SSD slow? You can do this against it in Windows 11 and 10

SSD slow? You can do this against it in Windows 11 and 10

If the SSD is slow or Windows boots slowly, there could be several reasons. We'll tell you what it could be and what you can do about it.

There are few hardware upgrades that are as noticeable on a computer as changing from a magnetic hard drive to an SSD. For several years now, NVMe storage has even been the successor to the SSD.

But SSDs are not free from problems either. There are several causes that can cause an SSD to perform slower than it should. We'll tell you why this could be and what you can do about it.

Check the SSD speed

You can relatively easily check for yourself how fast your SSD reads and writes data. It is best to use the CrystalDiskMark program, which you can download for free from various websites.

CrystalDiskMark shows you the read and write speed of a selected hard drive on your computer in MB / s by simulating data access and write commands. Depending on your requirements, the program carries out a sequence of read and write processes, with the performance of the SSD decreasing with each pass. This is related to the heat development that inevitably occurs when the data carrier is used intensively.

CrystalDiscMark-01

CrystalDiscMark checks the performance of your drives. Image: © CrystalDiscMark / Screenshot: 2021

The first value in each case is particularly important. That should be about the level that the manufacturer specifies. In our example, we tested an NVMe SSD with a maximum read speed of 3,600 MB / s and a maximum read speed of 2,000 MB / s. The achieved values are in the target window or even above, which makes it clear that the SSD is working with the intended speed.

Not all SSDs are the same

Not every SSD is created equal. For example, there are significant differences in speed between the older SATA-3 SSDs and the newer NVMe SSDs, which sit directly on the motherboard of a computer via an M.2 slot. It is best to find out how fast your SSD should actually be before the test so that you can then classify the result correctly.

If the SSD is actually too slow, you should check the following settings and fix them if necessary.

Slow SSD due to bug in Windows 11

Several Windows 11 users have complained in the past few weeks about slower SSDs since the update. Apparently there is still a bug in the operating system (as of December 2021) that can affect the performance of the hard drives. However, it is not yet known when this will be remedied. However, the bug does not affect all Windows 11 users, but apparently only a small part.

1. Create as much free space as possible

An SSD becomes slower the more it is written on. If the data carrier is only half full, it will perform faster than if the memory cells are fully occupied.

The simplest solution to this problem is to delete unnecessary data. You can also deactivate Windows' sleep mode. This ensures that as much data as possible from current applications is temporarily stored so that it is immediately available again when there is renewed activity.

You can deactivate the hibernation under " Settings> System> Energy> Screen and energy saving mode ". Please note, however, that the PC will then use more energy in standby because it can no longer switch to sleep mode if it is inactive for a longer period of time.

2. Activate the TRIM function for faster SSD

With normal HDD drives, data that belong together must be stored in neighboring regions of the hard disk for the fastest possible access. That is why Windows is programmed to sort certain files continuously in the background.

For an SSD, however, the storage location of individual files on the hard drive is irrelevant. The automatic sorting is therefore more of a hindrance and costs performance. You can turn it off with the TRIM command.

TRIM Windows

The TRIM command stops unnecessary sorting of the SSD data. Image: © Microsoft / Screenshot: 2021

  1. Open the Windows search box and type in " Command Prompt ".
  2. Right click on the search result and select "Run as administrator ".
  3. Copy the command fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify into the input field and confirm with the Enter key.
  4. If a "0 " appears as the result of the started process, TRIM is already activated.
  5. If, however, a " 1 " appears, you have to activate TRIM by copying the command fsutil behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0 into the command field and confirming with Enter.
  6. Then TRIM should be activated.

3. Optimize the SSD drive

One step that can help increase the speed of the SSD is "optimizing" the drive. Nothing else happens here than a TRIM command is immediately sent to the SSD, which can improve performance.

Optimize-Drives-Windows

With the program you can optimize your SSD. Image: © Microsoft / Screenshot: 2021

  1. Open Windows search and enter " defragment and optimize drives ".
  2. Open the program.
  3. Search for the SSD, select it and click the " Optimize " button.

