How to Extend the Lifespan of an SSD

Solid-state drives are fast becoming the number one storage medium for computer manufacturers. The disadvantage of SSDs over HDDs is the comparatively limited lifespan – so how can you make yours last?

Unlike their mechanical counterpart – the hard disk drive – solid-state drives don’t contain any moving parts. SSDs store data as electrical charges on NAND flash memory chips, as opposed to magnetically on spinning platters.  This makes SSDs more durable, and less susceptible to mechanical failure. In addition, they are also incredibly resilient, and can handle shock and vibration without suffering from data loss. However, SSDs aren’t damage proof – they are still prone to electrical damage, controller failure, and firmware corruption, to name a few issues. We’ve discussed the lifespan of SSDs before, but how do you extend your drive’s lifespan as far as possible?

There are several steps you can take to ensure the longevity of your SSD. Defragging will be beneficial to a mechanical hard disk drive, but will in fact do more harm than good on a solid-state drive. Data on SSDs in stored as blocks, and the drive can read these blocks anywhere within the drive, regardless of whether they’re scattered or not. Because SSDs can only withstand a limited number of read/write cycles, don’t defrag. If you’re running a Windows operating system, make sure disk defragmentation is disabled in Control Panel.  You should also not fill your SSD to full capacity. When your drive is nearing full capacity, it will require more time to find space, and may move files around. We recommend leaving about 25% of your SSD’s capacity free.

TRIM is your SSD’s first line of defence. It is a command that allows an operating system to inform an SSD which blocks of data aren’t considered in use and can be wiped. However, not all SSDs support TRIM. To find out if your SSD does, run a program such as CrystalDiskInfo, which displays the TRIM status under “Supported Features”. If you’ve established your SSD supports TRIM, you then need to check if Windows is utilising the feature. If Windows is treating your drive as an SSD, it will have TRIM enabled. To check, enter the Command Prompt fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify. If it displays "DisableDeleteNotify = 0", then TRIM is enabled. If not, change your SSD’s settings in the Device Manager so Windows recognises it as one.

SSD Lifespan