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Configuring your SSD for Windows 7 (how to guide)

Discussion in 'Storage Drives' started by Xerai, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. Xerai


    Joined: Jan 18, 2007

    Posts: 55

    Configuring your SSD for Windows 7 (Tweak List)

    WARNING: This is not a definitive guide! There may be other tweaks out there in the world that I havent listed - apparently this needed to be stated...

    WARNING: This list of tweaks is not meant to be followed blindly! If you dont know what a tweak does, then look it up in Google. All are "safe" to do, but some might loose you some functionaly. Turning off Hiberbate will prevent your system from hibernating, surprisingly...

    This post is relevant to: People that have just got an SSD and want to tweak Windows 7 so it doesn’t write unnecessarily to the drive degrading its performance and shortening its life. Application of these tweaks may also speed up your drive slightly.

    There are many guides around the net about how to tweak your OS for your SSD, but you will find yourself visting many sites to collect them all. Now, Im not claiming these are "all" the tweaks, but I spent the last two days reading all the articles and forum posts I can find on the net about SSD tweaks and this is all the ones I could find. Yes, there are some tools you can use to do the tweaks automatically, but I prefer to do it manually :)


    1. You are using an SSD as your primary HDD.
    2. You also have a platter drive in your system.
    3. Your drive is using NTFS format
    4. You are using Windows 7 (although much of this can be applied to other MS OSs)
    5. You already know how to use regedit, enable/disable services and generally root around in the innards of your OS (If not look elsewhere for guides).

    NB: When editing your registry the “before value” may differ in some systems, but the value you should set it to is still correct (I only included the before values in case you want to reverse the change later).

    You dont have to set all of these tweaks, but at least you can see in this list what there is available and relevant for your SSD drive. Pick and choose, or set the lot - its up to you.

    Hkey_local_machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet \Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
    Change Enableprefetcher value from 3 to 0

    Hkey_local_machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet \Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
    Change clearPageFilesAtShutdown from 0 to 1

    Hkey_local_machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet \Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
    Change LargeSystemCache value from 0 to 1

    Change NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation value from 0 to 1

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\FileSystem
    Change NtfsMemoryUsage value from 1 to 2

    Change NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate value from 0 to 1

    Hkey_local_machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
    Change EnableSuperfetch from 3 to 0

    DISABLE SUPERFETCH 2 (optional)
    In computer management services set service Superfetch to Disable

    In Computer Management > Services set Windows Search to Disable

    In properties of SSD drive (my computer) open the defrag service and go to the defrag scheduler
    Un-check schedule defragmentation for this drive

    DISABLE DEFRAG 2 (optional)
    In Computer Management > Services set Defragment to Disable

    System Properties > Advanced, turn off for SSD. Set up for 512min/512max on your second platter drive (if present).
    NB: Value is just my preference, feel free to experiment. Having no pagefile at all can cause problems with some games.

    Type CMD in search, right-click Command Prompt or Cmd.exe, and click Run as Administrator. Type "powercfg.exe -h off"

    Right click My Computer, properties, device manager. Enable write cache and advanced in policies for the SSD drive
    Set Write cache + Advanced performance to Enable

    In My Computer, in the properties of the SSD drive disable drive indexing (untick the box)

    Start Menu > Right-Click Computer > Properties > Advanced System Settings > System Protection Tab > Configure > Turn off system protection

    System Properties > Advanced, move TEMP and TMP to a platter drive
    Also move the User TEMP and TMP to a platter drive

    DISABLE ReadyBoot
    Launch the "Performance Monitor" program (via Administrative Tools). Then on the lefthand side of your screen click "Data Collector Sets", and underneath that heading click "Startup Event Trace Sessions". Now on your righthand side you'll see a list that includes ReadyBoot, and you'll see the word 'enabled' beside the word 'Readyboot'. Double clicking the list item brings up the ReadyBoot Properties dialog. This dialog has a number of tabs. Pick the "Trace Session" tab. Finally, uncheck the "Enabled" checkbox on that tab

    This refers to moving My Doc, My Pics, Downloads etc. that are usually inside Users folder on the root of your boot drive to your platter drive.

