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Windows 7: SSD Alignment

05 Jun 2012   #20
hTspree

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

I have 2 questions about aligning a SSD for reinstallation of Windows... sorry if the answer has obviously been answered, I am new to this.

You say that for installing Windows 7 on a 'brand new SSD', aligning is not needed since the Windows 7 installer will take of that. Does 'brand new' include if I have just completed a 'clean all' on a SSD that previously had Windows 7 installed on it? What if I had only done a 'clean' on the SSD?

You also mention that if the 100 MB reserved partition is correctly aligned, the following partition (C) will be correctly aligned as well... what if I create an additional partition on the SSD later after installing the OS on C (say F to install XP on). Will this new partition also be correctly aligned? Basically what I am asking is if the 1st partition on a SSD is correctly aligned, will all subsequent partitions also be aligned or only the 2nd partition (not necessarily the 3rd, 4th...)?

Thanks for any help.


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05 Jun 2012   #21
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

1) yes - but I do not recommend a 'Clean All' for the SSD because it writes zeros in the SSD which will later slow down write operations. If any, make a 'Secure Erase': How to securely erase an SSD drive | How To - CNET

2) also Yes - The alignment has to be a number divisible by 4, but at the KB level. As soon as you have an even small partition in the front of the SSD that has some MBs, any address behind it is divisble by 4 at the KB level.

Example: If the first partition is an aligned 100MB partition, the next partition will start at 101MB - which is 101.000 KB. And that is easily divisible by 4.
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05 Jun 2012   #22
hTspree

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

hm well I already did a 'Clean All' on the SSD and am in the process of installing Windows 7 on it right now. Will the zeros slow down performance enough that you would suggest I 'Secure Erase' the drive and redo things?

Thanks again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jun 2012   #23
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by hTspree View Post
hm well I already did a 'Clean All' on the SSD and am in the process of installing Windows 7 on it right now. Will the zeros slow down performance enough that you would suggest I 'Secure Erase' the drive and redo things?

Thanks again.
The purist would say YES - but I am pragmatic and would not start from scratch. Eventually the garbage collection will clean it. You will have some slowdown of the write operations for a little while. But I doubt that you will even notice much of a difference.

Next time do a 'Clean' without the 'All' parameter. Then only the control records get cleared. And when you are about to reinstall or reimage the whole bit, you can still do a Secure Erase. In case of a reimage, you then first have to realign the SSD after the Secure Erase. In case of a reinstall, the alignment would be automatically done.
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05 Jun 2012   #24
hTspree

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

I ended up doing a Secure Erase anyways because I had some problem with drivers during my reinstall. I am following the procedure you linked to use Parted Magic to Secure Erase... however I am presented with the option to either Secure Erase my Kingston SSD or Enhanced Secure Erase the drive. Do you have a suggestion for which to go with?
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06 Jun 2012   #25
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Let me refer you to their Q&A:


Quote:
Normal secure erase (current SE implementation), and Enhanced secure erase (see below). Block and Normal secure erase are intended for elimination of user data up to the Confidential level, and Enhanced secure erase for higher levels. The Enhanced level has recently been implemented in drives by Seagate, Fujitsu and Hitachi. These four erasure protocols exist because users make a tradeoff between the erasure security level and the erasure time required.
You only need "Normal".
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06 Jun 2012   #26
Greyjoy

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Hi WHS
First visit to the Win 7 forums looking for answers to my sdd install problems. I made the original mistake of wiping a seemingly sound install of Win 7 to start again & since then Win 7, its drivers or updates have never seemed to install without file corruption problems. Needless to say I didn't do it "clean" as you guys here would advocate.
I have since read the tutorial by Bare Foot Kid & studied the discussion thread that followed (all 26 pages!) & thought I had a sound game plan until I read your advice " clean using Parted Magic rather than the Clean All command. Both seem to write zeros to the whole disk so why is the former now the preferred option? I notice PM warns about "bricking" the disk. That sure doesn't sound good but I guess both options could do that. I would be pleased if you could explain.
Thanks.
Keith
My SSD is a Crucial M4 256 btw.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jun 2012   #27
hTspree

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Let me refer you to their Q&A:


Quote:
Normal secure erase (current SE implementation), and Enhanced secure erase (see below). Block and Normal secure erase are intended for elimination of user data up to the Confidential level, and Enhanced secure erase for higher levels. The Enhanced level has recently been implemented in drives by Seagate, Fujitsu and Hitachi. These four erasure protocols exist because users make a tradeoff between the erasure security level and the erasure time required.
You only need "Normal".
Sorry, I guess I could have looked that up on my own... I just read the Parted Magic help regarding Enhanced secure erase which was a bit confusing and didn't think to look up the Q&A.

Along the lines of what Greyjoy asked though, I too am a little confused about the difference between a 'Clean all' and 'Secure erase' since Parted Magic says that the Secure erase option will write zeroes to the entire disk.

Either way, thanks for all of your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jun 2012   #28
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

The Secure Erase essentially does the same as Trim and Garbage Collection. And that is a bit more complex than just writing zeros. Read this and you will see the difference: Garbage Collection and TRIM in SSDs Explained - An SSD Primer - The SSD Review
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06 Jun 2012   #29
Greyjoy

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Thanks for the reply WHS
Got to admit that article was mostly over my head to be honest. I did pick up it referred to Sandforce controllers which I believe my M4 is not based. So assuming at this stage the benefits apply generically I will go with your recommendation, download PM & use secure erase.

Keith
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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