Thursday, July 23, 2009

Having heard so many good things about SSDs (solid state disks), a few months I decided to try one out on my laptop – a Dell M4400 at the time.
So I got a Patriot Warp v. 3 256GB SSD, backed up the old disk (a standard 7200rpm 250GB disk) and restored it to the new SSD.
This appeared to work very nicely at first (quiet, quick boot etc.), but soon the laptop started taking long breaks where it practically froze, apparently doing some kind of disk activity (as per the HD light).
This might have had something to do with the Intel controller SATA settings and some weird restore partition that the Dell laptop was born with, but I never figured it out and eventually put the original hard disk back in to get some work done. And the SSD ended up in the drawer :-(

Then last week at the local mall I came across this cute little Sony Vaio Z21 laptop – which I just had to have.
It is light (1,5 kgs), great screen (13.1” 1600x900), Core2 Duo 2.53GHz, and 4GB RAM, and looks great too.
The hard disk however was a bit slow - 5400prm standard. So this was a perfect opportunity to try the SSD again.

After a few failed attempts (blue screen of death) at installing Windows 7 RC on the Vaio / SSD, the Windows installer suddenly claimed that the computer had no hard disk at all.
I tried with Windows 7 RC, Vista, several older Windows versions, and various disk partitioning utilities, but none of them recognized the disk anymore.

After a lot of googling, I finally found “Super FDisk” from http://www.ptdd.com/. A free utility delivered as a downloadable ISO image for burning a bootable CD.
Visually it reminded me of the good old Windows 3.1 days, but it worked wonders!
After deleting some weird looking disk partitions using this tool, the SSD appeared to be reborn.
The Windows 7 RC installer now recognized the SSD, and installed flawlessly on the first attempt. I have been running this 3-4 days now as so far it has been great (writing this in Windows Live Writer on the Vaio).

So thanks very much to the Super FDisk people for making (and giving away) this brilliant tool!

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