Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

Summary: Solid-state drives are wicked fast. They’re also expensive and (at least for now) limited in total capacity. So how do you get the performance benefits of an SSD upgrade without breaking the bank? Use a fast SSD as a Windows 7 system drive and install a conventional hard disk for use as a dedicated data drive. The trick is to look at the total amount of space available on the system drive and then make intelligent, case-by-case decisions on where to store different kinds of files.

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Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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36 comments
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  • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

    Kind of cryptic explainations. This could be helpful information, but paging files vary depending on RAM in the system (I have an SSD system with 12GB of RAM), redirecting document folders in Windows 7 can create issues with application installs, etc. How about explaining the reasoning behind each of your choices so we can adapt our machines accordingly.
    kburrows
    • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

      @kburrows
      The simple answer is not to use crap software. The placement of the user directories is explicitly available in the Registry. Any programmer who doesn't know this shouldn't be employed outside the fast food industry. On top of that, most development frameworks deal with this automatically, so the dev shouldn't have to think about it. The resulting app should install and just work. If it doesn't, there is serious incompetence involved.
      epobirs
      • Even I know that. :P
        Joshua Fricke
  • Another slimmer

    I often install applications on the "data" drive or on a separate partition off of the C drive. The (well-written) installation program offers the option to install the application on a drive other than C. This also keeps C Slim & Trim.
    Also
    HT-Detroit
    • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

      @HT-Detroit Hi, I don't understand the advantage of installing apps on a different partition. I am managing a server at a client that is configured with three partitions, OS\apps\data and I just don't get it. If the system crashes don't I still need to re-install the apps after the rebuild? Thx
      lhbrode
    • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

      @HT-Detroit, I think you would find in this case that your Apps also can take advantage of the SSD speedup, IF they are installed on the C drive. It should be quite noticeable.
      GDF
    • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

      @HT-Detroit This is what I do. I create a system partition, a swap partition (where my swap file and any Temp folders go), an apps partition, and a data partition.

      With an SSD, you can dedicate it solely to OS, and then set the other three partitions on standard SATA drives.
      dcnblues
  • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

    Isn't bus speed still a limiting factor even though the SSD is "fast" relative to a spinning disk?
    RedM3
    • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

      @RedM3 Well... you have to find the data first. That's called latency. Because a HD is mechanical we have to wait for the read head to find the data before it can even begin reading it. With SSD's this is relatively instant.

      Once you find the data, then SSD's are still faster. The various interfaces are generally fast enough though with SATA 2 we are pushing it.

      IOW we aren't limited that much - yet. SSD's are getting faster.
      DevGuy_z
  • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

    Another option (That I've used) is to use Junctions...This makes the the /User/name folder look like it's on C:, but it's actually on my D: drive.
    steve@...
    • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

      @steve@... Steve How do you Set up C:\USers\??? to the D:\ Drive. That means that all Outlook Settings PSt etc and other programs will be left on C or D drive??
      I seen it done on Windows XP where C:\Docs & Settings was actually residing on D and linked back to the boot partition C. Did not know how it was done.
      mypcclean@...
    • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

      @steve@... putting luser land on an sdcard makes private data as safe as your pocket.
      thirtysix.irdsi
  • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

    I have used these changes for many reasons not specifically for SSD use. In the end you will slim down Windows for pinnacle speeds however if you install apps on a "DATA" drive that has inferior speed you are not benefiting from what the SSD brings to the table. You would be better off investing in a larger SSD for all or investing in a machine that will allow multiple SSDs for increased performance and larger drive space. Many of us are opting for 2 60gb RAID 0 (due in part to the stability and performance of SSDs over mechanicals) Vs 1 120GB. in the end nearly doubling your read writes and reducing the complexity of where your information is saved makes your system a happy place.
    lbmcconnell@...
  • Not so sure about swap

    Ed, I'm still mulling the question of using the SSD for swap space. I know it would make swap reads blazingly fast. But SSD write performance is slower and there's still the question of rewrite limits for SSD memory. I'd suggest setting the system up so it does not need to swap (i.e., more COWBELL, I mean RAM) very often, and put the swap space on the data drive.
    GDF
    • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

      @GDF I would avoid it until the life-expectancy of the SDRAM increases--perhaps if you have an SLI based drive (10x longer life) it would help--still, max out your RAM first.
      wizoddg
    • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

      @GDF
      I agree. RAM is amazingly inexpensive these days. If you're going to spend the money for an SSD, why wouldn't you have your RAM maxxed out and minimize paging?
      epobirs
      • RAM & Page File Size

        If you have 16 Gigs, what size Page file do you need? The bigger the Page file, the more memory Windows has to manage right? Thus slower performance right? I use the minimum Page file size - 64 Meg. I "assume" this will give me the fastest performance possible right?
        dhamilt01@...
  • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

    What are the benefits of keeping the Recycle Bin on the SSD?
    nedfraser
  • Why a slideshow?

    This would be much easier to use in an article form.

    Do you get more points if the web user loads more pages?
    pwatson
    • RE: Windows 7 and SSDs: Trimming the fat from your system drive

      @pwatson Bingo, every click means all the advertisments get refreshed and the statistics increase.
      PepperdotNet