Best Practice: Why you can defragment both SSDs and HDDs.
The latest version of our tuning application has now extended it’s method to optimize the performance and lifespan of SSDs.
Our latest O&O Defrag has a groundbreaking feature that optimizes your SSDs and extends their lifespan.
Windows – and in the case of SSDs, the controller of the SSD – distributes files into individual file fragments when saved, in each case in the next free and “suitable” memory sections, called Pages. In the remainder of this blog entry, I explain why this behavior slows down not only a classic hard drive but also SSDs and ultimately leads to an unnecessarily early failure of the storage medium. And I’ll explain why defragmenting an SSD is not a no-go, as is still popularly claimed, but on the contrary: the average life of an SSD is extended by defragmentation using the new SOLID/COMPLETE method from O&O Defrag.
How is an SSD structured?
An SSD consists of cells, pages and blocks. A cell can be several bits in size. The manufacturer marks this cell with either SLC, MLC or TLC. The SLC are the SingleLevelCells (1 bit per cell), the MLC the MultiLevelCells (from 2 bits per cell, but mostly exactly 2 bits and TLC are the TripleLevelCells (3 bits per cell). Pages are made up of cells and typically have a size of 2KB – 4KB. The Blocks then consist of these pages, and usually have a size of 128KB – 512KB.
How does an SSD store data?
Writing data to an SSD is essentially done in Pages. However, these pages should not already be written with data (not even if they have the same content). If these pages are written with data, the corresponding block must be deleted immediately before any new data can be written. When writing new data however, no block can be selected whose other pages also already contain data. The SSD Controller can see that the other pages contain data, but cannot see to which file they belong. So in a nutshell, in order not to accidentally damage an important file by deleting data from it on the block, you have to search for an entirely free block to save data on.
Why is fragmentation problematic with SSDs?
Files are often stored in pieces (fragments) onto the disk or onto the file system. The size of the fragments depends on the cluster size of the respective file system (normally 4KB in NTFS). Let’s assume a block on our SSD is 128KB and a file (128KB) that is split into 32 fragments needs to be saved (you recall, each fragment will be 4KB large). In the worst-case scenario, this would then have to be saved on 32 different blocks. If this file had only one “fragment”, one single block would be enough. The problem then with writing such a fragmented file: The controller has to find 32 FREE blocks and, in the worst-case, delete them all. Then it must write to these 32 blocks as well – and this must happen every time a file is changed too!
SOLID/COMPLETE, a defrgamentation method for SSDs and HDDs
The problem: every file system is fragmented. This means that over time, files will no longer be filed consecutively but, instead, be scattered across the computer’s entire storage area. This can’t be avoided because files are subject to constant changes. In order to avoid fragmentation, you’d need to know all the newly arriving files as well as all changes and deletions in advance. This is simply not possible. This problem doesn’t just apply to hard disks but to SSDs as well. Over the course of time SSDs save file fragments over more memory cells than are necessary. This, in turn, leads to a continuous slowing down of the read and write processes, just as we experience on hard disks. The SSD controller tries to counter this phenomenon on a rudimentary level but is unable to do so on account of its not having an overall view of the data structure.
The solution: This is where O&O Defrag 23 goes to work with its new SOLID/COMPLETE method: scattered file fragments will be reconnected and saved in fewer memory cells. This leads to fewer read and write accesses to these memory cells. The result is the SSD running faster and its life expectancy increased on account of reduced read and write accesses.
The most comprehensive tuning application for all your disks
A positive side-effect of developing the defragmentation method SOLID/COMPLETE has been found in tests on “classic” hard disks: it is O&O Defrag’s most resource and hardware-friendly defragmentation method ever, with optimal results, and sets the new standard for defragmentation.
Try and Buy!
Don’t just take our word for it! Grab your copy now in our Online Shop, or alternatively test it for 30 days now on your current Windows system – free of charge and obligation. As well as the new functions, the old and trusted features for speeding up your PC and extending the lifespan of your hardware are all there too.
Here’s what some happy customers are saying about O&O Defrag:
“We have been using O&O Defrag now for many years and are very satisfied, not just with the software but also the support we receive.”
Ralf Linka, Horváth & Partners
“Only O&O Defrag Server is able to defrag these enormous, sometimes 400 GB files. All other products we tried simply couldn’t do it.”
Scott Brown, SMI.