Archive for the 'Solid-State Drives' Category

How to Fix Windows 7 Unable to Create or Find a System Partition on an SSD

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Windows LogoMy primary hard drive died, and I decided to replace it with an SSD to help speed up my system. When I tried to install Windows 7 on the new drive, however, I kept getting this error message: “Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition. See the Setup log files for more information.” (<RANT>And just WHERE would these log files BE?!?</RANT>) Most of the “solutions” on the web dealt with correctly configuring the disk partition. I had used the Windows installer to set up the partition, but just to make sure, I booted into Linux and set the boot flag for the partition. Didn’t work. So I used DiskPart from the Windows recovery console. Didn’t work either.

Finally I came across an article that mentioned BIOS settings, and that did the trick. The SATA Mode (that’s what it’s called in my setup program but it varies) was set to IDE and needed to be AHCI. After making that change the install went smoothly. The article also said that you should not use Intel® Smart Response Technology, which is another BIOS option.

Wiping Solid-state Drives, Part 2

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Hard DriveHere at Chad’s News, we’ve previously discussed the issues involved in securely wiping files stored on a solid-state drive (SSD). The linked article summarizes another, more recent study on the topic that pretty much says the same thing: the only way to ensure that you’ve securely wiped an SSD is to physically destroy the hard drive. Other methods may work, but they are not universally reliable.


Tips For Optimizing an SSD

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Tip JarSolid-state hard drives (SSDs) are quite different from regular, platter-based hard drives. And many of the techniques that optimize normal drives, such as defragmentation, are either unnecessary on SSDs or can actually decrease performance or reduce the drive’s lifespan. The linked article has several tips on optimizing the performance of your SSD under Windows.

Thanks to John from Boulder for this link.


Wiping Solid-state Drives

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Hard DriveThere are well-defined procedures for permanently erasing data from a traditional hard drive. But for solid-state drives (SSDs), which use Flash memory instead of magnetic platters, things are quite different. The problem stems from two peculiarities of SSDs: “they can only erase data in larger chunks than they can write it, and their storage cells can only be written a certain number of times (10,000 is standard) before they start to fail.” Because of these, SSD firmware does a lot of behind-the-scenes manipulations when writing data to the drive.

Researchers at UCSD have determined the following:

  1. Built-in erase commands are effective, but are sometimes implemented incorrectly.
  2. Overwriting the entire visible address space of an SSD twice is usually, but not always, sufficient to sanitize the drive.
  3. None of the existing techniques for individual file sanitization are effective on SSDs.

That being said, law enforcement agencies are finding that it’s hard to do forensics on SSDs because the drive automatically wipes a significant percentage of deleted data without any intervention by the user. This may seem like a direct contradiction to what the UCSD team determined, but the difficulty there was with the purposeful sanitization of data as well as with the erasure of individual files. So while it’s difficult to wipe everything, it’s also hard to prevent some amount of deleted data from being wiped automatically.

The Ars Technica article (link #3 below) briefly discusses the article in link #1, and then goes on to mention other erasure techniques that are coming down the pipeline. For right now, however, they suggest encrypting the drive as a good way to keep private data secure.

Link #1:…
(via Slashdot)

Link #2:…
(via Slashdot)

Link #3:…

Why Should I Be Concerned About SSD Garbage Collection

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Hard DriveThe linked article explains garbage collection in solid-state drives (SSDs), including what it is, why it’s needed, and and why you should consider it when purchasing an SSD. The author also discusses the SSD “trim” function: what it does, when it’s necessary, and which OS versions support it.


Pitfalls of Solid-State Hard Drives at the Enterprise Level

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Hard DriveHere at the Chad’s News Network Command Center, we haven’t yet taken plunge and purchased an SSD, even though we know it’s a simple-but-expensive way to speed up a computer. SSDs are becoming more popular, and as the prices decrease, more system administrators are thinking about using them at the enterprise level. Unfortunately, all is not well, and enterprise SSDs may not be such a good idea—or at least should cause one to take a good, hard look at their specifications.

The linked article warns about the case where an SSD’s internal transfer rate isn’t fast enough to support both its external transfers and its wear leveling activities. In such a case, the effective transfer rate will drop below the advertised rate, sometimes by a significant amount. The author also warns about using SSDs in a RAID system. The SSDs are simply too fast for the current crop of high-end RAID controllers, thus lowering the effective transfer rate of the drives due to bottlenecks in the RAID hardware.

Please note that these issues only apply to high-performance, high-traffic systems. They won’t affect the normal person with a single-user desktop or laptop computer.

(via Slashdot)

Speed Up That Old Computer With an SSD

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Hard DriveThe best way to speed up older computers is by adding more memory. But in lieu of that, replacing the hard drive with a solid-state drive (SSD) gives a significant speed benefit. The linked article does note, however, that it’s almost more cost-effective to purchase a new computer.


Why SSD Performance Worsens Over Time

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Hard DriveAstute Chad’s News readers already know that the performance of a Solid State Drive (SSD) deteriorates over time. The linked article explains why this slowdown occurs, and also describes how SSD manufacturers are working around the problem.


Coming Soon: 1TB Solid State Drives

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Hard DriveA company named pureSilicon revealed a new line of fast, high-capacity SSDs at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show. The drives, which have storage capacities up to 1TB and a maximum transfer rate of about 300MB/s, are scheduled for release in early 2009. No word on the cost, but it’ll probably be on the high side.

Thanks to Josh for this topic.


Securely Wiping a Solid State Drive

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Hard DriveTurns out that wiping data from an SSD is much easier than from a traditional magnetic hard drive.

(via digg)

Solid State Drives Invade the Enterprise

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Hard DriveSolid state hard drives (SSDs) aren’t just for laptops anymore—they’re making inroads into the server market. IT managers like them because they run faster and don’t use as much power, which compensates for the high price. And as far as capacity goes, IBM is testing a 4 TB SSD array. Before you switch out your hard drives, however, be aware that not all is perfect in SSD-land. Regular hard drives are still more cost-effective for systems that perform lots of non-sequential read operations or lots of write operations.

Vista and Solid State Hard Drives Don’t Play Friendly

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Hard DriveFrom the article: “Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid-state disk[s].” So instead of asking Microsoft to change Windows, the SSD manufacturers are modifying their drive controllers to “compensate for Vista shortfalls.”

(via Slashdot)

Update: Ars Technica has an update on this topic. Samsung is taking action to help resolve the problem.