Does Flash Fragment?



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File fragmentation happens to the filesystem i.e. to the logical disk, and regardless of the actual storage hardware (SSD, HDD etc, which are 'insulated' from the filesystem), NTFS will fragment. If the fragmentation is bad, then file access will slow down; SSDs are less susceptible to file fragmentation-related slowdowns since random read time is very low. But SSDs have poor random write performance, and free space fragmentation at the filesystem level can lead to unnecessary I/Os when writing a file (fragments), and in combination with the erase-write latency of the SSD cells, this may slow down the file write. Diskeeper's SSD optimizer as mentioned in the article prevents this by running in the background (It's actually an add-on to Diskeeper 2009) and optimizing the contiguous free space at the filesystem level.



how exactly does volatile memory fragment lol?



Defragging a flash drive is bad beacuse defragging basically is just moving data around. Since flash memory has orders of magnitude better seek time (at least on paper) and no real benefit to organizing file pieces "in order", there's no reason to defrag it.

Also fragmentation is a part of the data allocation process. RAM fragments about as much as hard drives do. Hence why we have segmented memory or whatnot.

And I hear that fragmentation is also more or less an OS problem. My computer science professor said that UNIX handles file I/O differently than Windows in such a way that UNIX tries to keep fragmentation down to a minimum while Windows forgoes this for performance.



Defragmenting is a process developed for FILE SYSTEMS. Due to the latency of magnetic hard drives, the probability of fragmentation increases. The main reason why you wouldn't is correct, the life span - speed gain is very very small.



I have to disagree. Even I, A common garden variety home user/geek-in-training, see real performance benifits from a "good" back ground defrag program such as Disk Keeper 2009 Pro. especially after some serious program installation/removal or several hours of fps gamming. I (though I can"t quantify or prove) feel that I have fewer installation problems if I do a manual defrag before and then after the post install reboot.

I base the above comments on having deliberately turned off Diskeeper for a couple of weeks and uninstalling/reinstalling some programs such as a couple of games and The complete Nero 9 suite. Playing Fear, Far Cry 2 for about 30 hours. Believe me when I say my 150 Gig of OS/Software installation shows up completely red (probably be purple if there was a color for really bad fragmentation). I shudder to think what a moderately robust business, or someone doing heavy file manipulation must experience.

The results of my adhoc personal testing were that there is a definite decrease in boot times and program startup times along with file acess times. Not to mention the disc is less stressed mechanically (based on just listenning to it and watching the activity light. In the case of Disk Keeper I think one of the real helps is the Frag Shield feature.

The bottom line is that their are real benifits to defragging. Especially if you are on a marginally sized hdd like in a notebook and get even close to it's capacity. One must not forget Windows, of any persuasion needs room to sling varioius bits and pieces while it is doing it's thing. Including tripping over it's own "system" files that it has to keep very accurate track of.

As far a s SSD's are concerned I was under the impression that the good ones did a "self-heal" every few passes. I got this tidbit from one of the tech sites though I can't remember which.


If you can't dazzel em with Brilliance, baffle em with bull puckey. (From the tome; Murphy's Law, Annex 5, Smooth Recoveries)



I've read that defragmenting Flash Drives is bad because it wastes Cycles, therefore it's better to backup all the files inside the drive, then format it.

Is this true?



It is not recommended to continously format the flash drives to handle fragmentation and the reason is that you can only write and erase to a memory cell a number of time.  So the impact of fragmentation and constantly formatting it would be negative, reducing the lifespan.  Diskeeper has come up with a technology called HyperFast which make the file system writes sequencially to these drives instead of randomly which handles the issue of write speed with Solid state drives that have fragmented free space and increase the lifespan as well. 

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