SSD Tweaks and Optimizations in Windows 7

Page 1 of 16 12311 ... LastLast

    Real world Windows 7 SSD tweaks and optimization
    Published by
    Designer Media Ltd

    Hello to all my fellow and future users of SSD drives and Windows 7.
    I wanted to set up an area with real-world tips on getting the most out of your SSD and the Windows 7 operating system. I will separate each type of tip to its own message to keep things easier to read and to follow.

    All of this has been tested on my laptop system, configured as follows:
    HP DV2270us, Core 2 qual 2ghz, 4 Gig RAM.
    Disk 0: Patriot M28 64-gig SSD 240MBs (Boot drive), Disk 1: Seagate ST9500420AS 500 Gig 100MBs second drive.
    Windows 7 ultimate 64-bit.
    Machine is used all day every day at work and home, lots of virtual machines running.

    These suggestions are just the way I choose to set things up and get GREAT performance and utilize the SSD to its fullest potential. Your mileage may and probably vary. The tutorials and suggestions are not meant to be debated, its all up to you to decide if you want to try them or not.
    All standard disclaimers apply... I am not responsible for breaking your stuff, only mine.
    With all that said, on with the tutorials...
    FYI, lightningltd here (me) and magic-man on other forums are one in the same, So I am posting this tutorial here with my permission.

    This tutorial is for those who are already running Windows 7 on their SSD as a boot drive. If like me, you first installed to hard drive then used an image backup program to put the OS on the SSD, then this step is necessary to allow Windows 7 to set the proper settings for SSD use and set things up for optimizing the OS after burning the firmware and/or cleaning the drive to factory specs. If you installed directly to the your SSD, you don't need to follow this step, but it can be helpful if you followed the XP and vista SSD guides and things just aren't up to snuff.

    *** read all the steps first so you can create the images and boot USB and CD/DVD and print the instructions before you start***

    FIRST.... MAKE A BACKUP IMAGE just in case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Be sure to create the restore disk, too.

    Basically, you need to do a repair install of Windows 7 so Windows can set itself up properly for SSD use. The following link will step you through this step:
    When done, we need to verify that TRIM is active. At a command prompt (start/run/cmd), type the following: fsutil.exe behavior query DisableDeleteNotify

    It should respond back with DisableDeleteNotify=0 if trim support is ready and active. If it is not, type fsutil.exe behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0

    This will set Windows 7 to use TRIM when the drive and drivers are ready to do so.

    Next, we need to make sure our ATA/ATAPI ACHI controller is set to use trim.
    EDIT! 3/22/10: The new INTEL chipset drivers support TRIM! Use these instead of the MS AHCI ones for Intel Chipsets.
    RAID: Intel® Rapid Storage Technology Driver for Intel Desktop Boards

    For non-intel chipsets:
    To see/change it, go to device manager and select IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. If it says "Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller", you are good to go. If not, double click it and select the driver tab. Click update driver. Select browse. Select let me pick. select Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller.

    Once it has reboot and all is fine, then U can go on to the next step (after making an IMAGE backup of the whole SSD with the new changes (I use Windows backup)).

    This step is necessary IF you have been using the SSD for a while before updating the firmware and/or want to return performance back to factory fresh (this will fix isues created if you ran 'tony-trim' method on another site). I did it right after the firmware update since it will ERASE the entire SSD, losing all data. It is called an ATA secure erase for a reason.
    some of the firmware update tools do not issue the proper ATA secure erase command when they are done (Like the samsung), so the SSD will 'inherit' any performance issues it had before. Using this method resets all the memory cells to factory values.

    IF you just pulled the SSD out of the box and updated it, or have never used it, then this step is NOT NEEDED.
    Remember! Make sure U have that image backup I keep yelling about, you WILL lose everything on the SSD if you haven't already!

    Download and print the instructions from
    Get the lin*x boot image from and burn it to a CD/DVD.
    Boot to the CD/DVD and click the bottom where it looks like a black window (prompt).
    Follow the instructions you just printed. On my laptop, I had to unplug the SSD while the OS was running and plug it back in real quick to make it not be frozen as in the instructions.

