Dude where's my PFE?

I am a Premier Field Engineer (PFE) for Microsoft.

What do you do when you want to run Windows XP on a Solid State Drive?

What do you do when you want to run Windows XP on a Solid State Drive?

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1.  #1  THE BIG UNO!  Properly align your partition with diskpar/diskpart and THEN install your XP build into that aligned partition.

This link has a great explanation and how-to so I'm not going to re-invent the wheel. 

I’m not certain I agree with the rest of the proposals there necessarily, I’m thinking more in line for Enterprise level customers rather than gamers here.  Though the RAMDRIVE idea is interesting Smile.

Also!  Very important, use AHCI or SATA RAID or IRRT rather than IDE Compatibility mode in BIOS.  This is huge.

2.  In Windows, disable the following, some to improve the functional life of the drive in terms of wear fatigue and some for performance:

Windows XP Prefetcher

Any Windows Defragmentation

System Restore

8.3 Filenames (unless you have a legacy app that requires them)

File “Last Accessed” time

Set the system to use “Large System Cache”

3.  Unlike many posts on the internet, leave Windows Indexing Service alone, quoting some smart folks:

”It doesn’t turn off and shouldn’t be turned off specifically on SSD’s.   If the user doesn’t want the feature (it can be great and several features like explorer’s search and OL search utilize the index), then they can disable it.  It shouldn’t be in this recommendation this way.”

4.  XP does NOT support TRIM.  So run the Garbage Collector provided by the OEM of your drive on a periodic basis (if recommended by the vendor, most likey YES)

5.  Keep your Intel/AMD SATA controller driver up to date.  Keep BIOS up to date.  Keep firmware on the SSD up to date.

6.  Use this to verify you are track aligned if you wish to verify your process works:  http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/other/157

Hope this helps in your SSD efforts.  Bottom line though, strongly consider deploying Windows 7 on SSD based systems.  There are performance gains in 7 and it natively detects non-rotating media for disabling the defragmentation task from working, and disabled Prefetch for you…

Comments
  • Good overview.  Anything special for Win 7?  What sort of real world performance gains can we get?

  • Hi Ed,

    So, in Windows 7, we recognize almost all SSDs for what they are, and while things such as the prefetcher and defragmentation service are still on, they don't actually run against an SSD.  Real world performance gain?  Huge.  Orders of magnititude huge.  I'll try to make a blog example.

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