 7 (and now SP1) came out. The PhD programmers in Redmond with their super computers helping them have, after years working on it, the bugs sorted out for Windows 7. And drive makers (who want their drives to work, every time at peak performance) have made significant enhancements to their firmware too. Newer SSDs have many fewer issues and, unless there is a fault somewhere, properly identify themselves to a modern OS and the motherboard too.

    If SuperFetch and Prefetch were really a problem on SSDs with the millions and millions of SSDs and SSD systems built and sold in the last 3 years since Windows 7 went final, and it were not fixed yet, all the MS bashers and SSD enthusiasts would be screaming bloody murder. And they just aren't.

    A primary responsibility of any OS is to establish and maintain communications between all the hardware components. W7 is a refined OS and manages its hardware quite well, without human intervention.

    Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but for the vast majority of users - W7 and W8 anyway, I have no problems letting Windows manage it. It knows how to do it right. That is why it takes editing the Registry and disabling services to make these changes, or to even see if they are enabled.

    No question defragging is unnecessary with a SSD and should be disabled. I don't have extensive experience with many SSD machines, but that is changing as SSD prices keep falling and mechanical hard drives go the way of the floppy. All my builds have 8Gb or more RAM too which limits the fetch advantages and all my personal computers are either on 24/7, or go to sleep, but rarely reboot. And SSDs are so darn fast. So I am not sure I would not notice any fetch advantages or downfalls, unless really drastic, any way.

    Your personal experiences may be totally different than mine but I am just not seeing the need for SSD users to bother checking, unless something is not working work right. But again, that's W7/W8 and recent SSD drives.
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  6. #6

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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    Troubleshooting tips from writhziden: http://www.sysnative.com/forums/show...ll=1#post23397
    stucko, have you tried a power cycle with the SSD? I have seen OCZ SSD firmware updates and the like cause problems between the BIOS/SSD interface that can result in 0x124 and 0x7A crashes. Resetting the BIOS/SSD connection can resolve the problem and the steps to do so involve power cycling the SSD. I just gave these steps to another SSD OCZ user, and I gave them to an OCZ user a couple months back getting a 0x124 crash that was resolved with the power cycle.

    SSD Troubleshooting:
    Try doing a power cycle of the SSD. The following steps should be carried out and take ~1 hour to complete.
    1. Power off the system.
    2. Remove all power supplies (ac adapter then battery for laptop, ac adapter for desktop)
    3. Hold down the power button for 30 seconds to close the circuit and drain all components of power.
    4. Reconnect all power supplies (battery then ac adapter for laptop, ac adapter for desktop)
    5. Turn on the system and enter the BIOS (see your manual for the steps to enter the BIOS)
    6. Let the computer remain in the BIOS for 20 minutes.
    7. Follow steps 1-3 and physically remove the SSD from the system by disconnecting the cables for a desktop or disconnecting the drive from the junction for a laptop.
    8. Leave the drive disconnected for 30 seconds to let all power drain from it.
    9. Replace the drive connection(s) and then do steps 4-8 again.
    10. Repeat steps 1-4.
    11. Start your computer normally and run Windows.




    The above steps were a result of: Why did my SSD "disappear" from my system? - Crucial Community


    While that may not be your drive, a power cycle should be the same on all SSD drives. See how the system responds after the SSD power cycle.
    Last edited by usasma; 11-06-2012 at 06:53 AM.

  7. #7
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
    2. When Windows has booted into Normal boot mode, there are dozens of open, and therefore unmovable files that prevent a thorough and efficient defrag. Therefore, at least for the boot drive, you should only defrag in Safe Mode - which again is not available in real-time, or by schedule.
    While it is true that unmovable files are present in Normal Mode, I do not recommend running Windows' defragmenter on hard disk drives in Safe Mode [or any defragmenter tool (I realize you are against 3rd party tools, as am I, but others still use them despite our best efforts)]. Safe Mode does not load all drivers, and among those it does not load may include the hard disk controller drivers. That is one reason why Microsoft had disabled the defragmenter in Safe Mode with Windows 7. It sounds like you may have found a way around that, or maybe you are not running Windows 7, but for the average user, I do not recommend using the defragmenter in Safe Mode using newer hardware.

    If you have any articles that you can provide to negate my concerns, feel free to share. My concerns were a result of reading Disk Defragmentation Background and Engineering the Windows 7 Improvements and the changes designed into the newer OSes for hard disk drive I/O architecture and defragmenting the hard disk drives.

  8. #8
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    Well, I have to admit, I am a bit embarrassed here for I have failed to keep up with the changes apparently, or to do my homework and verify my facts before posting. I learned something new and did not realize Windows 7 disabled the defragger service when booted into Safe Mode. After checking 3 systems here and running my friend Bing Google ragged, you are absolutely correct, you cannot run Windows 7 defrag in safe mode. That was a change from Vista and before, and not a well publicized change either.

    However, I can't agree with the reason you gave.

