SSD Maintenance

SSD stands for "Solid State Drive". An overly simple way to think of a SSD is that it's flash memory (think USB flash drive, only more robust) with a hard drive controller attached to it - there are no moving parts. Contrast that with a conventional hard drive (or mechanical hard drive as I like to call them). Conventional hard drives have a motor or two, spinning disks or platters, an arm, and a read/write head. The disks are constantly spinning and the read/write head is attached to the arm. The arm moves the read/write head across the surface of the disk. The read/write head reads data from the disk and writes data to the disk. Those moving parts generate heat and those moving parts make the hard drive fragile. If you've ever dropped a laptop and wondered why it won't boot up afterwards, this is why! SSDs are definitely more shock resistant then regular hard drives. That alone makes them a perfect choice for laptops.

When Windows 7 first came out, SSDs didn't really exist in the consumer market, mainly due to price. It wasn't until about 2012 that SSDs became a reality for the general public. Like anything else in the consumer electronics space, components become more affordable the longer they are available.  A SSD that would have cost $500 three years ago is now available for approximately $99.

Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8/8.1, and Windows 10 typically support SSDs without any problems. The exceptions to this are conventional hard drives with Windows installations that have been cloned onto a SSD. Also, with Windows 7, it's a good idea to check to see if the SSD is recognized as a SSD. You can do that at a Command Prompt by typing: fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify as shown below:

If you get a result of 0 - then TRIM is enabled. See the screenshot above.If you get a result of 1 - then TRIM is disabled. If TRIM is not enabled on your SSD, you can manually enable TRIM at an Administrator Command Prompt by typing: fsutil behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0 as shown below:

There's a more user friendly way to check Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 to see if your SSD is being properly recognized.

1) Go to "This PC". If your Desktop doesn't have the "This PC" icon, you can use File Explorer instead.

2) Under "Devices and Drives", right click the drive you want to check. In this case, it's the C: drive. Click "Properties". Click on the "Tools" tab, and then click on "Optimize".

3) The "Optimize Drives" window will pop up and it will have all of the computers drives listed. Under "Media Type" it should say "Solid state drive".

The default for running TRIM is once weekly. Look at the "Last run" column. If it says "Never run", you can highlight the drive and click "Optimize". It should then "TRIM" the drive. Check the "Scheduled optimization" section and make sure it is set to "On". If it's not, you can turn it on by clicking on the "Change settings" button. Remember the default frequency is weekly.

There's really not much to SSD Maintenance. To recap, this is what you need to check for:

1) Check to see if TRIM has been enabled. You only need to do this once.

2) If TRIM has been enabled, has the drive actually been "TRIMMED"?

3) If TRIM hasn't been run, or it's been longer than a month since it's been run, run it manually. 

Note that "System Reserved" drives will always report that they need optimization even though those drives can not be optimized. This is normal Windows behavior and it's nothing to be concerned about. 

Also, many manufactures have their own SSD utilities. I highly recommend that you install whatever utilities are available for your particular SSD. These programs tell you things like drive health, drive life remaining, whether or not your SSD's firmware is up to date, and some even give you the option to run TRIM from within the utility. Note that if you do upgrade your SSD's firmware, backup your data first! Firmware upgrades can fail and the drive could be lost. Never take chances with your data!