    When all done, you have a nice empty clean SSD to restore your image to!
    Restore the image to the drive and boot up.

    See U at the next part... Optimizing Windows 7 for the SSD!

    Now that you have gotten everything done as far as firmware, and image restored and have a working Windows 7, we can do some things to make Windows 7 a bit 'friendlier' to your SSD and make things faster to boot.

    FWIW, Microsoft did a great job in pre-optimizing Windows 7 for SSD use. Except for installation, over 95% of Windows 7 operations are READS, perfect for your SSD. You COULD just use it as is and things would be fantastic. BUT, there are some things to verify first.....

    1: Verify that TRIM is enabled as in the prior messages.
    2: Make sure your AHCI controller is using a TRIM compliant driver as in the prior messages.
    3: Make sure the defrag program is disabled for the SSD... Admin tools/Services set Disk Defragmenter to disabled. I use auslogics disk defrag (free) for my other drives manually. U almost never have to defrag an SSD. It can lower its life expectancy.
    4: Page File. There has been much debate about this. The idea that no one needs a page file is a bunch of crap. I have tried it both ways, moitoring writes and reads, and YES, it IS used even with 8 Gigs of RAM. I left mine at 2 Gigs, but it is just fine at 1 Gig. Writes to the page file are sequential now. Page file is also read at boot time to speed things. Keep it on your SSD where it belongs.
    5: Superfetch/prefetch/bootfetch: Windows 7 does not always turn it all off as it should. The purpose of these things are to pre-load the programs you load from slow hard drive to fast memory (cache) in case you want to run them. With your SSD, there is no need. We will disable them and free up some memory and resources and stop a LOT of writes to the SSD.
    To disable Superfetch, etc: Admin tools/Services. Select superfetch and set to disabled.
    Run regedit and change the following values: HKLM/System/CurrentControlset/Control/Session Manager/Memory Management/Prefetch Parameters and change the key valus of Enableboottrace, enableprefetcher, enablesuperfetch all to 0 and exit regedit.

    This will disable MOST of the superfetch/prefetch stuff... The boot prefetch will get disabled in the next part along with some un-necessary logging that is done (and writes a lot).

    Now on to some things we can do to reduce some on the unnecessary writes to the SSD. Windows 7 has the most event logs that I have seen of any OS. If you are having issues, then I would not change the logging options. If not, then we can stop a lot of writes that frankly, only an engineer would need (we leave the basic event logs alone).
    Go to start/admin tools and select performance monitor. Expand data collector sets. Click on Startup Event Trace Sessions.
    With the exception of the following NECESSARY logs (Application, Security, System, Security Essentials) we can stop them from starting. To do so, right click on each one that has a status of Enabled (except the ones mentioned above) and select Properties. Click the Trace Session tab. Unselect Enabled. Click Ok. Repeat for the others (including readyboot).
    After your next boot, you will have a lot less writes going to the SSD that are not needed.

    Write caching... Enable on the SSD:
    TEMP FILES... IF you have another NON SSD drive installed, I would move the TEMP and temporary internet files to them (next message(tutorial page)).

    Since I have Windows 7 make an image backup of the SSD to my other drive every day (only takes a few minutes and very little resources), I completely turn off system protection (system restore).

    You can also turn off Windows reliability monitor. I will post a short tutorial if you want. It does quite a bit of writing too, but only every few hours.

    There are some other more advanced things I do, but to be honest, they result in very little speed increase (less than 5%).
    how do you "TEMP FILES... IF you have another NON SSD drive installed, I would move the TEMP and temporary internet files to them."
    another question: doesn't superfetch run in the ram?
    one more question: what do you find you need the paging file for with 8 gb ram? i have found ive never needed it for anything just curious why you think this or what you have found that needs it
    Changing location of temp files:
    Changing location of IE temp files: Move Temporary Internet Files Folder - Internet Explorer 7 Misc
    Superfetch does run in Ram, but it also does a lot of reading and writing. Remember, the object of superfetch is to copy program stubs from SLOW hard disk to fast RAM. With an SSD, this is not needed, since the SSD reads so fast. I recommend you try it with it on, then try it with the service disabled. You likely will not see any slow down, actually a speed up since more RAM is available for other things and there will be a marked decrease in disk writes/accesses.

