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Old 02-24-2010, 08:52 PM
ewarwoowar ewarwoowar is offline
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Default [Tutorial] Restoring SSD performance and imaging Disk

Hello everyone!
I registered here a few weeks ago with questions about degradation on my x series 32gb SSD and i learnt alot about the drive itself and what processes i can do to restore it to original performance and also keep my current OS and files.
Through alot of trial and error and help from people here (RAM GUY and Co.) i successfully got my SSD back to original speeds from below 100mb/s both write and read. I did at first find it confusing with all the programmes to use and what settings to choose on everything but now i can do it in around 20minutes which is much quicker than the rate i was going at
I posted in my last topic about my x32 2 way RAID0 speeds that i would hopefully be posting a tutorial on all this in the next couple of days, but i thought i'd be nice and do it tonight :)
So here i am compiling this n00b friendly guide to guide you through backing up your system, secure erasing your SSD then recovering your system.
I will also be adding an optional part for formatting a hard drive and setting Unit allocation for RAID setups.

Materials Needed

-A CD/DVD Writer (pretty sure everyone has one of these!)
-2x CD/DVD atleast 100mb in size
-A storage drive (USB hard drive or internal) Should be bigger than your SSD size
-Acronis True Image Home 2010(Link later on)
-Parted Magic programme(Link also later on)
-Your SSD
-A spare Windows XP/Vista/7 Boot drive(Optional)
-A PC
-Atleast one index(clicking) finger
-An IQ higher than 1

Index
A. - Getting Programmes and Utilities
A.1 - Parted Magic
A.2 - Burning an ISO
A.3 - Acronis True Image Home
B. - Backup of Disk using Acronis

C. - Secure erasing the SSD with Parted Magic

D. - Format and unit allocation (Optional)

E. - Recovering backup with Acronis boot disk
A. - Getting Programmes and Utilities

A.1 -
First of in what to get is Parted Magic ISO which you can grab right HERE!
I'd advise going for the CD version as you can store it and use it for any future purposes but i am not saying don't use the usb version, CD is just my prefered choice :)
If you do want to use a USB boot drive instead of a CD because of maybe no CD/DVD drive or just find it easier you can follow this tutorial right HERE!! Which Yellowbeard kindly posted a few posts down

A.2 - To burn the ISO you can grab ImgBurn HERE! Which is the best free image burning software out there!
Heres a tiny tutorial to help burn an ISO with it(No pics):
1- Open ImgBurn and click "Write image file to disc"
2- Click the tiny folder with the magnifying glass up the top and browse for the Parted Magic ISO and select it.
3- Set write speed to "Auto" or "AWS"
4- Insert disc into tray and wait for ImgBurn to pick it up.
5- Click the bottom image of the 2 CDS with the arrow in between.
6- Wait for file to write to disc, this shouldn't take long as its not a big file.
A.3 - Okay so we got our Parted Magic boot disc ready, now time for Acronis True Image.
Acronis is not a free programme unfortunately but you can get a 30 day trial which will give you all the tools and utilities you need for this procedure
I do recommend people invest in this software though as it is the ultimate system image/file backup software there is!
So clicky HERE! and get that free trial or purchase.
Once you have it installed (you may need to restart your pc, I can't remember) So open it up and you should see a very nice and easy to use interface with the "Backup" and "Recover" quick options but we won't be using them just yet.
Acronis boot disc mini tutorial
- Look up the top and notice the "Create Bootable Rescue Media" and a dialog box should come up.
- Just click next (Sorry for the lack of screenshots here, just wanted to not bung the whole tutorial with them but all this pretty basic so far).
- You should see down the bottom right the size of the file, and in the column on the left is what you can choose to be written to the CD/DVD, just choose "Acronis True Image Home"
- Click next.
- There is no need for any "Bootable media startup parameters" so just click next again.
- Now choose your CD/DVD writer and click next, insert the CD/DVD and wait for your pc to notice it then click proceed.
- Let it do its thing, and bam now you have Acronis True Image Home Boot disc This disk will be used to recover our SSD later on.
Getting there slowly
Sorry theres so much writing, I just want to be thorough


B.1 - Backup of Disk using Acronis

In this section i will be guiding you through the correct way of backing up your disk (Hard drive) WITH screenshots!!
For this part of the guide you will need a storage device like stated earlier and it should be bigger than the SSD your backing up in. It can either be usb or internal(SATA/IDE) It is prefered to use an internal storage as when recovering later on the recover speed rate will all depend on the port you will be getting from the backup from.
For example USB2.0, the current most used USB drive is 480Mbp/s(megabits) which is equivalant to around 60MBp/s(megabytes)
Whereas SATAII(2) is 3Gbp/s which i don't know how fast it is in Megabytes but just think of it as MUCH faster :P (little lesson for you guys )

So open up Acronis now and you should be at this screen:


Click "My disk" underneath the "Back Up" Option.