    Open IE > Internet Options > Tools > Internet Options > General Tab > Browsing History. After this has been done you will need to log off and back on again for the cache to be moved

    Type about:config into the address bar. Click OK to the warning message. Right click somewhere on the opened age and go to new -> String. Enter browser.cache.disk.parent_directory into the first dialog box and then the location you would like the cache in the second. Restart the browser and then this should now be moved. To check type about:cache into the address bar and all the info about the cache will be displayed

    I haven’t yet attempted this step, but there is some information here: http://www.winhelponline.com/articles/95/1/How-to-move-the-special-folders-in-Windows-Vista.html

    I haven’t included the L2 CPU cache tweak (mentioned on the OCZ site), as I don’t understand/trust messing with it.


    As you can see there is a slight increase in performance after making these changes. Myself, and I suspect many of you will be making these changes primarily because you don’t want to wear out your drive early and so getting a speed boost as a by-product of these tweaks is a very nice side effect :)

    Hope someone finds this post of use, feel free to ask questions and tell me where you think I have gone wrong or missed something out.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  2. ChileanLlama

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Feb 27, 2007

    Posts: 1,921

    Location: Leeds

    Good stuff, but I think you need to put more of an explanation as to why you are disabling things.

    A couple of things that strike me are;

    Pagefile. Leave it on the SSD (if you're going to run one). Read the MS Blog as to why, but it seems SSDs are the perfect drive for pagefile.

    Hibernation. Of course if you want to keep the feature, you can't turn it off! Ditto System Restore.

    Indexing. Consists of largely reads so isn't going to wear out your drive, it's a fairly moot point as the drives are that fast to search on the fly it's not really needed either.

    Moving webcache...where to...and why?

    The figures you've quoted before/after are not conclusive. I've had bigger variances using CrystalDisk without making tweaks inbetween. And other than the 4k read they are too similar to call.

    Overall some useful stuff, some of it is done by Windows 7 automatically (sometimes anyway!).

    Anyway as I've said before, I'm not keen on moving things off the SSD to mechanical drives just for the sake of protecting my drives against wear (e.g. temp files, pagefile, webcaches, etc). It kinda defeats the purpose of having an SSD if key files are then being put/used on mechanical drives.

    So overall I'd avoid any tweaks that are geared around prolonging the life, reducing wear on SSDs. They will tend to have a negative effect on performance, and when all said and done the warranty is long enough on most drives for people not to worry about wear.
  3. Rambo2683


    Joined: Oct 1, 2006

    Posts: 234

    I have to agree on the page file.
    Seems a bit silly to have that on a mechanical drive, half the reason I'm looking forward to getting my SSD tomorrow is so that game's which often chug away at the page file will be loads loads faster and less noticeable.

    But otherwise, great guide you got there, I will be sure to check it out tomorrow. :)
  4. Xerai


    Joined: Jan 18, 2007

    Posts: 55

    Hi ChileanLlama, maybe thanks for your thoughts and suggestions

    I would have done that, only it would have taken me all day instead of couple of hours to write up this post :)
    I assume most people that find this post useful will either already know about most of the tweaks (in which case no explaination is needed) or will want to go a check its actually worth doing before changing it (as I would). Im just trying to bring a lot of the tweaks together in to one list instead of them being on multiple websites you have to go searching for.

    Not sure what your source is for that info, but I believe putting the pagefile on your SSD is one of the worst things you could do. Unless you have low system RAM, in which case go buy some more RAM!

    True, True. Im just trying to list all the useful ones, people dont have to set them all if they dont want to.

    Agreed, but turning it off is listed in several places as a way of speeding up your SSD system (although only slightly)

    Ops, yes you are right. I meant move to a platter drive and the why is because its unnessasry writes to your SSD. I doubt you can notice if your webcache is fetching from your SSD or platter drive.

