Defragmentation: Revisited

I spoke about Defragmentation of an exFAT volume.

In my write-up I made a statement that FLASH and SD Media should not be defragmented.

I’m seeing many other blog posts and articles that are actually saying the same thing – and for the same reasons. It even goes further to also include other forms of solid state drives, such as SSD. One of the main reasons why exFAT is considered “flash” friendly is that sine the life a a NAND gate is finite, you should not write unless you have to. That is why the FAT is not used or updated unless actually needed.


So, keep in mind the issue of defragmenting an exFAT volume should take into consideration the actual media below the file system. The primary reason/benefit for a defrag is to put data together to reduce the Seek and Latency portions of an I/O, which take forever compared to the actual read/write operation. These are physical components that slow down the I/O. When media, such as flash, is completely electronic, those physical components drop out of the equation and I/O speed should not improve after a defrag.

Another note, is that if you format the media a lot, which is good to rebuild the file system structures, do quick formats and not full or “wipe” formats. A wipe is going to write to all the memory and that could wear it down. Of course, when you d a quick format, any data on the media can be recovered forensically, so wipes may be necessary if you really need to make sure the data is physically destroyed and “wiped out”.


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