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Help with proper setup and config of Windows 7 and Intel SSD

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October 9, 2009 2:11:14 AM

I currently have an Intel DP55KG motherboard and WD VelociRaptor running Windows 7 and I ordered an Intel SSD Gen2 that I would like to swap out. I have loaded the base OS ,Office 2007, Intel drivers, Nvidia drivers and all updates. It would be nice to clone the setup over to the new drive if all things were equal.

I am confused as to the need for AHCI and how to format the drive properly.

If someone could help me out that would great. If it would be best to reload from scratch I can do that also.
a b G Storage
October 9, 2009 4:50:58 AM

The hassle of cloning is more than of a clean install IMO. Win7 takes less than 15min to install on SSD and assuming you've got all the latest drivers on a USB drive (I keep all software installable on a separate storage array) that's another 15-20min of install to get it to a workable state.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
a b å Intel
a c 415 G Storage
October 9, 2009 6:38:14 AM

AHCI is the standard programming interface for use with SATA drives. Older OSes like XP don't contain AHCI drivers on the install disk, so many motherboards have a configuration option which will make the SATA ports "look" like IDE ports.

If you're installing a new system and it contains the AHCI drivers (as Win 7 does), then there's no need to use IDE emulation mode and you should configure the motherboard to use AHCI.
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October 13, 2009 7:09:16 PM

I am also planning on installing Windows 7 64 Bit Full Version (when it releases) to a brand new Intel X25-M 80GB SATA II MLC Internal SSD. If anyone has any tips or pointers for this they would be much appreciated. I am pretty certain I can do this but just to make sure...

I have Windows Vista 64 Home Premium installed on a HDD right now and I plan on taking that out, putting in the SSD and booting up the Windows 7 CD immediately, can anyone imagine problems that I might have? I will make sure that the BIOS is recognizing the SSD and will set it to boot CD first, but should I upgrade the firmware on the BIOS or SSD first? Also, assuming that it all goes well and Windows 7 is installed and working on the SSD, can I then just set the old drive to slave and plug it in, boot it back up and it should be able to read all of the files on there right? Man, I hope this goes smoothly.

Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions.
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a c 127 G Storage
October 13, 2009 8:52:51 PM

Not using AHCI might result in lower performance on modern SSDs, because they use NCQ to enhance parallel processing of multiple I/O requests at the same time. The intel controller has 8 parallel channels that can process I/O individually. Although i didn't do tests on this, i can imagine random I/O performance being lower without NCQ enabled.

So you shouldn't use IDE emulation mode, but AHCI. AHCI will work fine on Vista and Windows 7 - no need to worry here!
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
a b å Intel
a c 415 G Storage
October 13, 2009 10:21:15 PM

whirlednews said:
I am also planning on installing Windows 7 64 Bit Full Version (when it releases) to a brand new Intel X25-M 80GB SATA II MLC Internal SSD.
Is this one of the "G2" drives (i.e, does it have "G2" in the part number? If so, Intel is scheduled to release a firmware update for it to support Win7's use of the TRIM command, supposedly when Windows 7 is released (which would mean in a week or so).

I don't think anyone's heard yet how the firmware update will be applied and whether it will affect data on the drive or not. You might want to consider waiting until the update has been released and you've applied it. Or you could go ahead now with a plan to apply the update later and reinstall Windows after that should it be necessary.
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October 13, 2009 11:31:19 PM

The part # is SSDSA2MH080G2R5, which does contain a G2 in there. Thank you for the info, I will probably wait to put Windows 7 on there until I update the firmware, just to be sure. Is that very difficult to do or do you just have to download it from Intel, put it on a disc and boot up with it in there, hrmmm i guess I will have to do some research on that...

Thanks again
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
a b å Intel
a c 415 G Storage
October 14, 2009 5:04:14 PM

whirlednews said:
Is that very difficult to do or do you just have to download it from Intel, put it on a disc and boot up with it in there...
I expect it will be something like that - we'll know for sure when they release it...
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November 3, 2009 7:19:10 PM

Has anyone here had trouble with the new firmware and Windows 7?