    Windows 7 does use the page file IF PRESENT to keep things effecient. Several programs use it like VMWARE, some games, graphics software, MS office, etc... It will only use it when it is effecient to do so. With 8 Gigs of RAM a 1 GIG page file is plenty. Remember: the page file in Windows 7 is more sequential now, and therefore much more efficient. One of my MS sources also told me that there is some cached boot code in it to speed up boot, but to be honest, I haven't seen a difference. I can tell you that it IS smoother with even a 512 Meg page file on the SSD.
    Try it both ways with your read-world load and decide for yourself. There is no bench-mark for it other than your gut. That is why it is so debated.

    could you also explain: You can also turn off Windows reliability monitor
    Admin tools, open task scheduler. expand task scheduler library, then Microsoft, then Windows. Scroll down and click on RAC. Go to the top and select View then show hidden tasks IF RACTASK is not showing. Right click on RacTask and select disable. To re-enable it, you right click it and select enable.
    Here is the good part.... disabling it stops it from PROCESSING reliability data and errors for reliability viewer. The data is still collected in the logs, just stored effeciently. You can re-enable it and see the reliability stuff when U wish. Disabling it saved RAM and some drive churning until U need to look at it.

    There are some other more advanced things I do, but to be honest, they result in very little speed increase (less than 5%).
    please share
    Some of what I do is not limited to SSD, but overall OS optimization...
    Services... I used the black viper guide and got mine trimmed down some without losing functionality of Win 7... I like it the way it is (almost). U can read up on what each service does and decide for yourself...

    However, here are the services on my machine (laptop):

    Tab separated file with MY service config...

  1. Posts : 36
    Windows 7 64-bit

    Moving parts of Windows 7 to another drive...

    It has been asked what other little things can be done to squeeze a litle more performance from Windows 7 on our SSD drives... One thing that helps maintain performance on an SSD is the percentage of free space available to the SSD controller to execute 'wear leveling'. Basically, spreading out the load to the least used empty memory cells.
    In order to do this, we need to fool Windows and other programs into looking elsewhere for stuff that is necessary, but rarely used and taking up a lot of disk space.
    This part is only useful IF you have your operating system on your SSD AND it is formatted as NTFS and have a second drive available (NTFS) with space free to use.
    What we are going to do is move certain directories to the other drive, then make Windows (and the programs) think it is still on the boot drive. We do this by using an NTFS 'junction'. Think of a junction as a pointer to a location. To the operating system, the files look like they are in location A, but they are really physically in location B.

    For the tutorial, we are going to assume that the SSD is C: and the second drive is E:. Substitute your drive letters as needed. As always, MAKE A BACKUP FIRST!
    If you are still with me, here is how to do it (the easy way):
    Go to Link Shell Extension and download (and INSTALL) the link shell extension software (and VC runtime, follow the instructions on the site) for your flavor of Windows 7 (or barf Vista ).
    Make sure explorer is set to SHOW hidden and system files (Tools/Folder Options/View tab, Show hidden, uncheck Hide protected operating system and hide extensions)
    Create the following directories:
    Boot into safe mode. Open explorer and navigate to C:\Windows.
    Right click on the Installer directory and select CUT
    Navigate to E:\WinSystem\Windows right click and select paste. It should have created the directory E:\WinSystem\Windows\Installer with files in it.
    Right click the directory E:\WinSystem\Windows\Installer and select Pick Link Source.
    Navigate to C:\Windows and right click in the directory and select Drop As and select Junction.
    You should now see C:\Windows\Installer is back (with a wierd link on the folder icon)... The OS now will put installer files on the other drive and look for them there, but think it is still on c:!
    Other directories I do this with are the HP install directory (C:\SwSetup) and MS Office setup directory (C:\MSOCache).
    In the previous tutorials, yo learned how to move the TEMP and internet Temporary files... This is a good place for them too. Here is the directory structure on my E:\WinSystem directory:
    E:\WinSystem\Temporary Internet Files

    Just make sure to drop the junction in the same place as the original directory and the OS will be none the wiser and you will have moved GIGABYTES of seldom used stuff of your SSD (and redirected some more writes)!

