Fix Windows Recognizing SSD as Hard Disk Drive

It seems that the weird and strange issues always find their way into my system builds. Recently, a Windows Server build was recognizing my SSD drive as a standard hard disk drive. For some, this may not be an issue as the read/write performance is still there. However, for those that dig a little deeper, Windows will try to use the standard “Optimize” for the drive on a regular basis, something you should not do to an SSD.

After trying all the standard remedies, drivers, reboots, updates, etc, the problem simply would not correct itself. It had become so frustrating that I had even considered wiping the system and starting fresh. This, unfortunately, would result in the destruction of TONS of work and effort. Well, it turns out that the fix was an easy one; a simple command in powershell (or command prompt).

  • Open Windows Powershell (or command prompt)
  • type: winsat diskformal

Winsat is Windows System Assessment tool, and it is used to benchmark various components. Some of you may remember the Windows Vista and Windows 7 Windows Experience Index, this is the tool (or a version of it).

Further Winsat commands

WINSAT <assessment_name> [switches]

It’s necessary to supply an assessment name. In contrast, switches are optional.
Valid assessment names already seen in Vista include:

  • formal run the full set of assessments
  • dwm Run the Desktop Windows Manager assessment – Re-assess the systems graphics capabilities and restart the Desktop Window Manager.
  • cpu Run the CPU assessment.
  • mem Run the system memory assessment.
  • d3d Run the d3d assessment (Note that the d3d assessment no longer runs the workload.
    • For backward compatibility, pre-determined scores and metrics are reported.)
  • disk Run the storage assessment
  • media Run the media assessment
  • mfmedia Run the Media Foundation based assessment features Run just the features assessment
    • – Enumerates the system’s features.
    • – It’s best used with the -xml <filename> switch to save the data.
    • – The ‘eef’switch can be used to enumerate extra features such as optical disks, memory modules, and other items.

The new command-line options for pre-populating WinSAT assessment results are :

  • Winsat prepop [-datastore ] [ -graphics | -cpu | -mem | -disk | -dwm ]
    • This generates WinSAT xml files whose filenames contain “prepop”. For example : 0008-09-26 Cpu.Assessment (Prepop).WinSAT.xml
    • The filename pattern is : %IdentifierDerivedFromDate% %Component%.Assessment(Prepop).WinSAT.xml

The datastore directory option specifies an alternative target location for generated xml files. If no location is specified, everything is pre-populated to %WINDIR%\performance\winsat\datastore.

To generate a full set of result xml files, use “winsat prepop“.

It is also possible to pre-populate results for a subsystem, such as CPU, subject to the following dependencies:

  • The CPU assessment has a secondary dependency on the Memory assessment
  • The Memory assessment has a secondary dependency on the CPU assessment
  • The Graphics assessment has a secondary dependency on both CPU and Memory assessments
  • The DWM assessment can run standalone
  • The Disk assessment can run standalone

If the assessment for a secondary dependency is not present, WinSAT will run the secondary assessment along with the requested primary assessment.

For example, “winsat prepop -cpu” will run both the CPU and the Memory test,
if the xml file for the Memory test is not present.


  • dwmformal Run Desktop Windows Manager assessment to generate the WinSAT Graphics score
  • cpuformal Run CPU assessment to generate the WinSAT Processor score
  • memformal Run Memory assessment to generate the WinSAT Memory (RAM) score
  • graphicsformal Run Graphics assessment to generate the WinSAT Gaming Graphics score
  • diskformal Run Disk assessment to generate the WinSAT Primary Hard Disk score

All formal assessments will save the data (xml files) in %WINDIR%\performance\winsat\datastore.

If a system has been prepopulated (using files generated by the “winsat prepop” option),
it is not necessary to run formal assessments.


While investigating results, it may be convenient to look at individual assessments. Options for running Gaming Graphics sub-assessments include:

  • Winsat graphicsformal3d
  • Winsat graphicsformalmedia

DX9 Variations:

  • winsat d3d -dx9
  • winsat d3d -batch
  • winsat d3d -alpha
  • winsat d3d -tex
  • winsat d3d -alu

DWM/DX10 variations:

  • winsat d3d -dx10
  • winsat d3d -dx10 -alpha
  • winsat d3d -dx10 -tex
  • winsat d3d -dx10 -alu
  • winsat d3d -dx10 -batch
  • winsat d3d -dx10 -geomf4
  • winsat d3d -dx10 -geomf27
  • winsat d3d -dx10 -geomv8
  • winsat d3d -dx10 -gemov32
  • winsat d3d -dx10 -cbuffer


The default behavior for “WinSAT formal” when a complete set of winsat formal files is present and a second “winsat formal” run is requested is to

  1. Run incrementally if component change implies that an assessment needs to be re-run, e.g. if a video card were updated
  2. If no component updates were detected, re-run all assessments.

The restart option enables behavior other than the default. The syntax is :

  • Winsat formal -restart [clean|never]
    • Winsat formal -restart Reruns all assessments.
    • Winsat formal -restart never Attempts to run incrementally.
    • Winsat formal -restart clean Reruns all assessments and provides the same functionality as “forgethistory”.
    • Winsat forgethistory Choosing to forgethistory will rate a machine as if for the first time.


  • -v Enables verbose output
  • -xml Saves the XML output to ‘filename’

<command> -log <fn> Generates a log file associated with the specified command, such as disk
The -log switch can be used with any WinSAT command.

  • viewlog -i Dumps the results of a log file .
  • viewevents Used to view relevant winsat events in the event log. (This launches the event log)
  • query Can be used to query the current datastore.

About Joe D

I have always had a passion for everything computing. In early 2000, I decided to take my passion to the web. Thus, C.O.D. was born. Through the years we have made many great friends at C.O.D. and hope to continue our journey for years to come.

Check Also

Stop Windows 10 From Rebooting After Installing Updates

Nothing has bothered me more about Windows 10 than when I come back to my laptop from the gym to find all the tabs I had open lost to a reboot. Out of the box, Windows 10 will reboot once an update is installed... this leads to me having to scan my browsing history trying to find all the tabs I had open or have Microsoft Office prompt me to restore a file I had open and not saved recently.