Archive for May, 2015


 Even if you are ‘Phat’ TRIM might be a problem. – Doing Nothing Is Seeing SSD Performance Degradation

 

31 May 2015
Melbourne Australia

win10Noticed that speedy SSD drive has been slowing down, or you do not want it to, on your PC or Mac, well you need to consider TRIM and AGC.  Say what?

SSD – (Solid State Hard Drives) have been around for a while, at up to x100 performance on data access, and boot up times as well as about 1/3 of the power so cooler as well,  to that of normal hard drives it is a no-brainer SSD is worth having for your boot drive on a PC or a Mac.
TRIM – a command built into SSD drive controllers that inform an SSD drive which blocks of data are in use, not in use and can be wiped internally.  Computers do not support TRIM by default automatically and maybe not at all.
AGC – Active Garbage Collection, as sexy as this sounds it is a secondary process that does the same as TRIM if TRIM is not working and it is built into the firmware of some but not all SSDs (is a good thing).
HDD – A standard internal hard drive for PCs or Macs that run normally at 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm

AHCI-  Advanced Host Controller Interface a SATA setting in the bios (not natively turned on and can impact SSD drive weed by a factor of 3 (that’s 300%) – Not turned on in BIOS the SSD is still faster than an HDD.

 

Like many, I build my own desktop PCs always have (well have them built for safety / risk). However I have never gotten around to installing an SSD drive for my main boot drive.

  • Personally to buy an SSD drive under 500GB or a 1TB, seemed pointless, and with prices of 500GB being around $150, then the price per GB (PPG) on an SSD has fallen recently, and as good as they will be for a while, if you look at the market on these things. Also with SSD drives like CPU, new versions come out occasionally offering faster read and write speeds at the same price (no point buying a new SSD drive that is slower). Current versions of SSD drives offer 500-550MB/sec speeds on reading and writing.
  • However many SSD drives have certain tweaks that if not performed will reduce the speed of this speedy drive.
    AGC- (Active Garbage Collection) is a feature of some SSD drives (Crucial is one brand), simply put when your PC is idling, the SSD drive is cleaning itself. However, between power saving (that is set by default to let a PC sleep) or those that turn a PC on work all the time then turn it off immediately the impact is the same. The SSD drive needs idle time to clean itself.

What’s The Problem ? – As TRIM commands simply tell an SSD drive what blocks of data are not being used and can be wiped. If TRIM doesn’t kick in, then AGC is there to clean up the drive. However in the very logical scenario above (power saving mode / PC turned off when not in use) then AGC cannot kick in, so the drive does not get cleaned up and slows down, or worse (yep).  Or your SSD drive may not have ACG meaning if TRIM is not configured properly (VERY easy to miss), then your SSD drive will slow down.

Simple Prevention – Let TRIM or ACG do it’s thing

  • No Sleep– Just go to your power settings on PC or Mac and turn off any power plans that turn off your hard drive. These are on a default, and many people just leave them that way.
  • Defrag– Turn off automatic or scheduled defragmentation most Windows has this turned on by default. SSD drives do not fragment like magnetic drives so turning this off can help performance, and ssd drives have a limited number of writes and reads so this can also add to the longevity of your drive. The bug / feature request to have this deactivate for SSD drives has been reported to Windows 10 team.
  • Is your TRIM turned on?- Easy… Firstly TRIM is only supported in Windows 7 and beyond, so you need to consider that. Also if you upgrade from anything to Windows 7 or newer TRIM might not work at all. So how do you tell if TRIM on your windows 7 or higher PC (or OS X Mac) is turned on.. easy Open a Admin CMD prompt and TYPE

fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify (ENTER)

This will give you an answer of 0 or 1. Zero indicates TRIM is enabled, a one means it is not. You can turn on TRIM by repeating the step above and add a 0 at the end per below.

fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify 0  (ENTER)

Now repeat the first step and you should get a 0 but a re-boot might be needed. 

Indexing- Due to the speed and way SSDs work indexing designed to speed up windows search on magnetic drives but not needed and impacts on longevity (and performance a little) on SSDs To turn it off just go to the properties of your SSD drive and turn indexing off. You may need admin rights to do this, and might need to turn indexing off manually .

 Fix it -– Here is how you fix a slow SSD Drive.  PC or Mac – In Windows, the best thing to do is to disconnect your SATA cable from your SSD Drive for a few hours, but leave the power connected this will make the SSD drive run in MCG mode. For a Mac just go to à system preferences, -> energy saver –> uncheck ‘put the hard disks to sleep’. You do not need to do this unless you have a problem on the PC.

Don’t Forget the Bios- PC’s new and old to not have AHCI mode enabled. If you do not turn it on you would never know what you are missing. AHCI only came out with SATA interfaces, and SSD did not get popular until way after SATA was started. WARNING: This may be obvious to some, but it is not.  Logisitcally, you need to activate AHCI mode prior to installaing the OS on that  SSD drive. If you install the OS on an SSD drive with AHCI not enabled then goto the bios to enable it, then the drive will not boot up DOH ! (I got caught out on that).

