SSD Care – 7 Things Not to Do with a SSD

Seven Things Not to Do with  Solid State Drive (SSD)

Difference Between SSDs and HDDs

In order to understand SSD care and why certain things should not be done to an SSD it is firstly necessary to understand the difference between SSDs and HHDs.

Hard Disk Drives (HDDs)

Up until about 5 years ago the majority of Hard Disk Drives (HDD) were just that, an actual metal disk in a “mechanical” drive casing.  Some were 3.5 inch generally in desktop computers and the others were 2.5 inch in laptops/notebooks.  Both worked the same.  Both were also made to last approx. 5 years before something went pear-shaped.

Mechanical drives had 2 motors to (a) spin “the disk” and (b) to move the heads in and out to pick up data from the blocks on the disk.  Also a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) told the disk what to do and communicated with the motherboard in the computer through a cable connection.

Solid State Drives (SSDs)

Today more and more computers of both laptop and desktop configuration have a SSD or a combination of SSD and mechanical HDD.  SSD’s are fast approx. five (5) times as fast as a mechanical HDD.  The operating system (Windows, Apple OSX etc) do not really differentiate between the different drives but in a lot of ways they do.  They all show the file systems the same as with a mechanical drive.  Thus the user may very well not know if they have a mechanical drive or a SSD or a combination of the two.  The operating system treats the two types of drives very differently, so in terms of SSD care here is what not to do if you have a SSD.don't defrag ssd

SSD Care – What Not to Do

  1. Don’t Defrag SSD

    Don’t defrag SSD applies to Windows computers and not to Apple computers.  The storage “blocks” or areas on a SSD have a limited number of “writes” available to them.  This means when data is written to the drive each “write” is counted.  Hence over time the drive will start failing due to excessive “writes”.   Now these write figures are large, even massive numbers on the more expensive drives so it is not something to worry about.  However there is no point in getting Windows to cause more wear and tear for no good reason.  Cheaper drives have fewer “writes” available.  Defrag is a very old program from the early days when this sort of thing was important. With SSD care defrag isn’t needed and is as explained above detrimental – so if you have a Windows computer don’t defrag your SSD!

  2. Don’t Disable TRIM

    When your operating system was loaded by the computer manufacturer TRIM would have been enabled by the operating system.  What TRIM does is that it does not need to “wipe” data blocks or sectors on SSD’s when data is deleted (as in you delete a file).  With Operating Systems which support TRIM deleting a file will then really immediately delete the data in that block/sector.   Mechanical drives mark these blocks “deleted” or “available to be used again”. This is done so that they can be used again by the Operating System but don’t actually delete the data in them.  For your interest, this is how “undelete” programs work to undelete your accidently deleted files.  Operating Systems which support TRIM include Windows 7 onwards, Apple OSX from 10.6.8 and Linux from kernel 2.6.28.

  3. Don’t use a ‘Wipe’ Type Program

    You should not use a ‘wipe’ type program such as CCleaner, DriveWiper etc as with a SSD.  There is no need to remove any data (as discussed above).  If you are giving your computer to someone else and want to make sure none of your personal data is available to them – then with a SSD drive you don’t need to take any further action.  Delete the files and say good bye to that information.

  4. Don’t Install an Old Operating System on a SSD

    As detailed above the Operating Systems which have TRIM built into them should be used.  Anything earlier and there could well be issues with lost data.  Thus this could mean the SSD “dying” sooner.  In one case I saw actually slower response times from the computer with the SSD.  This brings me to not using old hardware (computers and laptops) as well.  There doesn’t seem to be a hard and fast rule here but I have seen some old hardware which does not work at all well with newer additions.  You could spend a lot of time and money “experimenting” so be warned.

  5. Don’t Try and Fill Up a SSD Completely

    Leaving some “free space” on any drive is recommended.  In fact Operating Systems generally require 10% free space, so that they can “do their thing”. With SSD’s their “write” ability is dramatically degraded if they are too full.  The way this works is like this… When there is plenty of space the SSD writes information or files to blocks.  Some of these blocks are only partially filled.  When the SSD starts to run out of space it has to then “hunt” for space and it hunts for the partially filled blocks hence the degradation in speed writing files.  A Google search of the words ‘ssd drive full slow’ will give you many articles on this phenomenon.  Basically don’t fill a SSD over 75%.

  6. Don’t have Programs Constantly Writing to Them

    Programs such as the Microsoft Office suite of programs will constantly write updates to the Drive (be it a mechanical or a SSD). T his is to “backup” your changes, additions and deletions.  This is good in one respect but it is bad for the SSD.  All these constant changes = writes to the SSD.  As we know from above writing too much = bad.  So it may be best to check on your programs and their updating/writes to your SSD.

  7. Don’t Use Indexing

    Microsoft Operating Systems do a lot (and I mean a lot) of Indexing of files, directories etc.  This is done so that information can be found “quickly” (via the Index). However, with SSD’s (as with mechanical drives) this requires a lot of reading and writing which as we know for SSDs is bad.  The reading really just takes time which could be better spent elsewhere.  There is absolutely no benefit to Indexing as a SSD can very rapidly access all files as quickly as it can anyway.  Some say having an Index to refer to could actually slow down this file search rather than speed it up.

SSD Care Conclusion

One last thing in relation to the importance of SSD Care… SSD’s are expensive and usually smaller in size (I meant GB or TB size not the physical size – which they generally are as well) than the mechanical drives. Consequently drive or disk space is at more of a premium than it might have been with your old computer. So deciding what files to store on the computer now becomes more relevant and important.  Hence why you should read our article on backups.  Only keep essential files on your SSD computer as you will find that you can quickly run out of space.  Keep especially large files such as TV shows, movies etc on an external HDD.

Affordable Computer Repairs and Service

If you require more assistance in terms of SSD care and what not to do with your SSD – or if you are thinking of using a SSD then please contact us at Affordable Computer Repairs and Service and we can endeavour to assist you in this area.

ssd care

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