    True, True, its just to show those who might worry messing around with this stuff might actually make your drive slower. From what I find its at least the same and probably faster. The 4k read as you mentioned is probably the only one that cant be discounted as just normal variances. The 4k read is also one of the most important indicators of the drives speed, so I still make the claim that these tweaks will speed up your SSD.

    Yes, I think a couple of things are set automatically, but 95% of the list I gave was not done by my Win7 Pro install straight on to the SSD.

    I agree to some extent, but when you look at the resource monitor and see the OS writting all kind of crap to your shiny new SSD that is slowly wearing it out and degrading its performance, personally I would rather disable those features.

    For some things that may be true, but lets take ReadyBoot as an example. This thrashes your HD after boot for little or no gain in boot up time next time you turn on the machine. Some report that their machine actually boots up quicker with this disabled. So I do agree with your point about not turning off services to prolong the drive at the cost of performance, however many of these tweaks actually speed up your drive as a result.

    The moving of the enviroment and pagefiles to other drives being the exception, but if you want to fill up your SSD with crappy temp files please go ahead :)

    I take onboard what you said and will try to add a bit more explaination to parts of the list, thanks
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  5. weird_dave

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Mar 20, 2007

    Posts: 1,036

    I'm not sure why you'd need to enable clearing the pagefile on shutdown.
    I'd also move as many log files as I can to platter too. Or just disable them :)
    There's a lot of software which use their own temp folders which is a real pain.
    I'm a little torn on web caches. I'd quite like my login credentials and cookies on the nice reliable SSD. I'd like to be able to disable the rest of it completely. I feel some googling coming on.....
  6. andy.scott


    Joined: Aug 1, 2009

    Posts: 116

  7. ChileanLlama

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Feb 27, 2007

    Posts: 1,921

    Location: Leeds

    Well it's like me writing a post saying run Sanitary_Erase.exe on an Indlilinx drive without any warning or reasoning. BTW don't do this ;)

    Microsoft Developers

    I have 12gb RAM and I still need a pagefile...

    That should be clear in the first post, goes along with the explanation and pros and cons. I guess without trying to be impolite your list is not a definitive list that everyone with SSDs should do. That should be clear in the first post.

    Only if it's continually indexing. Anyway I agreed that this adds little value with an SSD, but if you don't disable it you will struggle to the difference.

    It will be very noticeable if you visit the same sites regularly. My home page tabs load instaneously. They don't when on a mechanical drive.

    No it can probably all be dismissed. For a start CrystalDisk is not reliable run after run after run. Also, most of your tweaks are not affecting "in-windows" experience. The majority will either help on wear (moving cache's files), boot up (Readyboot) or shut down performance (Hibernation). Some will slow down performance (pagefile).

    Very few of them affect normal useage to such a large degree - so I would question whether the tweaks have had any significant impact looking at your pre & post CrystalDisk results.

    I have had one system configure correctly, i.e. Prefetch, Readyboot, Defrag etc all disabled. Sadly this seems to have been a one-off as other systems do not.

    There's not a lot that writes to mine continuously. As I said before I'm not bothered about the drives wearing out, any tweaks that could otherwise compromise my system and user experience at the sake of saving a few writes is not worth it - if it fails within warranty it will be replaced, if they last longer than 3 or 5 years warranty I have on my drives - they will be obsolete.

    Readyboot was not one of the programs I disputed it, you're right it may speed up boot times. This isn't going to help your overall benchmarks within Windows though. Also how much does it speed it up by?

    I will thank you very much, as I don't have a mechanical drive and have large enough SSD storage.

    But the crappy temp files are there for a reason, say for example I'm installing something that extracts it's files to temp, I want to be able to install quickly and enjoy the benefit of the SSD, not be limited by the bottleneck created by those installation files extracting to a mechanical drive.

