What does defragmenting do for an SSD?

What does defragmenting do for an SSD?

If you’ve ever owned a traditional hard disk drive (HDD), then you've probably defragged it at some stage. This is because defragging an HDD is necessary due to the way it's built. 

In recent years, many people have been replacing their HDDs with SSDs due to the impressive technology and additional benefits

Those of us used to defragging our hard disk drives may wonder if it is necessary to defrag an SSD. We answer that question below.

Should I defrag my SSD?

The short answer is this: you don't need to defrag an SSD. 

Defragging re-arranges large files so they are stored in one continuous area of a hard disk drive (HDD). This means that the file can be read in one go, which is faster.

HDDs are mechanical drives, with a relatively long seek time of approximately 15 milliseconds (ms), so every time a file is fragmented you lose 15ms finding the next one. This really adds up when reading lots of different files split into lots of different fragment

SSDs are designed to access file fragments without delay using flash memory, with an average seek times in the region of 0.1ms. So you won’t really notice the benefit of defragged files — which means there is no performance advantage to defragging an SSD.

And since SSDs often move data to temporary positions as part of its normal operation, defragging will actually take up more of your solid state drive's limited rewrite capability.

To summarize, do not defrag an SSD

Defragmenting is not recommended for solid state drives.

At best, it won't do anything to help get a faster SSD drive, at worst, it will use up write cycles. 

If you have already defragged your SSD a few times, it won’t harm your SSD. However, it’s not a practice you should continue.. 

There are other ways to clean up and increase speed on your computer. There are even reasons for formatting an SSD, encrypting SSDs, and ways to increase storage space on a SSD. They all serve a purpose — there just isn’t a reason to defrag an SSD.

There are two types of consumer SSDs: SATA and NVMe. Not all SSDs are compatible with every computer, so it’s important to know the type, form factor and interface of any drive you may buy.


  • How can I get a faster SSD?

    While defragging a solid state drive won't boost its speed, there are ways for Crucial customers to enjoy a faster SSD. 

    Crucial's Storage Executive helps you diagnose and resolve common problems – including firmware and buffers settings – which can result in a faster SSD drive.

    The same advice applies for getting a faster external SSD – the Storage Executive is compatible with all of our portable SSDs for optimized data speeds on the move!

  • What does defragmenter mean?

    A simple definition of defragmentation is a program that rearranges data to optimize drives.

    If you're relying on a hard disk drive (HDD), then it's good practice to regularly defragment and optimize those drives.

  • What does defragmenting a hard drive do?

    By moving related data physically closer together on a hard disk drive, the HDD’s mechanical arm will be able to read it more quickly, speeding up your computer's operational times.

    And if you're wondering how long defragmentation takes, the answer is "it depends," mostly on the size of your HDD and how much data is already on it. 

    For larger drives filled to capacity, you could be looking at a couple of hours, but the good news is that you can still use your computer during this process.

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