I've recently received an assembled PC. I don't know if the disk is an SSD or old HDD (whether SATA or other technologies).

I can't find a way to tell if the disk is SSD or not, apart from the size of the disk. However, now that the sizes of SSDs are getting close to that of HDDs, checking the size is not a good and robust way to distinguish drive type. Is there some other way to determine if the disk is an SSD?

  • 3
    @Louis that was true of older Windows versions but never ones are enhanced to correctly identify and distinguish SSDs from regular hard disks. This is important because the underlying technology of SSD is different. An SSD-agnostic OS can wear and damage it more quickly if the disk is treated as a regular hard disk, by running tools on it which are meant to improve the performance of a regular hard disk. Like defragmentation, for example.
    – ADTC
    Nov 15, 2014 at 20:38
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    @ADTC I see you are correct. The ATA command set can report the Nominal Media Rotation Rate in RPMs or as 1 for non-rotating. i.stack.imgur.com/Gh6a2.png Nov 15, 2014 at 21:23
  • Note that most of these solutions will only work if the drives are directly connected. If they're part of a RAID volume, the OS likely won't be able to tell what the underlying storage is.
    – Bob
    Nov 16, 2014 at 8:08
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    Another option: Run a disk benchmark. If the non-sequential read speed is terrible, it's an HDD, otherwise it's an SSD or a hybrid. :)
    – reirab
    Nov 16, 2014 at 8:42
  • @reirab - Or you've got some kind of miraculous hard disk that has random speeds as good as an SSD, at which point why would you care what the difference was? :)
    – Jules
    Nov 16, 2014 at 18:21

3 Answers 3


Actually, there's a much simpler solution.

Windows Drive Optimizer (formerly Disk Defragmenter) reports whether a drive is an HDD or SSD. You can access this utility by pressing Windows+S, searching for "optimize", and selecting Defragment and optimize your drives.

Windows Drive Optimizer showing the media type

This will generally work in any system where the disks are not plugged into a RAID card. However, if the OS cannot determine the media type (e.g. the drives are in a hardware RAID), the above solution won't work, although a program such as CrystalDiskInfo may still be able to help. If you still can't tell whether the drive(s) is an HDD or SSD, you may need to open the computer case and examine the actual drive(s).

Alternatively, you can use the PowerShell Get-PhysicalDisk cmdlet. Here's what it looks like on my custom desktop:

PS C:\Windows\system32> Get-PhysicalDisk | select FriendlyName,BusType,MediaType

FriendlyName         BusType MediaType
------------         ------- ---------
NVMe Samsung SSD 960 NVMe    SSD
SanDisk SDSSDH31024G SATA    SSD
  • @JakeGould If the default defragmenter isn't disabled or replaced by other defragmenter. ;-) Nov 16, 2014 at 8:47
  • Nice! Many systems combine a small SSD with a large HDD and this really clarifies what drive is being used for what. Much better answer than using the Device Manager and googling.
    – Jason
    Nov 17, 2014 at 6:10
  • Note: If you have One Note 2013 installed, Win + S starts a new screen capture. Nov 17, 2014 at 22:45
  • @KronoS I was going to edit the answer for this, but apparently it only applies to OneNote without the current updates.
    – Jason
    Nov 19, 2014 at 16:41
  • Win10 (for me) built in defragger says "Fixed Hard Drive" for the Media Type. What is that, just non-removable? How do I know if there's a rotating disc in it or not? Jan 25, 2019 at 14:33

Run Device Manager (devmgmt.msc), expand "Disk drives" node, see the model number of your drive, and search for it online.

  • Or do the same from the BIOS. :)
    – Hennes
    Nov 15, 2014 at 10:08
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    @Hennes Or look inside the computer ;p Nov 15, 2014 at 10:25
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    Best and probably least invasive solution. +1
    – Wingblade
    Nov 15, 2014 at 14:33
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    @Louis Wouldn't work if its a remove computer (ie my work computer). Nov 16, 2014 at 2:32
  • 3
    +1 the accepted answer doesn't work on Windows 7, this does
    – Matt Frear
    Apr 15, 2015 at 10:22

Just because it hasn't been mentioned yet, Speccy is great for seeing in depth information about every component in your computer, including your hard drive.

Detailed specs

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