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Defragging Flash Drives


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I decided to defrag my flash drive, since I run my email program from it, the question is: What are the positive benefits of defragging flash drives? Also, I notice, (which could be related), some of my files got corrupted, making the size of certain files appear as 3 or 7 GB, after querying the size for all the folders and files on the root folder, my 4GB flash drive was actually displaying over 100 GB of data, I located the offending files, about 30, most of them had the name of "system file", some were hidden, some where not, I wonder if anyone else has encounter this, I am guessing that this could have been after using the RC2 version of Defraggler on my flash drive, I had a backup, so no problem here, but I thought I'd bring it up.

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I decided to defrag my flash drive, since I run my email program from it, the question is: What are the positive benefits of defragging flash drives?

 

I don't profess to be an expert, but I would say that there is next to no benefit to defragging a flash drive. As a solid-state device, it has near-instant seek times: with spinning disks, it takes a lot of time to access data spread out over the disk. With solid-state technology, there's no real overhead in doing that: a file in 1,000 fragments is pretty much as quick as a contiguous file.

 

(To get real nitpicky, solid-state disks have a finite number of writes that can be performed, so you could argue that you're wearing it out quicker. But the number is generally something large, and I've never heard of a flash drive going bad, to be honest. It'd be like arguing that walking out to the mailbox unnecessarily wore down your shoes: it's accurate, but it's a minuscule difference.)

 

So I would argue that there's no benefit to defragging flash drives.

 

(All this said, I have terrible OCD and have done it just so everything looks good. Absolutely no performance gain for me, but it made me feel good.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sounds like there is no performance benefit in defragging flash drives, on the contrary, defragging decreases the life-writes of the drive. Thanks for the reply. On a second note, I was wondering what is the main benefit of Defraggler over Windows Defrag or perhaps Diskeeper? (Besides the price and the professional interface and commitment of Piriform).

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Sounds like there is no performance benefit in defragging flash drives, on the contrary, defragging decreases the life-writes of the drive.

 

That's an accurate summary. The one thing I'd caution is that defragging shouldn't massively decrease the life of a solid-state drive, just that it's taking a few out of something finite. (It drives me batty to see people afraid to update things on solid-state for fear of using up a write cycle. You've got plenty, there's just no reason to waste them defragging.)

 

 

 

On a second note, I was wondering what is the main benefit of Defraggler over Windows Defrag or perhaps Diskeeper? (Besides the price and the professional interface and commitment of Piriform).

 

Diskeeper -- probably just price. Until I switched to Vista (where my existing license no longer works), I was in love with Diskeeper. It works amazingly well. The downside is the obvious one you point out -- cost.

 

Windows Defrag is basically as bad as defragging gets. Defraggler seems a lot faster to me, for one. Plus it allows defragging individual files/folders if you want, and theoretically (I maintain that it still doesn't work, though others have disagreed) allows defragging "free space" to reduce future fragmentation.

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  • 4 months later...

The situation is far more complex.

 

There is no advantage to routine defrag as in something that runs in background like Vista's automatic defrag.

 

However, SSDs do need "conditioning" as it fills up and there are fewer and fewer cells to use for wear leveling / scattering.

 

I have used defrag (including defagger) to do a form of wear leveling that exposes new cells to use.

 

Use of this occasionally (once a month, every few weeks) have resulted in performance improvements, but not due to defrag per se, but due to more efficient use of the wear leveling system.

 

There is not a real good commercial tool available right now that does what we might call good SSD conditioning.

 

I am bugging these guys to come up with one.

 

For more info on this, visit with me on d111 at OCZ SSD Forum.... a place where you will find a wealth of info on tweaking SSDs to perfection.

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I agree. There is absolutely no benefit to defrag a flash drive. I did find one really cool use for defraggler though! It works great for defragging a virtual PC/VirtualBox image! No other defrag tool seems to work very well in a virtual environment. Defraggler is the only one that I have tested that can successfully defrag them. Must be the way it accesses the 'disk'.

TurtleWax

 

The situation is far more complex.

 

There is no advantage to routine defrag as in something that runs in background like Vista's automatic defrag.

 

However, SSDs do need "conditioning" as it fills up and there are fewer and fewer cells to use for wear leveling / scattering.

 

I have used defrag (including defagger) to do a form of wear leveling that exposes new cells to use.

 

Use of this occasionally (once a month, every few weeks) have resulted in performance improvements, but not due to defrag per se, but due to more efficient use of the wear leveling system.

 

There is not a real good commercial tool available right now that does what we might call good SSD conditioning.

 

I am bugging these guys to come up with one.

 

For more info on this, visit with me on d111 at OCZ SSD Forum.... a place where you will find a wealth of info on tweaking SSDs to perfection.

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