SSD Running Slow? (17 Excellent Ways to Fix It)

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SSD Running Slow

If you’d like to make massive improvements to the speed of your SSD, this post is going to become your go-to guide. One of the reasons why we love solid-state drives is for the enormous speed they offer compared to the traditional hard drive. But they’re not without issues. Like all hardware, SSDs degrade over time resulting in diminished performance. There are many reasons attributed to an SSD running slow. Some have nothing to do with the storage drive at all. If you find that your SSD speed is noticeably slower than it used to be, try these possible fixes.

1.    Outdated BIOS

A common reason for the painfully slow performance of an SSD running with Windows 10 is an outdated BIOS. BIOS is an acronym that stands for Basic Input Output System. All you need to do to fix this issue is simply update BIOS. Then you can download the latest version of BIOS from the laptop manufacturer’s website. The updated BIOS will include improved cache functions, compatibility for the new hardware and other user-friendly hardware tweaks that will also fix the performance of the SSD.

2.    On-Board VGA Enabled

The VGA feature also has an adverse effect on your laptop’s boot speed. It’s reported that disabling it will decrease the amount of time it takes the system to bootup by up to 15 seconds.

To do so:

  1. Reboot the laptop and open BIOS.
  2. Navigate to the Advanced BIOS section.
  3. Search for Onboard VGA.
  4. Then select the Disable option.

As long as you don’t change any of the values, nothing will go wrong. Even if you make a mistake there’s an option to restore BIOS to its default values.

NOTE: These instructions will vary depending on the motherboard in your laptop.

3.    Issues with SATA Port and/or Cable

Port

The speed of the port bears heavily on SSD performance. The SATA port speed on modern motherboards is 3 to 6GBps (the first SATA port is usually the fastest). Motherboards built on Intel chipsets contain an Intel SATA controller which has the highest speed. You’ll want to connect the boot device to it for a faster SSD.  

In other words, make sure the Intel controller is connected to the SSD since most of the low-speed issues happen due to using a non-Intel controller on motherboards built onto the Intel chipset.

NOTE: Identifying the SATA port is challenging. So, you’ll want to refer to the motherboard’s manual which you’ll be able to find online.

Cable

Another likely culprit robbing your SSD of speed is a defective SATA cable or using one that’s of poor quality. This is why it’s so important to always purchase a SATA cable from a reputable source.

For the best SSD performance make sure that the cables hooked up to the SATA port are not defective or of poor quality. Always purchase SATA cables from a reputable source.

4.    AHCI Mode Disabled

AHCI Mode brings the best out of an SSD. If it’s disabled, the laptop can crash or even encounter the infamous BSoD (blue screen of death). You can fix this by going to the BIOS Settings. Then, look for the OnChip SATA Type and set it to AHCI.

If AHCI is disabled, you can enable it on Windows 10 by going to the following keys and setting the value names Start to 0:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\iaStorV

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\Services\iaStorAVC\StartOverride

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\storahci

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\storahci\StartOverride

Once you’re done, restart your laptop and go to UEFI/BIOS firmware settings to enable AHCI mode. Finally, you want to hit Save, then Exit and restart your laptop again.

5.    Incorrectly Configured Boot Sequence

An ill-configured bootup sequence is one of the many culprits of a slow SSD. This results in the drive taking longer than usual to fetch and load the operating system.

To configure the SSD as a top priority:

  1. Restart the laptop and boot in BIOS.
  2. Then change the boot sequence by giving the SSD 1st priority.

By setting the top priority for boot up to the hard drive, now any time you start up your laptop, the operating system will fetch and load the SSD first, increasing the speed of the drive.

6.    Outdated SSD Firmware

Ever wonder why manufacturers release patches and updates on a regular basis? Because it helps your computer’s hardware operate as efficiently as possible.

Another reason why the SSD performance isn’t meeting your expectations is due to out-of-date firmware. Like other hardware related to your laptop, looking out for periodic firmware updates is important for shielding the SSD from new bugs and problems to help avoid complete performance disaster. It also helps with drive stability and compatibility with the computer system.

To check the status of the firmware, identify the exact firmware on the SSD. Then go onto the manufacturer’s website to find more recent firmware for the SSD. If there is a newer one, simply follow the instructions provided to complete an update.

7.    TRIM Command Issues

Ensure that TRIM Support is enabled in Windows 10 for stable performance of the SSD. In order to do that:

  1. Open the Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Type fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify and press Enter.
  3. If you get the number “0” as a result, TRIM is already enabled. If you get the number “1,” it’s not.
  4. You can enable TRIM by executing the command: fsutil behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0.

8.    Driver Isn’t Optimized

Microsoft also has an Optimize Drive feature in Windows 10 to run the TRIM command on an SSD. Check to make sure Windows is optimizing your SSD for better performance.