You should now come to this screen:


Make sure you select the whole of the SSD you want to backup, including the "System Reserved" part as that part contains files needed to boot into the OS.
Do not! I say do NOT click "Back up sector-by-sector as that will copy all the data which is degrading your SSD
Now you can click next and go onto the Archive location tab.

You should now be on this page:

Choose "Create new backup archive" and locate your external/internal storage like i do in this picture:

I name my backup "backup" but then i use the drop down arrow next to "Generate name" to add the Date and time tag so that i get the newest backup when recovering later.
Once you sorted the name make sure you leave the backup type as default which is .TIB

Press next after browsing for the right place to store the backup and you should end up at the "Finish" screen.
Do not proceed to backup YET. You have to change a backup option first.
See on the bottom left there is some "Option" tabs for advanced using which is what we need to use.
Click the "Backup method" tab.

The screen should be this:


Tick Full and untick "A new full backup overwrites the pervious one"
You can also go schedule the task if you really want to. Its easy to use so i won't be guiding you through that.

There is one last optional step you can do which is go to the "Backup options" tab on the bottom left.


Then go to "Backup performance > Backup priority"
In here you can change the priority Acronis will use to run the backup.
The default is low but if you don't intend to use the PC during backup just shove it to high if you think your pc can handle it or just medium for safety measures.

All settings are done and ready you can now click back onto the "Finish" tab and either tick "Run task now" or not, that is all up to you.
Once you are completely ready click the "Proceed" button down the bottom right and let it do its thing!

C.1 - Secure erasing the SSD with Parted Magic
Rightyooo, we officially have our SSD all backed up and we are ready to secure erase them.
What you first want to do is power down your computer and some people say that detaching the SATA cables from the SSD before booting into Parted Magic and plugging them in when Gpated has booted but so far i do it without unplugging and it does just fine.( I would like someone to confirm this though )
One thing which is a good idea to do is remove sata cables from any other SSDs/HDDs just so you don't accidentaly erase them!
Now boot up your PC and access the bios and change the boot order to CD/DVD drive before the hard drive.
Hopefully everyone can do that but if anyone has problems you can post here.
Now with the boot order set put the Parted Magic disc we burnt earlier into your CD/DVD drive and your pc should automatically boot into the Parted Magic menu.
It may ask for you to press a button to boot the disc, its different for every motherboard make.

The screen you should reach should look something like this:

Just choose Default settings.



Go to the following above and then you should get to this programme below:


Make sure you click the last choice "Internal: Secure Erase"
Then click Continue...

This screen should come up with a choice of Hard drives:

As you can see i have 2 SSDs and that is because i am running them in RAID0.
But obviously if your just running one it will show just one.
Please pick the correct one before secure erasing because i do not want people posting "OHMYGOD i deleted all of my pr0nz"
Once selected the CORRECT drive, click OK

The next screen will be the Password screen just leave as NULL like so:

Just OK it.

The final dialog box will tell you that a secure erase will remove all data and that it is not possible to stop the process so please double check you picked the right SSD/HDD


When you are positive click Yes and the following Task dialog box will show:

Give it time to finish, once it is done it will disapear.
That means that it is officially secure erased


D. - Format and unit allocation (Optional)

Okay this section is all optional for people who are running their SSDs in a RAID0 setup.

For this part you will need another hard drive to boot into Windows Xp/Vista/7.
If you are going to install one of them to another part of your storage drive please detach all the SSDS before installing so that the bootmgr doesn't go onto the SSD if its in port 1 and then when you format it will screw up the OS and will never boot again.

So once your in windows press start button and right click computer and click manage, like so:


You will come to this page:

From here click "Disk Management"
And then a dialog box will come up asking to Initialize the SSD as it is completely empty.
Just tick MBR and click okay.

Now the drive is initialized we can get around to setting up a volume and formatting.
By right clicking the black unallocated space we can make a "New simple volume" so clicky that option from the right click menu.


