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  • SSD Defragging – How Often Should This Be Done?

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 SSD Defragging – How Often Should This Be Done?

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      • #2293863 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Windows 10 Pro ver 1909

        This is my first laptop with a SSD. I read about the defragger bug and, not immediately noting that it was regarding version 2004, I disabled the automatic drive optimization for my SSD.

        I went back to enable it, and have to choose how often to do this – weekly or monthly. Weekly was the default option. Is monthly a better choice to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on the SSD?

        Thanks.

      • #2293889 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Your best option for a SSD is ‘never’.

      • #2293894 Reply
        CADesertRat
        AskWoody Plus

        Mine is set at weekly. Optimize means “Trim” on an SSD.

        Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
        4 Win 10 Pro at 1909 (3 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

      • #2293907 Reply
        joep517
        AskWoody MVP

        Let Windows handle it. Default is monthly I believe.

        --Joe

      • #2293952 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Windows 10 Alert: Defragger bug defrags SSD Drives too often

        My optimize drives is set to weekly but last SSD optimization was 20 days ago.

        Attachments:
        • #2300055 Reply
          WCHS
          AskWoody Plus

          same characteristics here (laptop came that way, since this is the first time I have looked at it): set to weekly, but last SSD optimization 24 days ago.

          Doesn’t make sense to me.

           

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          • #2300080 Reply
            doriel
            AskWoody Lounger

            My C drive was optimized 28 days ago. My schedule is weekly. There is also setting (Windows 1809), that says “raise the task priority, when three consequent scheduled tasks were missed.”

            So.. today my drive should be defragmented. But I admit I thought, that SSD dont need to be defragmented. I thought it is just for “spinning and moving” discs, when its important to have certain blocks neighbouring. To save the time that head is moving somewhere and spinning disc has to adjust speed.

            Thanks for the info here!

            Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

            HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2300092 Reply
              WCHS
              AskWoody Plus

              There is also setting (Windows 1809), that says “raise the task priority, when three consequent scheduled tasks were missed.”

              How do I find this setting? I’d like to see if I have the same.

              And, let us know what you find out tomorrow.

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              • #2300649 Reply
                Paul T
                AskWoody MVP

                How do I find this setting?

                Open Task Scheduler.
                Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Defrag.

                cheers, Paul

              • #2300697 Reply
                WCHS
                AskWoody Plus

                Open Task Scheduler.
                Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Defrag

                This is data on my Dell Inspiron 7569 from Task Scheduler … > … Defrag.

                Here is what it says. Note that it says that Defrag has not yet been run.
                7569-Task-Scheduler-Defrag

                I find this strange, because the Defragment and Optimize Drives app shows at 10:30 am Oct 3 that the drive was optimized 10/01/2020 6:24 PM OK (Last run 1 day ago). See that below. This was after I set it to ‘Monthly’ on Oct 1 at 7:06 PM. (Previously, on Oct 1 when it was still set for ‘weekly,’ the Last run was 09/22/2020 and the current status was OK (7 days since last run). So, it’s keeping track of the number of days correctly.
                optimize-drives

                How could it be that the Task Scheduler … > … Defrag says it has never been run, yet the Defragment and Optimize app has a record of when it has been last run?

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              • #2300705 Reply
                WCHS
                AskWoody Plus

                There is also setting (Windows 1809), that says “raise the task priority, when three consequent scheduled tasks were missed.”

                This is data from my Dell Inspiron 5482 v1909 from the Task Scheduler … > … Defrag.

                I don’t see anything under any tab that says “raise the task priority, when three consequent scheduled tasks were missed,” as @doriel describes for his SSD.
                Triggers: nothing there
                Action: Start a program %windir%\system32\defrag.exe -c -h -o -$
                Conditions: a box is checked under Idle, two boxes checked under Power, no boxes checked under Network
                Settings: See below.
                5482-Task-Scheduler-Defrag

                Is that setting no longer there in v1909, or am I looking in the wrong place?

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              • #2300721 Reply
                WCHS
                AskWoody Plus

                Is that setting no longer there in v1909, or am I looking in the wrong place?

                OK. I found it. It’s in the Defragmentation and Optimize app > Change Settings > 2nd box

                optimization-schedule-increase-task-priority

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              • #2300748 Reply
                wavy
                AskWoody Plus

                In my 1909 I have the same screen as you do.

                BTW if there are no triggers how does the defrag ‘know’ when to run?? Mine shows as last run the end of Sept even though I just ran the Defragment and Optimize Drives app on the SSD.

                🍻

                Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2293959 Reply
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        to associate the word defrag/ defragger with SSD’s is just technically wrong.
        SSD’s use TRIM not defrag.

        Win8.1 Pro | Linux Hybrids | Win7 Pro O/L | WinXP O/L
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        • #2293970 Reply
          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          SSDs are not immune to filesystem-level fragmentation happening.

          The effects of fragmentation are much less though, because SSDs don’t have the moving parts that used to cause a seek delay between fragments.

