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  • Writer's pictureDawson Bodenhamer

SSD Lifespan: Your SSD Might Be Reaching Its Old Age

Updated: 3 days ago

an old man made from computer parts

Did you know all storage drives have a specific lifespan? Let’s embark on a mystical journey into the realm of SSDs and uncover how to find out how much time before your drive kicks the bucket, and a few tips for helping it last a little bit longer.

In Case You're Still Using an HDD...

Transitioning from the ancient spinning realms of hard disk drives (HDDs) to the swift, silent magic of solid-state drives (SSDs) is like swapping a broomstick for a dragon. Without the cumbersome moving parts that plague their older cousins, SSDs offer not only superior durability but also spellbinding speed that can awaken any sluggish system.

Understanding SSD Technology

Deep within the heart of every SSD lies a labyrinth of NAND flash memory, a spell book where data is inscribed and erased. Unlike the spinning discs inside HDDs, SSDs endure less physical trauma but must manage their magical essence—write cycles—wisely to avoid wearing out their mystical powers prematurely. The art of wear leveling can be understood by likening it to a wizard after a large meal— he wipes his hands on a different area of his tunic each time, so as to maximize the amount of time before it needs washing.

Optimizing Your SSD's Lifespan for Longevity

To ensure your SSD doesn't turn into a pumpkin at midnight, tweaking its environment is essential. Keep the spirits of your operating system in high spirits with regular updates and make sure they recognize the TRIM charm—a spell that helps SSDs automatically tidy up unused data spells. Firmware incantations from your SSD’s maker can also enhance its endurance and keep it running smoothly.

We wish we didn't have to get technical (just kidding, we love getting technical) so here's the breakdown:

  1. Enable TRIM Command:

  • How to Enable: On Windows, you can check if TRIM is enabled by opening Command Prompt as an administrator and typing fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify. It should return 0, indicating TRIM is enabled. If it returns 1, enable it by typing fsutil behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0.

  • Source: According to Kingston Technology's guide on SSD management, enabling TRIM can help maintain the SSD’s performance and extend its lifespan by allowing the SSD to handle garbage collection more efficiently.

  1. System Updates:

  • How to Update: Ensure that your SSD firmware and operating system are up-to-date. For firmware updates, visit the manufacturer's website (e.g., Samsung SSD users can download the Samsung Magician software to update firmware). For Windows updates, go to Settings > Windows Update.

  • Source: Samsung’s official SSD guide underscores the importance of firmware updates in optimizing SSD performance and fixing bugs that might affect longevity.

  1. Optimize System Settings:

  • How to Optimize: Disable unnecessary features that write data frequently. For instance, in Windows, you can disable indexing on your SSD by right-clicking on the drive in 'This PC', selecting 'Properties', and unchecking 'Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed'.

  • Source: Microsoft's performance tuning guidelines for Windows suggest that disabling indexing can reduce wear on the SSD, as it decreases the number of write operations performed.

  1. Choose the Right File System:

  • How to Format: When formatting an SSD, select a file system that supports TRIM and is designed for SSDs. For instance, APFS for macOS can be selected when formatting a new drive using Disk Utility, and for Windows, NTFS is recommended but should be configured properly.

  • Source: Apple’s documentation on APFS discusses its benefits for SSDs, including improved space allocation and support for TRIM, which help prolong the drive's usable life.

Preventive and Maintenance Practices

Beware a common hex that can drain your SSD’s vitality— a severe lack of free space. Maintain a sanctuary of at least 20% free space when possible, as SSDs perform their magic best when they aren’t overwhelmed. No idea what's clogging your drive? Check out the free and powerful potion called WinDirStat (Windows Directory Statistics). It's the author's personal favorite, giving you an "at a glance" visual representation of each file's size. Employing potions like CrystalDiskInfo, HWiNFO64, or the Samsung Magician can help you monitor the health of your SSD, predicting future ailments and allowing you to prepare defenses.

Tools for Monitoring Health

In the enchanted world of SSDs, no drive is immortal. To foresee the lifespan of your trusty SSD, you must delve into the arcane art of monitoring its health. Just as a crystal ball reveals unseen truths, (not really) we present... another one of the author's favorite free programs: HWiNFO64 (Hardware Info 64). This amazing little program serves as your magical lens into the realm of your SSD's durability.

How to Determine Your SSD's Remaining Lifespan:

  1. Summon HWiNFO64: Launch the HWiNFO64 application, a sorcerer's tool that provides a detailed glimpse into the inner workings of your SSD.

  2. Consult the Scrolls of Data: On the Main Window, navigate to the section detailing your SATA or NVMe drives, depending on which kind you have. Here you will find the total number of reads and writes your drive has performed so far—its digital age.

  3. Research the Total Limit: Google the exact model name of your drive (for instance, WD_BLACK SN850X 1000GB or Samsung SSD 980 PRO 2TB, but yours might be different) and then add "max endurance TBW limit." This should bring you to the right source.

  4. Calculate the Remaining Magic: Compare the total possible writes your SSD can handle with how many it has already performed. This will give you a clear picture of how much life remains in your digital tome.

  5. Never Trust the Internet: What we mean here is that you should never take a gamble on a drive, no matter how "young" it might seem. Always store your data in multiple places.

Wrapping Up

We know that in the grand tapestry of computing, it can all sometimes seem like too much to think about. But never fear! Simply Summon the Wizard! and we'll take care of it all for you! Wizard Electronics is ever-ready to assist in enhancing and preserving the magic of your technological treasures.

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