Note: Not a duplicate, for I need an answer for Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. The solution for 8 and above does not work for Windows 7 or Vista.

I often talk with naive users who have no idea what's in their system, and less interest, and who use Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, or 10.

Some maintenance processes for the software I support differ if an SSD is installed vs an HDD, i.e., defragmentation. I need a solution which works on every Vista or 7 machine, which means no third party apps, only native Microsoft 'ware.

Asking the naive user to reboot, go into the BIOS, obtain the drive model, and then search for the drive by model and then parse out if SSD or HDD is too complex, so a suggestion of how to discover in Windows if an SSD is installed in lieu of an HDD is desired.

Use of tools already in Windows is required; third party apps are not viable.

Thank you.

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    @K7AAY It's exactly the same procedure on Windows XP upwards; your question is a duplicate. The highest upvoted answer here is even an exact mirror of the accepted answer there. – AStopher Jun 2 '16 at 18:14
  • @cyber Clearly not. The Windows XP Defrag utility does not report whether or not a disk is an SSD. No one had SSDs when Windows XP was released back in 2002. Furthermore, while you are correct that the top-scoring answers to both questions say the same thing, you must have missed the explicit caveat: "There actually is an easy way to do that from Windows 8 and up". Therefore, this is clearly not a duplicate. – Cody Gray Jun 7 '16 at 9:33
  • That does not work on my Win7 at work. No Optimize under Tools. – K7AAY Jun 8 '16 at 11:48
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    @K7AAY Is the machine in a domain? Might Group Policy settings be restricting the tools available? – AStopher Jun 9 '16 at 11:43
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    @phuclv Why not? The Windows XP Defrag utility does not report whether or not a disk is an SSD. – K7AAY Sep 6 '18 at 15:15

I would probably have the user run wmic from the start menu then have them type diskdrive get caption

wmic:root\cli>diskdrive get caption
HGST HDN724030ALE640
Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
Kingston DataTraveler 2.0 USB Device

"Do any of them say SSD?"

If it's not obvious, then do the googling you mentioned. This is the least intrusive solution to the user, and the easiest to communicate, in my opinion. And since this is WMI based you could do it remotely in a domain environment.

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    That'll tell you something useful but may need a bit of additional googling, as you mention. On my system it reported two Samsung drives with model numbers, e.g., SAMSUNG MZ7LN512HCHP-000L1. Googling that brought up a page of results all of which had "SSD" or "Solid" in the title or snippet. Thus I'm fairly confident, using this method, that I have a dual-SSD system. – davidbak Jun 2 '16 at 16:49

There actually is an easy way to do that from Windows 8 and up:

  1. Right-click on the partition you want to check. Make sure it belongs to the correct disk.
  2. Check Properties
  3. Select the second tab, Tools
  4. Choose Optimize

The new window should list all partitions and the type of the corresponding data container (here Solid State Drive and Hard Disk Drive).

Checking the disk type in Windows 10 in English

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    I've edited in a picture of the steps in an English edition of windows. – TheKB Jun 2 '16 at 14:20
  • I wonder where it's pulling the Media Type from. It doesn't match up with anything I can find in WMI. – Devil's Advocate Jun 2 '16 at 18:27
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    Does not work. No Optimize under Tools on my Win7 at work. – K7AAY Jun 8 '16 at 11:46
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    The question clearly asks for Windows 7 and Vista and your answer clearly states it is only applicable for Windows 8+. – Eric Sep 24 '16 at 13:46
  • @Eric - Do note, however, that the requirement of working on Windows 7 was added after I provided this approach. – Tacticus Sep 24 '16 at 23:49

This only works on Win 8+ https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh848686%28v=wps.620%29.aspx

get the user to somehow open PowerShell, and let him run the following Command.

example output:

PS C:\Users\xy> (get-physicaldisk).MediaType
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    What operating system versions does this work on? – Cody Gray Jun 2 '16 at 16:04
  • @CodyGray Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1. It doesn't work on Windows 7. – DavidPostill Jun 2 '16 at 17:43
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    Your answer doesn't work on Windows Vista, 7, or 8 as required by the question. – DavidPostill Jun 2 '16 at 17:45
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    @DavidPostill you're right. maybe I didn't see it or it was edited. I will update my answer and refer to the OS restriction. – SimonS Jun 2 '16 at 18:20
  • @david Then why did you close this question as a duplicate of one that explicitly asks for a procedure on Windows 8 and later? cybermonkey's comment suggests that the procedure is the same, but that is incorrect. Defrag on Windows XP does not provide this information. The answer that suggests it here even has a giant caveat about it only working on Windows 8 and later... – Cody Gray Jun 7 '16 at 9:32

I've been playing with diskovery for a bit. Its in beta as of june 2015, but does a pretty good job working out what your drives are, and giving you SMART data enter link description here

Its a simple, standalone/portable application, and its got a great, simple UI. Just get them to read off the top left hand corner and you're good.

It'll also tell you if the drives are RAIDed and what raid level, which is handy, depending on your setup

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  • I need a native solution for Vista and 7. If it works with later, great, but I can't count on Ma and Pa Kettle being able to download third party apps. – K7AAY Jul 30 '16 at 0:15
  • It seems a bit unfair to move the goalposts several months after the initial question was asked. I'm trading off the difficulty of running an arcane command for the lesser difficulty of downloading something. – Journeyman Geek Jul 30 '16 at 0:44
  • You notice the folks above who nuked this because I did not specify native solutions only? That's why. – K7AAY Jul 30 '16 at 0:45

Another solution is to use HDDScan. It's a portable tiny program that, once open, let's the user select any drive (if multiple are available) and gets the exact model number back.

Example Picture

Looking up that model number on Google, the first result will show you what kind of drive it is.

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    downvoted because there is absolutely no reason for a third party app – SimonS Jun 2 '16 at 14:24
  • @SimonS That's a bit rich because your answer doesn't work on Windows Vista, 7, or 8 as required by the question. – DavidPostill Jun 2 '16 at 17:45
  • This should be a comment, as the first sentence of this answer said. – AStopher Jun 2 '16 at 18:16
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    @DavidPostill you're right again. but even if my answer is not entirely correct, there's still no need for a third party app because you can do it via native GUI methods. plus you would have to explain to the user how to get it on his computer and if the user is a bit naive like the OP says, this could be a little tricky. – SimonS Jun 2 '16 at 18:29
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    @SimonS: Almost anything can be done by native means if you know how to do it and aren't afraid to get your hands dirty. So that, alone, isn't a reason to disparage all 3rd party apps. However, you're right that a software rec should contain information on how to use it to solve the problem. In this case, the only missing piece of instruction is how to unzip and run the software, which is a pretty basic task. The included link has pretty extensive guidance, and the gist of the solution is shown here with a picture. – fixer1234 Jun 2 '16 at 20:32

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