    The only down side that I have found is as follows: If your backup strategy is like mine WAS, then you would only be making a backup image of the SSD. The problem is, that image backup software does not see that you moved the files, so they cannot copy the files in the E:\WinSystem directory with the image. The fix is quite simple if U are using Windows 7 backup: Along with the system image, have it back up the directory E:\WinSystem. Then it will keep them together and in sync (you restore the image AND the directory that went with the image).

    Undoing the junction is easy too, if you want to. Simply delete the junction from the C drive and move the directory back where it was (hence the reasoning I had you create WinSystem\Windows\Installer instead of WinSystem\Installer as a reminder of where the directory was when U started (thinking of WinSystem as the root)!
    Last edited by lightningltd; 15 Mar 2010 at 00:36.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 36
    Windows 7 64-bit
    Thread Starter

    SSD Benchmarking...

    There are a lot of sites and programs out there that are touting how important benchmarks are to your SSD and I agree, to a point. One of the problems in most benchmarking programs is equalization of results.
    My benchmark will NEVER equal yours unless we have the exact same hardware and software installed, including drivers, etc. They DO give a good general indication of potential performance if we follow a few ground rules to try to keep things equal as follows:

    REMEMBER: Over 95% of Windows 7 are READS, we need to be mainly concerned with READ speed.

    1) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT do the write benchmarking often. Each memory cell on a SSD has a set number of times it can be written to. The controller keeps track of the number of writes to a cell and makes it read-only when this value is met or exceeded. Most of the write benchmark programs out there write all across the SSD several times to every open cell either at the block level or file level then erase the block/file. Then the controller is left to clean up the mess, hurting performance and drive life. I watched an OCZ tech burn out one of their SSDs running write benchmarks over and over for several days non-stop. The drive became read-only after a slowdown of 98%.
    2) To eliminate the differences in services running, software installed, work-loads, etc. do your READ testing in SAFE MODE. This mode has the least things interfering with the READ test.
    3) Lets settle on a bench-marking tool that can do no harm. Personally, I use HDTUNE 2.55 free (not pro):
    It does not even have write testing installed in the program.
    3A) Lets all use the same testing parameters (settings) in the program. In HDTune 2.55 free, click the options icon at the top next to the diskette icon. Click on the Benchmark option and select 8 MB block size. You can also move the slider up to fast, since we are testing an SSD and the 'accurate' setting makes no difference in the benchmark stats on an SSD (just takes longer to get results).
    4) Run the benchmark 3 times, writing down results after each run. Use the highest one. Even in safe mode, there are services running that can throw off a read benchmark, so running 3 of them gets you inside the 'service free' window.

    We can then go to safe mode and run the benchmark and see. Here is mine:
    WEI (Windows Experience) Hard Disk score: 7.2
    HDTUNE: Minimum 189.1, Maximum 247.4, Average 225.5, 0.1 ms, 181.1 Burst.

    Next, we cover free tools to help keep things smooth.
    Last edited by Brink; 14 Mar 2010 at 03:08. Reason: replaced direct download link
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 36
    Windows 7 64-bit
    Thread Starter

    Cool free Tools...

    What would SSD speed be without some free, cool tools that are helpful...