To do so:

  1. Click Start.
  2. In the search field type: Defragment and Optimize Drives.
  3. Click Defragment and Optimize Drives.
  4. Finally, highlight your SSD and click Optimize.

9.    Un-Optimized SSD

The SSD collects garbage over time. Depending on the size of the files you work with annually, periodic optimization will return the SSD to its original vigor.

In Windows 10:

  1. Search for Disk Cleanup in the Start menu.
  2. Initiate the Disk Cleanup process for the SSD to rid the garbage.
  3. Then, search for defrag and open Defragment and Optimize Drives.
  4. Perform a defragmentation by selecting the SSD.
  5. Finally, click the Optimize button.

You can also do this in Windows 10 very easily by following the instructions from third-party software if you can’t find a disk cleanup program within your system.

10.    Power Plan is Too Low

Keeping your laptop at Balanced Power can rob the SSD of the power it needs for the best performance if there are other hardware is sharing system power with it like the GPU.

Easily adjust this setting by typing Power in the Search area of Windows 10 taskbar. Then adjust it to the High-Power plan.

11.    Low Disc Space

A good reason why the SSD is running slow is because it’s almost full. An SSD needs to be at least 20% empty for optimal performance speeds. Any more data will bog down the drive. You can help your SSD by creating a partition for the operating system.

12.    Low RAM Capacity

It might actually be the system memory rather than the SSD causing performance issues. If the RAM has fallen to a very low level, this could result in a decreased cache size which will impact SSD performance. A modern operating system like Windows 10 requires at least 4GB of RAM for decent performance. And if you’re using heavy duty software programs like CAD or modeling and rendering software, you need to allocate at least 8GB of RAM to the OS.

13.    Defective Hardware

If one of the peripherals connected to your laptop is damaged or isn’t recognized by the system, the operating system will continue searching for its cache to get the relevant driver thereby diminishing the performance of the SSD.

Restore speed to the SSD by disconnecting all the peripherals connected to your laptop. This includes the VGA card, any USB devices, the sound card, and the optical drive. Then reconnect them one by one checking to see which one is affecting the speed of the SSD. Yes, this is a tedious process. But it’s effective in finding the culprit.

14.    Pre-Used SSD Needs Formatting

A used SSD in your laptop will perform slower than normal. This is why it’s important to format the drive before installation. You can do so now by Right clicking the SSD and select Format. Or type format/q in the Command Prompt and execute the command.

Disk Defragmentation

While joining all the fragmented parts of a file to improve data retrieval efficiency can be useful for mechanical hard drives. Avoid using it on an SSD at all costs. Since there are no moving parts, file system fragmentation is less of an issue with an SSD, which is one of the reasons why we like them so much.

Defragmentation will add extra unnecessary wear and tear on the SSD by using up the allotted number of read/writes available to the SSD, which then slows down the drive.

To disable disk defragmentation:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Right click the SSD you need to optimize.
  3. From the menu, select Properties.
  4. Select the Tools tab and click Optimize under the Optimize and defragment drive section.
  5. Click the Change Settings button and a mini window will pop up.
  6. Finally, untick the Run on a schedule and click Ok.

15.    Verify Hibernation

Hibernation takes up roughly the same amount of space as the RAM installed on your laptop, thereby slowing down the SSD. Disabling Hibernation frees up disk space:

  1. Type cmd in the Search field.
  2. Then right click the command prompt icon and select Run as administrator.
  3. Finally, type powercfg -h off in the command line windows and press Enter.

16.    Write Caching Isn’t Enabled

Write is enabled by default, but in some cases it may not be. Enabling write caching does a great job of boosting SSD speed and performance.

Here’s how:

  1. Right-click Computer and hit properties.
  2. Click Device manager on the left, then expand Disk drives.
  3. Find and right click your SSD.
  4. Then choose Properties and go to the Policies tab.
  5. Finally, tick “OK” on Enable write caching.

17.    Excessive SSD Use

SSDs have a ceiling on the number of read/write cycles they can go through before performance starts to take a major dive. Again, if you often handle many large capacity files throughout the year, then periodically ‘secure erasing’ the SSD will help sustain performance.

But what you’ll want to do before you start the process is first backup everything saved on the SSD so you don’t lose any information just in case anything goes wrong. If the drive doesn’t come with a secure erase feature, you can use third-party software to achieve the same results.

To Sum Up

As you can see, there are many reasons for an SSD running slow. When you notice the degradation of speed, the first thing to do (since you’re dealing with the hardware where all your data is stored) is back everything up. Once your data is safe, try any of the methods above to troubleshoot and fix the issue. If nothing here helps restore the speed of the SSD, it’s likely time for a new one.