why is defragging not really a thing anymore?

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I was born in 1973, got my first computer in 1994, defragging was part of regular maintenance. I can’t remember the last time I defragged anything, even though I have several devices with hard drives, including a Windows laptop. Has storage technology changed so much that defragging isn’t necessary anymore? Is it even possible to defrag a smart phone hard drive?

edit to add: I apologize for posting this same question several times, I was getting an error message every time I hit “post”… but from looking around, it seems I’m not the only one having this problem today.

In: 821

I believe Defragmentation was more important on older hard drives with spinning disks than it is in the more modern super fast flash drives. OS’s are also better at the way they store data to avoid needing to defrag.

Solid state storage has changed things a lot. Previously data was stored in a particlar position on a disc and defragging tried to put that data in logical places so that the machine didn’t have to work so hard to read and write it.

Solid state drives have no moving parts and so the seek time is a small fraction of a hard drive’s. The real problem is that each bit on a solid state drive has only a limited number of writes and rewrites, so the drive is trying to strategically spread the use out over all the storage space.

So a defrag not only makes little real sense in a data organization way, but it can potentially lower the life of the drive by putting it through un-necessary write and rewrite cycles.

Super short over simplified answer, traditional hard drives stored data on platters. When the drive is squeezing part of a game file in-between your cat pictures, it’s not written necessarily written in the most optimal location and can cause delays while seeking to that point.

SSDs it doesn’t matter because the table is kept exactly where each file is and doesn’t need to find it on a spinning platter at 5k+ rpm

In addition to the HDD/SSD split, the older drive formatting types like FAT needed to be defragged. The more modern ones like NTFS and XFS are smarter in how to allocate data and, in conjunction with better operating systems, do not need to be defragged much, if at all.

Fragmentation on a hard disk still creates the same issues with slowed speeds as it did in the past. Modern disks are so much faster that a moderate level of fragmentation might not be noticed. Full defragmentation of a multi-terabyte disk would take too long and cause some wear on it. Hard disks are usually used for large multimedia files like video and music, which are copied in large blocks and rarely rewritten, and their level of fragmentation is therefore low.

Portable computers and many desktops today include solid-state Flash Memory instead of a hard disk. Data allocation on it is managed internally with intent to spread wear and allow speeds utilizing multiple chips. Flash memory can be written to a limited number of times before they fail. Defragmenting this storage device would not improve performance.

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I was born in 1973, got my first computer in 1994, defragging was part of regular maintenance. I can’t remember the last time I defragged anything, even though I have several devices with hard drives, including a Windows laptop. Has storage technology changed so much that defragging isn’t necessary anymore? Is it even possible to defrag a smart phone hard drive?

edit to add: I apologize for posting this same question several times, I was getting an error message every time I hit “post”… but from looking around, it seems I’m not the only one having this problem today.

In: 821

I believe Defragmentation was more important on older hard drives with spinning disks than it is in the more modern super fast flash drives. OS’s are also better at the way they store data to avoid needing to defrag.

Solid state storage has changed things a lot. Previously data was stored in a particlar position on a disc and defragging tried to put that data in logical places so that the machine didn’t have to work so hard to read and write it.

Solid state drives have no moving parts and so the seek time is a small fraction of a hard drive’s. The real problem is that each bit on a solid state drive has only a limited number of writes and rewrites, so the drive is trying to strategically spread the use out over all the storage space.

So a defrag not only makes little real sense in a data organization way, but it can potentially lower the life of the drive by putting it through un-necessary write and rewrite cycles.

Super short over simplified answer, traditional hard drives stored data on platters. When the drive is squeezing part of a game file in-between your cat pictures, it’s not written necessarily written in the most optimal location and can cause delays while seeking to that point.

SSDs it doesn’t matter because the table is kept exactly where each file is and doesn’t need to find it on a spinning platter at 5k+ rpm

In addition to the HDD/SSD split, the older drive formatting types like FAT needed to be defragged. The more modern ones like NTFS and XFS are smarter in how to allocate data and, in conjunction with better operating systems, do not need to be defragged much, if at all.

Fragmentation on a hard disk still creates the same issues with slowed speeds as it did in the past. Modern disks are so much faster that a moderate level of fragmentation might not be noticed. Full defragmentation of a multi-terabyte disk would take too long and cause some wear on it. Hard disks are usually used for large multimedia files like video and music, which are copied in large blocks and rarely rewritten, and their level of fragmentation is therefore low.

Portable computers and many desktops today include solid-state Flash Memory instead of a hard disk. Data allocation on it is managed internally with intent to spread wear and allow speeds utilizing multiple chips. Flash memory can be written to a limited number of times before they fail. Defragmenting this storage device would not improve performance.