Solid state drives are relatively new on the home computing scene, but they are already becoming standard in high-end laptop and desktop systems. While they offer extremely high performance, it is important to remember that they work quite differently to traditional mechanical hard drives. They also have a limited number of read and write cycles, and although most users will never encounter these limits, it is still good practice to take extra steps to maintain your SSD and get more out of it.
Move Your Temporary Files Folders
Due to having a limited number of read and write cycles, it is a good idea to prevent such routine operations from occurring on an SSD. Windows automatically saves temporary files to a default folder on your system hard drive. While these files can normally be safely deleted, Windows will still use the folder extensively. To change the folder location to one on a normal hard drive, go to the “System” section of the Control Panel. Click on “Advanced system settings” and click “Environment variables.” Click “Edit” in the top section and enter a new directory for your temporary files, ensuing that it is on another drive.
Do Not Use Your SSD for Mass Storage
SSDs are great for storing your operating system and your most frequently used programs, but due to their limited size, it is important that you choose carefully what to store on your SSD and what to keep on a normal mechanical hard drive. For this reason, almost all SSD users have a much larger traditional hard drive as well. Use the normal drive for storing things like movies, music, personal files and any applications or games which you don’t use so often.
Install Your Operating System on Your SSD
One of the main reasons why people use SSDs is to enjoy nearly instant boot times and much faster overall performance from their operating systems. You should always install Windows or any other OS you use on your SSD. With this being the case, your computer will start up in a few seconds, and any other tasks related to your operating system will also be much faster. If you are upgrading to an SSD, you can use third-party software to help you migrate your operating system onto the new disk rather than making a clean installation from scratch. Aside from your OS, only install your most frequently used applications or games on the SSD.
Indexing can be very useful on hard drives which have a great deal of data on them. In such situations, it can drastically reduce search times. However, it can also have a negative impact on overall performance, and since SSDs are not meant for large amounts of storage anyway, you might as well turn this feature off for that drive. Indexing is also a read- and write-heavy task which will ultimately reduce the lifespan of your SSD. To disable it, go to the drive’s properties by right-clicking on it in the File Explorer and clicking “Properties.” Remove the check from the appropriate box.
Do Not Defragment
Defragmenting is a highly write-intensive task which involves moving all of the data around on your hard drive in such a way that it is stored contiguously on the disk. While this leads to improved performance in the form of shorter load times on traditional hard disks, it provides no benefit at all for solid state drives which contain no moving parts anyway. An SSD will read data at the same speed no matter where it is stored on the disk.
Always Leave Some Free Space
An SSD will actually slow down a lot when writing data if the drive is almost full. This is because it needs to find all of the partially empty data blocks for writing the new data. To keep your SSD performing at its quickest and most efficient levels, avoid filling them to maximum capacity. In fact, the popular online hardware magazine, Anandtech, recommends that you keep about a quarter of your SSD’s capacity completely free in order to enjoy optimal performance.