SSD Boost Manager and “Need More Space (or Speed) on Your SSD?” Recap

Chances are that if you’re using a SSD as a boot drive for your OS then you probably have run into many occurrences where space is a constraint. This is especially common if your SSD is lower in capacity, so a workaround for this nuisance is to prioritize and keep only a few programs or games on the solid state drive.

Well SSD Boost Manager moves programs or any data between a SSD and traditional HDD in just a few clicks. It allows you to move a file on or off the solid state, and lets you preserve the performance when you launch the allocated applications. SBM not only simply moves the files or folders, but also creates junction links to the new location – this way Windows will still think all files are still in the same location, while it’s actually on the slower drive or vice versa.

Few things to mention due to the native language of the program not being English are that after you carry out an install, you will have to start the junction program listed in the Start menu before launching SSD Boost Manager because it requires admin rights. Once the junction has started already, then initiate SBM and toggle the EN button on the top right on the Window so you get proper translations unless you’re good at French.

To move a new program:

  • Click on “Add” then pick a name, and in the “Directory” line, browse to its location (either on the SSD or regular drive)
  • Under “Dir SSD”, browse to the location you want to move it (again, either on SSD or HDD)
  • Keep the rest of the options on their default values unless you know what you’re doing

There is no limit to the number of profiles you create for the programs you move, and when you decide to move them back – just double click on their respective entries on their entry in SSD Boost Manager’s main window. The program will copy the files, create the junction, and now maintaining space on your SSD would be that much easier not to say this isn’t possible if done manually.

We included a link to the translated homepage here as well.

VSPC also showcased articles previously on how to optimize and improve usability of your SSD, check out the following links:

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Need More Space (or Speed) on Your SSD? – Part 3, Final (Feature)

As promised this will be the final of the three-part series we did for Need More Space (or Speed) on Your SSD?, also if you happened to miss our previous articles – check out Part 1 and Part 2 (respective links). A brief explanation of our following tweak, the Search feature in Windows indexes certain files and folders on your drive and the index itself is found in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search with the space consumed being about 10% of the total contents being indexed. The space consumption may not be worth it for some due to the already fast nature of SSDs since the search indexes are cached to RAM from the drive.

Disabling Superfetch and Search services

  • Type services.msc in the Start menu Search textfield
  • Scroll down to Superfetch then right-click and select Properties
  • For the Startup type drop-down menu, select Disabled then hit OK
  • Scroll down to Windows Search then right-click and select Properties
  • Click the Stop button, change the Startup type drop-down menu to Disabled and press OK

Disabling Prefetcher and Superfetch from the Registry

Reason behind it? Well, Superfetch is setup to cache files that are accessed frequently since SSDs already have fairly low seek times, so the particular function can be disabled. However if you did a fresh install of Windows 7 on a SSD to start with, Superfetch should already be disabled (may not be if you imaged your OS from an existing HDD). On the other hand, Prefetch loads parts of program files and by disabling this you can free up more of your system memory.

  • Type regedit in the Start menu Search textfield
  • Choose the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters path
  • Right-click on EnablePrefetcher and EnableSuperfetch
  • Choose Modify on each then change the value from either 1 or 3 to 0
  • Restart your system

We hope you all enjoyed our three-part series on SSD optimization and appreciated the extra space or performance boost. Until next time.

Need More Space (or Speed) on Your SSD? – Part 2 (Feature)

We’ll jump in right away after where we left off last time, and we’ll start off by discussing Power Settings (in Windows) that can affect the TRIM operation. By adjusting and ensuring that the drive does not turn off after a given amount of time, it allows the SSD’s idle garbage collection sequence to run even when you’re away. This can be done by:

  • Going to Control Panel and select Hardware and Sound (in Category view)
  • Click on the Power Options section heading (in green)
  • If you haven’t selected the High performance plan already then hit Show additional plans and select the bubble for it
  • Select Change plan settings for the High performance profile followed by Change advanced power settings
  • Expand the Hard disk drop-down menu and change the Turn off hard disk after to 0 minutes, which will show as Never
  • Click Apply then OK to save your changes

Disable Hibernation and Drive Indexing

This duo frees up space and can help with write performance at the same time. First off with disabling hibernation, you can gain the same storage space as the amount of RAM you have in your system. Reason is of the Hiberfil.sys hidden file on the root folder of the drive where the OS is installed and the Windows Kernel Power Manager reserves this file when you install the operating system. Not coincidentally, the size of this particular file is roughly the same as how much memory (or RAM) you have installed.