I still have not installed my new SSD yet and I am wondering if I should just wait untill they release another version of the firmware before I try and install the SSD and Windows 7 or if I should just go ahead and install them without the firmware update. Any suggestions?
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a c 127 G Storage
November 4, 2009 3:12:11 AM

As far as i know the new firmware has been withdrawn by Intel due to issues of corruption. Just wait a bit until things have settled down and the 'big public' is using the new firmware. Then its a safe time to upgrade. :) 
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a c 127 G Storage
November 4, 2009 3:13:01 AM

And yes you can install it right now, it doesn't matter you don't have TRIM right now it won't make much difference whether you will be using it now and have the TRIM two months later or something; it'll still do its work.
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November 5, 2009 10:12:48 PM

Ok, so I have my SSD installed and did a clean install of Windows 7 HP after deleting the windows.old folder that was leftover afterward. I have all of my drivers and everything is running smoothly.

However my drive says that I have 31.7 GB of used space (out of 80). When I go in one level and highlight all folders on the drive and click properties it says that they all take up only 14.6 GB.

Where is the rest of it, why is so much of the drive used already?

Uggh. Thanks for any replies.
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a c 127 G Storage
November 6, 2009 12:26:59 AM

Ah yes, well you should disable both the Hibernation file and the Pagefile; i did that too on my tiny 32GB SSD; else you won't have much space left indeed.

And also disable system restore, and disable Defragmentation service / task scheduler while you're at it.
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November 6, 2009 2:31:43 AM

Excellent, thank you sub mesa, that seems to have solved it, it is at 23.8 GB used space now.

Thank you sir/madam
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November 6, 2009 1:56:40 PM

Also, I have read conflicting points of view about disabling the Pagefile because it forces Windows to store everything in RAM. Would it be best to leave some % in the pagefile or is it really ok to disable it completely, because im pretty sure that my SSD is faster than my 8GB of DDR 2 RAM that i have.

Windows 7 automatically disabled defrag on my SSD and I can delete all of the sytem restore points that I dont need with CCleaner. Im not sure about the task scheduler, I don't ever really schedule anything to run but maybe Windows automatically does.

I can't wait for them to release the new firmware with TRIM support and they also took off the Intex SSD toolbox that had the SSD optimization software, WTF intel, you left us high and dry.
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a c 127 G Storage
November 6, 2009 2:12:40 PM

If you have 8GB RAM you can safely disable the swap file.
Toms hardware has an article about disabling swap; read it if you like.

Disabling swap will not disable virtual memory design; two things that are related but not the same thing. People forget that i guess.
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/Microsoft-Windows-Vista,r...

Also note that older operating systems like Windows 98 had different virtual memory design which may require a swap file for proper operation.
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November 6, 2009 6:22:39 PM

Cool, interesting read, I will do that.
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November 6, 2009 10:05:44 PM

Tweaks I recommend for ALL SSDs:

Disable indexing = uncheck indexing from drive properties + disable the indexing service
Turn off system restore
Turn off hibernation
Turn off the paging file (Some programs may require this, it is recommended to put a paging file on a HDD or use a ramdisk to put it into extra RAM if you use programs that need a paging file)

Vista/7: Disable Scheduled Defragmentation

Type into cmd prompt:
fsutil behavior set disable8dot3 1
fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1

Go to Device Manager
Click the + By Disk Drives
Right-click on the SSD and go to Properties, then to the Policies tab
Make sure write-caching is on (power outage may cause loss of data..)
Vista/7: Check 2nd box for Advanced Performance
XP: place dskcache in C:, open cmd and type c:\dskcache +p c:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
Double-click the DisablePagingExecutive entry and change to 1 (If not already)
Repeat for LargeSystemCache, by changing to 1
Set SecondLevelDataCache to whatever your L2 cache for ur CPU is. EDIT IN DECIMAL MODE!!!
If you have 1MB - 1024, 2MB - 2048, 3MB - 3072, 4MB - 4096, 6MB - 6144
If you have L3 cache or don't know your L2 cache you can skip the above^ step, it will not make a noticeable difference

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
right click Enableprefetcher...hit modify and change 3 to 0 and hit OK
EnableSuperfetch change to 0

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem.
Edit NtfsDisable8dot3nameCreation from 0 to 1 (Should be already done if you did the fsutil cmds)
Edit NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate from 0 to 1 (Should be already done if you did the fsutil cmds)

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Perflib
Add a new DWORD Value named DisablePerformanceCounters
Set the value of DisablePerformanceCounters to 1

