SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

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A friend has a Dell M1210 laptop running XP - works great.
He wants to expand his disk space,
and bought a SSD to replace the normal spinning disk.
Both are SATA.

However, in browsing around,
he has read several articles about probs with XP and SSD.

What kind of problems might there be ?

What about Win7 and using the same SSD (SATA) device ?

/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/
No Good Deed -
         Goes Unpunished  

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

On 12/09/2013 08:17 PM, ps56k wrote:
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Hi ps56k,

I put SSD's into XP.  But I do not use el-cheapo drives.

I use Intel's Cherryville and download set up a schedule
on their SSD utility.

And, suddenly, a laptop develops some amazing performance!


the riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped
in a couple slices of baloney

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

ps56k wrote:
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You can use an SSD, no matter what. It won't complain.
You won't hear whining.

The SSD has a preferred alignment. Flash is divided internally,
into structures which are larger than the cluster size of
your file system.

On WinXP, the partition alignment is based on fake
CHS dimensions, causing lots of stuff done by the
WinXP Disk Management, to be divisible by 63 sectors.
This doesn't align very well with the binary power_of_two
sizes involved in flash internal memory blocks.

On Vista/Win7/Win8, you might find things aligned on
one megabyte boundaries. A little more wasteful. But for many
file system operations, only one flash structure gets
updated instead of two. That means you "wear out" the
SSD, slightly slower.

If you use a less than optimal alignment, it just
means a few more write cycles to the SSD drive. And
since many SSD drives fail before they actually
wear out from too many writes, it's unclear that this
really matters.

There's an example here, of a company offering tools
to WinXP users.


Tools like that are "brand aware". Intel pays Acronis a fee.
Acronis makes the tool do a check that an Intel SSD is being
aligned. You check your SSD manufacturer site, to see if
they bought a utility like that for you. I don't know if
any of those tools, are completely free of a "brand check".

On WinXP, you would place a single partition, then have it
aligned to a preferred power_of_two boundary. Doing so will
cause some ancient tools (like Partition Magic) to complain.
But the SSD will receive fewer (fractional) writes that way.

On Windows 7, all of this is taken care of, for you.
Many of the backup/restore tools, have some awareness of
the new alignment, and can even make changes during restoration,
to align things. Some tools will take a "63 sector" backup,
and re-align it to 1MB for you.


It's a shame that OCZTechnology has folded, because they had
some fine tutorials on the care and feeding of SSD drives.
And I suppose when their web site shuts down, we'll lose those.
(They'll be harder to search for.) The thing is, SSDs have
their own mythology, and there are all sorts of little
polishing things you can do (like turn off the "file accessed"
feature of the file system). Note that not all the ideas you
see in articles like this, are a good idea. You have to use
a bit of common sense when reading this.

They didn't even do the "disable time stamps" one. This is
an excerpt from the OCZ page.

    "Disable timestamp for last access to a file to speed up Windows

     Another frequently seen recommendation is to disable the
     setting that keeps track of the last time a file was accessed.
     Removing the necessity for the system to keep reading and writing
     this information may speed up Windows Explorer.

     The command is:

     fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1

     Note that some backup programs may need this information.
     If you wish to restore the timestamp, the command is:
     fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 0

Now, a question would be, what OSes still do that. AFAIK, it's an NTFS
feature, so all of them should do it. But it's always possible
some OS could have a policy of turning it off for SSDs.

Part of the fun of buying an SSD, is doing all that research :-)


Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

On 10 Dec 2013, Paul wrote:

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I think the Linux "Parted" program can do that without being  
locked to any HDD maker. I guess the GUI version, GParted,  
would probably do it too. What ever the software, it's best to  
do it on a fresh install (or with a new backup), so nothing is  
lost if things go wrong.

You could burn a Linux CD like SystemRescueCD or Knoppix to  
run (G)Parted from.

__          __
#_ < |\| |< _#

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

On 10-December-2013 2:17 PM, ps56k wrote:
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Can't help you, I threw my laptop in the sea.

It was just a dell, rollin in the deep.

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

On Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:24:12 +1000, WayPoint wrote:

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But you could have had it all!

<Wildman> GNU/Linux user #557453
You should never be superstitious. It is bad luck!

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

On 12-December-2013 7:36 AM, Wildman wrote:
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lol  :-)

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

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The "problems" between XP and SSDs center around two different issues.  

One issue is partition alignment, on which Paul's post gives you a good  
deal of background.  Win7 systems should already come optimally aligned.  
By default, XP systems are typically not optimally aligned for SSDs, but  
there are tools around to realign the partition(s) on a XP system to make  
them so.

