Laptops with SSD drive issues

  john bunyan 17:09 09 Mar 2015

I am thinking of a new laptop for a University undergrad granddaughter. She wants a PC that is lighter than the existing Toshiba Satellite - at 2.5 Kg it is a bit cumbersome to take in to libraries etc. She has solved the issue short term by using a Samsung Pro 8.5" tablet with a keyboard for that purpose. However in looking at lighter laptops, she is happy to use an external CD / DVD player/ burner. My question is about SSD's. I know they are faster and more physically robust but I am told that a bad virus attack is far more difficult on a SSD and can permanently damage it. I also found, on a recent new notebook, after a long update to W 8.1 from 8 that there were over 5000 fragmented files, and you are not meant to defrag an SSD. Any thoughts? maybe a small (8-10 Gig SSD) to boot up and a SATA for the rest? She needs quite a lot of space for music etc so a total of over 250 Gig is needed.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:19 09 Mar 2015
  1. you cannot stop fragmentation however its not such a problem on a SSD.
  2. Make sure defrag is not scheduled in windows for the SSD
  3. Make sure that TRIM is enabled for the SSD. 2/3 are defaults setting for w8.1
  4. If running 4G RAM or less move the pagefile off the SSD to the HDD
  5. Move the USer folders to the HDD

All the above lengthen the life of the SSD

For a Uni laptop a reasonable size HDD is required (500g plus), an external back up drive is essential with a nightly backup routine strictly adhered to [had to rescue too many students data over the years :0(.]

For speed perhaps the best thing in this case may be a hybrid drive - SSD part for the op system and HDD part for the data.

  john bunyan 19:09 09 Mar 2015

*Fruit Bat /\0/*

Thanks for that; I am looking at ones with a small "boot" SSD plus a 500 Gig or more partitioned SATA since to have , say a 250 gig SSD, seems too risky at present. My local repair man says that a virus attack is also a lot more difficult with a SSD.

At the moment she does have a back up HD and Acronis, and when she comes to see me I do a proper housekeeping - ADWCleaner, Malawarebytes, full anti virus scan and a defrag and image the C partition and copy the data one on one of my own HD's.

I hope to find one at less than 2 Kg. I am told that MacBook (expensive, I know) screens are paper thin. She is a bit clumsy (2 screens and 3 keyboards replaced on old laptop in 4 years, and I believe a new Mac screen is about £400 so will not go there!

I have moved the user folders to the data partition and run freefilesynch for all data. However, for a girl at UCL with 615 UKAS points she is remarkably slack on housekeeping on PC (and, I suspect, in her student flat - one of 6 bedrooms over a pub near Kings Cross Station!)

  alanrwood 22:18 09 Mar 2015

Your repair man is talking rubbish. An SSD is no more susceptible to a virus than any other device and is cleaned in exactly the same way.

  john bunyan 09:03 10 Mar 2015


Thanks for the input. He is not saying an SSD is more susceptible to a virus, but that some viruses , if they infect a SSD can indeed be very tricky. I have known this guy a long time and I am sure he has no prejudice against SSD's and is honestly expressing his view. He is an ex IBM top programmer etc.

  john bunyan 09:08 10 Mar 2015


Also see the remarks on difficulty of recovering data in this Acronis blog.

Acronis blog

  alanrwood 11:50 10 Mar 2015

Hi John

Sorry but your original post said:

I am told that a bad virus attack is far more difficult on a SSD and can permanently damage it.

I assumed you meant far more difficult to remove. I can still see no reason to accept this. As for permanently damaging it I can see no reason to accept this either. I do accept, as it says in the Acronis blog, that it may be more difficult to recover data if the drive fails completely or if it is inadvertently deleted in error as the storage location is not always contiguous in an SSD due to the action of TRIM software and as such anything written later has as much chance of overwriting the deleted info as anywhere else and once overwritten is gone for good unlike a spinner where the overwritten data can sometimes be recovered by specialists reading the edge of the magnetic tracks.

Being practical however, would you go to the cost of having data extracted from a failed hard disk. I doubt most non business users would do so. That is as good a reason for data backups as any. Also SSDs tend to be longer lived than spinners so less chance of failure in the first place.

  Daisy_Michael 14:10 10 Mar 2015

You sounds a little too cautious; why don't you rely on an antivirus program like KASPERSKY and thus can freely use the SSD! :)

  john bunyan 16:49 10 Mar 2015

Thanks for the replies. I shall try for one that has a small SSD for launch, and a spinner for the rest as the 500Gig SSD's are a bit too expensive.

Re Daisy_Michael 's reliance on Kapersky - I use reliable anti virus programmes but NONE are infallible.

I do know that defrag on a SSD is a no no. I merely pointed out how many fragments I found on a recent installation of W 8.1;

Two existing laptops are over 4 years old with no sign of drive failure. I do regular images of the OS partition and copies of the data one to a separate HD. A replacement 500 Gig HD is about £45 and a similar sized SSD around £150. Maybe next time - will look a hybrids for now.

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