I have had a lot of people ask about defaults in Windows 10 (actually all versions of Windows), so was surprised that there were so many aspects to this but all simple to fix.
If of any use please let me know.

@mr_internet

 

 

 

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Ongoing Windows 10 Updates Errors Not the End of the World

 

30 May 2015
Melbourne Australia
Background

•              So you have a windows  10 update could be anything, in my case I am updating to 10130 on 30 May 2015. I got an Error 0x8200056 (but there can be other errors)

•              In my case the windows update program froze and could not be stopped easily due to a corrupt update (windows or otherwise) causing the windows update program that runs automatically on start up to restart then go back to a frozen state even when your PC is restarted multiple times (the restart worked on similar errors on previous versions but not going from build 10125.

•              So to fix this you need to unfreeze the windows update program, and rename the windows update folder (C:/Windows/Softwaredistributionand) then try again

Here’s How

Note: To isolate the problem turn off in the windows 10 update box ‘update other programs’ when updating windows. – This prevents any update other than windows 10 from corrupting your windows 10 update.

pic 1ok

1.        Run services.msc – Find windows update server – disable – (remember where this is, you will be going back in a minute)

2.        Restart PC Run CMD prompt with admin access

3.        Type cd %systemroot% (ENTER)

4.        Type Ren Software Distribution SoftwareDistribution.old (ENTER)

5.        Repeat step 1 but put windows update server back to ‘automatic’

6.        Restart PC

Note: If you want to check to make sure the windows update folder is now replaced (softwaredistribution) you can do this by re doing step 3 and 4 above and you should get an error saying the folder could not be found. This is correct as you renamed in in step 6. Or just look in your root folder and see if C://Windows/SoftwareDistribution.old   is there and  C://Windows/SoftwareDistribution is not there (per step  3 and 4) if so then you are good to go.

7.        Re – start Windows update

So we have fixed 3 issues here

1.                    Moved a potentially corrupt windows update folder (due to windows 10 or another program)

2.                    Isolated the Windows Update Server for Windows 10 only by turning off ‘Update other programs’ by turning off the other programs until windows 10 has been updated.

3.                    Disabled then re-enabled the windows update server

 

Note:  The Normal way you could disable then re-enable the windows server is by running CMD ‘Net stop wuauserv ‘ in lieu of step 1, but in my case I got an error saying the windows update server (wuauserv) could not be stopped or was stopping and even when repeated wuauserv was still frozen even after multiple restarts. So step 1 above in this case is a fall back but worked much better.

 

Bad News

Your Windows 10 update will have to download again, so if you can download an ISO of your updates then it will allow you to save potentially a lot of time (and bandwidth usage) if important

 

 


Good Tech Can Be Simple
30 May 2015
Melbourne Australia

I must go through more than my share of car phone holders a year, changing out phones, they break, or as I travel I forget them in a rental. Expensive or cheap to be honest there is no more ugly, and useless form of tech (if you can even call it that).Suction cup on a windscreen some form of bracket to hold the phone.. nothing more to say … but sound the trumpets..

104072-L-LO

 

Logitech has introduced the +drive phone mount, it has no brackets but instead it locks on with a suction cup (or permanent 3M is so inclined) but there is no bracket to hold the phone. Instead it gives you a flat small square of metal that adheres to your phone case (between the phone and the case) and the strong magnet on the phone holder then holds even the largest phone well in place.

It works so well on a recent scary mountain drive in California (I live in Australia) that I just stuck it on a recorded the drive no problem. Instead of the metal plate you can buy a special magnetic case but I prefer my own. This plate even sticks to heavy grade silicone as is my case.

http://bit.ly/Logitech-drive

Well done Logitech – RRP is around $40 USD / $50 AUD


22 May 2015

If you add an old (windows 8) touch screen monitor to windows 10 it works fine.
You can buy them from around $100 -150 USD for a 23” view sonic for instance (only 2 touch points at a time for that price thus the windows 8 reference).
If you have other non-touch monitors (say on either side, or just 1, and if you let the screens bleed / overhang into the touchscreen then you can control those monitors as well.


One Man’s Taxation is Another’s Encouragement for Piracy

Melbourne Australia

12 May 2015

Pirate button on computer keyboard

According to reliable reports Australia Treasurer Joe Hockey under the guise of preventing international taxation avoidance is set to impose taxes on many online services driving the costs up, and encouraging piracy.

Untitled

 

Piracy of online content per capita in Australia is amongst the highest in the world. This is worsened by the 20-30% gap in the US and Australia dollar, as much of the online content is still USA centric. The delaying of popular movies and television shows has long been a another reason piracy has been rampant on everything from DVDs, Games, e-books, even online music. With sometimes falsely imposed taxations and profits from companies on products and services has made this problem that much worse.

Recently everything from reducing the time it takes for  US movie, song, or TV show to play in Australia has been reduced, as a direct result to reduce the need for piracy, and it has been successful according to many. To now add a further tax to all of this will be a major set back and less attractive for those that routinely pirate their online entertainment and services and are considering paying for for it legitimately.