The hard drive is without a doubt one of the most iconic computer components ever. It has seen major upgrades in the last years, going from a storage space of a few MBs to over 1 TB. Nowadays, the hard drive has reached, some say, its ultimate form: the Solid State Drive (SSD). This device offers amazing speeds, but it has the downside of having (at least for now) a very high price. But the SSD gives more than speed, it does not need constant maintenance as a regular HDD.
HDDs need a lot of maintaining to work properly: defragmentation, partitioning, regular cleaning and so on. And, still, they have pretty low speeds. Of course, there are some methods of hard drive optimization that could give your hard drive some extra speed, and this is what we will be covering today. Also, we will feature some SSD optimization tips, but these are more maintenance tricks, as they do not affect the speed of the drive so much, but they can extend the overall life of the drive.
Hard Drive Optimization Tips
1. Partition your drive
For hard drives, partitioning is a very good maintenance method. By partitioning, you can keep your Windows files in one partition and your other data on other partitions. This ensures that the files do not mix and cause errors. Also, if you use more than one operating systems (for example Windows and Linux), it’s better to keep them on different partitions. Windows offers a partitioning tool when you install it, but you can do this with third party apps or the Disk Utility feature from the Windows OS.
2. Defragment often
Windows OS offers a Disk Defragmenter tool that allows you to defragment hard drives, making them perform better and giving them a longer lifespan. This process “evens out” the data on a hard drive, by not allowing it to clump together. This process can be done with third party apps, which offer better defragmentation that the Windows OS tool. A list of defragmentation programs can be seen here.
3. Clean your drive
No, I am not talking about giving you hard drive a bath, but to keep it clean on the inside. Delete old and useless data, empty your Recycle Bin, delete the Temporary Internet data and browser search history. Also, you can give your registry a wipe, by deleting entries that are of no use now.
There are lots of utilities to help you clean the data on your hard drive and get rid of those useless files. Also, another advantage of deleting all that old information is that you can free up some space on your partition (sometimes, even more than 1GB).
4. Create a Pagefile partition
The pagefile partition is a place where the opened programs can keep their temp files. Usually, this information is kept in the RAM, but by using this method, you can free you RAM. The only information that the RAM will hold is from the files that you use in that moment, the other information that is frequently used will be stored in this partition. To create a pagefile partition, navigate to:
Control Panel-> System-> Advanced System Settings-> Advanced-> Performance-> Settings-> Advanced-> Virtual Memory-> Change
and create a new partition for those files (I would recommend a size of about 1GB).
SSD Maintenance Tricks
All of the above methods for optimizing a hard drive do not work on a SSD, in fact, many of them make small write operations that shorten the lifespan of a SSD. These devices have awesome speeds, so they do not need optimizing. Instead, you must limit the number of operations that they make. Also, here are a few other easy tips for helping your SSD last longer:
1. Use AHCI SATA controller
You can turn this on from the BIOS of your motherboard. This states what SATA controller your computer uses. For SSD drives, it’s best if you use AHCI.
2. Disable defragmentation
Defragmentation is useless in SSD drives. The data does not fragment and you don’t need this feature. Also, it makes lots of small write operations that, in time, might shorten the life of your SSD. Also, it’s better to stop this feature if you have a defragment scheduled task.
3. Disable System Restore
Windows usually creates restore points, and they are pretty useful if you have problems later on, but taking into consideration the small size of most SSDs, it’s better to turn this feature off if you don’t want to fill up your drive with backups. If you have a big SSD, then you shouldn’t worry about this. To do this, follow this
Computer ->System Protection->Select partition “C”->Configure->Turn off System Protection
4. Disable drive indexing
Also, a great tool when using HDDs, the drive indexation has a negative effect on your SSD, because it will read all the files in your partition. This can deteriorate your SSD much faster, so it’s better to turn this feature off (right click on the partition and uncheck “drive indexation”).
5. Disable Hibernation
Hibernation suspends your system by copying all the information stored in the RAM to a file, and when you turn on your computer, it basically resumes. This makes for a faster boot-up, but when using SSDs, you already have the speed, and you do not want those extra write operations. Do the following
Start->type “CMD” in the search bar-> right click on CMD and select “Open as Administrator”)with administrator rights and and type “powercfg.exe /hibernate off”
6. Disable prefetching in the registry
Although this option should be turned off by default if you have installed Windows 7 on a SSD, you should take a look. Open the “Run” command and type “regedit”. Then navigate to the
registry and select both “EnablePrefetcher and EnableSuperfetch” keys, select “Modify” and change their values from “1” or “3” to “0”. This feature allows the the RAM to load these registry entries, but because your SSD has a fast access time, you do not gain any advantage by using it.
Related Read: How to Choose the Hard Drive for Your PC
Following these tips, you can extend the life of your drives, both HDDs and SSDs and ensure a top level of performance from them. Be sure to use these and if you know other optimization or maintenance tricks, please let us know using the comment section.