Support Blog

Using Techtool Pro with SSDs

Sometimes we're asked if Techtool Pro works with SSDs. Short answer? Yes!

For a longer answer, some of Techtool Pro's features don't really apply to Solid State media. Some of the confusion probably comes from whether it is a good idea to optimize (or defragment) a Solid State Drive (SSD). Techtool Pro does display a warning when attempting to optimize an SSD, because doing so is not recommended.

ssds

Defragmentation routines organize the data on rotational hard drive platters so that the data can be read consecutively, without the drive having to move the drive mechanism any more than necessary, which improves read times on rotational disks. SSDs have no mechanical moving parts, and fragmented data can be read just as fast, regardless of the physical location of the data on disk. Furthermore, moving massive amounts of data on an SSD (which occurs during any defragmentation operation) works against SSD-specific features used to keep them running their fastest.

Read more: Using Techtool Pro with SSDs

Testing Other Components

Recently, we've discussed testing disks and RAM with Techtool Pro. In addition to testing these important areas, Techtool Pro also tests some of the lesser-known components that keep your Mac running smoothly. Your Mac has a number of sensors that monitor the voltages and temperatures going to your Mac's various components. If things get too hot, most Macs utilize fans to keep things cool. And, if your Mac is a laptop, it has an internal battery used to power the device if the power cord is disconnected.

Fan Sensor Batt

Keeping an eye on some of these systems outside of RAM and disks can assist in identifying other areas that may be keeping your Mac from running its best.

Read more: Testing Other Components

What are Volume Structures?

Now that most of us have GPS enabled devices in our pockets, it is (mostly) straightforward to find our way when we're out on the road. When it comes to your hard drive, macOS needs its own GPS to find where your files are located when you need them. This GPS, or map, is how you can think of your drive's volume structures. When the map is damaged, your system loses its way and may be unable to navigate to your important files.

Catalina Drive Map

For most Mac drives, volume structures come in one of two "flavors," Mac OS Extended or APFS. If you are using macOS High Sierra or later, your startup drive uses the newer APFS. While APFS adds new features to better support the solid state drives used in almost all modern Macs, Mac OS Extended can still be found on many external storage drives.

Read more: What are Volume Structures?

What about my RAM?

We spend a lot of time talking about drives. And indeed, Techtool Pro includes a number of tests and tools for them. However, perhaps the next most important component when it comes to your data is your Mac's memory (RAM).

MemoryTesting

Your RAM is temporary storage used to store whatever your Mac is currently working on. Since the operating system can hold on to memory used by other processes that have recently been closed, the Memory Test in Techtool Pro reclaims as much memory as possible before testing. Any memory currently in use by the operating system or reserved by a running application is unavailable for testing. To test the most RAM possible, it is best to quit any running applications. Even better, start up from an eDrive or Protogo device, which have slightly smaller operating system footprints.

Read more: What About RAM?

Is your life raft ready?

Many of us will eventually experience that sinking feeling, a never-ending spinning beachball. Even worse, when testing reveals an error in the Volume Structures test. Making repairs to your startup disk requires starting up from a separate disk, which exactly the scenario that an eDrive or Protogo device is designed to fill. If, at this point, you have an eDrive or Protogo device, you will be well situated to get your Mac back up and running. You'll have a life raft.

eDrive Protogo

If an eDrive or Protogo device isn't already available, you can end up caught in a catch-22. There are times when creating an eDrive or Protogo device fails because the basis for that device - your internal hard drive - is unable to copy the necessary files. So it's especially important to be prepared and create your eDrive or Protogo device in advance of hard drive problems.

Creating an eDrive starts with the eDrive tool. Simply select the destination device (an external drive is the better option if using Mojave or later), and click create eDrive. Techtool Pro will add a new partition to the drive, and then copy the necessary components to make a valid startup disk.

Read more: Is Your Life Raft Ready

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