Last Updated on November 20, 2016 by Dave Farquhar
If you didn’t align your partitions when you upgraded to an SSD, there’s a pretty good chance you’re giving up performance and life expectancy. Here’s how to check SSD alignment.
But first, a bit of good news. If you created the partition with Vista or Windows 7, your partitions should be aligned. If you upgraded from XP and didn’t re-partition the drive in the process, then it probably isn’t.
Get ready for some command-line jockeying and some math.In XP:
select disk 0
Substitute the disk number in line 2 if it’s not 0. If you don’t know the disk disk drive number, you can find out with a little mousing around. From the Start menu, click Control Panel, click Administrative Tools, click Computer Management, and then click Disk Management.
wmic partition get BlockSize, StartingOffset, Name, Index
If the starting offset is evenly divisible by 32768, your partition is aligned. If not, you’re hurting your SSD’s performance and life expectancy. How much depends on your drive and your usage, but you can reasonably expect your life expectancy to drop from 5-10 years to 2-3. If a partition is misaligned, writing one cluster to the filesystem results in writing to two blocks on the SSD, causing two erase-write cycles rather than just one.
The conventional solution (there’s a better solution at the end) is to back up the drive, boot with a Windows 2003SP1 or later installation CD or Linux live CD, then do the following (assuming you’re using some kind of Windows CD):
select disk 0 with 0 being the number given for your ssd
clean this destroys all partition/volume data on the disk
create partition primary align=1024
format fs=ntfs quick
Sounds like work, doesn’t it?
Paragon Software also has a $30 tool for aligning partitions in place, without the need for the backup-repartition-format-restore cycle. They don’t exactly go out of their way to market it, but you can find it at http://www.paragon-software.com/business/partition-alignment/
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.
2 thoughts on “How to check SSD alignment”
I believe your RSS feed isn’t working cause it just gives me a web page of strange characters, would the problem be on my end?
I just checked it, and it’s working now. It could have been an intermittent glitch, or a problem on your end. I’d suggest checking to make sure your other RSS feeds are working.
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