Do you have a solid state drive (SSD)?
If so, then you probably bought it for its fast speeds and amazing performance.
I mean, those are really the only two reasons you would get an SSD.
But there are some things you can’t do with an SSD. If you’re on the fence about purchasing an SSD – or own one and aren’t sure what to do with it, then here are some things you can’t (or shouldn’t) do with your SSD:
5) Defragment it
Out of all the things you can’t or shouldn’t do with SSDs, this is the most commonly known. You should defragment mechanical hard drives which use disks and moving parts to store data.
But you should not defragment SSDs because they use no moving parts. Instead, the magic of SSDs relies on electromagnets. SSDs have a finite number of read/write cycles.
Thus, when you defragment an SSD, you’re doing two bad things:
-Not increasing or decreasing SSD performance in any noticeable way
-Reducing the lifespan of your SSD
You can defragment an SSD. But you shouldn’t defragment an SSD if you want it to last for a long time.
4) Use the Index feature in Windows
Windows has an indexing feature that makes it easy to keep track of all your files and folders via the ‘Search’ tool.
This tool, however, is not recommended for use on SSDs. Just like with defragmenting, it has no real effect on SSD performance. Your search information is going to appear just as quickly as it would if you weren’t indexing your SSD. However, you’ll reduce the lifespan of your SSD at the same time.
To disable the Index feature on Windows, right-click your SSD from the My Computer screen and click on Properties. Then, click the General tab and uncheck the box beside Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties. Then, click OK. Your SSD will no longer index its contents.
3) Use Vista, Windows XP, or older operating systems which don’t have TRIM support
TRIM is a valuable tool in the SSD user’s arsenal. TRIM is a command that flags certain parts of your SSD as available to be overwritten. These parts will be overwritten the next time your computer is idle.
TRIM is not supported by Windows XP, Vista, or older operating systems. It works well on Windows 7 and Windows 8, however.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use an SSD on your older computer. It just means you won’t realize the same performance benefits.
2) Use it forever
Up above, I mentioned that SSDs have a finite number of write cycles. Every time a cell on your SSD goes through an erase cycle, the resistance of that cell increases due to the fact that some charge is still remaining in the floating-gate transistor. This increases the amount of energy needed to flip that gate.
Eventually, the gate can no longer be flipped, which makes it useless. Fortunately, this only affects the write capabilities of your drive and not the read capabilities. So if your SSD does go belly-up, you should still be able to grab your data.
SSDs use NAND flash memory to distribute data write across all blocks and evenly wear out the cells. Ultimately, an average SSD has about 5,000 cycles before it enters read-only mode. Even power users won’t notice problems until ten years or more into the future (most won’t notice problems until around 50-60 years, by which time we’ll be long past SSDs).
1) Fill your SSD to its maximum capacity
One of the downsides of SSDs is that they have a much lower capacity than traditional hard drives (unless you’re willing to spend thousands on your SSD, of course).
Well here’s another related downside: you can’t fill your SSDs to capacity. Or at least you shouldn’t. Most experts recommend only using about 75% of your SSD’s available storage space.
Why on earth can you only use 75% of something you paid a lot of money for? Well, you can use 100% of your available space. But if you do, you can expect a big performance drop.
Here’s why: when your SSD is at 100% capacity, it will take twice as long to re-write partially filled blocks with new data (it has to erase that data and replace it). If you’re writing onto a clean block, you’ll enjoy the same fast performance you expect from your SSD.