SSD Health Check

How to Check SSD Health

The major requirement of Solid-State drive is that you have to keep an eye on it so that you can regularly monitor its health status to avoid your drive crashing. This is important and as such we will cover some ways you can conveniently check the health status of your SSD in this article. But before we do that, let’s go over some things you have to know about SSD.

Before now, we have limited choice what kind of file storage we will get when we buy new laptop, desktop or ultrabook. Assuming you choose to buy Ultrabook, you are more likely to have a Solid-State drive otherwise known as SSD as your primary drive. Apart from this, every other PC you buy; desktop or laptop comes with hard disk drive (HDD). But that have all changed; now, you have the options to configure your system as you choose. You can either configure it with normal HDD or the latest SSD, in fact in some cases; you can combine the two to configure your system.

Solid-State Drive which can also be referred to as Solid-State Disk (SSD) contains neither drive motor to spin nor actual disk but it is a storage device which uses non-volatile memory in order to store and access data just like your computer RAM. SSD has so much advantage over your regular HDD; it can access stored information faster, it is more reliable, consumes less power and makes no noise.

ssd vs hdd

In the traditional sense of the term per say, Solid states are not actually hard drives because they contain no moving parts like traditional hard disk drive which has a spinning disk with a read/write  head on a mechanical arm. They are made up of array of semiconductor memory which is organised as a disk drive with integrated circuits.

Why The Need For SSD?

The development and adoption of SSD was fuelled by the increasing need for a greater input/output performance. SSD has some major benefits over HDD, for instance; they have lower random access and read access latency than what you get in HDDs which make them perfect for both heavy read and random workloads.

ssd vs hdd features

Big companies, corporations and individuals who uses high performance servers, desktops and laptops in order to deliver information as they happen (in real time) can benefit very much from SSD technology because  the lower latency of SSD is as direct result of flash SSD ability to read data directly and instantly from a specific flash SSD cell location.

How To Check The Health Status Of Your SDD

SSD without any doubt are gradually replacing the role of normal HDD in high-end desktops and even in regular laptops. This is because they perform much better than the traditional spinning hard disks. They as well uses less power to read and write data at very high speed which makes your laptop battery life last longer.

Another attraction of SSD is that your system will boot in seconds and ready to start work if it depends on SSD. It will also make your software and app to load at much faster speed. It can copy Giga bytes data in just few seconds.

However, this flash based memory device technology is still new and as such, it is still lagging behind hard disks in terms of reliability and life span. One of the problems that still bedeviled this high performance storage device is the inability to avoid constant crashes. Therefore, if you are relying on SSDs to save all your data, it becomes imperative that you constantly monitor the life and performance of your SSD in order to keep your data secure in event of critical failure.

Below, we will recommend some free and premium tools that you can use to monitor the health status of your SSD on a constant basis to avoid losing your important data.

Tools to Monitor Your SSD’s Performance and Life Span

  1. SSD Life (Windows) 

ssdlife pro

If you need a tool that will monitor the health status of your SSD in real time and inform you about any impending critical defects, then you must install SSD Life in your system. This tool is designed to keep an eye on the performance and life span of your SSD. It will inform you to back up your data before any crash occur.

2. SsdReady (Windows) 

ssdready windows

This tool runs silently on the background when you installed it on your system. It will inform how long your SSD is going to last. It has the capability to track daily Writes and the total usage of Your SSD every day and give you comprehensive report. One advantage of using this tool is that it can predict how long your SSD will live which means you will have time to get your next SSD.

3. Crystal Disk Info (Windows) 

crystal disk info ssd

Crystal Disk Info is one of the great tools that you can use to monitor the health of your SSD. It is capable of checking your disk’s Read and Write speed and S.M.A.R.T. All you need to use this tool is to download and install it on your system. Once you installed it, it can monitor your SSD disk performance in real time. It can also be used to check the performance of other Hard Disk types.

4. Crystal Disk Mark (Windows) 

crystal mark

Crystal Disk Mark is the perfect tool if you are looking for a real benchmarking tool to test your hard disk. You can also use this tool to test your Hard Disk in Sequential Reads/Writes, QD32 Modes and Random Reads/Writes. You can as well use Crystal Disk Mark to compare with multiple disks based on the performance of their read/write.

5. Smartmonotools (Windows, MAC, Linux, Live CD) 

This tool comes with two utility programs which you can use to control and monitor your hard disk i.e. “smartctl and smartd”. You can use it to monitor the health of your Hard Disk in real time. It can analyse and warn you about any potential disk degradation and failure. Smartmontools can run on Linux, Mac OS X, NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OS/2, Solaris, QNX, eComStation, Windows, Cygwin and can also run from a live CD. It supports ATA/ATAPI/SATA-3 to -8 disks and SCSI disks and tape devices.

6. Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox (Windows, MAC, Linux)

This is a drive management tool that allows you to monitor the health status of your SSD. It can estimate the remaining life span of your SSD and the S.M.A.R.T attributes. You can as well use the Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox to carry out full and quick diagnostic scan in order to test the read and write functionality of an Intel SSD. With this tool, you can easily optimize the performance of your Intel SSD making use of Trim functionality. You can as well check and update your system settings for greater Intel SSD performance, endurance and power efficiency. Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox supports a Secure Erase of your secondary Intel SSDs.

7. Samsung Magician Software (Windows, MAC, Linux)

samsung magician ssd

This tool by Samsung comes with simple, graphical indicators to show you the health status of your SSD and the Total Bytes Written easily. You can as well use this tool to determine AHCI and SATA compatibility and status. It allows users to test and compare the performance and speed of SSDs. You can utilize this tool to optimize your Samsun SSD with 3 different profiles such as Maximum Reliability, Maximum Performance and Maximum Capacity along with an in-depth description of each Operating system settings.

How to Check the Health of SSD in Ubuntu

The tools recommended above can help you to check or monitor the health status of your SSD in Windows, Linux and other operating system. The tutorial below will help you understand how you can check the health of your SSD in your Ubuntu machine.

Follow the short tutorial below to check the health status of your SSD in Ubuntu.

Step 1

Open the “Disks” application in your Ubuntu machine. Then go to the left pane and select primary hard drive.

Step 2

Click the “Cogs” icon on the right site and then select “SMART Data and Tests…”.

Step 3

A window will pop up, follow this window and you will be able to see the health status of your SSD.

smart test ssd health ububtu

Keep in mind you may not need to check this constantly as your machine will notify you when it detects problems with your SSD.

It is not enough to just keep on monitoring the health of your SSD, these tips below will help you to maximize the performance and life span of your SSD. You can check more SSD Health Check for Macbook, SSD Health Test for Ubuntu, SSD Health Check for Windows and SSD Health Check for Linux here.

Optimize your SSD

Six Dos and Don’ts of SSD to Maximise Performance and Increase the Life Span

  1. Before Starting, Upgrade Your SSD Firmware

Your SSD firmware acts as the drive brain which gives instruction to controller. It also acts as an interface between your disk drive and your computer hardware. The code will help you to take care to handle the TRIM, error correction and other drive functions. Manufacturers are still trying to improve their firmware in SSD by fixing the bugs, performance and compatibility issues.

Ensure that your SSD firmware is updated before you start installing it into your computer to avoid crashing. It is not an easy task to upgrade your drive firmware once you have already installed it on your drive and copied all date to a new drive. In some cases, it may result in your drive failure because of compatibility issues.

We recommend that the first thing you should do once you get your new SSD is to connect it with USD cable to your system and carry out a firmware update.

2. Avoid Defragging Your SSD

SSD have no mechanical spinning parts to read or write data unlike the tradition HDDS which have spinning mechanisms with a header to find and fetch the needed data from disk.  Your SDD works with logical circuits that are based on electrical pulses to read and write data in and out. They save data as blocks and can read it anywhere in the drive at same time.

You will be killing your SSD when you defrag it like HDD. The defragment is giving extra task to SSD which can lead to degradation of your SSD life span. The latest version of MAC OS and Windows can automatically detect the type of drive you have in your system and turn off automated defragmentation.

3. Avoid Wiping SSD

SSD wiping process works in different way from HDD. HDD deleted files can be recovered because they are not completely wiped out rather they will write over the data. SSD works with TRIM support, when you delete any file from SSD, the firmware or OS will force the SSD to completely delete the data with TRIM command and there is no way you can recover it.

Using any wiping software will degrade the life span of your SSD since it is going to write 1s and 0s on the empty space on your SD and consume a full write cycle in order to accomplish this.

4. Avoid Using SSD with Large Files

Using your SSD with large files such as movie files and graphic video games is a big no-no. Large files can quickly consume your writing cycle quota which will lead to your SSD life ending quicker.

Furthermore, there is no need using SSD high speed for media files since you cannot be able to note the difference in speed when you play movies from either SSD or HDD.

5. Disable Hibernation in Windows

Every time your system hibernates, Windows will create a file and writes the whole OS memory into that file. This can turn to be an overburden for your SSD if your system is making use of it. It can lead to degradation of your SSD life.

6. Avoid Filling SSD in Full Capacity

You may experience serious problem with your SSD performance when you make your drive to reach its full capacity. It is easier to perform data write on empty cells when you have lot of free space. Your SSD will find it difficult to know the partially filled blocks where it can move back data to cache, and write back to drive when you have a full drive.

Ensure you have about 25% of your drive space marked out as free space in order to maintain a good balance between space utilisation and performance.

Conclusion

It is always better to be safe than sorry. Therefore you need to monitor the health of your SSD constantly, don’t allow it to crash without making adequate preparation by backing up your data and securing new drive. Always keep a backup disk for your entire data. Do systems back once in a week. Finally, apply the tips above to monitor and increase the life span and performance of your SSD.