4. Check and activate the AHCI mode

This point is relevant if your SSD is connected to the mainboard via a SATA port. The so-called AHCI ( Advanced Host Controller Interface) mode ensures that the mainboard can communicate more quickly with the connected SATA devices. First you should check whether the AHCI mode is already active.

  1. Right click on the Windows icon and open the device manager.
  2. If you see an entry in the device list that contains the abbreviation AHCI, the mode is active.
  3. Often the entry is in the menu " IDE ATA / ATAPI-Controller".
Device Manager-Windows-AHCI

If the AHCI controller appears in the device manager, everything is fine. Image: © Microsoft / Screenshot: 2021

If the entry does not appear, you have to activate the AHCI mode manually.

  1. Open the registry editor by typing the command " regedit " into the Windows search field.
  2. Follow the file path " HKEY_LOKAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesstorahci".
  3. Edit the entries "ErrorControl" and "Start" and set the respective values to " 0 ".

Then you have to restart the PC and switch directly to the BIOS before booting Windows by pressing the Del key immediately after the restart. How exactly the AHCI is activated in the computer's BIOS varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is best to have a look at the instructions for your mainboard or contact the manufacturer.

5. Update the drivers of the SSD

Like every component, the SSD in your computer also runs with its own driver software. It has to be adjusted every now and then, for example when there have been fundamental changes to the operating system or other central hardware components.

So it could be that the slowness of your SSD is due to an outdated driver. So you should check whether the driver you are using is still up to date.

  1. Right-click the Windows icon and open Device Manager.
  2. Select the folder "Drives" and then your SSD hard drive with a double click.
  3. Click on the "Driver" tab and then on "Update Driver".
  4. Select the "Automatically search for drivers" option and the Windows database will be searched for new drivers.
Device Manager Windows

Search for the SSD in Device Manager and select it. Image: © Microsoft / Screenshot: 2021

However, it is also possible that there is a new driver for the SSD that is not yet listed in the Windows database. If you know the manufacturer and model of your SSD, you can also search for a new driver on the manufacturer's website, download and install it if necessary. However, find out whether the driver is compatible with your system.

6. Check whether the SSD is cooled sufficiently

NVMe SSDs in particular tend to get very hot under high loads. The heat development has a direct impact on the performance. This can very quickly lead to a throttling of the SSD, especially in PC systems in which there is generally a poor air flow and thus a high level of basic heat.

M2 high speed SSD closeup on white background

One option to counteract this are special heat shields for the NVMe SSD. Many modern mainboards already have these on board. Check whether your mainboard has a heat shield that you can install on the SSD. Alternatively, you can retrofit an appropriate heat sink.

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7. Change the SATA connection or swap the cable

If it is an SSD that is connected to the mainboard via a SATA port, you can also try to connect it to a different post or exchange the SATA cable. In theory, a faulty connection or a defective cable can also affect performance.

However, you should be aware that you have to open the PC and tinker with the components. If in doubt, find out in advance about the SATA connections on your mainboard and which cable you could use as an alternative.

Other causes

A slow SSD can also have other causes. If you can rule out incorrect settings and the SSD is still working too slowly, there may be a defect on the hard drive or on the mainboard, for example. In such a case, it is best to contact the manufacturer of the SSD or the computer.

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summary

  1. A slow SSD can have various causes.
  2. With a program like CrystalDiskMark you can check whether the SSD is actually operating below its specifications.
  3. SSDs slow down when they are heavily filled with data. Make sure that there is enough free space on the SSD.
  4. You can use the Windows TRIM function to improve the performance of an SSD.
  5. Manually optimizing the SSD through Windows can also improve performance.
  6. For optimal performance, the SSD should operate in AHCI mode.
  7. An outdated or faulty driver can also be responsible for poor performance of the SSD.
  8. Insufficient cooling can severely reduce the performance of NVMe SSDs.
  9. A faulty SATA port or cable can negatively affect performance.

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