Retrofitting a solid state drive

I’ve retrofitted solid state drives (SSD) with SATA interfaces to a few Windows computers recently. Since SSDs use flash memory, which have a finite number of write cycles, we want to reduce the number of disk writes to our new SSD.

A Vertex 2 Solid State Drive (SSD) by OCZ. photo: D-Kuru
A Vertex 2 Solid State Drive (SSD) by OCZ. photo: D-Kuru
Within the computer’s BIOS, change the disk interface from IDE to AHCI. (In Windows XP, edit the registry first to use the AHCI disk driver.) Disk reads and writes will be faster with AHCI.

Within Control Panel / System / Hardware / Advanced / Performance Options / Advanced / Virtual Memory stop writes to the swap file by disabling virtual memory. Click the “No paging file” radio button, followed by the “Ok” button. Make sure that the host PC has plenty of memory — at least 4GB and preferably 8GB — as the operating system won’t be able to swap code/data out to disk anymore.

I’ve read recommendations that with SSDs, the System Restore facility be disabled. I’d rather retain the security of system restore points. I’ve also read that on SSDs, FAT32 partitions be used rather than NTFS partitions, the theory being that the FAT32 file system entails less writing per file. True, but NTFS partitions are more robust than FAT32 partitions, so I’ve retained the NTFS partitions.

What’s your experience with retrofitting SSDs?

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695


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