    It is absolutely true many drivers (and lots of other stuff) are not loaded during Safe Mode so you have the minimum number of influences while troubleshooting. But drive controllers are loaded or else we couldn't boot into Safe Mode. Drive controllers are part of the BIOS/Chipset/CMOS information and drive I/O communications is established before the OS disk is even touched. Otherwise, we could not format or partition our new drives, install an OS, or run chkdsk /r during the next boot. Therefore, I don't see any greater potentials for something going wrong by defragging in Safe Mode vs Normal Mode.

    I remember reading that article when it came out but it does not address disk drivers, drive I/O architecture, or Safe Mode issues. Nor did it address my concerns about potentially 1000s of temp files gumming up the defragging process. It did however address a major issue with past versions of Windows Defrag and that was with moving unmovable files. Windows 7 Defragger is much improved and can move more, for a more efficient defrag - but still not as many as it could in Safe Mode.

    Sadly, and once again, Microsoft has not provided background information for their decision to do this but from what I am finding it appears to be because by default, Window 7 Defragger runs once a week and is more efficient with "unmovable files" and therefore and simply (in their minds ) no one will ever need to manually defrag in Safe Mode! Thus, to make Safe Mode in Windows 7 and Windows 8 as clean as possible, they stop (or do not start) the defragger service when booting into Safe Mode. And with the service disabled, you cannot start the Defragger program.

    I did not notice this because I might defrag twice a year and when I do, I use Defraggler (CCleaner's sibling) - and it does run in Safe Mode. And for the record, I use Defraggler instead of Windows' own only because it is a bit faster, and it will defrag free space - not because I think Windows' own is inferior or less efficient. IMO, the arguments 3rd party defraggers make about their product producing a more efficient defrag is moot because literally the second the drive is used again, fragmentation starts all over again too as files are opened and closed, modified and updated - then saved, but at a different size. So while true, 3rd party defraggers may provide a more efficient defragging, the playing field levels out again after a few minutes of play. This plays again into Microsoft's decision to disable Safe Mode defragging with their defragger.

    What is somewhat amazing to me is how often I have heard and given that advice (run defrag in Safe Mode) over the last 3 years since W7 came out, and not once did anyone come back and say, "You cannot run Defrag in Safe Mode with W7!" - until now. That said, I am sticking with my advice - disable scheduled defragging, run Disk Cleanup before defragging, and if possible, defrag in Safe Mode for the most efficient defragging.

    My apologies for any confusion I might have caused. Once again it has become apparent to me why I help out at forums - I learn something new all the time! :)

    Thanks writhziden!
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  9. #9
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    You're welcome. Thanks in turn for correcting what I said about the hard disk drive controller drivers. I probably should have been a bit clearer. I know that Windows comes with its own controller drivers, but those may not be the most up to date so they may not provide the best support for defrag in Safe Mode. The drivers provided by the motherboard manufacturer or by the hard drive manufacturer may in some cases be better suited for handling defragmenting for newer hardware. I'd have to do more research on the subject to find out whether that is the case or not with the newer drives.

    I know from my own experiences and also from information provided by usasma that advanced format drives require special treatment through Windows updates and the manufacturer controller drivers to work properly within Windows 7 on some systems. Just some food for thought. As I said, more resarch needs to be done to determine whether my concerns are warranted.

    It is quite possible that since defragmenting is a fairly routine process these days, the controller the system uses is not an issue. Since Safe Mode is different from Normal Mode, another possible scenario is that the manufacturer controller drivers are not needed since Windows is not doing any of the tasks they are intended for. A third scenario is that Safe Mode always loads the manufacturer drivers when they are present on a system and my concerns are completely moot.

  10. #10
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    So, what is the right thing to do? Disable automatic defrag or leave it alone?

    I have a fairly new (2 months or so) Kingston SV200S3128G. I've disabled auto defrag but not messed with superfetch or prefetch. The link to the MS article indicates Win 7 automatically disables all these for SSD drives so it seems like it should be left alone. I I left everything enabled, is there any way to check if Windows 7 and now Windows 8 is correctly disabling these for my SSD drive?
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    The most recent MS KB, in the OP, indicates that you should check that the SSD 'tweaks' have been implemented.
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  12. #12
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    I still recommend disabling automatic defragging because I truly believe defragging with potentially 100s or 1000s of tiny, temporary Internet files is counterproductive to the defragging process. Since scheduled or real-time defragging does not de-clutter the drives with Windows Disk Cleanup or CCleaner first, unless you are a master as scheduling tasks, I recommend manual defragging only.

    I am afraid I still disagree with the comments about drives, drive formating and Advanced Formatting. Note Advanced Formatting is nothing new and is NOT an issues Vista or later versions of Windows as they know how to address them. But they are a problem with XP and I suspect that may be where usasma is coming from.

    It is NOT Microsoft, the software industry or OS makers who determines how drives will work, but the hardware industry. Drives destined for PCs may or may not be used with a Microsoft produced OS. But may very well go into a Linux machine, or a Mac - or somewhere else! WD does NOT make Windows only drives! For this reason, modern OSes know how to communicate with the "standard" interfaces without any special drivers that need to be downloaded. Again, if that were not true, you could not format and partition the disk before installing the OS, nor could run in Safe Mode, run chkdsk, etc.

