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Alan_F_Intel
Employee
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Update from Intel's NAND Solutions Group - Toolbox issue

To 34nm (G2) Intel® X25-M Solid-State Drive consumers,

• Microsoft* alerted Intel to an issue with the Intel® SSD Optimizer tool and Intel is working on a fix to the issue. After the SSD Optimizer is run, the SSD Optimizer renders all previously set Windows* system restore points unusable. However, user data is not affected . The SSD Optimizer tool is part of the Intel® SSD Toolbox (ver 1.1).

• This applies only to users who meet all four criteria below:

• Use Windows*7 or Vista and

• Use the System Protection feature which sets system restore points (enabled by default in Windows*7 and Vista*) and

• Have installed 02HA firmware and

• Have used Intel SSD Optimizer (which was available from intel.com from 10/26 to 11/4).

• A workaround for this issue and additional details are available http://support.intel.com/support/ssdc/hpssd/sb/CS-031073.htm here . Intel will give regular updates on this issue. Please note this issue is not related to the Intel SSD firmware update process covered in a separate announcement (Intel® Solid-State Drive Firmware Update).

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

Alan

NAND Solutions Group

Intel Corporation

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38 Replies
idata
Community Manager
217 Views

the link to the PDF from the given link is broken or not found. Please fix.

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

I can open the file now, i think it is fixed.

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

I don't get it: Which restore points exactly are being rendered useless by the manual TRIM feature of the SSD Toolbox? Only the ones which were created before TRIMming the first time, or also the ones created subsequently after that?

So all my restore points are trashed now. OK, great, but at least Intel is telling me before I really need them. I delete all of them according to Intel's instructions, turn off scheduled TRIMming, then create a new restore point manually. This restore point will work, according to the whitepaper.

So far, so good. But what about the restore points which Windows creates automatically, e.g. when installing new drivers? Are these also rendered unusable next time I run the manual TRIM? Or, are they rendered useless exactly if, and only if, they are being created while, at the same time, the SSD Toolbox is doing a scheduled TRIM pass?

Intel isn't clear on this: Do I have to turn off scheduled TRIMming entirely to ensure that future restore points will work? Or do I only have to ensure that they are not being created while the SSD Toolbox is TRIMming the drive? Will each future TRIM pass destroy all restore points or just the one which is created during the very same TRIM pass (if that happens)?

What I mean is this: Is there some kind of inconsistency created when switching to a TRIMmed drive the first time which is responsible for killing the restore points - or, is the TRIM function of the SSD toolbox damaging all restore points on each run, regardless of whether they were created before or after having TRIMmed before? If the latter holds, we have to manually recreate a restore point every time the SSD Toolbox has run TRIM (be it manually or scheduled).

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

To derkurt: I think Intel made it very clear:

"After the SSD Optimizer is run, the SSD Optimizer renders all previously set Windows* system restore points unusable."

So it means that whenever you run the optimizer, you lose all your restore points. You have to manually recreate a restore point every time after you have ran the SSD Optimizer. Of course this pretty much ruins the idea of restore points, so better not to run the optimizer at all if you care for restore points.

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

So it means that whenever you run the optimizer, you lose all your restore points. You have to manually recreate a restore point every time after you have ran the SSD Optimizer. Of course this pretty much ruins the idea of restore points, so better not to run the optimizer at all if you care for restore points.

If this is true, I doubt that Intel's instructions deserve to be called a "workaround". It means that it is not possible then to enable scheduled TRIMming and automatic restore point creation at the same time, and there is no way to work around this.

I still believe that Intel's instructions are unclear. They don't write that you have to repeat the steps of deleting all previously created restore points, then creating a new one every time you ran the optimizer. (Yes, you might argue that it was implied.) They also don't advise you to turn off the scheduled optimizer runs if you want to preserve the automatic restore point creation feature.

Instead of creating such a screenshot-bloated manual, they should simply have stated: "Hi folks. Every time you run the Optimizer it will kill all your restore points. So if you already ran the Optimizer and want to have at least one working restore point, delete all former restore points and go create a new one. You have to repeat this after each optimization run until Intel decides to release a new version of the SSD Toolbox. Until then, if you want to take advantage of automatically generated restore points or an archive of restore points, don't use the Optimizer at all."

Dear Intel guys: Is it impossible to release a working firmware, a working manual trim utility and a working (TRIM-enabled) driver (unlike the current version of the IMSM) for our 600+ dollar toys? Because if so, I'd rather spend my money on something that works. The SSD Toolbox screwup is # 3 on the list of serious bugs surrounding the X25-M. I understand the technology is new, but that doesn't justify everything. If you want to make money with "enthusiasts", you need to make sure they remain enthusiastic about your hardware. The hardware is great, but without working software it's not worth more than a brick.