    Benchmarking (as above):
    CrystalDiskInfo: Crystal Dew World - Download Center
    Crap Cleaner (Keeps things cleaned up): (I have it auto-clean on logoff)

    Helpful well behaved Windows 7 gadgets (get them from )
    All CPU Meter (shows memory and cpu usage, all cores)
    Wireless network meter (also works for wired) shows network usage
    Drive Meter Shows all IO to your drives.. MOST useful of the three!
    Last edited by Brink; 20 Jun 2014 at 22:55. Reason: replaced direct download link
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 36
    Windows 7 64-bit
    Thread Starter

    SSD Virtuilization Tips...

    I use VMWare all day long on my SSD and have found a few little tricks to make it run smoother with less writes to the SSD.
    My host is Windows 7 64-bit. My VMs are mostly XP pro andd home (and a Server 2008R2)....

    Basically, the tips are as follows and assume you are running VMWare:
    With the exception of the page file, follow the tips for configuration in the VM as you would if it was the host OS. Even in a VM, a page file is needed (to a point). Just google things like XP SSD tips, etc.

    If you have 2 drives (The SSD and a normal HD), then you can really pump up the speed of the VM if you are running it off the SSD...
    1) In the VM settings, create a new virtual drive. Put it on the normal Hard drive (I set mine to 1 gig). Inside the VM, set the new virtual drive as the VMs page file drive. This off-loads a lot of writes to the normal hard drive without really affecting performance.

    2) (advanced) Did you know you could run a VM in an almost read-only state from the SSD? Did you know that you can have a VM reading from both drives at the same time during VM boot and operation and writing to the HD only without raid? Basically, we can use the snapshot feature in VMWare to create a fake raid setup for each virtual machine:
    In the VMX file for the VM, we need to edit/add the line
    workingDir = "E:\VMWare Images\XP Home Personal SnapShot\"
    where the directory is where you will be storing the snapshot on the spinner.
    In the settings for the VM in VMWare, make sure to uncheck "independent" under advanced options for the virtual hard disk on the VM.
    Click on VM up top then create snapshot. As of that point on, all the writes will go to the snapshot file on the spinner and all the reads will come from both.
    There is a trade off after a while... Since all writes to the VM drive (snapshot) are block level writes, the more you use the VM, the less performance gain U will get (more and more reads will come from the snapshot file). To prevent that, I merge the snapshot file once a week or once every 2 weeks to the VM on the SSD.

    Also, to save space on the SSD, I only put my most used VMs on the SSD (the 2 that are used all day).
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 36
    Windows 7 64-bit
    Thread Starter

    SSD Optimization

    There seems to be some debate over the use of defragging utilities on your SSD drive. The purpose of this post is to try to clear this up a bit. In order to do this, we must look at where the opinions are comming from, and how an SSD actually works.

    The main proponents that say that you DO need to defrag your SSD also sell defrag programs, which I am SURE is a coincidence (NOT!).

    The opponents of defragging your SSD are pretty much all the makers of SSD drives, virtually every expert on the subject of SSDs, and of course the biggest experts on Windows and how it operates at the high and low levels with the hardware, MICROSOFT, who created the operating system. They all say the same thing: You do not need to defrag your SSD. Defragging it like a hard drive WILL lower its life expectancy without increasing performance.

    So, just looking at who says not to do it, I would think that there should not be too much debate, but as with a lot of things, a lack of understanding (or a simple plain english explanation) of a new technology tends to cause some to hold on to long held beliefs left over from similar hardware (spinning hard drives).

    Lets look at the hardware aspect of what an SSD must do to work and be widely accepted by the users: Imagine where SSD technology (and prices) would be today if you had to buy a new motherboard (or computer) just to use an SSD. In addition to the motherboard, you would need to purchase a new 'magic' operating system that could utilize the features of the SSD. The expense alone of all these 'upgrades' would have prevented the mass sales of SSDs, keeping the prices extremely high, and the number of manufacturers low, since it would remain as a high-end only item that only the richest users could afford.

