Don't Defrag the Super-Fast Solid-State Drives on Ultralight Notebooks

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q: I just got a new ultralight notebook for when I travel. It has one of those super-fast solid-state drives. My maintenance program for my regular hard-drive computers in the office includes regularly running a defragmentation program. That way, I can be assured that they will always be able to operate at top speed. But since my new notebook has a different kind of drive, I wonder if I should defrag it, too. What’s your advice on that?

 

A: The bottom line is this: Don’t defrag. First of all, while a defragging will reassemble a file’s scattered bits and pieces, and that will help ensure the drive operates at top speed, as a practical matter it’s unlikely you will be able to perceive the difference. That’s because solid-state drives have no moving parts and read/write at nanosecond (billionths of a second) speeds. By comparison, conventional spinning disk drives operate at only millisecond (thousandths) speeds, and the net effects of defragging are easily discernible.

 

But even more importantly, the memory cells of solid-state drives have finite lives, which means they eventually wear out. Their lifespans depend on many factors, but one thing is clear, defragging involves a huge number of read/write cycles—and that just shortens their lives.

 

SPONSORED REPORT

Get your clients ready for tax season

These year-end tax planning strategies address recent tax law changes enacted to help taxpayers deal with the pandemic, such as tax credits for sick leave and family leave and new rules for retirement plan distributions, as well as techniques for putting your clients in the best possible tax position.

RESOURCES

Keeping you informed and prepared amid the coronavirus crisis

We’re gathering the latest news stories along with relevant columns, tips, podcasts, and videos on this page, along with curated items from our archives to help with uncertainty and disruption.