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Windows 7: Question about HDD's

2 Weeks Ago   #1
LoneGeek

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 
Question about HDD's

Is it true that you shouldn't go below 10% free or your data will become corrupt? Some people have told me that it will and then some people have said that is completely false


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2 Weeks Ago   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

I've never heard it said that it can cause corruption, but it is said to have effects on speed for certain operations.

Having said that, I've gone to well under 10% free space and never noticed any slowdown.
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2 Weeks Ago   #3
MeOnMine

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 OEM
 
 

10% free is called Over Provisioning and is in relation to SSD's not HDD's.
Thee SSD likes/needs 10% free to move data around as it gets to its full mark.


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2 Weeks Ago   #4
LoneGeek

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

So how full is too full if that's possible?
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2 Weeks Ago   #5
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MeOnMine View Post
10% free is called Over Provisioning and is in relation to SSD's not HDD's.
Thee SSD likes/needs 10% free to move data around as it gets to its full mark.
Actually, HDDs do need some free space to reduce fragmentation from forming and to allow faster defragmentation. A minimum of 10% free space is generally the figure I see recommended for HDDs.

Over Provisioning for SSDs is to ensure space will be available for firmware, replacing worn out blocks, certain write operations, garbage collection, etc. It's normally set by the manufacturer although most SSDs can have the percentage of over provisioning increased by the user (it's rarely necessary, though).

Even with over provisioning, it's still recommended that one leave empty space on an SSD to help with speed and reduce write wear. 20-25% free space is the figure I have seen most for SSDs.
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2 Weeks Ago   #6
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by LoneGeek View Post
Is it true that you shouldn't go below 10% free or your data will become corrupt? Some people have told me that it will and then some people have said that is completely false
No, lack of disk space doesn't lead to corrupt data.
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2 Weeks Ago   #7
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

To me, a very simple Bear, the free space is desired so Windows 7 has some elbow room.
When Windows 7 needs to move thing, clean up thing and just needs every day things done, it need a little wiggle room.
I have never had a drive of any kind get close to full so I have not tested my simple understanding.

Jack
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2 Weeks Ago   #8
strollin

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)
 
 

Low disk space does not cause corruption but when you get down to 10% or less free space on your disk drive, that's the time when you need to start looking at either reducing your storage needs or adding more storage space.

With the low cost of hdds and ssds these days, it just doesn't make any sense to try to manage to get along with a system that has less than 10% free disk space.
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2 Weeks Ago   #9
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

It's completely false. Space usage doesn't causes the disk to be less (or more) reliable at all. In fact, you're supposed to be fully able to use every single byte of the disk without any failure.
Just curious, where have you seen such a claim?


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
but it is said to have effects on speed for certain operations
It's also false. Speed isn't affected at all by free space, even if you leave with 0 free bytes.
The only thing that has a minimal amount of merit is that in HDDs the last sectors on disk are a bit slower than the first ones, and full disks contribute that some data ends up there.

What has some rationale is that OSs and software in general require some free space to operate normally, and sometimes a full disk might cause certain software to fail or in rare instances to crash, and makes you unable to save anything new in the disk, but generally OSs can survive such critical situations.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MeOnMine View Post
10% free is called Over Provisioning and is in relation to SSD's not HDD's.
Thee SSD likes/needs 10% free to move data around as it gets to its full mark.
Over-provisioning has nothing to do with free space. That's extra space that the OS don't even see and is not counted towards the total space that Windows measures (Windows or any operating system, actually). That over provisioning is entirely managed by the logic hardware on the SSD, invisible to the computer, and is used to provide load balancing for writes (to improve device lifetime) and in case of failures to suplement faulty transistors.
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1 Week Ago   #10
Itaregid

Windows 10 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Quote:
It's completely false. Space usage doesn't causes the disk to be less (or more) reliable at all.
Umm, not really. The OP's question was about the "data" becoming "corrupt", not about disk reliability. Those are two totally different things.

If you have several open files (and Windows always does and many user applications do too), then fill up the disk and attempt to shutdown/reboot Windows, many files could easily become corrupt. If you opened and modified a big spreadsheet or Word doc, then filled up the disk with other files, your spreadsheet or doc could become corrupt. The disk itself would still work fine, but files on it could become corrupt.

You can (though it is not recommended) totally fill up a secondary drive (depending on file types) but never the boot drive. The OS on the boot drive needs a large chunk of free disk space to operate in for temporary storage of open files, temporary Internet files, Windows Update and the dynamic Page File, restore points and more.

You can, for example, fill up a secondary disk with music files with no problems because those files are "static" - they don't change. But with a modified file, the old version remains on the disk (though marked as "open" in the file tables). Then the new version is saved (assuming disk space is available) and the save gets verified as a success. Only then is the space the old copy occupied marked as available. But you should still keep some free space on secondary drives too in case you need to copy or modify some of those files.

10% is commonly suggested for the boot drive but that really makes no sense these days with monster drives. If you have 4TB drive, it makes no sense to always keep 400GB free. And if you have a tiny 32GB boot drive, 3.2GB may not be enough!
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