HOW-TO: Determine if the SSD Supports TRIM

The gigantic technological leap SSD offered than conventional hard drives is nothing compared to the upgrade gap between a next generation processor or video card. It is bounds and leaps greater. Since its introduction over a year ago, SSDs have always been the talk of the town when it comes to raw performance.

This technology is, however, dependent on another technology that has to be supported by the operating system -- TRIM. Trim is the difference that makes conventional storage manage data better than SSDs. When data is written to a "virgin" cell of an SSD, it is a straight write but if the cell to be written has old junk (deleted data) the undergoing process is a read-modify-write. Imagine a heavily fragmented drive when a delete is performed, performance would suffer. And this questions the long-term performance of the SSD.

Windows 7 is where trim got introduced. The trim command reorganizes data to be written and also deletes junk data existing on the NAND cell. It scrubs junked data when a delete is performed so that when a write command is subsequently performed on a NAND cell, it is always "already" clean.

How then do you determine if your drive supports TRIM? You can use the software CrystalDiskInfo to determine and ensure that the SSD supports trim. Download the software from its webpage. I used the portable zipped version of the software.

This is how CrystalDiskInfo looks like (refer to screenshot).

How To Determine if the SSD Supports TRIM

As seen from the screenshot, the OCZ Vertex3 60GB SSD supports the TRIM feature. You may then tweak the OS to take advantage of the trim feature on the SSD.

On Windows 7, the command to use is "fsutil.exe behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0". The feedback will be "DisableDeleteNotify = 0" (as seen below).

How To Determine if the SSD Supports TRIM

If your SSD supports TRIM, better make use of it so long term performance of your SSD will not suffer. Windows 7 supports trim, so might as well make it the default operating system. Here's a guide to migrate from the conventional drive to the SSD.


HOW-TO: Upgrade to SSD (the Faster Easier Way)

Guides from the net abound with procedures and guides on upgrading from a conventional hard drive to a faster and better SSD. The procedures involve creating a backup image of Windows 7 and restoring that same backup image to the SSD. Like many, I have tried to follow this procedure and it does not always end well. The backup image creation is the easy part but the restore does not always succeed. On my part, the backup image on the USB drive could not be restored to the SSD.

The only other alternative is to do a complete install of Windows 7 and this is even worse than the above procedure. That's what I thought too, until I recently found an easier way of doing things, and even better -- the tool to use is FREE!

The tool or software I'm referring to is the Aomei Partition Assistant (download here). You can download the Home Edition and it will work for your desktop or notebook. As of this writing, the latest version available is version 4.0.

Download the Aomei Partition Assistant and install it. No reboot required.

HOW-TO: Upgrade to SSD (the Faster Easier Way)

This guide was done using my notebook (Dell Latitude D630) so I connected the SSD to the notebook via a USB to SATA adapter. On a desktop, things are a bit simpler by just installing the SSD on a vacant SATA port.

Launch the application, then click on the system/boot drive. On a conventional install, the boot drive should have two (2) partitions. The reserved partition (usually 100MB in size) and the system partition (where Windows 7 is installed).

Click on the "reserved" (or System Reserved) partition and click on Copy Partition. A similar window like below is opened. Copy to the "Unallocated" drive which pertains to the SSD. Do the same for the system partition. You may opt to resize the system partition to fit the SSD. Then "Apply" the change.

HOW-TO: Upgrade to SSD (the Faster Easier Way)

You will be prompted to reboot. And before the operating system boots, the PreOS mode of Aomei kicks in to copy the partitions. Once done the computer will reboot. At this point, you can intervene and shutdown the computer to unplug the hard drive and replace it with the SSD.

I followed the same procedure outlined above. And I could feel the difference of the upgrade. Aomei Partition Assistant has made my upgrade easy, straight-forward and hassle-free.

This procedure can also be used to upgrade to a bigger faster drive or to a RAID volume, not just an SSD.


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