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Jan Janowski
Premium
join:2000-06-18
Skokie, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast

SSD in an older XP Home System???

We have an older Dell Desktop which was upgraded to 2Gb of ram years ago, and basically is delegated for doing taxes, and is only connected to internet for updates on OS and AV, and programs.
It's got an 80Gb drive in it, and I'm considering getting a SSD for it, but am a bit concerned that XP Home won't support The SSD properly. I know the SSD will come with a Backup and Restore program (I'm leaning toward another Samsung SSD, as it worked out so good as a Cache and Cache Database drive on my editing system)....

Again, my main concern is over XP Home supporting the SSD properly.... The Samsung "Magician" software does have a tune up program in it.... Should that being run every few months or so be enough????

Thanks for your information...

Jan
--
Looking for 1939 Indian Motocycle


rolfp

join:2011-03-27
Oakland, CA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
For about 8 years, I've got XP Pro that I visit infrequently on this desktop, so I'm relatively ignorant of all the ins and outs of the OS, couldn't say if there might be some difference between Pro and Home. However, I've moved it onto the first partition of an SSD and it seems to be working fine, normally, more responsive, probably.


FizzyMyNizzy

join:2004-05-29
New York, NY
reply to Jan Janowski
you should check what mainboard you using now, and which SATA I,II, or III does it support.


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
reply to Jan Janowski
This probably should be moved to the Microsoft forum, as it's more of a question about XP than it is about hardware.

The SSD will work fine on the XP system, but there are numerous catches you need to deal with:

1. Use AHCI. Period. If the system does not provide AHCI capability, then don't bother; you'd lose NCQ capability and it plays quite a big role with SSDs. Just get a mechanical HDD and treat it like how you have historically.

2. Partition alignment. Vista/7/8 do this mostly correct, aligning the start of their partitions to an even 1MByte boundary. XP, on the other hand, doesn't align its partition at all. The effects of this are devastating on performance (especially writes). You need to pre-create the partition for use with XP -- more on how I do that later -- then during the XP installation simply choose the existing partition + choosing Quick format. If you delete the partition ("D" I believe, then "L" for confirmation, followed by re-creating it), you will lose the alignment. I tend to align to a 2MByte boundary, since that matches the NAND erase block size of my SSD (and figuring this out is almost impossible since most vendors don't disclose what it is).

3. Some registry tweaks to help with overall performance. Be aware most advice on web is crap, as in flat out wrong -- tips like "disable your pagefile!" and other nonsense. The two registry tweaks I use are below -- the former disables the prefetcher, and the latter disables access time support on NTFS.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
 
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters]
"EnablePrefetcher"=dword:00000000
 
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction]
"Enable"="N"
 
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OptimalLayout]
"EnableAutoLayout"=dword:00000000
 

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
 
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem]
"NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate"=dword:00000001
 

And naturally make sure there's no automated defrag or anything going on too (this may be one different about Home vs. Pro, but I can't remember).

Finally, as far as partition alignment goes: the easiest way to do this is to boot into a WinPE environment (or a Windows Vista or Windows 7 "recovery" disk of some kind) and use Microsoft's CLI-based DISKPART utility. The DISKPART that comes with XP does not provide the ALIGN capability/option. Assuming the SSD is the only disk in the system, it's pretty easy. Just run DISKPART and enter:

SELECT DISK 0
CREATE PRIMARY PARTITION ALIGN=2048
ASSIGN LETTER=C
FORMAT FS=NTFS LABEL="OS" QUICK
 

Then issue EXIT until you're back at a classic command prompt, then reboot the system normally. You're done. Boot your XP installation CD, and when choosing what to install to, there should already be a partition there labelled "OS" -- pick that, and when XP warns you about "installing to an already created partition" just tell it yeah fine whatever, pick quick NTFS format. Do the above registry edits after the system is up/usable + reboot and you're done.

As far as booting into WinPE and so on, I'll leave that for you to deal with. There are guides online you can follow, just be aware it's a PITA a lot of the time. It's just another reason I use Active@ Disk Image, whose Boot Disk Creator actually creates a 32-bit WinPE image that I use for lots of things (DISKPART being one of them).

