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thinking of a solid-state drive for W10 upgrade

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:58 pm
by jeffbert
I currently have 2 500 GB drives in my PC, & it is about 5 years old. 8 GB of ram, thinking of doubling that, but as I still run w7, I am wanting to ensure that I will have enough speed for the next 4 years or so. I heard that some ss drives eventually lose data. Any suggestions?

Re: thinking of a solid-state drive for W10 upgrade

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:26 pm
by fafner
If you are heading for a SSD as system drive for Windows, make sure it is AT LEAST 128 Gb, preferably 256 Gb, AND install all your applications on a secondary drive. Below 128, after a few months you will be running dayly after free space (I have a 64 Gb Windows tablet, not enough even with most applications on an external drive). Windows updates are the main reason behind that; even if in the long run they don't eat up that much, they often need lot of room to work their thing (whatever it is).

About losing data, it is not in the meaning your data will disappear, most of SSD are good enough to store your data and keep them safe as surely as spining versions. However, unlike their spining counterparts, SSD "damage" the storing area when writing. That means that if you often write data on your disk (that will happen a lot on a system drive), sectors on the SSD will gradually become too damaged to be operated properly, and will be transparently removed from usable space (your SSD will appear to "shrink" over time). Before dying completely, they may also slow down, depending on the model.

On older systems (Windows 7 maybe?) , the system may not be aware that you are using a SSD, and may fail to use the "trim" feature. Without entering into gore details on what it is and why it exists, not using that feature will dramatically slow down the whole SSD over time.

Hope I am not scaring you :-D I am using a SSD on a GNU/Linux (Debian) since many years both as system and work drive (except for large sets of data), and so far no noticeable problems. It's not the 1000-pounds-gorilla Windows, but still good sign.

Re: thinking of a solid-state drive for W10 upgrade

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:31 pm
by Tetsuwan Penguin
SSD's are made in 'single', 'double', and 'triple' storage cells (with 'quad' cells soon to come). This means that 1,2,3, or even 4 bits are stored in a single memory cell. The disadvantage of multiple bit storage per cell is reduced life as each cell must be written even if only a single bit is changed. The advantage is more density making large drives cheaper to produce. For critical applications where lots of disk activity is required, single bit storage cell type SSD's are preferred, but these are now hard to find and quite expensive. Dual bit types are a good compromise, but will cost more than the common triple bit types. You can increase SSD life by buying a disk twice as large as you will need, and leave lots of unused space when partitioning the SSD into logical drives.

Why are you mentioning WIndows 7? Unless you qualify to pay M$ a huge ransom for updates, this OS is now officially 'dead'. Unless you will NOT have the computer connected to a LAN that is connected to the internet you should NOT keep running W7. You can still update to Windows 10 for free, I recently downloaded an ISO image of W10 from M$ and am running it under Linux using a VM. I could have registered the copy using the product key from a legal copy of W7 that I have if I wanted to run W10 stand-alone on a computer. I assume your W7 computer has a good product registration key sticker on it.

If you don't want to run W10, you could always move to Linux. You can install M$ office on Linux under Wine. I did that on my wife's computer.

Re: thinking of a solid-state drive for W10 upgrade

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:34 pm
by jeffbert
I have yet to upgrade to W10. I thought it might keep my 5 year-old PC working fast enough for another 4 years or so, if I installed w10 on an SSD rather than an HDD.

Currently, I have 2 500 GB HDDs, the c drive has plenty of fee space on it. I put all my data on the D drive, and manage the directories myself, rather than using Windows to figure out where to put things. I thought about expanding the RAM, but am unsure what RAM is already in there, other than 8 GB. I do not know the speed, etc., but could probably find out. I heard that W10 uses less RAM than W7, but don't know if true.

my cpu is an I5, so I think it should be fast enough.

I already downloaded the w10 installation files to an 8GB flash drive, & have some w10 boot disks from a few years ago.