    So How does the SSD work with current and past hardware and operating systems without the need for 'magic' expensive upgrades?
    Simply put, the first job of the SSD controller is to lie its butt off! Really! Here are the lies the controller must tell in order to work:
    1: It has to tell your BIOS and motherboard "Don't mind me, I'm just a plain old fast hard drive. you can boot from me and use me!"
    2: After the hardware accepts the SSD, the SSD controller has to tell the same lie to the operating system which is used to performing input and output to specific blocks on a hard drive. Basically, the operating system is fooled into thinking it is in full control of where on the SSD the data is going, since it has always had control in the past on normal hard drives. There is a lot of logic inviolved in this, so the controller has its own processor and basic operating system (firmware).

    So, what does this have to do with defragging? Lots...
    On a normal hard drive, you want all your most used data in the fastest area all together, since it has to move the drive head around if the data is not all in one place. Once you write the data to a location, it is up to the operating system to know where it is and to maintain the pointers to it on the physical location on the platters. The data stays there until it is told to move it. Defragging software does this for you through the operating system. Your Spinning disk drive can write and overwrite to any location the operating system says to ("write this data from x through y, read the data to me from x through y).

    The SSD does things a little differently. There are no platters or heads to move. Data comes from several places at once instead of from one sequential location. Due to the limited number of writes to any one location (cell) of the SSD, the controller must be in control of where things are written to, or the SSD would wear out very quickly. When the operating system tells the SSD to write something to a specific location, the controller tells the operating system that it did (lies). It then spreads the data out in the unused areas of the SSD. This is called 'wear leveling'. When the operating system asks for it back, the controller takes the location that the OS asked for and converts it to the actual cells where it is stored and sends the data to the OS. The SSD controller also likes to move things around when it is idle to keep as many free cells as possible, but does not need to tell the OS that it is moved. The changes are done in the location conversion table (this is not the actual name, just description of what it does).

    Bottom line, there is no need to defragment the SSD, since the operating system has absolutely NO CONTROL at all where the data is actually (physically) stored on your SSD. The SSD will put the data where it pleases, even during a defrag operation!
    Personally, I would love it if the firmware could somehow block the defrag operation, but it is allowed to happen simply to maintain compatibility with your operating system and drivers.

    Hope this clears this one up for some of you (us)
    Last edited by lightningltd; 19 Apr 2010 at 02:38.
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 32
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Version 6.1.7600 Build 7600

    Dear Sir,
    Your this tutorial "SSD-tweaks-optimizations-windows7" had immensely helped me, a layman, to understand and follow it step by step.
    Since about last four hours I had been doing all these activities, very successfully.
    A few hitch I came across which I will properly draft before posting it as my doubts.
    Some actions I have to undo like disabling items under Event Trace Session: all I did as per your ideas, but again had to undo as I could not access the web pages. I do not have any idea if this failure is the part of the changes. Will try again.
    This message is to express how grateful I am to you, Sir.
    So beautifully explained, narrated and step by step demonstrated by you.
    My regards
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 57
    PC, Windows 7 32 bit

    Problem with fsutil.exe command


    I appreciate your well done tutorial on SSD Tweaks and Optimizations... Thank you! I ran into a problem early, though... From the Start Button, I typed run, then command and fsutil.exe behavior, etc... to find out if my TRIM is active. I got stopped right away with the admonition that the fsutil command requires administrative privileges. Help, how do I prove that I have Administrator Privileges at the command prompt?

    Thanks for your help, Noels

      My Computer

  8. Posts : 7,878
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    Noels said:
    . I got stopped right away with the admonition that the fsutil command requires administrative privileges. Help, how do I prove that I have Administrator Privileges at the command prompt?
    It's just need to run the command prompt as an admin.

    2 methods

    1). Right click on the Command Prompt under Accessories and choose Run as Admin

    2). From start, run, type cmd in the search window and hit CTRL-SHIFT-ENTER.
      My Computer

  9. whs
    Posts : 26,210
    Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

    Very useful and down to earth.
      My Computer

Page 1 of 16 12311 ... LastLast

  Related Discussions
Our Sites
Site Links
About Us
Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 19:23.
Find Us