--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


Jan Janowski
Premium
join:2000-06-18
Skokie, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Jan Janowski
Thanks for the in-depth reply, koitsu.

It is Sata1 and I have not yet looked at AHCI capability....

I'm in agreement.... I should forgo the expense of an SSD and take a Momentus XT drive and use it there.....

I'll definitely see an improvement going from an old no Cache 4800 RPM drive to 7200 with 32 MB Cache, and the SSD Cache won't hurt!

Win--Win Situation.... no cost!

--
Looking for 1939 Indian Motocycle


Jan Janowski
Premium
join:2000-06-18
Skokie, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Jan Janowski
Just confirmed, No AHCI capability....
Thanks again.... Creating backup now.... Drive being used by a friend... Once it's back, it'll have a new home !
--
Looking for 1939 Indian Motocycle


SysOp

join:2001-04-18
Douglasville, GA
Reviews:
·MetroPCS

4 edits
Free Momentus XT is the way to go. I wouldn't spend any money on a system just for doing taxes.

1) use system suspend for instant boot up. No more waiting.
2) turn off themes
3) turn off page file, delete page file
4) turn off prefetch, clear prefetch
5) use msconfig to disable apps from starting up automatically
6) turn off hibernation, delete hibernation file
7) reboot then defrag


Jan Janowski
Premium
join:2000-06-18
Skokie, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to Jan Janowski
Actually the Acronis conversion to Momentus XT-1 drive worked very nicely.... Also re-sized partition...
Drive of course didn't fit, but it is now shock mounted to the drive tray with a strip of Velcro...
--
Looking for 1939 Indian Motocycle


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
reply to SysOp
said by SysOp:

3) turn off page file, delete page file

said by koitsu:

3. Some registry tweaks to help with overall performance. Be aware most advice on web is crap, as in flat out wrong -- tips like "disable your pagefile!" and other nonsense.

I can provide references/validation for why keeping your pagefile enabled is borderline mandatory. It's fine to move it to another disk if you want (though there's no real point), but disabling it entirely is a big no-no.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


SysOp

join:2001-04-18
Douglasville, GA
Reviews:
·MetroPCS

4 edits
No thanks, I respectfully disagree. I have enough ram, and it's not mandatory. Page file was needed back with Windows 95, but with today's modern systems full of ram, it's a thing of the past.

Oh, and I like the performance of NOT having a page file. Disabling it is a big performance yes-yes.


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
Are you aware that Windows uses the pagefile for offloading unused portions of memory within drivers? Some software even makes the assumption that the pagefile is enabled, including some Microsoft software (perfmon comes to mind). References:

»lifehacker.com/5426041/understan···sable-it
»www.tweakhound.com/2011/10/10/th···out-one/
»superuser.com/questions/41439/an···l-paging
»technicallyeasy.net/2011/07/disa···be-done/
»www.howtogeek.com/126430/htg-exp···able-it/

There is irony in the "page file was needed back with Windows 95" statement, as it implies that because today's Windows OS is newer (i.e. Vista/7/8) that somehow there's no need for the pagefile. Surprise: the pagefile is used for lots of other things than just "out of memory" situations, solely as a result of technological evolution that's occurred since Windows 95.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
In the past I tried to disable pagefile several times on various Windoze machines with 'insane' amounts of RAM (i.e. Win98 with 0.5 or 1 Gig, Win2k with 3 or 4 Gig) and while the systems didn't crash immediately, in general they were much less stable compared to their pagefile enabled states.
--
Wacky Races 2012!


SysOp

join:2001-04-18
Douglasville, GA
Reviews:
·MetroPCS
reply to koitsu
OMG you are right. The fear of instability is a reason not to even try this. Ignore that windows 7 is stable with or with out a page file.

Kids, do not try this at home. You could crash your system so bad it could blow up and catch your house on fire, killing everyone on earth.


SysOp

join:2001-04-18
Douglasville, GA
reply to aurgathor
Win98/Win2k/WinXP are much less stable than Win7 regardless.