Since with a SSD you can power down and boot up with great speed, as a result you won’t have much of a performance gain by hibernating your system. To disable, you:

  • Type cmd in the Start menu Search textfield
  • Press and hold Ctrl + Shift + Enter or right clicking the cmd program to Run as Administrator
  • Key in powercfg -h off and hit Enter
  • An empty prompt should follow which is normal

Now we’ll cover Drive Indexing as response times on a SSD are quite fast already and won’t require contents of the drive to be indexed for quicker retrieval. Not only does this prevent unnecessarily writes to the drive meaning longer life, but also some help in terms of write performance as well. To do this:

  • Open Computer from the Start menu or if you have a desktop shortcut
  • Right-click the SSD and click Properties then un-check Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties

You will be greeted with a pop-up of how the attributes will be applied to the drive or drive and folders/files as well, it should be applied to everything rather than just the drive itself since that would just prevent indexing of future folders/files. Another pop-up that you may see is an error for applying attributes and you can simply hit Ignore All as this is normal.

Be sure to stay tuned for our third and final installment of our Need More Space (or Speed) on Your SSD? series.

Ever Wondered How Hard Drives Worked?

Having SSDs as mainstream storage solutions is still far off these days, but having been around traditional magnetic hard drives all this time – have you actually wondered how they worked?

Well the “EngineerGuy”, Bill Hammock, posted a new video on YouTube and goes through in-depth how hard disk drives actually function. Honestly they are quite the engineering masterpiece. Make sure you hit up the video clip below.

Need More Space (or Speed) on Your SSD? – Part 1 (Feature)

As solid-state drives become more affordable, many of us are getting on board and using them for our systems. Whether it’s in a desktop or laptop, you’ll be seeing a substantial speed bump with faster load times and responsiveness all round. The main issue/weakness are the costs of SSDs and how the drives can get much more expensive as the capacity grows. This will gradually improve as time goes by with increased production volumes and general availability.

Most of us for obvious cost reasons will often opt for a lower capacity SSD to act as a boot drive, having said that you’ll have to be flexible with the space you have to work with. We’ll start out with the more basic tweaks that you can carry out to let you reclaim that much needed space and perhaps yield some gains in performance.

See if TRIM is Enabled

TRIM is an OS command that talks to the SSD telling which blocks of previously saved data are no longer required from deleted files. It then allows the drive to carry out garbage collection otherwise write performance can be negatively impacted. You can do this by:

  • Typing cmd in the Start menu Search textfield
  • Press and hold Ctrl + Shift + Enter or right clicking the cmd program to Run as Administrator
  • Key in fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify and hit Enter

A result of DisableDeleteNotify = 0 indicates that TRIM is enabled while 1 means that it is disabled.

Make Sure your SATA Controller is in AHCI Mode

This can be set through your motherboard’s BIOS/UEFI, and you may have to refer to the user manual on how to do this for your particular model. However your SATA controller may already be in AHCI (advanced host controller interface) mode, you can check by:

  • Opening Control Panel from the Start menu
  • Click the Hardware and Sound category (depending on your view)
  • Select Device Manager under Devices and Printers (there are many ways of doing this)
  • Spot an entry called IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers 
  • Expand it and see if one of the controllers list AHCI

If the AHCI controller is listed then your system configuration is set to AHCI, while is no particular controller is listed then it is not.

We’ll carry on next time with this mini-series with more complex tips towards the end, be sure to keep an eye out.

