Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Fragging wonderful: The truth about defragging your SSD

  1. #1

    Posts : 21,864
    64-bit Windows 10

    Fragging wonderful: The truth about defragging your SSD

    With smarter file systems and faster disks and PCs, file fragmentation isn’t the performance suck it once was. Older computers had a habit of splitting files and spreading the parts all over your hard drives, but modern ones don’t do this as much. Not even close. That said, a bimonthly pass with a capable defragger can help you maintain peak performance on a heavily used hard drive.

    However, solid-state drives, which use flash memory instead of a hard-drive platter to store data, are another story: My tests showed little or no benefit from running a number of disk defragmenters on a heavily used SSD.

    Conventional logic dictates that you should never defrag an SSD, because the SSD controller writes data in a scattershot-fashion to multiple NAND chips and locations, using algorithms that only the controller understands. The operating system sees it as a hard drive with sectors, but the data is spread all over the drive by the controller. Defragging these “sectors” is like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle blindfolded: You can feel parts of the pattern, but you can’t see the whole picture. In addition, NAND is good for only a few thousand write cycles, so defragging can reduce the SSD’s lifespan by unnecessarily writing data to it.

    Despite those arguments, at least four defragging utilities purport to increase SSD performance through optimization: Auslogic’s Disk Defrag Pro, Condusiv’s Diskeeper, Raxco’s PerfectDisk, and SlimCleaner Intelligent Defrag. To understand how these might be of benefit, let’s review a few facts.

    Used NAND cells (the parts of flash memory that holds the data) must be erased before they can be written to.

    Early SSDs put off erasures, simply marking cells as no longer used when you deleted a file. When fresh cells ran out, having to erase the marked/used cells before rewriting to them slowed performance.

    The advent of the TRIM command, which invokes a drive’s built-in garbage collection routines (including erasing unused, previously written cells), solved the problem.

    Windows 7 and Windows 8 support the TRIM command.

    If you read the documentation used to support most SSD optimization claims, you’ll notice that much of it predates Windows 7 and the TRIM command. Before that, free-space optimization could force an SSD into garbage collection and thereby regain lost performance. But on a modern SSD running with a modern operating system, many of these optimizations are no longer needed.

    The issue: When I investigated, no SSD vendor would state unequivocally that the defragging programs would or wouldn’t benefit a modern SSD running on a modern TRIM-supporting operating system. I could find no hard evidence anywhere I looked, so I decided to gather my own....

    Read more at: Fragging wonderful: The truth about defragging your SSD | PCWorld

    See also: How to Use "Optimize Drives" to Defrag HDD and TRIM SSD in Windows 8 and 8.1

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,476
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit

    This should be an interesting thread to watch.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 1,339
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64 bit

    Thanks Brink. That was an interesting read. Since installing SSDs in both my PC and Laptop, I have followed "conventional wisdom" and never defragged either of them. So far, after two years or so, I haven't noticed any real life performance difference.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 28
    windows 8.1 pro x64

    the trim feature in windows 8 and 8.1 works well too might i add. the optimization in 8.1 not a defrag but a triming so to speak right click on the drive icon (ssd) and select tools and no defrag listed. use optimize.
    Last edited by Brink; 11 Oct 2013 at 12:51. Reason: removed unneeded quote of entire 1st post
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Defrag your hard drive, but leave the SSD alone

    From my limited tests, I’m firmly convinced that the tiny difference that even the best SSD defragger makes is not worth reducing the life span of your SSD. Add another voice to the chorus that’s singing “Don’t defrag your SSD.” If you’re truly convinced there are performance problems with your SSD due to file or cell fragmentation, get a utility that will issue a TRIM command. Or copy your data off, do a secure erase (using hdparm or Parted Magic), and copy it back again.
    Yep save your money and your SSD.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,476
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit

    There was a time when this subject would have started a lengthly yes no debate on defragging an SSD. It's nice to see that conventional wisdom has caught up with the times.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    Since there is no "Fragging" on SSDs I really did not expect that any defragging is needed. I'd rather see a way to force GC on them. In Win8 there is a way to force Trim but that does not do anything that Win has not already done and does not help any. On the other hand Win8 does not fragment HDDs almost at all. With XP I had to optimize HDDs quite often, with Win7, far less, Just other day I decided to defragg My 2 HDDs after a year of heavy use and both were fragmented less than 3%. So I guess, even defraggmenter programs are gone the way of "Scareware" or limited to older systems. It seams that putting extra stress on them (and defraggmenting makes them work extra hard) just does not justify that and yes i have "killed" Autodefrag completely wih no noticeable performance loss. Even much maligned WD "green" HDDs do not have any deterioration whatsoever after almost 2 years of heavy use.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Of course they say they work, they want you to buy it, lol.

    There is absolutely no reason to defrag an ssd any time. The built in trim feature for w8 is only really needed for first gen ssd's that did not natively support trim. Any modern ssd has trim and now most oems also have bios's that allow installing R0 arrays with irst roms with trim enabled.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    Hafnarfjörđur IS
    Posts : 4,374
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10

    Hi there
    IMO the performance of SSD's - especially the latest crop - is so far superior to spinners that I doubt if anybody would even NOTICE a small drop off in SSD performance even if it DID occur which is unlikely anyway.

    I'd just leave well alone -- in any case an image backup and restore will optimise the file chains if you are using a decent backup / restore program.

    Even with Spinners I probably only defragged a drive about ONCE in 7 years and I can't say if it improved performance much at all -- the BIGGEST bottleneck on spinners is a SMALL CACHE -- if the CACHE size is decent the disk I/O is overlapped with processing and the Prefetch routines will already have the data in the cache before your application actually needs it so the defrag performance is actually a moot point anyway.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Posts : 315
    Windows 8.1 consumer 64 bit

    The reason fragmentation slows a disk is the fact that the rotation of the disk adds long delays when scattered pieces of a file must be assembled. An SSD does not have these physical delays, so fragmentation should not materially affect performance.

    If you still want, you can do an "old school" defrag -

    1. backup all files.
    2. erase all files.
    3. restore all files one by one.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Fragging wonderful: The truth about defragging your SSD

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