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TweakTown's Complete SSD Toolbox Software Roundup

By: Chris Ramseyer | Editorials in Storage | Posted: Oct 10, 2014 1:03 pm

SanDisk SSD Dashboard




SanDisk is the latest company to make software to manipulate SSDs and it's easily the most feature rich. The software is called SSD Dashboard and it covers nearly every feature we've seen from other SSD makers, and then adds more functions on top.


The initial screen starts off fairly tame, but this is a good thing, no need to overwhelm users right off the bat. Here you can see data on the drives capacity, used capacity, drive life, interface speed and temperature. The temperature function currently gives a false reading on some SanDisk drives, but that will be fixed in the next update.




The performance tab gives us real-time performance measurements, polling the data from Windows Performance Monitor. You can see both throughput (MB/s) or IOPS performance for both data reads and data writes.


Users can also select the Optimization tab to TRIM the drive in this section in operating systems that support the feature.




The tools section is quite extensive. Here we can update the firmware two different ways. The first is for Dashboard to reach out to SanDisk's servers and download / install the firmware. The second is to download the firmware yourself and then use Dashboard to install the firmware.




Again, Windows 8 blocks secure erase, but SanDisk allows users to plug in a USB flash drive, format it with SanDisk software and boot into the software to secure erase SanDisk SSDs.




Sanitize is also blocked by Windows 8, but SanDisk is working on a way to make all of the blocked functions work on the newer operating systems.




If our drive was encrypted with eDrive or TCG Opal software, we could delete the encryption and the data on the drive with the Crypto Erase function.




In Dashboard, you can run a SMART short or long test.




In drive details, you see all of the information for the drive, as well as the connected speed, model number, serial number, worldwide name and other data.




The last tab under tools gives us information on both the operating system and computer.


At the bottom of the Tools page is a section called additional features. These are software functions by third party makers. These are SanDisk partners and the functions include drive cloning, virus scanning, theft recovery and drive security.




Yes, you can Lo Jack your notebook! SanDisk gives you six months of free Lo Jack, but can you purchase a year of the service for $9.99 instead of $39.99 thanks to SanDisk.




Most new SSDs support TCG Opal 1.0/2.0, but we never hear how to use the feature, how to make it work and for that matter get software from manufacturers to make it work. SanDisk didn't want to just give us a feature check mark and let it end with that. SanDisk worked with Wave to get users EMBASSY Security Center (ESC) software. This is how you actually use your TCG Opal features. Wave and SanDisk put a page together to walk users through the process, encrypting your drive and installing the software. SanDisk is the first SSD manufacturer to give users this information in such an easy package.




SanDisk went to Apricorn to deliver a free disk cloning software. The software is downloaded, installed and then used to clone data from an existing drive to a SanDisk SSD.




The SanDisk SSD Dashboard can be updated from within the software. This keeps you from searching for an updated version, uninstalling the old software only to reinstall the new software.




You can configure SSD Dashboard to run when Windows starts or to run it manually. On the option page in the settings tab, you can also quickly turn off Windows write-cache buffer flushing. This gives your storage system a slight performance boost.




The help tab gives you three additional pages. The online support function gives users quick access to SanDisk's support personnel. You can also generate a report that gathers detailed information about your PC so you can send it to support. Finally, we have the page that shows what version of SSD Dashboard you are using and gives the legal details.

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