Fellow Cajun Clickers Computer Club member and long-term subscriber wrote to me about his problems with his Solid State Drive (SSD) on his netbook:
I have an Acer 8.9“ netbook with 1BG memory and an 8 GB SS drive with an additional 8 GB removable SD card. The SS drive is filling up. Obviously I can access the SD card but how can I cause the computer to read from this drive.
Also, I don’t not use this for much in the way of storage as it’s mainly surfing /email while traveling. I also have an IPod and the Netbook is something I can now get rid of.
As usual, thanks for your anticipated help. I enjoy and look forward to your Computer Tips each week.
First, I wrote back to Don to ask for some more information, as I did not quite follow the multiple comments in his email:
I got lost in that –
1) your solidstate drive is filling up
2) your netbook has a slot for an SD card
3) you can access the SD card, so that tells me your netbook can read the SD card
So, what’s the problem? Are you trying to use it as default storage instead of storing to the SS drive? Or, what?
Why does an iPod enable you to get rid of the netbook?
Don’s answer made the situation more clear:
I’m sorry I wasn’t very clear. I got an iPad (the spell checker changed it and I didn’t notice).
My SS drive is filling up and I haven’t downloaded any programs to it. I run CCleaner weekly and actually reformatted the drive once to get it back to where it started and now it’s getting full again. (only less than 1Gb left) It runs slowly.
I don’t store anything to the drive as I don’t use it for normal computing. What is the function of the SD card if I can’t move some of the “stuff” on the SS drive there?
At that point, I understood what Don was trying to say, and advised him that his SD card is treated by Windows as a drive like any other drive — except that it’s a removable drive, just like an external hard drive.
You can move data files there. You can store data files there. You should be able to install software to there (but it will run much slower than the solid state drive).
What’s filling up your drive, if you haven’t been downloading programs to it?
Some of the things Don can do to get control of his SSD’s (solid state drive’s) drive space are:
1) Change your Temporary Internet Files setting in IE to 50MB, from the default 10% of the drive.
2) Do you need all the space that’s devoted to System Restore? Again, the default is 10% of the drive. Do you even need System Restore?
3) If you use Firefox, Opera or Chrome, change their Cache settings (equivalent to IE’s "Temporary Internet Files")
4) With 2GB memory, your "hibernation file" is 2GB and your Windows page file (virtual storage) may also be getting to that size. You can set an absolute maximum for the virtual storage; however, if Windows needs more “memory” and runs into the maximum on the virtual storage, Windows will crash. Your risk – your call…
There’s another problem with early solid state drives (and with an 8 GB SSD, I’d guess it’s an early one), and to a much lesser extent with later model ones.
SSD’s can only write to clean, unused data blocks in the SSD. In this sense, they’re similar to CDROM’s, or maybe CDRW’s. Normal hard drives simply mark the drives table of contents to indicate that a file has been deleted, and then they free the blocks and sectors that had been used.
SSD’s require a separate step by the user to do this with the TRIM command. Newer SSD’s have the TRIM command automatically invoked occasionally by the drive’s firmware. Don may be able to find a firware update or TRIM utility from his netbook manufacturer, or he might be able to get a TRIM utility from the SSD manufacturer.