Make Your Solid State Drive Last Longer
By Mitz Pantic
Solid State Drives (SSDs) die from various causes, including accidents and write fatigue. Many people are frustrated with the new technology, but as always, some basic education can save the day. Therefore here are a few simple tricks that can help extend the life of your drive significantly.
You may have heard that SSDs can withstand much greater shocks than magnetic hard drives, mostly due to the fact that they have no moving parts inside. But that doesn’t mean they’re invulnerable.
Although SSDs can withstand almost any normal acceleration or deceleration, their exteriors usually can’t withstand much direct force. Your SSD might be able to withstand a 100 gravity car accident but not survive you sitting on it.
The best protection for an external SSD is a good case; for an internal SSD, a well-treated laptop or tablet.
SSDs are also a little bit more resistant to water and corrosion than magnetic disks, but you still have to be very careful about using them near water and in salty environments (such as near the shore).
A SSD is made from the same technology that a USB flash drive uses and I have washed my USB drives often, only to dry them out and have them work again. I haven’t yet thrown a SSD into the washing machine so I cannot vouch that it will survive the tumbling around.
Extending Your Write Lifetime
Solid state storage technology has a limited number of rewrites. Each sector of your SSD can only be rewritten about 100,000 times on average (although this number goes up every year).
Now, 100,000 rewrites may sound like a lot, but some parts of your computer do a lot of file saving. Some people, more than others. For example, your web browser saves pages and images to its cache every time you visit a new web page. If you load 1,000 webpages a day to the same part of your SSD drive, that part of the drive will wear out within a mere 100 days.
To prevent excessive wear, SSDs include smart controls which perform “wear leveling.” That means they prevent your computer from using one part of the drive more than other parts of your drive so your drive doesn’t fail prematurely.
But your drive will still fail sooner than you like if you do a lot of unnecessary file saving. There are a lot of specific things you should avoid, but here’s a simple trick to help you detect unnecessary saving:
- Watch the drive access light on your computer. That’s the little light on your computer or laptop which lights up whenever your computer is accessing the disk drive. This light indicates your computer may be writing to your disk drive.
- Whenever the light glows steady or mostly steady for more than a few seconds, your computer could be saving unnecessarily. Open the task manager (Ctrl-Alt-Delete) and see which tasks are active.
- If the task isn’t necessary, close it down and see if you can deactivate it in the future. For example, defragmenting will make your disk access light glow, but SSD drives don’t need to be defragmented, so if you see the defragmenter running, try to disable it to prolong the life of your SSD.
Milica Pantic (AKA Mitz) from Tips4pc.com wrote this article. Tips4pc has over a thousand free step-by-step tutorials and videos to help people learn about computers.