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Windows 7: Fragging wonderful: The truth about defragging your SSD


11 Oct 2013   #1
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 
Fragging wonderful: The truth about defragging your SSD

Quote:
With smarter file systems and faster disks and PCs, file fragmentation isnít 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 donít 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 ďsectorsĒ is like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle blindfolded: You can feel parts of the pattern, but you canít see the whole picture. In addition, NAND is good for only a few thousand write cycles, so defragging can reduce the SSDís lifespan by unnecessarily writing data to it.

Despite those arguments, at least four defragging utilities purport to increase SSD performance through optimization: Auslogicís Disk Defrag Pro, Condusivís Diskeeper, Raxcoís PerfectDisk, and SlimCleaner Intelligent Defrag. To understand how these might be of benefit, letís 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 driveís 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, youíll 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 wouldnít 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

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11 Oct 2013   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

This is the importand conclusion. There is really no need to prematurely wreck your SSD.

Quote:
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
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

I agree with whs, as does Microsoft. Normally Windows will not do a defrag on an SSD.
A defrag will do a massive number of disk writes in a relatively short period of time, far more than would take place with normal computer activity.

Device drivers and software that does direct access to the drive uses logical sector numbers. In a conventional drive there is a direct relationship between these numbers and the order they exist on the drive. In and SSD there is no such direct relationship. In fact, the actual order is essentially unknowable. I can't see how a defrag on an SSD would be of any benefit.
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11 Oct 2013   #4
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Nice summary Wolfgang. I have 2 SSDs installed and I'll leave them alone.
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14 Oct 2013   #5

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I do it simple. Intel recommends using it's little SSD tool box about once a week to optimize the SSD and that is what I use. I really don't know what it does but things work as they should.

Fragging wonderful: The truth about defragging your SSD-intel-tool-box-10-14.png


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02 Nov 2013   #6

Windows Seven Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
I do it simple. Intel recommends using it's little SSD tool box about once a week to optimize the SSD and that is what I use. I really don't know what it does but things work as they should.
It only does a sweep with Trim
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02 Nov 2013   #7

Win7 64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by madspec View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
I do it simple. Intel recommends using it's little SSD tool box about once a week to optimize the SSD and that is what I use. I really don't know what it does but things work as they should.
It only does a sweep with Trim
And I thought Trim was done automatically...
Ie when the pc has nothing better to do.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2013   #8
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

As I understand it TRIM marks deleted/unneeded data in a cell and moves the "good data to another, empty cell. Garbage Collection (GC) follows up by erasing the previously marked deleted data. That's what the Intel toolbox/ Samsung Magician does on command.
I also understand emptying the Recycle bin will invoke TRIM, but I haven't confirmed this. As always, I may be full of it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2013   #9

Windows 7 64 bit SP1
 
 

TRIM gets issued by the OS when it deletes data. TRIM does not moves any "good data" to another cell. It merely tells the SSD that the cells for the deleted data are no longer in use. Garbage collection moves data around to free up blocks /pages.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2013   #10
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

OK, thanks Gene, had it backasswards.
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