With the proliferation of solid state drives (SSDs) in computers, it can often get confusing trying to identify which SSD is which, especially if you have multiple drives installed. There are a few ways you can easily tell SSDs apart so you know which one you are looking at.
Check Drive Labels
The simplest way is to check the label on the SSD itself. SSD manufacturers will usually label the drives with the model number, serial number, and storage capacity. This allows you to quickly identify and differentiate SSDs just by reading the label.
For example, you may see a label like:
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB
So just by glancing at the label, you can tell this is a 500GB Samsung 850 EVO model SSD.
Use Disk Management
You can also use the Disk Management utility in Windows to help identify SSDs. Disk Management lists all the drives connected to your system and provides additional details like drive capacity, filesystem, etc. This can help you match up the drives you see in Disk Management with the physical SSDs installed in your system.
For instance, if you have a 250GB SSD listed in Disk Management, you can look at the labels on your physical SSDs and identify which one matches that 250GB capacity.
Check SSD Model in System Information
On Windows, you can use the System Information tool to get more granular details about installed drives, including the specific SSD model. Just open System Information and expand the components list to view all the disk drives. This will show the model name for each SSD.
So you may see your SSD listed as:
Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
Matching this model information to SSD labels or capacities can help you narrow down exactly which SSD the system has identified.
Use Third-Party Tools
There are also third-party utilities that can provide detailed drive information to help identify SSDs.
For example, CrystalDiskInfo shows serial numbers, capacities, health status, and more for connected drives. Seeing the serial number is an easy way to directly associate the SSD listed in CrystalDiskInfo with the physical SSD in your system.
Speccy is another tool that provides detailed drive specifications like model name, capacity, and firmware version for precise identification.
Connect Only One SSD
If you are still unsure which SSD is which when multiple drives are connected, you can try disconnecting all but one SSD. Then use the methods above to identify the connected SSD. Record the details about that first SSD, disconnect it, then connect another SSD and repeat the process. By process of elimination, you can accurately label all your SSDs.
You may also be able to use partition information to help decipher between SSDs. If you have distinctive partition sizes or labels on a particular SSD, you may see those same partitions listed when that SSD is connected.
For example, if you know you have a distinct 100GB partition on one of your SSDs, when you see that 100GB partition listed in Disk Management, you can assume it is the same SSD.
Match Mount Points
In Linux and macOS you can use mount points to help identify drives. For instance, if you know you mounted one of the SSDs to /mnt/ssd1, when that mount point appears it likely indicates that particular SSD is connected.
Being able to accurately identify which SSD is which is important when managing multiple drives. Fortunately, using the various tips above like checking labels, using system tools, matching capacities and models, eliminating drives one by one, and looking at partitions and mount points, you can easily figure out which SSD is which.
With the right tools and methods, you’ll be able to distinguish your SSDs and never have to wonder which drive you are working with again!
More Tips for SSD Identification
1. Check interface type
SSDs can connect via different interface types like SATA, M.2, or PCIe. If you have SSDs using multiple interface types, this can help distinguish them. For example, you may have both a 2.5″ SATA SSD and an M.2 PCIe SSD installed.
2. Match up connectors
Look at the physical connectors on the SSDs and match them to the motherboard connectors or drive bays they are plugged into. This helps you trace the SATA or PCIe cables or drive bays to identify the SSD.
3. Note physical size
2.5″ SATA SSDs have a different physical size compared to M.2 SSDs. So you can use the SSD form factors to distinguish which drive is which if you have both types installed.
4. LED indicators
Some SSDs have LED lights that can help identify them. The lights may blink during drive activity, making it easier to pinpoint which SSD that activity is coming from.
5. Benchmark speeds
Run a benchmark test on your SSDs. Higher performing drives will have faster speeds that you can use to identify SSDs with more precision.
Typical Ways SSDs Are Labeled
Here are some of the common details included on SSD labels that can help identify drives:
|Model number||Uniquely identifies the specific SSD product/model|
|Serial number||Distinct number assigned to each individual SSD drive|
|Capacity||The SSD storage capacity, typically 32GB, 128GB, 500GB, etc.|
|Manufacturer||Company name that made the SSD, like Samsung, Kingston, WD, etc.|
|Firmware version||Installed SSD firmware version number|
These labels are applied to the SSD casing itself, making it easy to visually inspect and differentiate drives.
Steps to Identify SSDs in Windows
Here is a summary of the steps to identify SSDs in Windows:
- Physically inspect the SSD and check the label for model, capacity, serial number.
- Open Disk Management, find the listed drives and match capacities to SSD labels.
- Open System Information, go to disk drives and find model names.
- Use CrystalDiskInfo or Speccy to see serial numbers and match to labels.
- Disconnect all but one SSD and identify it, then repeat for others.
- Note any unique partitions on SSDs that appear in Disk Management.
Following these steps will enable you to accurately identify your SSDs on a Windows system.
How to Label Drives to Avoid Confusion
To help avoid confusion in the future, you can proactively label your SSDs with a naming convention.
Some options include:
- Put a numbered sticker on each SSD to designate SSD 1, SSD 2, etc.
- Use tape or colored stickers to mark drives used for specific purposes like OS, games, backup, scratch disk, etc.
- Label drives with their mounted location like “Drive C:” or “Drive D:”.
Come up with your own labeling system that uses names, numbers, colors, or purposes to make each SSD clearly identifiable at a glance.
How to Tell SSD Health
In addition to identifying which SSD is which, you also want to know the health status of your drives. Some signs of a healthy SSD:
- No read/write errors reported in PC or SSD utilities
- 100% life remaining as reported by SSD toolbox apps
- Fast sustained read/write speeds during benchmark testing
- Cool, consistent operating temperature around 30-50°C
- No unusual noises or vibrations from the SSD
Unhealthy SSDs may exhibit errors, slow performance, high temperature, disappearing data, and other issues. Monitoring health ensures your SSDs are operating properly.
Being able to quickly identify which SSD is which is important when managing multiple drives. With the right tools and techniques, you can label and track SSDs based on model, capacity, partitions, connectors, location, and other identifying details. Keeping your SSDs properly identified and in good health is crucial for a high-performing PC.