    Thanks, because with a cautionary note and reasoning behind the tweaks I wouldn't have posted. I only did to make people question that this is not a definitive list.
  8. Xerai


    Joined: Jan 18, 2007

    Posts: 55

    Thanks for the reply again.
    My suggestion to you would be that perhaps others are bothered about their drives wearing out and getting slower due to being full of temporary files and web caches… Personally I don’t want to be wiping my drive clean often to return the performance.

    Perhaps I am unusual in that I did not buy an SSD so I can load my cached web pages faster. This was not something I even thought about or feel I need. Most of the time when I visit a website and am waiting for something to appear it’s the speed of the net or the web server at the other end that causes a slow page, not how fast my browser can fetch files from its cache.

    You say you have no mechanical drive in your system. If you look at my assumptions up at the top of the list I stated this list was for people who are using a mechanical drive as well as an SSD. Perhaps this is why you particularly don’t see this list as very useful to you. If you have a 30GB Vertex for example you might be looking for anything you can offload from the main drive to free up space.

    One of the first SSD tweak lists I found, was on this forum (shown below). Even though it has no detail at all I found it very useful as a starting place to go off and check what can be tweaked. I didn’t see anyone criticising that post for lack of pros and cons about each entry. I even found that same list copied and pasted in to guides on a couple of other websites.

    • Superfetch set to disable.
    • Prefetch set to disable.
    • Enabled clear page file at shutdown.
    • Enabled Large system cache.
    • Ntfs disable 8 dot 3 name creation set to disable.
    • Ntfs memory usage increased.
    • Defragment set to disable.
    • Pagefile set to off. (Have 6g of ram but using 4 due to duff module.)
    • Hibernation off.
    • Write cache enable.
    • System restore off for SSD drive and move to SATAII drive.

    I do take on what had been suggested by your replies, I did change the wording on the original post after your original comments, but maybe you didn’t notice? That said I have just added something to make it even more clear it is not meant to be a definitive list and not to set everything blindly and lookup the tweaks you don’t understand.

    BTW: I still don’t agree on the pagefile issue. I have read on multiple sites not to put a pagefile on your SSD. M$ might say you can do it, but I believe what others say and prefer to offload it to a platter drive, but make sure you have plenty of RAM. If you have 12GB RAM already and are regularly needing to use your pagefile, then YES I can see it makes sense to put it on your SSD. But how big is your pagefile, 1GB? If your performance in this respect is so critical, you should add more RAM.
  9. ChileanLlama

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Feb 27, 2007

    Posts: 1,921

    Location: Leeds

    Where is the evidence of this, I accept they are new technology but do you understand what a worn drive means?

    And can you really tell the difference between a TRIM/GC/Wiped drive versus a dirty one? I can't other than in benchmarks.

    The firmware marks worn blocks as bad and effectively the size of the drive reduces. It just doesn't fail due to wear only. Also what is the MTBF and warranty on these drives? They are not dissimilar to mechanical drives.

    I will say that you've obviously done a lot of reading. People might be worried about writes, including yourself, but where has that come from? People being precious about their expensive drives and that myth perpetuating on forums across the globe or does it come from the manufacturers of drives and OS developers?

    I can see some merit in avoiding unnecessary writes, but I really think if you are going to lengths to avoid writing to them, which may overall lower your performance then clearly the technology is not mature enough. That's something I don't agree with and too many people are missing out on SSDs due to their cost, small capacity, but also alot of scaremongering.

    As I said and you cut off in your quote of me, if they fail within warranty they will be replaced, if they fail outside of warranty they will be obsolete anyway.

    Now that's useful for those that have smaller drives. You didn't mention that before, your first post is geared around performance and wear. There are some very useful tips to reduce the footprint on your SSD above;

    So please validate it through testing, I've said your CrystalDiskMark scores are inconclusive. Otherwise you've cut and paste something, some of it useful, some of it not and potentially perpetuating this same myth that SSDs should be used some how differently to normal HDs.

    Personally, I think space is the only issue. Degradation is minor, hardly noticeable and still outperforms the best mechanical HDs. Wear, well it is early days and we will wait and see, but the manufacturer specs suggest that we need not worry any more than with a mechanical drive.

