It might take some years from now on before most new computers will be shipped with Solid State Drives instead of conventional platter driven hard drives but the change is inevitable. SSDs of the current generation already achieve top read speeds but usually lack behind in write speeds. There are however a few tips on how to optimize Windows for Solid State Drive usage. All center around the idea of moving write intensive tasks to another hard drive or disabling them completely.
This is even more important if a Windows operating system has been installed on the Solid State Drive. (It is basically the same deal for Linux users who should think about moving all write intensive tasks to other drives)
Three different types of tweaks can be applied. Tweaks that are applied directly to the hardware device in Windows, tweaks to the Windows operating system and tweaks to applications.
- PIO Mode
Make sure the SSD is not running in PIO mode. To verify that go into the Device Manager, open IDE ATA / ATAPI controllers and double-click all Primary and Secondary IDE Channels.
Verify that there are no signs of PIO Mode under the Current Transfer Mode entry in Advanced Settings. It should list Ultra DMA Mode 5 there.
- Enable Write Caching
Click on Disk Drives in the Device Manager and locate the Solid State Drive. Double-click it and open the Policies tab on top.
Select Optimize for performance and enable "Enable write caching on the disk". There is no need for the quick removal option as the SSD will never be removed from the computer (like any other hard drive).
- Moving the Pagefile
Moving the pagefile to another hard drive has a positive effect on the performance of SSD drives.
Go back to System Properties. Click on the Advanced Tabm there on Settings under the Performance entry. Again on Advanced in the new window and finally on the Change button under the Virtual Memory entry.
The Virtual Memory window opens and it will display all drive partitions on top and the size of their paging files. Select the Solid State Drive and check the "No Paging File" entry. Click the Set button to set the new preferences.
Now select another hard drive and assign the pagefile to this drive.
- Move the temp files
The Advanced tab under System Properties has a button entitled Environment Variables. Click it and locate the temp and tmp variables for the user and the system. Change the path to another hard drive if they are located on the Solid State Drive.
- Disable the Indexing Service on the drive
Right-click on the drive letter of the SSD and select Properties from the menu. Locate the Allow Indexing Service to index the disk for fast file searching line and make sure it is disabled.
Most application tweaks center around the idea of moving temporary files to another hard drive. Take the cache of web browsers or temp files during video production for example. Moving them to another hard drive will have an impact on the system's performance.
Do you know of additional tweaks that might improve system performance of SSD drives?