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Windows 7: SSD - Fix Misalignment

SSD - Fix Misalignment

Published by whs
02 Jan 2012
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If the alignment of your SSD is not divisible by 4, you will suffer a noticeable performance degradation. On an SSD with an installed OS, this situation is not easily corrected. You can try the Paragon Alignment Tool, but I am not sure whether they will do the job without a fee.

The steps below and the program I use are completely free and a lot of fun. I hope it can help you when your SSD is in an unfortunate misalignment situation.


1. The fast method

1. Watch this video: Align Partition Easily with AOMEI Partition Assistant Free

2. Download the program from here: Free Partition Manager - AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard

3. In case you do not remember the steps, here are the 3 steps to take once you are in the AOMEI program:

Note: The operation may take a moment because it has to shove a lot of data around.



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2. The traditional Method

Step 1 - Transfer the bootmgr to C:

Note: This step only applies if you have the 100MB active System Partition - in case of a Dell system it may be the active Recovery Partition. If not, start with Step2.

Eliminating the 100MB active System Partition or the active Recovery Partition will make the job a lot easier and is prerequisite for the following steps to properly work. As first step we will move the bootmgr from the 100MB partition to the C: partition. This is extremely easy with EasyBCD. Follow the picture and the instructions below.






After "Perform Action" you will be prompted to select which letter you like to use as the new boot partition - C: will most likely already be selected as default. When you confirm the selection, EasyBCD will automatically:

v Install the bootmgr to the selected partition
v Make the selected partition active
v Install the bootmgr to both the bootsector and the MBR of the selected partition
v Copy all entries from the old boot partition to the newly-selected one
v Update partition references to work with the new boot partition

Step 2 - Image your system

This is the most important step because it will be your only lifeline. I recommend to use free Macrium or free Paragon for imaging. Make sure you have a good image - better even, make two identical images on two different disks.

Step 3 - Delete the volume

For this and the following steps we will use Command Prompt (cmd) from your installation or recovery disc. In fact, you can use an installation or recovery disks from any system - it need not necessarily be from the system you work on. We only need a cmd.

Once you have opened cmd, run these commands:

Diskpart (Do not exit from Diskpart until all steps are done)
List disk
Select disk n (where n is the number that was given for your SSD in List disk)
List Partition
Select Partition=0
Delete Partition (that will give you unallocated space for the first partition on the SSD)

Note: If you have the 100MB system partition, you just deleted that one. You now have to Select and Delete for Partition=1 to get rid of the OS partition.

Option: If you want to reset the SSD to factory state, you could run a Secure Erase before you start with the Diskpart steps. In that case you would skip Step 3 and start with Step 4 after the Secure Erase. The first command for Step 4 would then be Diskpart.

Step 4 - Define an aligned partition

Select disk n (same as above)
Create partition primary align=1024
Active

Step 5 - Format the new partition

Select disk n (same as above)
Select partition=0
Format /fs:NTFS Quick

Step 6 - Assign drive letter (optional)

List volume
Select volume n (n is from the list and it is not necessarily 0 - the numbering follows the partitions within the Sata port sequence)
Assign letter=M (or any other higher letter - once it is the OS partition, it will become C anyhow)

Step 7 - Double check the alignment

List disk
Select disk n
List partition

Now you should see a result like this.

Partition ### Type Size
Offset
------------- ---------------- ------- -------
Partition 1 Primary 59 GB
1024 KB - but 64KB or any number divisible by 4 is also good

The offset (in KBs) has to be divisible by 4.

Exit (we now exit Diskpart because we are done with cmd)

Step 8 - Load the image and boot Windows 7

Now you boot from your imaging CD and reload the image to the newly created partition. After that you reboot and hopefully the OS will work.
02 Jan 2012   #1
marsmimar

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Vey nice, Wolfgang.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2012   #2
Golden

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64
 
 

Well written and will prove to be very useful.

A quick question : how do you tell if your SSD is misaligned, and any performance degradation is not easily noticeable?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2012   #3
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Golden View Post
Well written and will prove to be very useful.

A quick question : how do you tell if your SSD is misaligned, and any performance degradation is not easily noticeable?
see step #7 - can be done with Diskpart any time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


02 Jan 2012   #4
Snakeyeskm

Win 7 64 bit professional
 
 

Very nice and needed tutorial.
Since this is aimed at SSD's, I would suggest a secure erase as an option to replace Step 3. This could be particularly important for smaller SSD's since the delete and re-imaging process would create a fairly large amount of activity for the internal garbage collection process. A secure erase would bring the SSD to "fresh" speeds.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2012   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Snakeyeskm View Post
Very nice and needed tutorial.
Since this is aimed at SSD's, I would suggest a secure erase as an option to replace Step 3. This could be particularly important for smaller SSD's since the delete and re-imaging process would create a fairly large amount of activity for the internal garbage collection process. A secure erase would bring the SSD to "fresh" speeds.
Good suggestion. Option added. Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2012   #6
Hipster Doofus

Windows 7 Pro x64 -- PCLinuxOS KDE4 FullMonty 2011
 
 

Great writeup. Just checked my SSDs. Both doing well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2012   #7
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
 
 

Very nice Wolfgang

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2012   #8
Golden

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
see step #7 - can be done with Diskpart any time.
Ahh...thanks. I completely missed that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2012   #9
Dave76

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult x64 - SP1/ Windows 8 Pro x64
 
 

Great tutorial whs, well done.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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