Re: thinking of a solid-state drive for W10 upgrade

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:17 pm
by Tetsuwan Penguin
8GB on an i5 cpu should run W10 ok. Your computer's bios settings should allow assigning a USB flash drive as a boot device, or allow you to select an alternate boot device one time. Most computers use the DEL key, or one of the F keys (Usually F2, F10, or F12 depending on the which make it is) pressed right after power up (might have to keep pressing it multiple times to catch it before the machine just boots from the default device) to enter the BIOS. You can download a utility to copy a windows 10 ISO file to a USB disk and make it bootable. Note that this will DESTROY all files on the USB disk as it reformats the entire stick. On Linux the built in DD command line command with the correct arguments will do this.
Here is the link to M$ to download the latest windows 10 ISO file: ... ndows10ISO

Re: thinking of a solid-state drive for W10 upgrade

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:02 pm
by jeffbert

Re: thinking of a solid-state drive for W10 upgrade

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:37 am
by DrFrag
Going to add my own 2c because this is my field of expertise. :-)

SSDs are twice as reliable as HDDs but you should always have backups anyway. You don't have to worry about SSDs wearing out from overuse.

Put your OS and apps on the SSD, and your personal data on another physical drive. If the drive fails or the OS needs reinstalling, it's separate from your user files. An OS reinstall typically breaks application installs, so they might as well go on the same drive. 256GB minimum. Windows can easily chew up 100GB with updates, so a 128GB drive can become a squeeze and SSDs perform better with a bit of free space.

Trim is enabled by default on Windows 7 and up so you don't have to worry about that.

SSD brand doesn't particularly matter unless you want cutting edge speed. Even a generic SSD will give a massive performance boost to a system.

If your motherboard has an M.2 slot, you can get an M.2 stick instead of a 2.5" SSD. It looks like a RAM stick with pins along one end that generally lies flat on the motherboard. The benefit is it doesn't need a drive bay or cables, and sometimes can be faster. I haven't tried it so get a second opinion on whether your specific motherboard and drive will be compatible (maybe there are never compatibility issues, I don't know).

8GB of RAM is plenty. You might need more if you're running VMs or opening massive files like high-poly 3D models, in which case running out of RAM will grind your system almost to a halt so you'll know if that's happening. If you get extra RAM you don't need, you won't notice a practical difference in speed.

Windows 7 is fine to use. MS likes to scare people into using Windows 10 so they can push more advertising and telemetry, but in practice even XP got a security update last year a decade after support officially ended.

An SSD is the biggest performance upgrade you can give to a computer. You'll love it.

Re: thinking of a solid-state drive for W10 upgrade

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:32 pm
by Tetsuwan Penguin
There are two types of M.2 slots, PCIE and SATA. If your computer has one of these, make sure that any SSD you get is compatible. Some motherboards can autoconfigure to make use of both. Also some motherboards will disable one or two SATA connectors if a SATA M.2 slot is used. has an app on their website to let you know what parts are compatible with your system. (they sell memory and SSD upgrades).

Yes, Microsoft has issued security updates for XP decades after it was no longer officially supported, but that was for a VERY high profile issue, and the government and the press had put pressure on them to do it. OTOH, most of the branches of the Linux kernel are STILL officially being maintained with security updates. If you can find instructions on the web, you can disable most of the most objectionable behaviors of W10, making it a reasonable update to W7, that is if you can live with the new desktop layout. At least W10 did add multiple workspaces (virtual desktops) which Linux has had for years. Not quite as 'clean' as Linux, but useable.

Re: thinking of a solid-state drive for W10 upgrade

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:17 pm
by jeffbert
Thanks, guys. I never heard of M.2.

I popped off the top, & saw 2 card slots unused, one is white connector, other is black. 4 RAM slots, 2 have removal tabs at one end, 2 at other. Numbered 1 - 4. 1 & 3 are occupied. Assuming 4GB in each.

My pc was eligible for free w10, so I tried it several years ago. did not like it! So, I ended up using image to restore W&.

Assuming I install 10 on a new SSD, will I need to pay? I am thinking yes, because without W7 on the HDD when installing 10, it has no way of knowing I merit free upgrade.

But, I dread putting 7 on the SDD 1st (just to get 10 free) because it has always been flaky. far too often says "not responding", though only for a few seconds.

Also, lately it has had times when the whole system, including pointer, is unresponsive. If as usual, I am streaming audio, it sounds like a jackhammer, though only for about 2 seconds. I usually have quite a few panels or windows open CHROME has 42, which always load every time I open the browser. I know, you will ask, why so many? It is just convenient.

Re: thinking of a solid-state drive for W10 upgrade

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:55 pm
by Tetsuwan Penguin
You should have the product key for W7 (on CD/DVD install media, or sticker on your computer), and that will qualify you for free update to W10. Just enter the key when installing W10. You don't need to be running W7 when installing W10, but you DO need a bootable copy of the install media (CD/DVD or USB stick).