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction
Modify "Enable" which is a "REG_SZ".. modify this from Y to N
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November 6, 2009 10:07:58 PM

turn off hibernation to get back gb's of space
Windows 7 users that want to deactivate this option can follow this series of steps:
1. Using your Administrator user, open the Command Prompt.
2. Type “powercfg h off” and press enter.
Now you have deactivated the hibernation mode. To get the disk space back, run a Disk Cleanup on the partition you have Windows 7 installed on and delete the Hibernation File Cleaner.
If you ever want to reactivate the hibernation mode, enter “powercfg h on” in the Command Prompt”.
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November 6, 2009 10:12:25 PM

if you didnt enable ahci when you installed windows here is the fix
Vista was the first Windows OS to support AHCI out of the box, where as Windows 7 does the same. But an issue with AHCI is that if you install the OS without enabling AHCI in the BIOS, enabling it after installation will render your OS unusable. This is because Windows disable the AHCI driver since it is not needed during the installation.
There is one way to fix this, although you need to have knowledge of registry editing. The detailed steps from Microsoft are as follows:
To resolve this issue, enable the AHCI driver in the registry before you change the SATA mode of the boot drive. To do this, follow these steps:
1. Exit all Windows-based programs.
2. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
3. If you receive the User Account Control dialog box
, click Continue.
4. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Msahci
1. In the right pane, right-click Start in the Name column, and then click Modify.
2. In the Value data box, type 0, and then click OK.
3. On the File menu, click Exit to close Registry Editor
.
After this you’ll have to restart your computer
, go to BIOS and enable AHCI. When you log in to Windows again, you’ll notice the installation of drivers for AHCI. Another restart will be required to finish the driver installation.

After it does all this, you can then update the drivers to the newest
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November 7, 2009 4:17:20 AM

Ok wow, do not listen to "obamaliar"!

Seriously, the commands that "it" suggested lowered my SSD performance by ~20%



!:D O NOT RUN:!
fsutil behavior set disable8dot3 1
fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1
!:D O NOT RUN:!

Seriously degrades performance!!

I lost 20% write speed from these!

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November 7, 2009 7:13:31 PM

whirlednews said:
Ok wow, do not listen to "obamaliar"!

Seriously, the commands that "it" suggested lowered my SSD performance by ~20%



!:D O NOT RUN:!
fsutil behavior set disable8dot3 1
fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1
!:D O NOT RUN:!

Seriously degrades performance!!

I lost 20% write speed from these!

SO YOU ARE SAYING THAT AHCI IS SLOWER THAN IDE? I USED THIS COMMAND AND WENT FROM A 7.1 TO A 7.3 IN WINDOWS EXPERIENCE IN STORAGE SO YOU MUST BE DOING SOMETHING WRONG :non: 
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November 7, 2009 8:17:36 PM

fsutil behavior set disable8dot3 1
fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1
these dont have anything to do with performance one way or the other and most of the other tweeks dont either what they do is significantly reduce wear on the ssd and just to be sure that you are wrong about that 20% loss i tried to recreate what you claim and there is 0% loss so i dont know what you did but your 20% loss DID NOT COME BY WAY OF:fsutil behavior set disable8dot3 1
fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1
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November 8, 2009 4:25:31 PM

Well all I am saying is that I did an AS SSD Benchmark before I ran those commands and then did one after and the write speeds decreased by 20%. I don't know if that caused it but it would seem so.
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November 8, 2009 11:07:30 PM

whirlednews said:
Well all I am saying is that I did an AS SSD Benchmark before I ran those commands and then did one after and the write speeds decreased by 20%. I don't know if that caused it but it would seem so.

well i dont see how that could cause that to happen and i know that mine did not lose or gain speed from that command but what i do know is that command does reduce wear
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November 27, 2009 7:07:05 PM

Are people actually only getting 7.1 and 7.3 in the windows experience? I'm considering doing the settings Obamaliar suggested, even though as an Independent I don't much like your name I will try your suggestions. Anyways right now I'm getting 7.8 for my SSD in my windows experience and maybe your suggestions will get me to the fleeting 7.9 rating.

Lets see
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February 10, 2010 11:22:01 PM

whirlednews said:
Well all I am saying is that I did an AS SSD Benchmark before I ran those commands and then did one after and the write speeds decreased by 20%. I don't know if that caused it but it would seem so.

---
The disable8dot3 alone, has been benched at giving about a 10% speed BOOST on a normal hard disk in XP, but I doubt the speed boost on an SSD would be noticeable. It decreases the number of extra directory entries that must be searched through -- (well if any directory entries are > 8.3 characters, anyway).
It can hurt compatibility for Windows95 programs and earlier, but I can't see how that would be a concern of anyone these days.

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