I just upgraded my laptop with a new SSD and Windows 8 Pro and found a nice guide for optimizing Hard Drives and Solid State Drives (SSD) here. For an SSD optimization includes reducing the disk space usage of the Operating System and reducing the number of writes to the drive. Below are the steps that I chose to implement from the guide.
Note: The only step that I took prior to installing Windows 8 on my SSD was to check that ACHI SATA mode was enabled in the BIOS. If you are unsure how to do this check the documentation for your motherboard.
Accessing the Control Panel in Windows 8:
There are many ways to get to the Control Panel to make system changes so I will only mention the two that I like. From the Desktop press the Windows key and X together and then click on Control Panel on the pop-up menu. From the Start Screen simply start to type Control Panel and then click on it when you see it in the search results.
Note: My Control Panel is not set to Category View – so my documentation will not follow that layout (I set my view to Large Icons instead).
Turn Off Hibernation:
This will save a few Gigabytes hard drive space (but will also turn off hybrid sleep).
- From the Desktop press the Windows and X keys together and then click Command Prompt (Admin) from the pop-up menu.
- Type powercfg -h off and then press Enter.
Shrink Disk Space Usage for System Protection:
This will reduce the amount of drive space available for System Restore data.
- From the Control Panel click the System icon.
- In the left hand pane click System Protection.
- Click the Configure button and then adjust the Max Usage slider for your desired allocation of disk space.
Turn off Drive Indexing for Local Disk (C:):
Update: Turning off indexing will impact Windows 8 apps such as Mail and media apps (as noted by Fred in the comments). I can confirm that the Mail app will not list / auto-complete email addresses while indexing is turned off.
This will reduce the number of writes to your SSD. The speed of SSDs negates the typical benefit of maintaining indexing for all files on drive C.
- Open File Explorer from the Desktop (or type Computer from the Start Screen and click on Computer in the search results).
- Right click on Local Disk (C:) and select Properties from the pop-up menu.
- Un-check Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties and then click the Apply button.
- Click OK and then Continue to proceed.
- At the Error Applying Attributes windows click Ignore All and wait for the change to be completed.
Shrink the Page File?:
This will save drive space. This is more pressing when your computer has a large amount of RAM – as the Page File can become larger than the RAM installed.
The guide I referenced at the beginning of this post recommends manually reducing the Page File to between 512 and 1024MB. Initially I followed this advice but since then discovered a Technet post about Windows 8 and Automatic Memory Dump.
Automatic Memory Dump is the default for a Windows 8 install and it produces a Kernel memory dump. It was created to support the System Managed page file which has been updated to reduce the page file size primarily for small SSDs (or servers with large amounts of RAM). This allows the SMSS process to reduce the page file smaller than the size of RAM.
Obviously there is the facility to increase the size of the page file as needed. When your computer experiences a bug check a new registry key is created:
For the next 4 weeks the system managed page file will now have a minimum size of the installed RAM.
When you have fixed the system instability that is causing the bug check you can delete the aforementioned registry key if you want the page file to return to its reduced size more quickly.
With this in mind it is your call if you wish to manually set a minimum / maximum for your page file or if you want to let Windows manage it for you. You can change it as follows:
- From the Control Panel click the System icon.
- In the left hand pane click Advanced System Settings.
- Under Performance click the Settings button.
- Click the Advanced tab and under Virtual Memory click the Change button.
- Un-check the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check-box.
- Select Drive C: and then click the Custom size radio button.
- Manually set a minimum and maximum size in MB and then click OK.
Change Power Options:
Change the power plan settings – this is so that Idle Time Garbage Collection can run on your SSD when your system is idle (rather than going to sleep).
Note: This change is not recommended for laptops (where the Balanced plan will turn off hard drives after 10 minutes on battery and 20 minutes plugged in). Otherwise choose Never or another reasonable settings in minutes such as 60 or 120 below:
- From the Control Panel click Power Options.
- Select the High Performance radio button (on a laptop click Show additional plans).
- Click Change plan settings and then click Change advanced power settings.
- Expand the Hard disk option and set the Turn off hard disk after setting to Never.
- Expand the Sleep option and set the Sleep after setting to Never.
- Click OK.
Run the Windows Experience Index Assessment:
According to the guide this makes system changes to Windows when it learns that you have an SSD (which has a 0 rpm rotational speed).
- From the Control Panel click Performance Information and Tools.
- Click the Rate this computer button.
Finally, reboot your computer!