    Well if you don't believe MS on how their OS works and what is best over something you read in a forum some place it doesn't add much credibility to the rest of your tips. Unless you have some evidence from another respected source disputing MS's findings?

    I said I needed a pagefile, I didn't say what size it was and how often, but some applications definitely need it. Pagefile useage is a whole other discussion, but I am confident my system is set up correctly for my needs. But you seem to be suggesting buying more RAM to remove the need for a pagefile? Why would I want to do that when it works perfectly well on my SSD, I would be more concerned with performance if I followed your initial suggestion and put it on a mechanical drive.
  10. Xerai


    Joined: Jan 18, 2007

    Posts: 55

    As I stated quite a few times this is a list of tweaks gathered from around the net. Im sorry you have taken my post as a scientific paper on the perfect tweaks for an SSD drive, this was not my intention. I also have changed the wording of the original post (twice) to make it more clear that people should pick and choose what they might want to use or ignore. Im not going to defend what and why tweaks are on this list, since I didnt come up with them in the first place anyway. However, if you do a web search you will find they are all suggested as SSD tweaks on the net (none have been made up by myself).

    Someone, somewhere may have got it wrong, but this is not my problem. Anything you read on the net could be wrong, I think most people know that, but if you read the same thing over and over in several places it becomes more probable that its true. Thats my view anyway. Im sure you can write pages on why just because a tweak appears on several sites that doesnt make it a good tweak, but that applies to most posts on this board so you would be very busy if you tried to pursue that course.

    Again, all I am doing is listing the tweaks not saying this is a definitive list or that it should be followed blindly. I have applied this entire list to my computer and it works perfectly fine. My drives get a score of 7.8 (out of 7.9) in Windows 7 experience. I dont notice any slow down as a result of the tweaks made (quite the oposite) and I feel happy knowing that windows isnt writting useless rubbish all over my drive in the background.

    Just one last word on the pagefile issue: The majority of the sites I visited recommend disabling the pagefile completely if you use an SSD. The only reason I listed the pagefile should be moved from the main drive is because of two sites that mentioned there could be problems with some games if you have no pagefile at all. I am not saying the MS article you linked to is wrong, just that it can be intepreted in several ways. If you want your pagefile on your SSD then good on you, but I feel 1) I dont need a pagefile at all and 2) If its something I dont need (except on rare occations), I am going to stick in on my platter drive.

  11. weird_dave

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Mar 20, 2007

    Posts: 1,036

    Xerai, in your original post you suggest "ENABLE CLEAR PAGEFILE AT SHUTDOWN". This may serve a purpose on SSD as the cleared space will be faster after rebooting due to not having to wipe those sectors before re-use.
    But, later in "DISABLE PAGEFILE" you suggest putting the pagefile on a platter drive. Clearing the pagefile in this situation serves little purpose.

    I don't see how temp files and web cache data will slow down SSD drives, platters yes due to fragmentation.
    I did originally agree about web cache, but having thought about it I'm not so sure.
    If you have a SSD, assuming drive wear levelling is 100% effective (I realise it won't but bear with me) ignoring system writes and assuming you always have 10GB free space, you'd have to cache 10GB * 100,000 before parts of it start to fail (1,000,000 is a more likely figure though). That's a lot of data. Obviously, reducing the amount of free space makes it worse, but the only effect is that eventually the drive will shrink a bit.
    If the SSD implements static wear levelling then the figures get even better.

    How long would it take to write to a 30GB SSD 100K times at say, 0.2GB/s? 6 months continuous.

    When I actually get SSD, I will probably move the cache over to platter as it really won't impact on browsing performance and a few MB extra SSD space is always going to be handy.
    Pagefile, not sure, windows always seems to use some if it's there and it's needed for some games not to moan. Performance will take a hit if it's moved to the platter due to seek time. How about using some ram as a ramdisk and putting the pagefile there :D
  12. smjohns


    Joined: Oct 26, 2009

    Posts: 2

    I have to say that I was a little concerned about all these tweaks as I was always under the impression that if Windows 7 detected and was installed on an SSD that it would configure itself to ensure optimum performance and life of the drive?