The second issue concerns TRIM, a SSD feature that keeps SSD cells  
functioning efficiently.  Without TRIM, SSDs will gradually "slow down"  
over time.  Win7 is already TRIM-aware, so no problem there.  XP is not  
TRIM-aware, but some SSD manufacturers have a utility that can be  
installed in XP to handle that.  If you plan to use XP with a SSD, make  
sure you get a SSD from a manufacturer who provides such a TRIM utility.  
(Samsung calls theirs "Samsung Magician").

You should have no trouble with Win7 on a SSD.  If you take the time to  
realign your partitions and install the manufacturer's TRIM utility, you  
should similarly have no trouble with XP on a SSD, either.

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

I can't comment on SSDs with XP, which is just as well, because others have.

Samsung makes pretty good SSDs too, and I retrofitted 5 i7 laptops running  
Windows 7 with 512GB Samsung SSDs for a client.  This was back in the summer  
and I have not had any complaints, only accolades.  VERY fast for software  
development, Sharepoint, and humungous Outlook PST files.  I also have a  
smaller 128GB SSD in my older small Win 7 laptop, and it is great on power  
consumption (8 hrs on battery), in addition to being really fast and less  
susceptible to head crashes.  No head crashes means you don't need to be  
concerned about rapid or abrupt movement of the laptop.


My biggest concern, is that when a SSD goes bad,
you will lose ALL of your data at once.
I'm kinda familiar with HDs that seem to act flakey - pending doom -
and then you might have a fighting chance to make copies,
but with a Flash drive SSD - it's all, or nothing.

I've had several flash USB thumb drives go bad - wham - all data gone

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

The SSDs on our I910s failed slowly.  The system would crash on this or that spot  
sometimes, but it would come up and you could read data for a few hours or days.

On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

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Interesting to know, thanks. (Not that it'll affect me for some years  
yet, but it might be of interest to others, so - what makes/models?)
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)Ar@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

You can think I'm wrong, but that's no reason to stop thinking. - Dr. Gregory
House (TV character), quoted in Radio Times 1-7/3/2008

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

J. P. Gilliver (John) wrote:
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I think it corresponded to the SSD wearing out from writes, as SSDs are reported to do.

The spot may read correctly or it may not, but the SSD as a whole is otherwise sane.

On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

Per Ron Hardin:
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After reading this thread, it's beginning to dawn on me that maybe the
Windows paging file should be moved from the SSD card to a conventional
hard drive.

Correct so far?   Downsides?

Also, is there anything to be gained by having Windows use several
paging files?   I've got 3 2-TB discs used for media plus a 1-TB disc
used for backup...
Pete Cresswell

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

Per (PeteCresswell):
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And how about putting another 8 gigs of memory in the PC and, either
just calling it a day and disabling pagefile.sys altogether or
installing some sort of ramdrive utility and assigning pagefile.sys to
the ramdrive?
Pete Cresswell

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

(PeteCresswell) wrote:
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I've done all sorts of these tests here,
and my general advice is to leave pagefile alone.

It's not that you can't have a ton of fun
playing with it. It's what happens when
you break something, that matters. How do you
"back out", when you bust paging ? Which registry
setting do you modify ? How do you modify the registry
when Windows won't run ?


Try watching the Peak on Task Manager, after
a day of PC usage. What was your Peak usage ?
Did you use all of the available RAM on the PC ?
That's how you estimate whether you need more RAM.

If you want to try a "stressor", try the 64 bit
version of CHKDSK on a modern OS. They designed it
to "waste all available memory". If I need a means
to generate some page-outs, that's a way to do some
testing. If you snag a copy of the 32 bit
version of CHKDSK, and run it on the 64 bit version
of Windows, then it won't use all the RAM
(addressing limit). That's my work-around for
the stupid behavior of CHKDSK.

You can use Task Manager. You can also use "resmon"
on the later Windows, as it can tell you about
page file usage while the system is running.

The Performance plugin has counters it keeps, which
can track stuff you're interested in. For example,
it records Page Writes/sec, and mine just sits there
at zero right now. It also records percentage of
pagefile currently in usage. Mine reads 2.3% or roughly
47MB. Is that 47MB write to the SSD going to hurt it ?

The option to "clear pagefile at shutdown", is probably
going to do more damage than that. As that would
rewrite my entire pagefile.


I've done the following test case.

1) WinXP x32 with 4GB memory license.
2) PC with 8GB of RAM installed (i.e. "4GB wasted")
3) DATARAM RAMDisk free, with ability to use PAE
    memory space, and capable of using the 4GB
    of "inaccessible memory". A driver in Ring0 is not
    subject to the memory license.
4) Put pagefile on RAMDisk.
5) Result ? Buttery smooth transition, when
    Windows programs are using 5GB of memory,
    and you move from program to program to get
    the paging going. It works very nicely.

Downside ? It takes several minutes to shut down
the PC (hibernation mode). It was unbearably
slow, so I took it apart. I reboot more than the
average user. It was driving me nuts.