    IMO, when it comes to HDs, (besides a good backup) there's nothing more critical than laying down the tracks (formatting and setting up the MFT and partition tables) on the hard drive. And that is NOT a Windows function and is NOT done within Windows with special drivers from the drive makers or the controller makers. Again, formatting is done before Windows, or any special drivers are installed.

    EIDE and SATA standards determine how drives work, not Microsoft and NOT the controller manufacturers. For the current versions of Windows (which excludes XP which needs to go away) Western Digital drives do NOT require special drivers that are different from Seagate drives. For example with SATA, the The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) establishes the standards all must follow- not Microsoft, not Intel or AMD, Linux, not WD, not ASUS or Gigabyte. It is up to the hardware makers to adhere to those standards, just as AMD and NVIDIA must adhere to PCIe standards - even if going into a Linux system.

    I think there is something else that must not be overlooked. If a computer really needs frequent defragging, that generally means there is a lack of free disk space. Having files scattered all over the drive is not the problem, as long as the file's segments are grouped together (not fragmented).
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  13. #13
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    I agree with most said, but there is one point about Advanced Format (AF) drives that needs to be made: An update that improves the compatibility of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 with Advanced Format Disks is available

    Issues that this hotfix rollup package fixes

    This hotfix rollup package resolves the following issues that were not previously documented in a Microsoft Knowledge Base article. Any of these following issues can be encountered when you use an Advanced Format disk.

    • Issue 1 You receive an error message when you click the Check for Updates button on Windows Update site

    • Issue 2 An Issue Occurs when many small writes are performed

    • Issue 3 Applications cannot query the physical sector size of an external storage device

    • Issue 4 Applications cannot query the physical sector size of a storage device

    • Issue 5 Storage drivers do not support correct sector size reporting for Advanced Format disks

    • Issue 6 Fsutil.exe tool issue


    That is the problem I experienced and that I was referring to when I mentioned usasma's experiences. Obviously, there is something that is different about AF drives that needs to be addressed here. As I said, I still do not know whether that affects the defragmenting process. Based on the information you've provided, I'm inclined to think it does not, but it may still affect how well Windows works with AF drives.
    Last edited by writhziden; 11-11-2012 at 11:46 AM.

  14. #14
    Digerati's Avatar
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    I guess I just don't see the problem. I note the fix you post to appears to be to correct problems with
    Applications that are built on ESENT include Windows Update, Active Directory, Windows Desktop Search, certification authority (CA), WINS, DHCP, and Windows Live Mail.
    The article mentions nothing about Safe Mode or defragging issues and the fix is only for a few people, not all. The reality is, the OS talks to the disk controller on the motherboard. It is then up to the drive's own on-board controller to communicate (via established SATA or IDE "standard" communications protocols) with the motherboards drive interface. The OS itself is not really a factor.

    Considering Piriform Defraggler, Auslogics Disk Defrag, and Diskeeper are all from reputable makers and are widely used products, and there are not many reports of problems, I am just not seeing an issue here - and again, I am not because so much is already being done, before the OS (and any special drivers) loads.
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by writhziden View Post
    I know from my own experiences and also from information provided by usasma that advanced format drives require special treatment through Windows updates and the manufacturer controller drivers to work properly within Windows 7 on some systems.
    Sorry, I did not mean to imply this would be an issue on all systems with Advanced Format (AF) drives. As I mentioned in the post previous to that one, it only causes issues on some systems containing AF drives, not all systems with AF drives will have problems.

    And I am beginning to agree with you that it probably does not affect defragmenting.

    That said, the average user also will not know whether he/she has an AF drive, so the hotfix is still good information for users who may suffer those specific problems to check whether an AF drive is installed.


    @usasma: Would you like this defragmenting discussion moved to another thread so it does not derail your initial intentions with SSD drives? I feel we've gotten a little sidetracked.
    Last edited by writhziden; 11-11-2012 at 12:42 PM.

  16. #16
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    That said, the average user also will not know whether he/she has an AF drive, so the hotfix is still good information for users who may suffer those specific problems to check whether an AF drive is installed.
    Yeah, that makes sense.
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  17. #17
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    Hello Bill, boy you seem to be all over the Net. ;>)

  18. #18
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    You're right, Dan, and we're glad Bill is here too.


    Take a walk through the "Security Garden" -- Where Everything is Coming up Roses!

    Remember - A day without laughter is a day wasted.
    May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart.

  19. #19
    Digerati's Avatar
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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    Hey Dan! Good to see you here! And yeah, it seems I cannot sit in just one place for very long - except perhaps, my computer chair!
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

  20. #20

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    Re: SSD Setup Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by usasma View Post
    Start with:
    - Disable automatic defrag (this means you'll have to manually defrag any connected platter-based hard drives - use Task Scheduler)
    - Disable Superfetch service
    - Disable Prefetch (through the registry)

    Details here: Microsoft Support
    Article is for Win7, but I'd expect it to apply to the other Windows client OS's

    Copy of this topic in Hardware Forum: http://www.sysnative.com/forums/showthread.php
    The MS KB link has disappeared & Microsoft Answer Tech did not help in advising the correct url!
    Any suggestions?

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