SSD & system restore
February 27, 2014 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Is there any consensus about whether, on balance, it's tolerable or terrible for SSDs to leave system restore on or off??

I've been reading around and there is a LOT of contradictory advice about a range of best practices one ought to follow to maximise the performance & life of an SSD.

It appears that system restore *may* interfere with TRIM* operation and some people report a degradation of drive function. Others say this is wrong and that they leave their Win7 OS & the SSD software to decide what the best practices for SSD versus HDD management are. {these views are a "for instance" - a lot of different opinions are voiced in a lot of forums/articles &c}

Me? I'm going cross-eyed trying to decide which side, if either, is most convincing. I admit the confusion is magnified by reading forums and articles across a few years time frame. I'm wondering if, with the passage of more time, there is more of a consensus as at 2014.

System restore has helped me greatly the handful of times I've needed to use it in the past (on HDDs) and it's why this specific item is on my mind. I'm not really interested in some of the other tweaks (superfetch etc) that generate similar arguments; I'm happy to turn them off. As far as my own limited knowledge goes, it's a lot easier running system restore, say once a week, than trying to make an image of a drive onto a backup for the same 'just in case' purpose - is that right?

--So, should I or shouldn't I, turn system restore back on for my SSD or not?
--And if not, what's the easiest set & forget alternative?

[I have a Samsung 830 series 128GB SSD that houses Windows & programs (~50GB in total) & a 1TB HDD for all the rest -//- Windows 7, 64bit, SP1]
posted by peacay to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Do you mean that you're creating a system restore point once a week? That's not a backup :)

(Which is not to say it can't be very useful - it's what allowed me to rescue my Batman Arkham Asylum saves when I had to create an online GFWL profile & doing do trashed all my save files.)

A quick spot of Googling reveals that someone once noticed that leaving system restore on affected the performance of their X25M SSD. Needless to say, the state of the art has advanced significantly since then.

On the other hand, System Restore will cause write amplification & use a chunk of your disk. The Samsung SSD Magician Tool ( turns it off for all profiles for this reason.

Personally, I seriously doubt you'll hit the write limits for your drive before it gets replaced even if you leave system restore on & I would leave it on unless I was backing up daily to some other external storage.
posted by pharm at 7:43 AM on February 27, 2014

Yeah... I meant I want to create a system restore point weekly and just keep the latest 2 or 3. For the same approx. reasons as you say: to dig myself out of any unforseen potholes.

Samsung Magician's OS Optimisation module allows tweaking for max performance, capacity or reliabilty (they all turn OFF system restore). In the advanced mode of optmisation you can turn it on (it simply opens the system properties program of windows where you can set it for each drive and change disc space etc ).

Where it turns it off by default in perf/cap/reliabity above, it says: "Automatic backup is disabled to prevent extra background processes that can affect system performance".

So, again, I'm not sure I get this properly. You speak of write limits (and I totally agree btw - for regular normal use, it's most likely decades), but I'm wondering how much space on the SSD these restore points take up considering the wording of your link.
posted by peacay at 8:12 AM on February 27, 2014

I don't know, this seems like a case of mass hysteria and shameless self-promotion by "The SSD Guy" who seems to pop up with a link to his site every time this is mentioned.

Two things are likely to mess with your SSD performance; low disk space (like, less than 5%) and thrashing with small writes.

Also you should be able to control how much disk space System Restore allocates. I can imagine Samsung might have disabled it because people were just complaining about the reduced free space (and the voodoo posted on the forums)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:02 AM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks for your eponysterical response. Yeah, what I saw of the SSD guy's comments didn't strike me as particularly authoritative as much as they were self-serving or self-aggrandising.
I did go and look the space issue up at the horse's mouth:
"How much disk space does System Restore require?
Applies to Windows 7
To store restore points, you need at least 300 megabytes (MB) of free space on each disk that is 500 MB or larger.

System Restore might use between three and five percent of the space on each disk. As the amount of space fills up with restore points, it deletes older restore points to make room for new ones. System Restore doesn't run on disks smaller than 1 gigabyte (GB)."
Maybe I should combine that information with the Magician advanced attribute allowing for system restore points together with the control of allocated disc space afforded by Windows' System Properties and go ahead with it. I don't know about hysteria as much as I think all of the bona fide players (Intel, Samsung..) were/are being abundantly cautious.

I'm going to bed now, but if anyone has any dissenting or corroborating advice or links to offer, please do so. I'll probably get to this late on the weekend anyway.
posted by peacay at 9:14 AM on February 27, 2014

You're overthinking this. @RobotVoodooPower has the answer. Tweak the System Restore size if need be, and don't worry about it.
posted by cnc at 9:41 AM on February 27, 2014

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