A pop up box for a "New simple volume wizard" will come up like this:


Just keep clicking next till you get to this screen called "Specify volume size"


Just leave it at default as the recover of the backup will make our old partitions up anyway.
Then click next till the "Format partition" page comes up. Now its time to change some bits.

Just do what i do on the screenshot below but call it anything you want to and tick the quick format checkbox. Mine is RAID0 just for a note.

If you go check HERE! you can see RAID0 results for all Stripe sized along with all Unit allocation sizes.
As you can see that 128KB stripe size is the best and 32k and 64k Unit allocation are very close. RAM GUY told me to go for 32k as he did some tests aswell and 32k come out best so i'l believe him
Who knows i might upload some results one day aswell


While it formats it will look like this VVVV. …………………………………………………………………But once its done it will look like this VVVV
……………………………………

Now the format is done we can now boot into our Acronis boot disc to recover our OS.
Please make sure the format is fully completed before shutting down.


E. - Recovering backup with Acronis boot disk


Last section now I did not expect this guide to be this long
So in this section we will be recovering our OS and disk image with our Acronis boot disk we burned earlier.
First what we want to do is still make sure CD/DVD drive is first in the boot order, higher than hard drive.
So let Acronis boot into the menu screen Automatically or manually.
You should have two choices, Windows or True image home.
We are obviously going to choose True image home.

After it has booted it should look just like this:

Its exactly like Acronis on windows just without the Windows OS.
We cant to click "My disk" underneath the "Recover" quick launch this time like shown in the screenshot above.

The next screen will be a browse for archive screen like below:

Just use the browse button to find your archive just like i have above.

Once you found it click next to get to the "Recovery method" page.
Make sure you pick "Recover whole disks and partitions" and click next.

On this next part you must select the whole disk like i do in this screenshot:


If you don't pick them all your OS won't boot.

Almost finished!

Second from last option is the destination of the backup.
You will obviously choose your SSD like i do in this screenshot:


You should also check the box for "Recover disk signature" I do not know exactly why but someone did inform me that it effects photoshop files or something(this again would like to be confirmed please)

Once you have picked your SSD click next.

A Dialog box will come up just like below asking that it will remove all data on the hard drive. At this point i go back and check i have the SSD selected, This is the reason i name my volume RAID0 becuase i can check that i have picked the right hard drive by check down the bottom by the space.

Once you are positively sure you have picked your SSD you can click OK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And here we are! our last thing to do - Wait for it to recover. As you can see i picked for my pc to shutdown once it is done, that is yet again all up to you!
Once it is done, change boot order back to hard drive first, remove Acronis boot disk and Voila! Your SSD should be back to optimum like new performance. I cannot confirm how long it will last like this, that all depends on how many programmes you use that write lots of temp files and what settings you have on and off. I tend to do this around once a week as i like to have optimum performance.
Once you get used to it you will be able to do it hella easy and quick!
Heres some of my results around 5 hours after doing this method on my RAID0 2x x series 32gb SSDS:


One programme i would suggest is Diskeeper Proffessional with Hyperfast! It keeps SSDs performance up for quite a while. I may create a tutorial in the future for setting this up, but it is pretty basic. The programme is for purchase but thereis a 30 day trial. If you do purchase it make SURE you get the one with Hyperfast!
If anyone has any problems with the guide please post in this topic and do not PM me.
This guide was made in appreciation for everyone that helped me out when i first came here and really a huge Thank You!

I hope this will help anyone with problems!

If people wouldn't mind and tell me if there any any spelling mistakes as it is late and i'm pretty sure theres billions in there!

Also mods if the pictures need re-sizing just say!

Legal mumbo jumbo.

I don't know what i can say that people can and cant do with this but i authorise for this to ONLY be posted on this Corsair support forum but people can link other people/forums to it.
No one is aloud to steal any of my work Muahahah!

Started typing up at 8:00pm 24th of February and finished typing at 01:51am 25th February.
6 hours

Last edited by ewarwoowar; 03-05-2010 at 06:20 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-24-2010, 09:20 PM
Randy Myers Randy Myers is offline
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Excellent guid... pretty much the exact method that I had discovered (with RamGuys assistance) and used on several occassions! Nice work!
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  #3  
Old 02-24-2010, 09:27 PM
ewarwoowar ewarwoowar is offline
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Yeah i use it regularly and alot of people probably don't know about it. I know i sure didn't before i came to this forum.
It will also help clear up questions people will have hopefully! :)
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:44 PM
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This thread shall be stucketh!