Intel’s Z68 Chipset to Hit on May 11th

That’s what we’re hearing from speculation, and in fact it’s just a little over two weeks away. This particular chipset is geared towards enthusiasts, in which it will bring features like overclocking for integrated processor graphics. Although it’s an aspect that will probably won’t be the main selling point, but other technologies like LucidLogix’s Virtu graphics switching software definitely will – allowing one to take advantage of Intel’s Quick Sync transcoding acceleration even when using an external graphics solution. On top of that, Z68 also supposedly handles SSD caching which users take a lower capacity SSD and combine it with a traditional higher capacity hard drive for an increase in overall performance.

Intel and Micron Plan to Cut SSD Densities by 50%

All the chip makers are moving forward in the world of SSDs by shrinking NAND technology. The two however, wants to take it to the next level by doubling down the density of their flash chips. This quite brilliant from a tech perspective, and good for consumers as well since lower density chips will result in cheaper SSDs. Starting this summer, IMFT (IM Flash Technologies, joint venture between Intel and Micron) plans to intro an enterprise-level SSD built on a 20nm manufacturing process and will be taking advantage of the PCIe standard.

“This will be the industry’s leading drive,” says Kevin Kilbuck, Micron’s director of strategic marketing for Micron’s NAND Product Group. What’s more, not many companies have the intellectual property to produce SSDs at the 20nm level, Kulbuck said. He added, “When we were at 50nm, pretty much anyone could slap together an SSD. At 20nm, it’s almost the opposite effect.”

SandForce Intros 2nd Gen SSD CPUs

Looks like they officially came around announcing the new SF-2200/2100 SSD processors, after both recent product releases coming from Patriot and OCZ. Here’s what they have to say:

“With high profile products now incorporating SSDs as standard storage media and most other system vendors offering them as options, the market for client SSD applications is poised for growth as SSD prices decline,” said Joseph Unsworth, Research Director, NAND Flash & SSD at Gartner. “SSD controllers that can deliver superior performance and reliability without the dependence on DRAM will have a compelling value proposition across a wide range of client applications.”

If you guys aren’t aware, the SF-2200 yields read/write speeds of up to 500MB/s while it’s sibling caps out at 250MB/s. Both logical processors, however, comes in a single-chip “DRAM-less” factor and has DuraClass Technology (RAISE, DuraWrite), have support for complex 30nm and 20nm class NAND flash from all major vendors, advanced ECC engine correcting, power and performance optimization and tuning features, OPAL security with 256-bit AES encryption and automatic, line-rate double encryption with drive-level password.

ETA? Well, at the time of writing this – only Patriot and OCZ announced products so far with these SSD processors. More specifically the OCZ Vertex 3 and Vertex 3 Pro is to ship after CeBIT this week, while Patriot’s Wildfire series should arrive sometime in Q2 this year.

OCZ Believes Die Shrink Will Result in Cheaper SSDs

At this point, pricing for SSDs are dropping to more reasonable levels and the drives becoming viable options for mainstream users. For us to just rely solely on solid state drives, however, will still be fairly costly – that’s about to change.

Recently, OCZ managed to successfully transition to 2Xnm NAND flash-based storage for their SSDs and they claim that they’re the first manufacturer to do so.

“OCZ is constantly exploring ways to not just advance solid state drive design but also make the technology more affordable, while maintaining high performance and reliability standards,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. “We are excited to complete the transition to the next generation 2Xnm NAND components which reiterates our strategy of producing high performance SSDs at the most attractive price point available for consumer applications.”

For those that want to still buy OCZ solid state drives that are based on the older 3Xnm process, will be able to but will be at a higher price-per-GB ratio as stated by OCZ. At a performance level, they still expect the same speeds as their predecessors. Sadly, there was no saying when the first 2Xnm-based SSDs will hit the shelves.

UPDATE: For those of you wondering about the controversy on the capacity and performance hit on select OCZ SSDs after they transitioned to the 25nm NAND process, Tom’s Hardware has an excellent article where they go hands-on.

RunCore Combines USB 3.0 and SSD Together

If you’re still rocking a laptop with an ExpressCard slot, RunCore’s USB 3.0 Express SSD offers both 64GB of SSD goodness and a pair of USB 3.0 ports bringing your machine up to speed with the latest connectivity/storage.

It won’t be able solve those worn-out cosmetic issues or that loose hinge, sadly. Still no word on price or when this will ship.