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An Overview of Crucial ® Storage Executive

Crucial Storage Executive gives Crucial customers additional reporting and utilities for diagnosing problems with their Crucial solid state drives. This includes both recovering from serious operating system malfunctions, or simply viewing drive attributes and updating firmware. While detailed documentation is included with the Storage Executive utility, this article will highlight some features and provide additional detail on others.

System Requirements

  • Windows® 7 or later (both 32 and 64-bit versions supported)
  • SATA or PCIe® connections for any drives Storage Executive is being used with (USB connections may allow partial functionality, but full support for all Storage Executive features requires a direct SATA or PCIe connection.

Storage Executive is compatible with the Crucial M500, M550, MX-series, BX-series SSDs, and P1 drive. Limited functionality may be provided in older Crucial models, or non-Crucial storage devices, but is not guaranteed or supported by Crucial.

System Information

The System Information screen summarizes memory and storage device details. It provides a PC overview on RAM installed and shows Virtual Memory as well (as a sum of your installed RAM and page file sizes). The lower portion of this screen provides overviews of connected storage, including part and serial numbers, installed firmware, and summaries of free and used space. Also featured are quick access buttons for S.M.A.R.T. reporting and firmware updates. 

When choosing a management option from the column on the left side of the screen, you must also select a drive to bring up device-specific management options for that drive.

Drive Details

Individual Drive Details screens provide more drive information, including a value for Total Bytes Written to allow monitoring of NAND write-wear, as well as what driver and interface the SSD is utilizing.

A drop-down menu on this screen (in the upper-left) provides a Get Debug Data option for your system, which will generate error logs and may be requested by Crucial Support for diagnostics of system malfunctions. These error logs are saved in .zip archives in the directory Storage Executive is installed under.

S.M.A.R.T.

This screen summarizes the drive's self-reporting values around performance, and these values are collectively used to determine the drive's overall health as shown throughout Storage Executive.

Firmware Updates

This screen allows you to confirm your installed SSD firmware and check Crucial.com for any available updates. If an update is found, it can be applied through this screen, but will force a reboot during the update process unless the box labelled Perform Live Firmware Update is also checked. Ensure that you have no open programs, or have saved your data in any open programs, before running this function. If you opt to reboot for the live update and have multiple drives of the same model (for example two MX200 drives), all drives will be updated when this process is run on a computer. 

If you scroll down on this screen, there are Release Notes for the update, as well as a field for manually selecting a firmware update file if you have downloaded one separately.

Sanitize Drive

This operation removes all data, including partitions, from the targeted drive. This will leave the drive in a state requiring reinitialization for further use. This process will force a reboot of your system to complete so, as with the firmware update, ensure you are prepared before allowing the reboot to continue.

On a password-protected TCG-enabled drive this function will be unavailable, as shown above, and a PSID revert will need to be used in its place.

PSID Revert

This returns an SSD to its original state if it has been TCG-enabled with a drive password, locking the hardware encryption, and can no longer be accessed using the original credentials, such as if the password is lost. This will also remove all data from the drive similar to the Sanitize Drive operation. This process requires the user to enter the 32-character PSID printed on the drive's label. It will immediately begin the operation and after a few seconds indicate the PSID Revert has completed and all data has been removed from the SSD.

Momentum Cache

Momentum Cache is a feature that allows you to use up to 25% of available system memory, though no more than 4GB, to cache write commands to the Crucial SSD to improve its write performance. An abrupt loss of power using Momentum Cache carries some risk of data loss and file corruption. To try to prevent this, in a laptop Momentum Cache will automatically disable itself when the battery level on a laptop has gone down to 25%. In a desktop, no comparable feature is present, so it is recommended you use an uninterruptible power supply while you are using the Momentum Cache feature.

FlexCap

FlexCap is not supported on Crucial-branded SSDs, only on Micron®-specific lines. It is functionally similar to Over Provisioning outlined below.

Over Provisioning

Over Provisioning (OP) is a feature of Storage Executive that allows you to allocate additional space on the SSD for the controller to use. Providing additional space for the controller means that functions such as Wear Levelling and Garbage Collection can run more smoothly, and there is less chance the SSD will slow under heavy load. In testing, benefits were mostly seen in OP amounts of 5-10% of total SSD space, but users who will not miss the available storage on their devices may see further benefits for allocating additional space to this feature.

Device Self-Test

Device Self-Test runs a brief pass/fail test on the SSD. This feature is not supported by all Crucial SSD models, and does not provide full details on the nature of a malfunction, so often reviewing your SMART data will provide more insight into any abnormal SSD performance. For an at-a-glance summary, this option is sufficient.

Crucial Storage Executive is available as a free download here. Frequently Asked Questions on Storage Executive are detailed here. If you require any assistance using your SSD, Storage Executive, or otherwise need to contact Crucial, the Contact Support link in the upper right will give you options to reach Crucial. You can also visit this page for additional support options.

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