Great effort man, we appreciate it.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:56 PM
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Also, just curious, instead of burnable media, have you tried running any of the DOS based utilities from a USB flash drive?

I've been tinkering with some USB tools a good bit here lately and corresponding with the author of this site and the tools listed there:

PendriveLinux.com

Boot ISO from USB Flash Drive

Your methodology outlined here and a cool USB drive would be an excellent combo.
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:11 AM
GaMEChld GaMEChld is offline
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I am a big proponent of booting things from flash drives as well. In fact, I have installed Windows 7 from a Flash Voyager GT; very fast install. The recovery boot disks used in this procedure probably won't benefit much from a speed bump, but if you don't have disks to burn, are missing an optical drive, etc, booting flash sticks is a great solution.

Excellent write up, I will be using this guide very soon.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:33 AM
ewarwoowar ewarwoowar is offline
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Maybe i could add that in soon
to be honest i just wanted to go the easiest and basic way to get around to doing it, i find the boot discs are pretty quick anyway. But Ii' go edit the boot disk section to state that a USB boot drive can be used

*edit* added the USB tutorial to section A.1
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:16 PM
GaMEChld GaMEChld is offline
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Ooh, I just found a great post that seems like a much better procedure for Section D of your guide.

http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showpost...86&postcount=2

This way, you will not need a second drive to install windows on just to change the allocation unit size. Evidently the Windows 7 installer has a hidden console you can access.

Of course, this is probably exclusive to a windows 7 installation, and vista/xp may still require the longer method.
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Old 02-26-2010, 06:53 AM
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Damn I can't wait to get vB4 on the forum lol. If the great C approves, we can have a CMS area just for tutorials like this.

Yes, there's already a super secret mock up of the forum in vB4 :)
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Old 02-28-2010, 09:15 AM
hayaman hayaman is offline
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Im not sure what version of Gparted you are using. I cant find anyting like the one you use on the site you har linked?

The version i get is not the same in anyway? I cant find any Secure erase?

Edit:

You are using Parted Magic?
http://partedmagic.com/download.html

Last edited by hayaman; 02-28-2010 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:52 AM
ewarwoowar ewarwoowar is offline
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Ahhh yes i am using parted magic, i'l edit the guide.
They are exactly the same, just parted magic has a better GUI
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Old 03-04-2010, 02:07 PM
ChrisJohn ChrisJohn is offline
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Happy Just to emphasise my thanks . . .

. . . as per title - I found your guide extremely helpful. It encouraged me to do things I would normally be too cowardly to try. I flashed the Firmware successfully on my X-128 a couple of days ago and hoped that TRIM would sort things out. I ran ATTO this evening and was disappointed by the low readings (185/100). I then followed your guide and ran ATTO again and my speeds are back to full spec.

A couple of minor points on the guide. It took me a while to find Secure Erase on Parted Magic (v4.8). After trying all the icons it dawned on me I just had to press the Windows type start button. I was also a bit confused when it said it would take 30-180 minutes but seemed to do it in a couple of seconds. I was not expecting anything so quick and wasn't convinced it had worked. Clearly, from my result, it had. With Firmware V2.0 and full speed it is like a new SDD!

Many thanks again.
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Old 03-04-2010, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisJohn View Post
. . . as per title - I found your guide extremely helpful. It encouraged me to do things I would normally be too cowardly to try. I flashed the Firmware successfully on my X-128 a couple of days ago and hoped that TRIM would sort things out. I ran ATTO this evening and was disappointed by the low readings (185/100). I then followed your guide and ran ATTO again and my speeds are back to full spec.

A couple of minor points on the guide. It took me a while to find Secure Erase on Parted Magic (v4.8). After trying all the icons it dawned on me I just had to press the Windows type start button. I was also a bit confused when it said it would take 30-180 minutes but seemed to do it in a couple of seconds. I was not expecting anything so quick and wasn't convinced it had worked. Clearly, from my result, it had. With Firmware V2.0 and full speed it is like a new SDD!

Many thanks again.
ChrisJohn, thanks for taking the time to post your feedback. Situations like this are EXACTLY why we appreciate member input and why this thread is a sticky. Our thanks again to ewarwoowar for posting.

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Old 03-04-2010, 05:19 PM
ewarwoowar ewarwoowar is offline
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N'awww :]
I'm happy its helped!
ZOMG nearly 1k views ALREADY!
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:00 AM
ehxziiah ehxziiah is offline
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thanks for your help :)

my benchmarks are so much ****ing better!

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