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

This is not relatated with the Toolbox issue, but I would like to know:

Why there is a scheduled of Intel SSD Optimizer running daily in windows 7 ?

Do we need to run Intel SSD Optimizer in windows 7 or we don't need the toolbox in win7 at all ?

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

TRIM does not occur automatically with Win 7. It only works via the Toolbox tool. To prevent TRIM from occurring uninstall Toolbox.

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

redux:

That is also my experience, but TRIM should be an automatic process of win7...

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

If the new f/w was auto enabling trim then Intel would have issued an instruction on how to disable it. Look at the four criteria Intel specifies above. Either they are saying that auto trim does not cause a problem or they are saying trim does not occur without the toolbox. It is the later.

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

Trim is automatic with a drive that supports it in Win7 IF you are using Microsofts AHCI drivers, so no need to run the optimizer.

However, if you are using the current Intel Matrix Storage Manager (IMSM), it does not pass TRIM through to the drive, so you need the optimizer if using IMSM.

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

TRIM actually seems to work on my 160GB drive. I have now been using the new firmware for exactly three weeks and the performance of my drive hasn't dropped at a all (measured with CrystalDiskMark 2.2), if anything it's slightly improved.

Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit RTM has been on the drive for almost 2 months. I'm using Microsofts AHCI-drivers and the BIOS was set to AHCI when upgrading the firmware. It was the Windows 7 installation that took care of the initial partitioning of the drive and it added the 100MB "System Reserved" partition.

The drive is even encrypted, using Bitlocker, and it was encrypted before upgrading the firmware.

I only ran Toolbox/Optimizer once, right after installing the new firmware. The Toolbox didn't schedule any future Optimizer sessions.

I must admit that I have been a bit scared the past weeks since it's my work computer and I really need it to be functioning well. I have read everything I could lay my hands on regarding TRIM and it really seems to be tricky implementing. Check out the discussions regarding problems and bad performance on Crucial's and OCZ's sites.

All in all I'm a happy SSD user but Intel really could have done a better job COMMUNICATING with it's customers!

Message was edited by: RollerBoy reason: typo

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

That is the theory, but for that to be true the native Win 7 support for TRIM would have to be working differently to trim via the toolbox. If it works in the same way then it would be reasonable to assume that system restore files were also being deleted. In that was the case why have Intel not flagged it up? Either native trim is not working or it works differently and consequently does not delete system restore files.

I submitted a support ticket to clarify this issue and this was the reply:

Thank you for contacting Intel Technical Support.

ME: Thanks for your reply. Just to clarify; are you saying that you need the

 

Intel Tool Box to schedule TRIM because it does not happen automatically

 

with Win 7? (I.E. TRIM does not automatically occur with Win 7 using Win 7

 

AHCI drivers).

INTEL * That is correct, it will not happen automatically you have to start it manually using Intel® Tool Box.

Maybe the support guy got it wrong, but if that is the case then trim must be working differently between the toolbox and OS..

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

When you have a file in your hard drive, the file has one or more clusters allocated for it to hold the file contents. It also has an entry in the Master File Table (MFT). This MFT record specifies everything about the file: its name, size, what clusters are allocated for it etc. (In fact, if the file is small enough, all its contents are stored in its MFT record and no extra clusters are allocated.)

Now when you delete the file, Windows simply wipes the file's MFT record and then the file essentially does not exist anymore. Its file contents, however, still exist wherever they were on the disk. At this point Windows 7 will issue a TRIM command for those clusters that contained the file data to inform the SSD that these clusters are not anymore used and can be erased (so that future writes to them would be faster).

Now consider what the SSD Toolbox's optimizer has to do: It doesn't get notified on the fly of file deletions and content modifications. It has to, one way or another, figure itself what NTFS clusters are free and what are not, and issue TRIM for all free clusters. This is why the SSD Optimizer can easily have a bug which makes it think a cluster is free when in fact it is not, and is being used by NTFS. In this case it seems the SSD Optimizer has a bug which makes it incorrectly think the clusters that are used for storing restore points are free. Then it issues TRIM for them, and the drive makes what it's supposed to and erases the data -- and then your restore points are gone.

Regarding the SSD, there is no difference what software (Windows itself or the optimizer software) issued the TRIM. The drive will simply erase the blocks it has been told are empty, so in that sense TRIM works exactly the same way in Windows and the SSD Optimizer.

