When solid-state drives (SSDs) first emerged ubiquitous in the PC market, they offered a considerable gain in performance over older hard disk drives (HDDs) (HDDs). Over the years, they have been the usual choice for primary storage on consumer laptops and desktops, so we all enjoy the benefits of high transfer speeds and silent operation.
Nevertheless, like with nearly all the major components inside our computers, there are techniques to ensure you’re receiving optimal SSD performance and the fastest load rates overall. Here are our favorites.
Modify Your Power Plan
1. Type “Choose a power plan” into the search box and click the top result.
2. Click “Change plan settings” beside your chosen power plan.
3. Click “Change advanced power settings”
4. Set “Turn hard disk after” to zero.
This setting protects your SSD from going to sleep, which always saves you from having to wait an extra second or two for it to wake up.
5. Change the setting from “Maximum power savings to “Off” under PCI Express and Link State Power Management.
Turn-On Write Caching
1. Type “Device Manager” into the search box and launch the utility
2. Scroll down to Disk drives, right-click on your SSD, and select Properties.
3. Select the “Policies” tab and make sure that write caching is enabled.
Windows advises that using this capability could result in data loss during a power outage, but the speed at which SSDs operate makes this likelihood extremely improbable. In addition, this warning usually pertains to older, slower HDDs. Nonetheless, continue with caution if you are uncomfortable with enabling this option.
Optimize Your SSD on a Schedule
SSDs behave differently than HDDs, as their sheer speed renders traditional defragging an unnecessary procedure. However, when data are erased from an SSD, a trim operation is necessary to mark those blocks for future use. That’s where the Defragment and Optimize utility comes into play.
1. Search for “Defrag” and click Defragment and Optimize.
2. Click the Change settings button
3. Set how often you want Windows 11 to optimize your SSD. By default, Windows 11 chooses “Weekly,” but you can set the utility to optimize daily or (not recommended)
When Windows “optimizes” an SSD, it retrims the blocks, instructing the drive which portions should be regarded empty and ready to write new data to. An SSD that contains numerous untrimmed blocks might lead to poorer overall performance, making such weekly (or daily) maintenance routines a desirable option.
Disable the Windows Search Indexer
Windows 11 features the Search Indexer using a process called SearchIndexer.exe running in the background. The Search Indexer is constantly evaluating files and media on your computer so that the results are available virtually quickly when you make a search. Unfortunately, this operation also consumes CPU and RAM cycles, which is unneeded when your SSD is fast enough to find the files without an index.
1. Search for “services” to bring up the Services app.
2. Double click on the Windows Search service to open it.
3. The Service status will likely show as Running, so you can click the Stop button to end it immediately.
4. Select Disabled Under Startup type and click Apply to prevent it from running on each subsequent boot into Windows.
You’ll now notice that when you run a search, a little warning banner in the bottom left corner of the window says, “Search indexing was turned off,” and it gives you the opportunity to turn it back on.
Run the Disk Cleanup Tool
The Disk Cleanup utility examines your system to identify unwanted files that can be securely erased. SSDs tend to slow down in performance as they fill up, so ensuring that you “take out the trash” is a fantastic approach to maintain your drive’s health.
1. Search for “disk cleanup” to open the utility
2. Click Clean up system files. The system will include all the types of data you can clean up after a brief scan.
3. Choose data types to delete, including Windows Update files, Temporary Internet Files, device driver packages, and your Recycle Bin. The screenshot above shows that I have nearly 4GB that can be recovered by performing a Windows Update Cleanup.
Disable Hibernation (on desktop PCs) (on desktop PCs)
Hibernation is advantageous for laptops, as it saves your current computer state without eating power. While this is fantastic for a laptop operating on battery power, desktop PCs are always plugged in and don’t necessarily require this capability.
The hibernation file consumes a considerable amount of SSD space (40 percent of your installed RAM by default) (40 percent of your installed RAM by default). Unless you have a ton of free space on your SSD, you can disable the hibernation file and get back many GB.
1. Open the Windows Command Prompt as an Administrator. You may accomplish so by searching for “cmd,” right clicking and selecting “Run as administrator.”
2. Type “power cfg -h off” without the quotes and press Enter.
This will disable the hibernation file if it is currently enabled on your machine.
Employ SpaceSniffer to free up space
SSDs tend to lose performance as they load up with significant volumes of data. One technique to keep your SSD in tip-top form is to remove huge, unwanted files from the drive.
Applications like SpaceSniffer will scan your SSD and provide you an easy-to-decipher map that reveals which files are eating up the most space. You may get extensive information on the files, locate their specific file path and even remove them right from the program if you choose.
Install the Newest Firmware Update for Your SSD
Although SSD firmware upgrades don’t normally arrive regularly like graphics card drivers, they might sometimes give performance updates or squash existing issues. One notable example is the 5B2QGXA7 firmware for Samsung 980 Pro SSDs. The 5B2QGXA7 update resolves a problem where a 980 Pro’s health status could rapidly decline, eventually resulting to an SSD that reverts to read-only mode (rendering the SSD unusable) (rendering the SSD unusable).
Several firms like Samsung and Western Digital give easy-to-use programs that allow you to change the firmware on the SSD. With Samsung SSDs, you can download the Samsung Magician(opens in new tab) app, whereas Western Digital has the Western Digital Dashboard. Another example is the Sabrent Rocket Panel for that manufacturer’s SSDs. If your SSD maker doesn’t give an all-encompassing GUI, you can go to their support page to obtain and apply firmware updates manually.
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