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Don't defrag your SSDs or your USB thumb drives. Reformat them appropriately if you need to.
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.
In this excerpt from Answercast #69, I look at drives with flash memory (USB, SSD, etc.) and why they should not be defragged.
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.
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, 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 unrecoverable.
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.
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