Also, there are tiny glitches that show this
method is not completely stable. I tested
for a total of maybe three or four days, and
two "events" happened that convinced me
it's not ready for prime time.


If you wanted to do this seriously,
you'd purchase a Gigabyte RAMDrive (no
longer made) and use one of those for
your pagefile. That's a SATA device.

The modern equivalent of that, is the
ACARD stuff.

These are the models still in production.

The ACARD uses CF for backup storage. page 9.
If you wear it out, you could insert another.
Using the CF, also ensures the disk is "formatted"
when your OS goes to page to it at T=0 :-) The
DATARAM software RAMDisk, also restores from backup,
so it can be started in a "formatted" state. (ECJ)Q.pdf

A whole lot of work for nothing, but it's there if you
want it.


Wanna test it ? Be my guest. Just make sure you
know how to back out later, depending on what
you're doing. I suffered a small amount of
hair loss one day, because of stuff like this :-)
You've been warned.


Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

On 12/16/2013, (PeteCresswell) posted:
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The disadvantage of paging to the SSD is that it might hasten the  
eventual decrepitude of that drive.

The disadvantage of paging to a RAM drive is that you're using the  
memory that you're paging *from* to hold the page file that you're  
paging *to*.

It's worse than a Ponzi scheme :-)

Gene E. Bloch (Stumbling Bloch)

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

On Mon, 16 Dec 2013 12:23:37 -0800, Gene E. Bloch

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Yes, assuming that you are running 64-bit Windows, and therefore using
all the RAM. Paging to a RAM drive is always a bad thing to do.

And he should also note that with 8GB+ of RAM, depending on what apps
he runs, there's an excellent chance that he would almost never use
the page file at all.

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

On 12/16/2013, J. P. Gilliver (John) posted:
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Surely :-)

You are correct; I assumed 64-bit and lots of RAM even though Pete  
didn't say that. Even if he did, it's definitely worth pointing out  
what you said.

There was a thread a while back about that issue, where someone  
knowledgeable (hence, not me!) pointed out that RAM disk programs that  
can address that high memory definitely do exist.

Gene E. Bloch (Stumbling Bloch)

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop


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In my desktop I do have the paging file set to a rotating disk,
leaving the SSD handling only windows and installed programs. However,
I really think the system rarely use the pagefile. Do you know a way
to tell haw many times the pagefile is used? I'd be interested in
I recall reading a thread recently about the pagefile, and I think the
conclusions were that the file "moves" around on whatever disk it's
on, so even if it's on your SSD, it doesn't use the same physical
locations over and over.

Re: SSD - is it ok to use in XP laptop

On 12/16/2013 6:15 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:
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This is based on research I did a year ago when I decided not to invest
in a SSD.  I'm sure the nitpickers can come up with a zillion  
But, for most of us, a SSD is a bad decision.

If your primary concern is how fast your system boots, by all means,
the SSD is for you.  If battery life is a primary concern, the SSD
may be for you, but the percentages vary with what else is going on.
If you like to throw machine around while it's running, SSD is a good idea.
Otherwise, save your money.

If you need a swap file, you have too little ram.
Swap is where stuff goes when it won't fit in ram.
You're trading very fast RAM access for extremely slow disk access.
SSD is faster, but not very, compared to ram.
Swap was very important when RAM was expensive.
Today, not so much.
I ran XP with 2GB of ram and no swap for years.  Only time I ever
got an out of memory error was when I tried to run two virtualbox
sessions at once.   Had to turn swap back on for that.
If you have a second mechanical drive, put swap there.  Won't matter
how slow it is if it's rarely used.  I put swap on D: for a different
reason.  I don't have to keep telling the backup program to ignore it
when I backup C:.

SSD is written in whole blocks.  If you change one byte, the whole
block gets read, changed and rewritten back, probably to a different
location depending on the wear leveling algorithm.

I read one article that claimed that in active use, stock windows
could kill a SSD in a matter of days, based on write counts.

Those blocks need to be aligned with the methods used by the OS.
Modern operating systems have the nasty habit of updating the access time
when you access a file.  There's another block write.
Then there are caches, wear leveling, all manner of optimizations designed
to deal with rotating media.
If the OS was written with full knowledge of all the characteristics
of that exact SSD drive, it would be simple.
But all that magic is secret and constantly changing.

Google will find you many strategies for prolonging the life of a
SSD.  Suggest you decide which one you trust and implement it.
Maybe the drive vendor's one would be a good choice.

Google will also find you many stories about how SSD's start out fast
and progressively slow down with use.  Don't remember the term,
but you run a utility regularly to speed it back up.

I would not just plug in a SSD.
At the very least, turn off the last access update.  It's called -noatime
in linux.  Don't remember the term for windows.

Too much hype for too little performance/price ratio for me.

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