Contrary to what some people have said in this thread, you do not need any extra software in Windows 7 for TRIM to work. Windows 7 will issue TRIM commands automatically by default. Incompatible drivers (the matrix storage driver for example) can, however, filter out these commands.

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

As someone else said above, there is no need to run optimizer if you have Microsoft AHCI storage driver, BIOS set to AHCI, and Windows 7. The Microsoft AHCI storage driver passes the TRIM command to your SSD if your SSD has TRIM installed. When installing Windows 7, you should have had BIOS set to AHCI.

From the Intel white paper on the Toolbox, no longer shown but I copied it when the Toolbox was available:

When using the latest Microsoft Windows* 7 operating system with Microsoft AHCI storage drivers the OS will contain native support to execute the Intel® SSD Optimizer on an Intel SSD without requiring any user interaction.

Microsoft Windows* 7 

Microsoft* AHCI

 

Native OS support (Intel® SSD Toolbox not required)
idata
Community Manager
217 Views

Win 7 automatically sends the trim command regardless if you have an ssd or hdd and regardless if you have a trim enabled ssd or not.

That command has to get past the controller and the ssd must then be able to interpret and execute the trim command.

A trim enabled ssd should be able to report itself to the OS as an ssd, which should then automatically configure ssd friendly features such as defrag off etc.

The Intel SSD Optimizer is a tool inside the Intel Solid State Drive Toolbox. The white paper states the OS will contain native support to execute the Intel SSD Optimizer. So questions:

Do you need to install the Intel Solid State Drive Toolbox to be able to execute the Intel SSD Optimizer or is another program executed?

If you installed the Intel Solid State Drive Toolbox and never open it, does the OS automatically execute the Intel SSD Optimizer without you knowing about it or does it happen by another process?

Something does not add up

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

The Intel White paper clearly states no Toolbox required if using Windows 7 with Microsoft AHCI storage driver and BIOS set to AHCI--end of story. You keep putting the blame on Intel SSD for not being recognized in Windows 7, however, the blame may very well lie with Windows 7. My understanding is Windows 7 will detect an SSD by zero rotation of the disk. Therefore, this whole issue of why SSD is not detected may be a bug in Windows 7. Regardless, TRIM is still working as evidenced in my SSD without using the Toolbox to run optimizer.

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

No, what it says is this:

When using the latest Microsoft Windows* 7 operating system with Microsoft AHCI storage drivers the OS will contain native support to execute the Intel SSD Optimizer® on an Intel SSD without requiring any user interaction. For users of Windows 7 with Intel® Matrix Storage Manager storage drivers, or other operating systems such as Microsoft Windows XP or Vista*, Intel is offering the same ability for users to execute the Intel® SSD Optimizer on their Intel SSD through the use of the Intel® Solid-State Drive Toolbox.

That seems to be saying you need the Intel SSD Optimizer to execute the trim command, which can happened without you knowing it or manually. (?)

EDIT: By the way I don't blame Intel for anything. I am just curious to know how things work.

idata
Community Manager
217 Views

What they mean with that statement is that Windows 7 does automatically the same job what SSD Optimizer does on XP and Vista. This statement has clearly been written by a marketroid so you shouldn't even try to read it exact to the word. I agree that they should talk about TRIM and not about SSD Optimizer, but the sad fact is that people who write these are either clueless by themselves, or think that the customers are too clueless to understand what TRIM is. Therefore they try to come up with their own "easy" terminology, which only makes it hard to understand what they try to say. 

MJohn29
New Contributor I
217 Views

The only way to get the optimizer is to download the tool box right? If that is true, then read it again and you will see that Windows 7 with the MS AHCI storage driver does not require the toolbox (hence optimizer) to be downloaded for TRIM to work properly. Even Anand verified this in his SSD article (he was even upset that Intel still does not have a TRIM enabled storage driver).

I have a question though...I installed Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on my new 160GB G2 with the latest firmware and then installed the latest Intel chipset drivers (not the Intel MSM) for my Intel DP55KG motherboard. I noticed that my AHCI storage driver says it is from Intel and not Microsoft in Device Manager. Does the Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility include a storage driver??? I thought only the Intel MSM included that?

idata
Community Manager
108 Views

The Intel(R) Chipset Device Software installs Windows*

 

INF files to the target system. These files outline to

 

the operating system how to configure the Intel(R) chipset

 

components in order to ensure that the following features

 

function properly:

- Core PCI and ISAPNP Services

 

- PCIe Support

 

- IDE/ATA33/ATA66/ATA100 Storage Support  - SATA Storage Support  - USB Support

 

- Identification of Intel(R) Chipset Components in

 

the Device Manager
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