In a recent newsletter, you say that SSD drives should not be defragged.
What about flash or thumb drives? Also, can (or should) they be reformatted?
I’m using Windows 7.
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Defragging SSD drives
SSD drives and flash drives should not be defragged. Period.
They are both based on the same technology: it’s the quality of the
technology underlying that is the quantitative difference between the two.
SSD drives use flash memory – it’s just a higher quality that lasts longer.
Movement of physical disk head
Regardless, defragging flash drives, defragging SSDs typically has very
little impact on performance because defragging is all about dealing with
physical head movement in a traditional hard drive – and there is no physical
head to move in an SSD or a flash or USB thumb drive.
So as far as I’m concerned, don’t defrag anything that’s based on flash
memory; be it an SSD or USB thumb drive.
Reformatting flash memory
Reformatting, sure. Reformat it if you need to.
My tendency is to reformat it using a quick reformat; which actually only
overwrites the root directory marking the entire drive as “empty and available
for use” and actually involves very little writing. There’s no reason not to do
that. It’s simply, like I said, a quick way to erase the entire thing and set
up a new file system, a new clean file system.
Now, the question becomes do you ever need to do a full format? In other
words, rather than a quick format (which just updates the root directory on the
drive), do you ever need to do a full format that actually overwrites all of the
sectors on the device?
So, my thinking is that in general, you do not. However, if you are concerned
about the data on the drive potentially ever being recovered or undeleted, then
yes, a full format is called for. It will overwrite every sector on the drive
exactly once, which is enough to render everything on a flash drive practically
So, those are the two solutions I’d go for. Don’t defrag your SSDs or your
USB thumb drives. Reformat them appropriately if you need to.