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Windows 7 Tips & Tweaks


Davyc

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The one thing to remember about your SSD is that anything the *writes* to the drive frequently is the cause of performance drop. I won't go into the how's and why's ( maybe at a later date :!: ) this happens but it does.

 

So, what can we do to minimise the *writes* and keep performance ticking along and our drives sweet?

 

*IMPORTANT* - Make a note of your original settings before making any changes so you can change back if you notice any performance loss or adverse affects.

 

Remember that these Tips and Tweaks are *generalised* and may not be of benefit to everyone - it depends on your system configuration and what you use your computer for on a daily basis. The idea behind this post is to minimise the writes to your SSD which is what causes performance degradation over a perid of time. Nothing is written in stone, apply as many or as few as you feel will be of benefit.

 

Let's start with what to do *after* installation; firstly Internet Explorer.

 

Whenever you visit a website lots of files are stored on your SSD, html files, images, cookies, flash and more .... the last thing you want with an SSD is to let these files accumulate and be constantly written to the drive.

 

Answer! Move the temporary Internet files off the SSD and on to a HDD (I assume that we all still use a spinning platter drive for storage). Myself, I've allocated a whole partition on my spinning platter to work with.

 

Open Internet Explorer (I'm using version 8) and go to tools and select Internet Options; the tab you're looking for is the first one open and you want the very first *Settings* button (see image below)

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/ie1.png

 

Once in there click the button marked *Move Folder ...* and select its new home. You'll be logged off for to effect the changes.

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/ie2.png

 

No more thousands of files being written to your SSD every time you access the Internet .... :biggrin:

 

The next set of tweaks takes place in one area so no need to go prowling around looking for everything. Before we go there go to your spinning HDD and to where you're going to store all these files and create one new folder called Temp

 

Now go to your Start Menu and Control Panel .... once in there select *System and Security* once in there select *System*. On the left you will see a set of links - you want the one called *Advanced System Settings" click that and you should see the following set of panels:

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/variable1.png

 

Click on the button as shown and you will see the following:

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/variable2.png

 

Click the variables for your Temp folders one at a time and click *edit* and change the location to where you created your new Temp folder; i.e. type in D:\Temp.

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/variable3.png

 

Go to the bottom window and scroll down until you find the other two temp files and repeat the process with the Edit button.

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/variable4.png

 

When you're done click OK (you'll get a warning that you need to restart your computer - don't do that yet).

 

DON'T CLOSE THE TABBED BOX!

 

We now need to adjust the paging file. Click the button as shown below:

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/sysprop1.png

 

Click on the tab titled *Advanced* and then click the *Change* button:

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/pagefile1.png

 

Windows will automatically allocate 1.5 times the amount of memory you have in your system to the paging file - WAY TOO MUCH! Take it down to that as shown below:

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/pagefile2.png

 

Click the *Custom* dot and make the changes manually and click *Set* then OK and OK until you're back to the main tabbed panel - ignore the recommended settings at the bottom .... most page files never see more that 500mb of use. If you find you're having problems just go back and change the numbers to a higher level (I doubt you will).

 

The next one is entirely up to yourself if you want to do it or not; that is *turn off* system restore as it writes loads to your drive. If you do (I have) then stay on the tabbed panels and click the tab titled *System Protection*.

 

Scroll down the list until you find your SSD (generally C:\) highlight it by clicking on it and then click the *Configure* button.

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/system_restore.png

 

On the next part just click the circle titled *Turn off System Protection* and click OK .... just OK any warnings you get from Windows moaning at you :roll:

 

You can now close the tabbed box. If you still have *Control Panel* open click the back arrow top left and then click on *Administrative Tools* once this opens double click on *Services* and scroll down the list to find the following:

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/defrag.png

 

Right mouse click *Disk Defragmenter* and select *Properties* from the jump menu. Change the *Start Up* type to DISABLED and click OK

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/defrag2.png

 

Repeat this process for the following: if the service is running click *STOP* and then continue to disable.

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/superfetch1.png

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/superfetch2.png

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/windowssearch1.png

 

http://www.ppsuk.com/ssd/windowssearch2.png

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

We've now moved the IE temp files off the SSD, all the program temp files (1000's get written during the normal daily use of your drive), reduced the size of the paging file and disabled a lot of useless services for an SSD.

 

I'll have some more Tips & Tweaks when I have a bit more time. Enjoy!!

 

BTW .... if you use a different browser to IE (such as Firefox) look to where it stores the temp files and see if you can move it.

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Kick a$$ write up, looking forward to more. Thanks!

 

Also, here is how to change the browser cache in Firefox as well which I'm sure many use (feel free to add this to your writeup):

 

You can view your cache settings/usage in Firefox by typing in about:cache in the address bar. To change the settings follow these steps:

Type about:config in the Firefox address bar. Right click and select 'New String' from the Menu. Enter in browser.cache.disk.parent_directory as the preference name and then new path to the cache location, ie: d:\temp\firefox. Once set, a new directory called “Cache” will be created at the path you set. Restart Firefox to enable.

