I keep on seeing flat out wrong advice on how to optimize your SSD for windows 7. I thought I would correct it.
So here are the steps for optimizing your SSD for windows 7:
1. Enable AHCI in the BIOS before installing windows.
2. Install windows 7.
Thats it, thats all you need to do!
One suggestion typically made that I can't exactly say is "wrong" is "verify that windws7 set the right settings". The notion is that maybe windows7 misidentified your SSD as a spindle drive, and thus configured itself incorrectly. I would very much like to hear from someone to whom that actually happened rather then mere speculation that it might happen.
Optional "personal preference" settings:
1. Consider enabling indexing for your SSD, it is disabled by default. This is an issue not limited to SSD, there is argument on whether to have it on or off for either SSD or spindle drives. In both cases it is a matter of personal preference.
In windows 7 Indexing is turned off by default for SSDs because it is disastrous for drives like the first gen jmicrons which had atrocious random write performance. As a result everyone said "disable it" and MS followed suit. There is no noticeable change in a high performance SSDs and I personally find it to be a useful feature.
2. Consider disabling system restore.
Many disable system restore even with spindle drives. I find that when I have a problem it doesn't work for me, and it eats my HDD space, and it makes windows update installations take much longer. Plus malware likes to hide in it (or so I have heard).
Many others recommend to leave it on but at a reduced size setting, as it has worked for them in the past and saved them much time and effort in reversing a problem with the system.
There are claims that system restore interferes with TRIM. Which lowers SSD performance. It should be noted that it has never been mentioned in professional review sites such as anandtech or PcPer; but several people here say they have seen it personally. I will search for more information about the TRIM compatibility issue.
Even if it interferes with trim, there is a good a chance you would not notice the performance difference while finding system restore to be a useful feature. So this is still largely a personal preference.
Lets compare it to this list I was recently shown:
Now lets go item by item from the other list and explain why it is wrong.
IF YOU ARE READING BELOW THIS LINE BE AWARE THAT THE FOLLOWING IS MOSTLY WRONG ADVICE WHICH I AM CRITIQUING!
1. Install Chipset Drivers
The built in generic windows drivers pass on trim, the chipset drivers? most do not. Intel just very recently finally released a driver that passed trim along.
So there is no benefit or drawback to installing those.
To be fair the author did mention that, and specifically referred to it only being of use to people who have RAID arrays.
2. Disable System Restore
Actually this is good advice.
I have not heard about it "not working with trim"... but it is a heaven for viruses and malware, doesn't work properly when you need it, never can fix anything, and if you use it leaves your system a broken wreck. Waste of space and effort, disable it.
3. Disable Drive Indexing
WEBMASTER NOTE: The purpose of drive indexing on a hard drive was to allow quicker access to a file.
Windows 7 automatically disables indexing for SSDs... you should enable it!
Indexing makes searching for stuff much faster. The purpose was never to allow PROGRAMS to ACCESS files faster, the purpose was to allow SEARCHING for files faster.
Disabling indexing on the original crappy Jmicron controllers helped because they were vastly inferior to spindle drives. Indexing will not harm your performance on a quality SSD, like an Intel, sandforce, or indilinx SSD.
4. Disable Disk Defragment Schedule
Windows 7 actually have sensible defragmenting for spindle drives, normally I recommend that people don't defragment even a spindle drive but with windows 7 defrag method it is a good idea to use on spindle drives. it only performs the absolute minimum defragging, the defragging that is actually useful to you.
As for SSDs, it automatically disables defragging for SSDs in windows 7.
the explanation of:
There are no moving parts so file fragmentation doesn't occur as frequently as it does with a hard drive which fragments files as they are retrieved and stored on the disk while it spins at very high speeds.
is also hilariously wrong. Fragmentation has nothing to do with moving parts. SSDs do fragment, this is why they need TRIM, the reason defragging does not work on SSDs is because they have an abstraction layer and do not grant direct access to the OS to the data, instead they give it virtual addresses which they resolve to physical addresses (which change as the drive performs wear leveling!)
This should help clarify things http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIM_(SSD_command
5. Turn Off Windows Write-Cache Buffer Flushing
This goes back to the days where windows buffer flushes were broken, it would simply reply with "done" as soon as it got the command, resulting it appearing insanely fast... so a few rare applications that haven't been updated in decades might use excessive amount of forced buffer flushing...
this is really not something you should mess with and it isn't even guaranteed to improve performance, with those giving out this advice saying "it might increase OR decrease performance"
6. Turn Off Page File
Horrible terrible and stupid advice! Windows 7 handles the page file very well, and turning it off lowers performance, worse, it WILL cause crashes in some programs (ex: the game spellforce the order of dawn) when they try to access it.
Common advice found elsewhere on the web is:
place your pagefile on a spindle disk instead of the SSD
this is ALSO wrong, for maximum performance you should place your pagefile on the device with the best random write performance. In the days of Jmicron SSDs that was any spindle disk... if you have a good SSD then the SSD has better 4k random writes and you should place a pagefile on it.
7. Turn Off Multi-Boot Selection
This is completely pointless and will not provide any boost to performance.
8. Turn Off Hibernation
This is completely pointless and will not provide any boost to performance.
Furthermore, the assumption that "you don't need it because SSDs boot so fast" is flawed, a significant portion of the boot up process involves various firmwares, and in windows itself, it involves the CPU.
9. Power Settings
This is needed for trim to activate at the log-in screen.
You delete files in the log-in screen?
Power Settings - TRIM runs on its own accord and not only when you delete a file. If the power settings arent set at boot up, well...its like grammar school now isnt it.
Actually that is exactly NOT how TRIM works... background cleaning might run on its own accord (many drives don't do it either, such as the Intel SSDs)... TRIM is a command that is used to notify the drive that something is safe to delete. It is near instantaneous and only occurs when you delete a file.
10. Disable Windows Search and Superfetch (Services.msc)
TERRIBLE advice. Superfetch greatly improves performance and uses ram to the best of its potential with no harm to your SSD at all. There is no reason to ever turn it off.
11. Enable Faster Booting Sequence (Msconfig)
Useful advice that will shave off 2 seconds from your bootup, has nothing at all to do with SSDs.
12. Disable Recycle Bin
Pointless. if you delete things via the recycle bin rather then immediately permanently remove them it is so that you could potentially recover them later... This doesn't help at all.
13. Verify TRIM
WEBMASTER NOTE: Verifying that TRIM is working is actually a next to impossible task which requires monitoring your computers activity closely as TRIM can take only a split second to complete. There is truly no way for the user to confirm that it is working. Verifying TRIM wilkl confirm for the user that the TRIM commands are being sent from the software to the ssd. This, unfortunately, is the closest one will come without trying to catch it in action for that split second.
What can I say, they are right about this.
14. Wait To Kill Service Timeout (Decrease Shutdown Time)
Completely uncessary, this just means that your computer will terminate programs as they are closing if they take too long... just let programs finish shutting down properly when you shut down windows... this is mostly dependent on your CPU speed anyways.
15. Disable ClearPageFileAtShutdown and LargeSystemCache
disabling largesystemcache is unnecessary, and clear pagefile at showdown should be off by default.
16. Disable Superfetch and Prefetch
This is the same as #10, and its still as wrong.
17. NTFS Memory Usage and NTFS Disable Name Creation
Why would you disable backwards compatibility with programs that use 8.3 names? what do you hope to gain aside from crashes when using such programs.
As for NTFS memory useage... I have no idea what that is but I don't trust the author based on his other advice.
18. Change from IDE mode to AHCI
Good advice, should be #1 on the list, should have been done BEFORE installing windows.