Upgrading your computer’s hard drive from a platter hard disk to a solid state drive is one of the smartest things you can do. With the price of Solid State Drives (SSDs) dropping by the day, what used to be an expensive upgrade is now a worthwhile, affordable upgrade. However, if you’re a Mac owner who has made the jump from a hard disk to a solid state drive, there is a potentially huge issue you need to know about.
Solid State Drives work in a much different way when it comes to storing and more importantly, deleting your data. A traditional hard disk has access to the underlying file system, where as SSDs do not. What does this mean to you? It means that when you delete your data with a SSD, you operating system will still show these sectors as being used, even though you’ve already deleted the data. When deleting a file, your operating system tells the file system that the blocks your file once occupied are now available; since your traditional hard disk has access to this file system, it then frees up these blocks as new free space. However, common SSDs do not have access to this file system, and never get the message to free up those blocks as free space.
That’s where TRIM comes in. Rather than an acronym, TRIM is an actual command that allows the SSD to do its garbage collection correctly, and getting that message that it would otherwise not receive from the file system. TRIM is essential for any user with a SSD on their computer, as it ensures you get the maximum life and performance out of your SSD.
However, Mac users with a SSD in their computers that was not installed by Apple should take notice. The TRIM command, which lives inside of Mac OS-X, is disabled by default for any SSD not installed by Apple at the factory. Even if your MacBook or iMac recognizes your drive as a SSD, TRIM will not be enabled by OS-X. All hope is not lost though, Groths.org has a great free download of TRIM Enabler for Mac OS-X that enables the TRIM command on OS-X for those running aftermarket SSDs. Currently at version 2.2, TRIM Enabler supports all modern versions of OS-X, including Mountain Lion. After downloading, simply click the slider to enable TRIM, enter your Mac admin password, restart your Mac, and you’re now running your new SSD correctly.
However, OS-X users take note, every time your update your OS-X TRIM is again (since it’s the default) turned off. While you certainly should make sure that you upgrade any time one is available, keep this in the forefront of your mind when doing so. Immediately after the update is completed, reopen the TRIM Enabler application (just type TRIM in your Spotlight search) and enable TRIM again. You will need to restart your Mac again for the change to take place. Don’t forget it!
If you’re wondering why Apple would do this, just remember this is the same company that hasn’t had a computer, tablet, phone, or music player with a user-replaceable battery in some time now. Simply put, Apple doesn’t want you replacing hard drives yourself when you could just buy a new MacBook for about ten times the money to get your Apple-installed SSD.
Header image courtesy of Com Pixels