 

To change the offline cache directory follow similar steps above but use the string browser.cache.offline.parent_directory

You could also disable offline cache as an alternative by setting browser.cache.offline.enable to false.

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I appreciate the effort put into this post but a lot of it is in conflict with other recommendations out there including Microsoft's (Windows 7). The sticky "Windows 7 SSD F.A.Q. from Microsoft" provides more details.

 

Personally, I load up all my temp files on the SSD including application temp locations for the performance. When it drops below a traditional disk I'll clean it up.

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I appreciate the effort put into this post but a lot of it is in conflict with other recommendations out there including Microsoft's (Windows 7). The sticky "Windows 7 SSD F.A.Q. from Microsoft" provides more details.

 

MS will always defend their products as being *designed* to operate at peak without any user intervention; however, their OS's are designed primarily for spinning HDD's and it's only with Windows 7 that they are recognising SSD's as the beginning of moving forward. That's why, if your SSD is correctly recognised by Windows 7 (and it doesn't always do so - not a fault, just a limitation), certain services and features will be automatically disabled.

 

The whole point behind the above is to *enhance* your drives performance levels by limiting the number of *writes* to the drive - this is what kills performance and reduces longevity. Once TRIM is fully supported then the performance issue becomes less of a problem, however it still remains that the more that is written to the drive the more it shortens it's lifespan. For most people it probably won't make a difference because they will have upgraded long before the drive dies, but for those who use their computers on a daily basis (all day and every day - like me) then it becomes a concern.

 

Nothing shown above is irreversible - if you're not happy tweaking or you don't see that it makes any difference, you can go back to the way it was. Moving your temp files off won't degrade performance to any noticeable degree and simply cleaning up won't restore performance - there is a sequence that the SSD controller has to go through in order to write to the drive and that is where the performance drops occur. The controller has to remove data into the cache along with the data waiting to be written, then it has to clear the necessary number of blocks and then write the data back from the cache; this is deemed as latency and that it what kills the *write* performance of an SSD without the intervention of something like a Wiper tool or TRIM.

 

You have to understand that Windows carries a lot of weight from previous versions and it's all based on the severe limitations of spinning platters - remove those limitations with the rise of SSD's and they don't just become redundant, they actually become detrimental through the new limitations of this advancing technology.

 

I hope that explains a little as to why millions of SSD owners are tweaking their OS's to wring out every last drop of performance from their drive.

 

Just as an aside there are a couple more tweaks coming soon - one involving a left over legacy from Windows XP days for computers that had less than 512MB of Ram - its a little thing called *Readyboot* (NOT READYBOOST) and it thrashes your drive in the background creating boot caches - not a good thing :-)

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I followed Davyc's advice on my X128 SSD running Windows 7 64 bit and the Windows Performance Score dropped from 7.2 to 6.0. I experimented with changing things back and found that if I re-enabled Superfetch it returned to 7.2. It was just the graphics performance that dropped with Superfetch disabled. Everything else remained the same. My figures are now once again as below:

 

Processor Intel® Core2 Quad CPU Q9450 @ 2.66GHz 7.2

Memory (RAM) 8.00 GB 7.2

Graphics ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series 7.3

Gaming graphics 4091 MB Total available graphics memory 7.3

Primary hard disk 75GB Free (119GB Total) 7.4

 

I am intrigued as to why Superfetch apparently made such a difference to the Graphics performance.

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I wouldn't take any notice of the WEI - its all based on figures that MS have laid the foundations for, in other words MS have allotted a score on what *they* believe is an accurate measurement scale. I've seen my SSD jump from 5.9 to 6.5 to 7.3 and now its current level is 5.9 again, which is rubbish. BTW all my other scores in there are all the same at 7.3.

 

Even MS have alotted that Superfetch be disabled if an SSD is detected (key word there is "if" as Windows 7 doesn't always detect an SSD correctly).

 

WEI is a waste of space IMHO lol :-)

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Hello Davyc,

 

thanks for the great advice.

 

I have my P256 installed in a Lenovo T500 and so I do not have the the luxury of having an extra spinning platter.

 

I was thinnking though on setting aside an extra parttion for all the IE stuff and the TEMP files. My reasoning is that I can defrag / format it from time to time without having to go through a huge restore process.

 

What is your opinion on this?

 

Best,

Frank.

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How much memory have you got in your computer? If you have 4GB or more then I would suggest using a ram drive to offload the temp files so that you keep *writes* to a minimum on your drive. The only drawback is that everything would be lost when you turned off the computer; you could cache the ramdrive when it closes, but then that would be defeating the purpose of using it. Losing the contents just means that pages you visited would be downloaded in full when you go back to the website rather than being drawn from the cache; not really a big deal if you have fast Internet connection.
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I followed Davyc's advice on my X128 SSD running Windows 7 64 bit and the Windows Performance Score dropped from 7.2 to 6.0.

 

You moved your files from the fastest drive in your system to a slower one and the performance dropped.