Aranarth

join:2011-11-04
Stanwood, MI
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
reply to Jan Janowski
there is absolutely nothing wrong with leaving the 80gig hd in there and putting the pagefile on that.

You can set the page file on c: to zero (momentus xt) and the put a 4gig page file on the 80gig'er. (windows will give you a nasty warning but you can ignore it.)

You WILL see a speed boost because the machine can use the swap file at the same time it is reading or writing to the primary hd. And if the hdd is blank you will have a permanent swap file right at the outside edge of the platter instead of being at the ~1/2 point. On older IDE systems you would need to make sure the other hd is on a separate controller (cable), with sata it doesn't matter.

n_w95482
Premium
join:2005-08-03
Ukiah, CA
reply to koitsu
said by koitsu:

1. Use AHCI. Period. If the system does not provide AHCI capability, then don't bother; you'd lose NCQ capability and it plays quite a big role with SSDs. Just get a mechanical HDD and treat it like how you have historically.

If you're just referring to performance characteristics of having it enabled, I'll have to disagree with the suggestion of no AHCI=no SSD.

I'm using an SSD on my nearly 7-year-old Dell laptop, and noticed a good performance increase with it. In Dell's infinite wisdom, they never provided an option in that model's BIOS to enable AHCI, even though the southbridge (ICH7-M) supports it. The ICH7-M is also capped at 1.5 Gbps, instead of 3 like the desktop versions, not to mention the drive I put in can do 6.

Comparing low queue depth IOPS with the drive it replaced (Hitachi Travelstar 7K500), it's roughly 40x faster on 4k reads, 51x faster on 4k writes. There's a slight increase on read IOPS with high queue depths, and nearly double with write. Definitely not as dramatic as with AHCI, but better than nothing.

In normal use (OS booting, app launching, software updates), it's definitely a lot faster than the mechanical drive I used before. For a Core Duo-era laptop, it's quite fast .

I also did a Windows 7 test install with an Intel 320 on a Pentium 4 with 1.5 Gbps, non-AHCI SATA (ICH5 southbridge). While I didn't do tests with Windows updates or software installs, it definitely ran faster than normal and was quite responsive for a PC that old. It took slightly less than ten minutes to go from the partitioning screen to the desktop, ready to go.

Whenever I have an SSD available to test with again, I'll pop it in my Athlon XP machine and do some further testing
--
KI6RIT


ImpldConsent
Under Siege
Premium
join:2001-03-04
Mcdonough, GA
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·magicjack.com
reply to koitsu
said by koitsu:

I can provide references/validation for why keeping your pagefile enabled is borderline mandatory. It's fine to move it to another disk if you want (though there's no real point), but disabling it entirely is a big no-no.

Kind of a definitive statement with outdated references. Most of the references are on 4-8GB boxes with low commits (unless bench testing to prove/disprove). I think the debate is still out there on >12GB boxes and even reaching the 11GB commit. I've reached a 12/16GB commit but I was pounding the box on CS5 and about 10 separate windows - multi-monitor for days. That was EXTREME to meet a deadline (another story). I've been no pagefile for years (4) without a hiccup and I'd challenge anyone to reach and maintain the commit levels I've generated (IMHE - xperienc).

I'm not convinced the latest/greatest write-limit/wear leveling wizardness on SSD has been solved. 20GB/day seems to be the golden write ticket for setting a longevity point. That's not a point I'd want to place a pagefile on. I'd recommend keeping the Windows managed pagefile but taking it OFF the SSD (20GB/day ... pshaw) if you do one at all.
--
That's "MISTER" Kafir to you.


SysOp

join:2001-04-18
Douglasville, GA
Reviews:
·MetroPCS
reply to Aranarth
1. Yes, if your app requires a page file this would be a good idea.

2. Page file, Swap file are two different things.

3. Not exactly. When transferring a file between storage media a swap file is not used. Think about it, why write a swap file then read the swap file to then write the file? That is what buffers are for. HDD/SSD have ram buffers and windows uses ram for write caching when the HDD is busy reading. Ideal when you only have one HDD.

With SSD I've turned off write caching on my workstation. Now there is a new topic for you to debate.