Posts Tagged ‘Optimization’

Maximizing the lifetime of your SSD

May 10, 2011 by Tom Wijsman. 33 comments

An SSD drive is a precious investment

An SSD drive is a precious investment, you don’t want your SSD to fail, do you?

So it is interesting to try to do things to increase it’s lifetime and see if it’s worth it. This is exactly what one of our fellow Super Users was planning to do, this user called caveman asked

How to prevent programs from killing my SSD in two weeks?

I just got my first SSD. And I have SSDLife monitoring in the background. After I have installed all software, and did some basic testings. SSDLife said “Total Data written, GB” = 52.1 (40GB used space, 70GB free space).

So, he only installed about 40 GB of data but there is already 52.1 GB written?

He found why this happens in a post which explains:

The problem with an SSD is, data is written in blocks. A block may be 256KB: 256 * 1000 * 8 binary digits. To change even ONE of these digits, you must rewrite the ENTIRE block. That is to say, your OS sees 1 bit being written, but the SSD wear is equivalent to 256KB being written: a 2.048 MILLION fold difference.

Which means that the formula

(SIZE OF SSD) * (Endurance Cycles) = Total data written to SSD before failure

is only for the best case scenario which would allow you to write 1,000 to 1,000,000 times the data of the drive before failure. But, looking at the average to even worst case, those are way more likely to occur with all those small writes going on on the SSD. This is confirmed in

What is the lifespan of an SSD drive?

However, the gist is that SSDs are more reliable than hard disks, and should last a good 20 years at least not counting performance degradation. — Answer by caliban

And that is what we could call an average case. You can do the numbers for the worst case if you want to, I can assure you that it doesn’t look good!

Let’s maximize the lifetime of our precious SSD by wear leveling and minimizing all those small writes to it, using simple and advanced techniques…

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Where did all my hard drive space go? Part 3

May 9, 2011 by mokubai. 2 comments

This is the third part of a three part article, for parts two and three go to Part 1 and Part 2

 

Continuing our journey into the world of missing hard drive space I hope to impress on you one of the worst offenders for making your hard drive space disappear:

Programs Themselves

One of the absolute major problems cruft building up on your computer is using the programs you install.

Everything from Internet Explorer to Google Earth to Picasa, each and every one of them wants to be fast at what they do and every one of them uses your disk space to store their temporary files.

Some of these programs are quite careful and elegant about how much space they use, keeping only what they immediately need for speed on your disk or deleting everything over a certain amount.

Other programs, well, don’t. Other programs store every last piece of data they got their grubby mits on. I’m looking at you Google Chrome, you and your ever increasing and seemingly unlimited disk cache. I don’t care if I have a huge hard drive and you think allocating $SOMERANDOMNUMBER percent of it for your cache is acceptable, you can dang well work to a limit like every other sane piece of software. (note: when I wrote this my Chrome cache was sitting pretty at 1.5GiB and showing no signs of remorse for its actions)

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Where did all my hard drive space go? Part 2

May 8, 2011 by mokubai. 2 comments

This is the second part of a three part article, for parts one and three go to Part 1 and Part 3

 

Continuing our journey into the world of missing hard drive space this post will focus on things you can change, but shouldn’t.

In this post we’ll be focusing on some of the shadier characters:

  • The page file
  • WinSxS
  • Program Installers

These are the kind of things that seem to be taking up a rather worrying amount of hard drive space but do actually provide some benefit or can break things if removed. You can get rid of them, but at best you’ll get ignored by tech support if you tell them what you did…

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Where did all my hard drive space go?

May 7, 2011 by mokubai. 12 comments

This is the first part of a three part article, for parts two and three go to Part 2 and Part 3

 

A common problem with Windows is that no-one really knows how much space you need before you install it. Microsoft themselves recommend a minimum of 16GB of hard disk space before trying to install Windows, but that doesn’t take into account any of the growth when you install applications or any of the other things that go on “behind the scenes”

Some people dread the Unexpected free disk space disappearance

On my Windows 7 PC, the free disk space has gone down by 1GB even though I haven’t downloaded or installed any new files and I haven’t downloaded any updates or other things? What could have made the disk space go down for apparently no reason? Is this the result of some sort of a spy program that is undetectable?

The problem is that in Windows there are so many reasons as to why disk space suddenly disappears and when you are using an SSD where you are paying a premium for every last gigabyte it can be quite concerning. Some of the key culprits are the following items:

  • System Restore,
  • Page & Hibernation files,
  • Windows Update,
  • Recycle Bin
  • WinSxS
  • Program Installers, and last but by no means least
  • Programs themselves.

This is nowhere near an exhaustive list and by no means rules out a malware infection but these items tend to account for the sudden and rather annoying disappearance of several gigabytes of precious free space.

Due to the sheer quantity of things that can be taking up space I’m going to split this post into three posts, “System options you can change”, “System Options you should leave alone” and “Clearing up program data.”

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