• Indexing on SSDs question

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    I noticed when I got my Win11 Surface Pro that the indexing option was turned on by default when you right-mouse click the drive.  I remember back in the old days they used to tell people to turn indexing off for HDDs to keep wear and tear down, by unticking the box

    Is indexing good or at least ok for SSDs?




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    • #2471294

      debateable but I’ve tended to turn indexing off as I know where my files and emails are and the OS knows where everything is anyway.
      FYI I’ve an SSD with indexing off since I got it in 2012 and it’s still going strong after installs of Win7/8.1 and now 10

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    • #2471308

      The recommendation for a long time was to turn off indexing for SSD’s because it’s always “rewriting” the index files which shortens its life span (i.e. you can only write to an SSD’s so many times before it becomes “read only“.)

        SSD Lifespan: How Long do SSDs Really Last?

      Not sure if that still holds true for the newer generation of SSD’s but, like @Microfix, I still turn it off for all my SSD’s because searches on SDD’s are so quick it doesn’t really need index files to find stuff.

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      • #2471328

        The most important thing when using older or even newer SSD’s is to image and backup externally using an HDD as a habit.
        Once an SSD goes pop!…that’s it over, no recovery, everything on that SSD is lost (unless sent to professional data recovery guru’$)

        Justifying the 1st rule in computing: backup, backup and backup.

    • #2471378

      I would not let the fear of wearing out the NAND cells on a SSD change the way I do anything with regard to personal use of a computing device. I have no idea what the deal was before I bought my first one in 2014, but even then the fear of media wear-out was vastly overblown.

      That drive I bought in 2014, a 128GB Samsung 840 Pro, has been in continuous service ever since (though for the last few months, I have not been using the desktop PC into which it is installed, for lack of need), and I’ve never gone easy on it. I had the Windows page file on the 840 Pro back in the days when Firefox seemed determined to use up every ounce of memory on the system (I had 8GB then), and that would cause Windows to hit the virtual memory really hard. It was only the speed of the SSD that kept Firefox usable when that happened, and often I was right in the middle of something and I did not want to restart it at that point, so I would keep doing what I was doing and let the SSD make up for it. This was a regular occurrence in those days!

      Through all of this, through multiple OS installations (I had Windows 7, 8.1, 10 [briefly], and several Linuxes on there at some point), though quite a number of restores from backups, the drive still has something like 70% of its rated life left, after eight years of not worrying about it being a SSD. By that measure, it should last another 16+ years, for a total of 24. But even then, that is just the rated life of the media within the SSD. As the famous TechReport SSD torture test series revealed, the 840 Pro kept going well beyond its rated end of life. It wasn’t even halfway done when it reached its end of rated life.

      The 840 Pro was the best of all of the SSDs they tested back then, and not everyone is going to be using the best of the breed. But that was also with 2014 NAND and 2014 drive capacities. My SSD from 2014 is a small 128GB, and most of them are larger than that now. Doubling the size of a SSD doubles the number of drive writes it can tolerate before reaching the limit (though this is not always reflected in the write count in the SMART data), and the 840 Pro’s write endurance per cell is exceeded by most “budget” TLC or MLC drives now. Even a budget drive from the last few years will be better than the 840 Pro in endurance.

      I would be surprised if the 840 Pro makes it to 24 years of age. That’s a really, really long time for a storage device. If it does fail before that time, though, it will not be because of NAND media wearing out, which is just one failure mode among many that can cause a SSD to fail. It will be some kind of unpredicted failure, the same kind that happens to other electronic devices that don’t contain NAND, like motherboards, video cards, traditional hard drives, and so on. They all fail at some point, even without some predictable counter ticking down as more and more writes accumulate.




      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, Kubuntu 22.04, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, Kubuntu 22.04, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed

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    • #2471471

      I don’t index at all my SSD and HDD.
      I don’t need to.

      I know the location of every data file.
      If I need to search for system files or data files I ran the free portable ‘Everything’ app and get result in 1 second.

    • #2471497

      How often does Windows “re-index” a file that has already been indexed and is seldom changed, and only read from time to time? Turning off indexing causes Windows to reset the attribute of each and every file. Does this mean making an access to each file on the SSD? If so, is then cancelling indexing itself going to put quite a bit of use (reading) on the SSD?

    • #2471501

      The index isn’t a “file attribute” setting, that simply controls whether a particular file/folder can be indexed or not (FYI, the “default” setting for all files/folders is Allow indexing.)

      The actual index used for searches is information about each file/folder (its name, full path, properties and, for text type files, its contents — so you can search for words “within” that file) all of which is stored in a single file located in the “hidden” location C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\Windows.edb

      So the problem isn’t how often it re-indexes a particular file/folder, it only does that when it detects it’s been changed, but the fact Windows.edb gets updated (i.e. “rewritten“) every time any file/folder gets changed, no matter how minor the change is.

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