I'm going to get an SSD drive for my computer and install Windows XP on it. I've read online that Windows XP isn't very SSD friendly and there are things you need to do to optimize for an SSD drive.

I don't really want to do spend time configuring stuff. Is it really that important?

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    Well, the answer is simple: if you don't want to optimise for SSD, don't get one. – user3463 Sep 25 '12 at 1:51

Perhaps this document will help: http://www.internetbestsecrets.com/2007/12/optimizing-windows-xp-for-ssd-use.html

The main issue with flash based SSD is the limited number of write cycles.

Although hundreds of thousands may sound like a lot, a computer can issue hundreds of writes per second - and even though some SSD use a "smart" relocation scheme, so it spreads the writes across different sectors in order not to wear down a single area; the fact remains that paging files and temporary files cause significant degradation that can cause disk errors in just a few months of regular use.

On Linux (like on the Asus Eee PC) you can turn off the swap files with just 512Mb of Ram; on Windows XP that wouldn't be possible (and would be even worse on Vista.)

So, before considering upgrading your laptop or UMPC for SSD use, it's best to upgrade your RAM to its highest capacity.

On XP, with 2Gb of Ram you can turn off the paging file - I've done so over 2 years ago and just rarely get a "out of memory" error (and only when forcing it, like trying to use Photoshop to edit multiple 12Mpixels images while having 2 browsers with dozens of tabs open, and burning a DVD at the same time.) Under regular conditions, even with multiple browsers open, I can still play memory intensive games like ETQW and UT3 without any problem.

With no swap file, you avoid the constant disk trashing due to the page file constant reading/writing, However, there's still more to be done.

There are other programs that use disk space for temporary buffers and caches. Internet Browsers are probably the worst of them. Each time you visit a new page, hundreds of small files are written to disc to speed up future requests. Although not a big deal on magnetic hard drives, these are not well suited to SSD.

Until these programs offer a finer control on how to use their RAM/disk caches and memory usage, the most efficient way to deal with it is by using a RAM disk.

Yes, I know it sound illogical - waste RAM making it look like it's a disc... However it does work out ok for the time being.

You just need to configure your programs to use the newly created ram disk to store their temporary files.

(As an added advantage you also stop worrying about cleaning your disk and privacy issues - every time you reboot it will clear all you temporary files; though some Ram disk drivers also allow you to commit the changes to disk at shutdown time, restoring it when you boot up again.)

There still one other alternative - though it requires a fair amount of computer knowledge.

If you use the EWF (Enhanced Write Filter) originally designed for XP Embedded, it allows you to manage writes much more efficiently.

Just like Ubuntu "live CD" that allows you to boot and save files even if you don't have a hard-drive installed, the EWF reroutes all writes through a management layer which would allow you to commit the changes to disk only when absolutely necessary. Usually, when a shutdown/suspend is in order, or when some extra free memory was required. However, this is not easy to setup, and not indicated for a "normal" windows user.

  • Modern SSDs have improved wear leveling algorithms a lot (that's pretty much any SSD manufactured in 2012 or later), so this whole guide is mostly redundant now. With cell write limits at ~3000 write cycles, a rather active user will wear out their SSD after more than 10 years, which is well beyond the expected lifetime of a spinning disk. Having a page file on the SSD is exactly what will make your system faster, and allocating RAM to a RAMdisk is merely taking away precious fast cache from the OS (a cache well utilized in Windows 7 and later through SuperFetch). – Groo Feb 24 '13 at 22:40

People always say, "disable the search indexer", "disable the cache file", "disable this and that" and then, that SSD will really shine.

But as a user, I want to have a fast search (using that indexer). I want Windows to boot up faster (caching). I would never sacrifice ease of use and stability for higher figures in some benchmark. If a technology could only deliver great performance if you switch off half the convenience features of your OS, then that technology is just not ready yet.

Having said that, SSDs work just fine with all that nice stuff happily running.

Usual hard drives often break after three to five years. And if they break, they will take all your data with them. SSDs will break after a similar time. But even then, all your data will still be there. And you won't accidentally break them because you lifted your computer while running.

There is only one thing you should disable: Defragmenting is a perfect waste of time for an SSD. An SSD gains nothing by defragmenting. But with wear-leveling and whatnot, an SSD will probably not even write anything for the kind of block-moves defragmenting does. It will only update its block tables but leave the actual data untouched.

Windows XP (and OSX for the matter) do not support TRIM. This is the price we pay for using old technology or living by his Stevenesses rules. So be sure to get

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    +1 I agree, recommendations for turning off indexing and moving stuff from an SSD to a spinner "to prolong its life" are just ridiculous. If you want the speed, you have to do exactly the contrary: keep the page file, indexing database, OS, and whatever you work with a lot on the SSD. I personally keep everything there, have a regular backup service running, and enjoy the blazing speeds as they were meant to be enjoyed. :-P – Groo Feb 24 '13 at 22:50

"Most people don't use XP-64. I would safely assume this person isn't. There may be reasons to stick with XP, but if you want to use new technology don't be surprised when it doesn't work well. If you MUST or just plain want to use new tech with old, there WILL be extra work involved - which is what the OP'er is complaining about. – WernerCD Oct 26 at 14:52"

Many people don't want to use Windows 7 since it's a crappy OS. It uses systemresorces as crazy. I don't buy new hardware so the OS can use it, I buy new hardware so my programs can run faster.

Also I don't like the support for DRM or any other restrictions that's built into Windows 7.

  • I think you have mistaken Windows 7 for Vista. Windows 7 is a really good OS. It does need a bit more resources than XP, but it utilizes them way better than XP. Windows XP would not be able to utilize 8GB of RAM and an SSD the way 7 does. So, yes, if you buy your hardware to make programs run faster, then you are better off using an OS which will use it more efficiently. – Groo Feb 24 '13 at 22:58

If you are going to spend good money on new technology... why use it with old technology that obviously wasn't designed with new technology baked in?

There is nothing wrong with XP... other than the fact it's old. Old means it doesn't support the latest technology "out of the box".

If you want to use an SSD... with old technology... and don't want to take the required extra time: Then don't be surprised when, as mentioned above, your SSD only lasts a few months... when, for some strange reason, XP doesn't know how to handle it properly.

Try to use a 2TB hard drive with Windows ME. Try using 6gb of ram with xp. Might as well try using the latest NVidia card with DOS. And then complain that it takes a lot of extra effort to get working right (if at all).

  • You can use 6GB of RAM with XP as long as its 64 Bit, same way you need 64 Bit Vista or 7 to address 6Gb of RAM. Perhaps the user has other legacy software that won't run on Windows 7. Perhaps they don;t have a license and plan to upgrade later... – Joe Taylor Oct 26 '10 at 14:16
  • Most people don't use XP-64. I would safely assume this person isn't. There may be reasons to stick with XP, but if you want to use new technology don't be surprised when it doesn't work well. If you MUST or just plain want to use new tech with old, there WILL be extra work involved - which is what the OP'er is complaining about. – WernerCD Oct 26 '10 at 14:52
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    Well, if its important to do the optimizations I will. I bought a $150 SSD drive, and getting windows 7 would cost me $100. Do you think it's okay on XP as long as I do the optimizations, or do I need to buy windows 7? – Kyle Oct 26 '10 at 17:13
  • As long as you do optimizations, I think you'd be fine. Just have to go the extra mile to get old working with new. A quick search finds something like: ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/… which seems to be a good walkthru on the different settings needed for XP. – WernerCD Oct 26 '10 at 20:09

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