Don't Defrag Solid State Drives!

Jul 03, 2015

hdd vs ssdSolid State Drives are becoming more commonplace in laptops, computers, thin clients and ever servers (We recently upgraded our range of Cloud Solutions to run on Solid State Drives for increased performance); and as they replace your old magnetic drives in the IT world for their superior performance, the question remains, do you need to defrag SSD’s like their magnetic cousins for hard drive health and speed?

The simple answer is NO; if you do you are in fact shortening the life of the hard drive. The reason for this is one of how each of these types of drives work.

How Do Different Types of Hard Drives Work?

Magnetic (Traditional) Hard Drives

Your original hard drives have spinning disks that magnetically store information on them. Because it is a spinning disk, a lot of the data was (depending on the file system being used) stored wherever there were free space on the drive (free sectors); so you would end up with a single file being stored physically in random places all over a disk. This meant over time as your accessed that file the hard drive would take longer to pull all the different parts of the files together.

The function of “Defragging” a hard drive would re-organise your files to keep them in one spot so when you re-opened that file it would all be in one place and thus open faster.

Solid State Drives

Solid State Drives don’t spin. They don’t have a disk at all in fact, the data is stored on chips in flash cells grouped into pages, which are further grouped into blocks of 128 to 512 pages.

So the file is recovered – mostly – at the same speed regardless of where the files are physically stored on these blocks of cells. Also – and without being too technical – the operating system can’t actually really see where the data is physically stored on the drives in any case.

It’s actually because of this operating systems wrote a new technique called “TRIM” to further minimise the amount of data that needs to be physically written to the drive. When a file is deleted on SSD’s, they actually are just marked as not needed. They only get overwritten when the drive needs the space – which results in a greater life of the drive and faster performance.

Why It Can Actually Hurt Solid State Drives

The reason defragging SSD’s can actually end up hurting the drive is because the lifespan of the drive is determined by the number of times data can be written and re-written to a single part of the drive. When you defrag a hard drive and it needlessly re-organises these files you end up putting extra wear and tear on the drive that doesn’t need to happen.

If you'd like to know more, or need help with anything IT related for your business, please let us know... 08 8922 0000

Daniel Ladlow

Daniel Ladlow
Tropical Business Solutions 

Category: Technology

Daniel Ladlow


Director at Tropical Business Solutions