    Assuming this to be the case, Windows 7 only disables the scheduled defrag on the SSD drives but everything else is left on. As my drive and Windows 7 supports TRIM I feel that is enough for the majority of users.

    Having said that I have made the following changes that probably offers no difference in performance but would improve the life of the drive:

    Hkey_local_machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet \Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
    I changed Enableprefetcher value from 3 to 2

    When I set this to 0 I found that my machine boot up time was noticably slower (I have some sidebar gadgets and the like). I then noticed that pre and superfetch had 3 options. 3 = super/prefetch all, 2 = super/prefetch boot only, 1 super/prefetch apps only, super/prefetch off. As applications still launched quickly with super/prefetch off I decided on using the boot option 2.

    Hkey_local_machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
    I changed EnableSuperfetch from 3 to 2 so that I maintained boot up speeds.

    DISABLE SUPERFETCH 2 (optional)
    I left this on as I am still partially using superfetch

    I initially disabled this but then starting getting nags from Outlook. As I had already switched off indexing on my SSD drive I decided to leave this on.

    Scheduled defrag was switched off automatically by Windows 7.

    DISABLE DEFRAG 2 (optional)
    I haven't touched this setting as there is no real need.

    This main setting was enabled automatically by Windows 7 but the additional check box was not. There is a warning on the additional setting that your PC needs a backup power supply but as I am using a laptop it has a battery so I ticked the box. I guess if you have a PC then it may be best not to use the advanced setting unless you have a UPS.

    I disabled this on both partitions.

    I did not bother with any other setting as I felt the performance / SSD life gains were negligable and not warrant of the extra effort.
  13. MadMatty

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 14, 2005

    Posts: 1,513

    Location: Lincoln, UK

    Alot of the settings seem a little overkill and reminicent of the setting used to try and get winxp upto speed on an old celeron system.

    I baught an ssd to get a higher level of performance. Moving files (page/temp/cache) back onto mechanical drive is going to kill the peformance benefit and the difference is visualy noticable (dont need a benchmark).

    Windows constantly writting to the drive shouldnt be seen as an issue since im sure the drive will be obsolete long before the drive shrinks and crawls.
  14. Alfie

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 4, 2008

    Posts: 1,622

    Location: Sheffield

    Do you still need to do this if you have TRIM? sorry, noob
  15. smjohns


    Joined: Oct 26, 2009

    Posts: 2

    I think that is my original point. No I don't think any of the above changes are really necessary with fresh install Windows 7 on a TRIM enabled drive.

    Unless you are after the uber performance then your system should run quite happily with all the default settings although make sure you check the defrag scheduler to ensure Win7 has disabled this. Scheduled defrag is the only thing that can really reduce the life of an SSD. Win7 will disable this for most SSD's but if it failed to detect it as an SSD for whatever reason you can check and override this.

    I have only made the above changes as a personal choice but apart from when I switched off Prefetch / Superfetch (when my machine actually booted up slower than when they were switched on), I have noticed no difference.
  16. Rambo2683


    Joined: Oct 1, 2006

    Posts: 234

    I performed alot of the tweaks on my new SSD, fresh install of Windows 7, but now I cannot shut down. It just hangs whenever I try. Same with restarting.
    What's happened?
  17. Rambo2683


    Joined: Oct 1, 2006

    Posts: 234

    Ah nevermind, I changed the option 'ENABLE CLEAR PAGEFILE AT SHUTDOWN' back to 0 and now it works again :)
  18. SDK^


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 18,552

    Yup - having this option set clear means Shutdown/Restart times are very long
  19. Rambo2683


    Joined: Oct 1, 2006

    Posts: 234

    Ah right, so what is the benefit of having it set to enabled then?
  20. weird_dave

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Mar 20, 2007

    Posts: 1,036

    Rambo, see post 11, first bit.