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XP on SSD

morgan2476
Grafter
Posts: 279
Registered: 13-08-2007

XP on SSD

I am considering getting a SSD.  Are there any issues with these drives and windows xp?  Thanks
1 REPLY
CX
Grafter
Posts: 745
Thanks: 2
Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: XP on SSD

There aren't any real show-stoppers, but you need to be aware of things such as lack of TRIM support due to no AHCI driver (although regular garbage collection should work if you go for something like the Samsung 830). You also need to ensure that you disable any scheduled defragmentation, which is unnecessary and detrimental to an SSD's life.
One big issue is Windows XP's lack of awareness of 4K sectors. XP creates disk partitions starting on sector 63, which is not a multiple of 4KB. SSDs will perform horribly in certain situations if the partition isn't correctly aligned to 4KB (typically, they will be aligned so that they start 1MB from the start of the disk). You can use a 3rd party partitioning tool to create a suitable partition (e.g. a Linux live CD), or use a modern cloning/imaging tool like Macrium Reflect to backup and restore with the correct alignment. Some retail-boxed SSDs come with appropriate tools on a CD, I believe.
Finally, irrespective of operating system, it is worth over-provisioning the SSD to extend its life, and potentially improve performance further. So if you buy a 120GB SSD, only format 100GB of space, leaving the rest untouched. Most SSDs leave the factory with between 5-10% over-provisioning anyway (which you can't change), but it is worth doing more if you don't need all the space.
Hardware-wise, research carefully the SSD you plan on buying. I have had no problems with the old Intel X25-m or more recently Samsung 830, but others, particularly Sandforce-based, have compatibility issues with certain SATA controllers.
Ignore suggestions about disabling the page file. There should always be at least some pagefile space available to Windows.