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PNutts, did you take notice of what Chris said - *GRAPHICS PERFORMANCE* dropped which has nothing to do with the speed of your hard drive and it had nothing to do with *moving files* it was disabling *Superfetch* a system service. WEI is a law unto itself it is not an accuracte measurement of your system performance in the real world. It is based on a set of synthetic figures e.g. the WEI for your disk performace is primarily based on whether Windows detects a *spin* speed - if it doesn't then it allots a higher figure as it knows its an SSD but this figure is affected by the other synthetic figures that WEI churns out. If you want to know how well your system is performing for a specific area I would suggest using a reliable benchmark tool.

 

And BTW I did state later on that if things didn't work for you then nothing shown above is irreversible. The idea is to try it and see if it works for you (after all every system is different) and if it doesn't you can switch it back - as Chris did.

 

I've implemented *all* of the changes on my system and it is used in a highly active production environment every day of the week for 12/14hours a day (primarily in graphic design and website development) so I'm not going to advocate doing something that is detrimental or that will impair performance.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Hello Davyc,

 

thanks for the great advice.

 

I have my P256 installed in a Lenovo T500 and so I do not have the the luxury of having an extra spinning platter.

 

I was thinnking though on setting aside an extra parttion for all the IE stuff and the TEMP files. My reasoning is that I can defrag / format it from time to time without having to go through a huge restore process.

 

What is your opinion on this?

 

Best,

Frank.

 

Frank,

Something no one addressed was the fact you wanted to setup a seperate partition and then defrag on the SSD. I would like to address this oversight because you are using a SSD and have no conventional hard drive.

 

A SSD does not need to be defragmented since the purpose of defragmenting a drive is to put the file in sequential order which would allow the magnetic pickup head to read the data faster. A SSD does not have that limitation so you would not benefit at all from this course of action. If you do have lots of RAM, like a previous poster did, create a small RAM drive and use it for your temp files like Davyc has outlined. I myself have only the SSD in my desktop machine and it runs just fine. I'm not a speed demon, just looking for a quiet home office but my speeds are way up there. No degredation yet. With any luck the new P series firmware will be out in a few months and we can all flash away.

 

-Joe

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Unless your SSD is not recognized by Windoze 7 you do not need to disable Defrag. You actually should leave it on because it will defrag your conventional hard drives if you have any. Of course, maybe you want it disabled so you have total control over it, that's your call.

 

Here is the only way that I know to verify Windoze 7 knows you have a SSD (there may be other ways)...

 

Open Disk Defragmenter

http://s799.photobucket.com/albums/yy280/JoeSchmuck/1.jpg

 

Click on Configure schedule... opens this window

http://s799.photobucket.com/albums/yy280/JoeSchmuck/2.jpg

 

Click on Select disks... opens this window

http://s799.photobucket.com/albums/yy280/JoeSchmuck/3.jpg

 

Your SSD should not be specifically listed. If it is listed then Windoze 7 does not recognize your SSD as a SSD. Also your conventional drives will show up if you have any.

 

-Joe

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for this information. I'm on my second 128gb Extreme as the first just went bad after a couple of weeks. When I got the second unit, I was nervous that this would be a chronic issue, so I came to the forums and learned just how much I don't know. I figured a SSD would work flawlessly, but I guess not.

 

I took the advice of this sticky with my new drive, but instead of creating these folders on a spinning disk, I'm saving them to a SD card. I have the Lenovo X200 and it (like many other newer laptops) has an SD card slot right on the front. So, instead of having to deal with the tethered spinning drive, all of the temp files as well as my e-mail archives are now stored on the SD. I have not seen any performance issues thus far.:biggrin:

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Hi Daveyc,

 

Thanks for all the great tips and tweaks for windows 7.

 

I am only having trouble with the first item about changing the temperary internet files folder, as this will not change and continues to go back to the original setting. Anyone else having this?

 

Deke

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  • 3 weeks later...

I successfully updated my P256 to the newest VBM19C1Q Firmware today, update process went very smooth. Thank you RAM GUY for this tool and firmware.

 

Of course - immediately after that I did a brand new Win7 installation and I'm now wondering if the sticky thread "Windows 7 Tips & Tweaks" with all those helpful tweaks for the old firmware still applies to the new firmware with TRIM supported in Windows 7?

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Yes, all the tips still apply South Park. TRIM won't stop your drive being hammered if you still have a page file enabled, or the same with browser caching - it is designed to bring some performance back, and consistently writing to cells for cache purposes will definitely still result in a performance degradation. My advice is to follow the tweaks you have read thus far even if your firmware is TRIM-compatible.
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  • 5 weeks later...

Today I was using Jtools to report back to me the files on my SSD. Not only was I using a 4gb virtual memory page file (now deleted) but I was also using a 2.4gb file for hibernation. I forget what it is called now but if you google it you can find it. If you do not allow your machine to hibernate this file is pointless and can be deleted, giving you another 2.4gb to play with.

 

I now have my complete Win7 install and every app I use down to about 11gb.

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