Do NOT Defrag your Solid State Drives

As with all new technology it takes time to let go of old ideas. toaster3

Screen savers used to serve a purpose. To keep a C:/ prompt from being tattooed onto your screen.

They were good for your gear.

Using a screensaver now is more for fun or privacy. It is not really needed but does no harm.

Defragmenting some drives is also becoming outdated. Unlike a screensaver, doing harm.

Defragmenting will shorten the life of your Solid State, SD or USB Drive.

Your solid state drive does not have any moving parts.

There is no platter spinning nor head reading. Seek time is a non issue. When you “look” at your SSHD with a defrag program it shows you a virtual disk. The virtual disk used to represent a physical drive and scattered data.defrag

In the case of a solid state drive every cluster is touching every other cluster. There is no head looking for data on a spinning hard drive. The data at the “end” is next to the data at the beginning. Every byte is accessible in the same amount of time no matter where it is mapped or placed.

…..So who cares?  You do! Your solid state drive in your EEE PC, MacBook Air, iphone and your USB drive all have one thing in common. LIMITED WRITE CYCLES.

Write cycles are when your 0’s are flipped to 1’s or your 1’s are flipped to zeros. Unlike reading data off of the drive (non destructive) writing to a Flash drive SSHD or an SD card is destructive and takes it one step closer to being worn out.

If you are old enough to remember paper and a pencil. :)   If you write your name on the paper you can read it over and over with no wear at all. If you erase it and rewrite it the paper begins to wear. After a few too many times erasing and writing, it wears out.

When you defrag your SSHD you are using up your write cycles and doing nothing to increase your speed or performance.

My best advice is to never open defrag on your Solid State HD XP or Vista machine. Leave your USB thumb drive alone too. If Microsoft bothers to keep XP and Vista up to date I would expect a patch or update to be released to recognize solid state drives and bypass the defrag option all together. (I am not holding my breath on the XP patch. It is not included in Service Pack 3.

In most EEE PC’s the 2 or 4GB flash memory is soldered to the motherboard. The life of the entire machine is effectively over when the hard drive is used up!4GB Soldered

Google the phrase “wear leveling solid state drives” for more info. Tiny flash drives don’t have too much room to spread the wear.

If you are running The Windows OS on a Solid State Drive or Card remove your swap file ASAP.

Paging files rewrite constantly. You will be wearing out your drive just by having your Windows machine turned on.

I covered this on an earlier post.

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~ by thepeoplegeek on Monday, April 14, 2008.

2 Responses to “Do NOT Defrag your Solid State Drives”

  1. Any discoveries, ideas you have devised or articles you have come across on how the native ASUS Xandros install deals with swap space? Is there a Xandros boot cheat code to launch the OS to run RAM only?
    All of these interesting updates to MOD the machine or installing even other distros makes me nervous because of this very SSD issue. I am guessing if I run eeePC optimized puppy off an SD card, I can almost negate using the SSD. But I am not certain what is going on under the hood on that.
    Keeping in mind – on a standard drive, as one grows the footprint of the distro with more cool apps, and wants to run more apps at once, the OS starts to lean towards swap reliance.
    So I am wondering if the native Xandros install is:
    – Automatically redirected to RAM
    – Originally small enough – to not need to used the SWAP

    Thanks!
    Ari

  2. it would probably take 20 years to wear it out why are you worried

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