          What fragmentation does on a SSD, is that if filesystem and physical block sizes don’t match, it’ll possibly have to do the hardware block read-erase-rewrite cycle a lot more often. Which is every time any data on that block changes, and if that one hardware block (4k, 8k, something?) has smaller filesystem blocks belonging to different files…

          This is a bother because many SSDs still report a 512 byte block size for compatibility even if they’re internally something else.

          Therefore, it is beneficial to defragment SSDs (or at least use a tool that’s aware of the actual hardware details to check that) on a schedule but not at all frequently.

          TRIM is a different thing. It’s for doing the erase operation on blocks that are already marked as no longer used by the filesystem, therefore increasing the available pool of blocks that can be written to without doing the erase first. This contributes to causing less fragmentation to happen, and writes are faster if you don’t have to do the erase first.

          Paranoid folks don’t use TRIM and just accept the performance penalty, so that someone getting hardware access to their encrypted SSD can’t determine how much of it was used and in what kind of a pattern. They’ll want to defrag a bit more often.

          3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2294053 Reply
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          to associate the word defrag/ defragger with SSD’s is just technically wrong.

          No, it is not wrong.  SSD’s definitely get fragmented; it’s the nature of the beast.

          There is a commonly held misconception about what is involved in defragmenting a drive, whether HDD or SSD.  In the process, file fragments are moved temporarily from the used area to an empty area of the drive in order to make contiguous space available (within the used area) for each un-fragmented file.

          When contiguous space has been made available, the file fragments are moved from their temporary location to the new contiguous location, and are no longer file fragments, but a single contiguous file instead (with the associated metadata baggage for each fragment stripped away).  This is repeated for all files except those that are deemed unmovable (like a page file).

          TRIM and Garbage Collection does not necessarily defragment files.  SSD data cannot be overwritten; obsolete data must first be erased, so if a block has a couple of obsolete pages and a couple of empty pages, the empty pages can be written.  Only when the system is idle can TRIM and Garbage Collection take place, and all that does is move the current data to pages in an empty block, completely delete the data in the old block, making it available for new data.  Wear-leveling (handled by the drive firmware itself, not by Windows) keeps the same blocks from being used over and over again, and spreads writes across the entire drive, so that all pages/blocks get pretty much equivalent usage.

          What that amounts to is that a block with all its pages written with current data will not get involved in the TRIM and Garbage Collection action, and current file fragments can remain scattered all over the SSD.

          Defragging an SSD actually only amounts to one complete, whole-drive TRIM and Garbage Collection cycle, nothing more.  I use MyDefrag three or four times a year on my active drives/partitions.  MyDefrag is no longer being updated or supported, but it’s algorithms/scripts are still very very good, it uses Windows\System32\Defrag.exe to do the heavy lifting, and it has a script expressly for flash drives.

          I use my daily driver dual boot setup to compare lots of parameters, and defrag is one of them.  After reading this thread, I made note of some numbers for comparison.  It’s been at least three months since my last defragging session.  All else being equal (other than keeping Windows fully updated on both sides), doing a restart from A to B then B to A averaged 55.22 seconds.  After defragging both sides, the time dropped to an average of 45.64 seconds; that is to say, going from A to B took 44.96 seconds, and going from B to A took 46.31 seconds.

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

          4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2294184 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        When one is first installed, then once a month or less frequently, depends on what you do with it.  They trim quickly, a few seconds to complete.  I had defrag turned off for months on one laptop with two SSD’s and it was only about 5% fragmented on the boot drive and 1% on the storage drive.  The laptop is used for browsing, video editing, games, wide range of activities.

        No point in doing it too often, same with mechanical drives, you’ll have to determine frequency.

        There’s a definite case for keeping defrag/trim/optimize, whatever, off and checking whenever you think of it.

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        • #2294228 Reply
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          My daily driver DIY desktop has six Samsung SSD’s, three 250GB and three 1TB. The 250GB SSD’s have a 150TB Written/5 Year warranty. The 1TB SSD’s have the same 5 Years with a 600TB Written warranty.

          My most written drive is the 250GB SSD that has my dual boot OS partitions, with ~12.6TB Written/Yr. or 8.4% of the 150TBW warranty. At that rate, I will have ~63.0TB written (42.0% of the 150TBW) when the five year warranty has ended.

          The next most used SSD is the 1TB that is the target drive for my weekly drive images of both sides of my dual boot, ~169.5GB/week. That amounts to ~11.9TB Written/Yr. or 1.98% of the 600TBW warranty. At that rate, I will have ~59.5TB written (4.92% of the 600TBW) when the five year warranty has ended.

          In this scenario, weekly optimization (TRIM/Garbage Collection) is a non-issue. Quarterly defragmenting will add ~1TBW/Yr. to a 250GB SSD, ~4TBW/Yr. to a 1TB SSD, which would change the above mentioned rates to 44.67% for the 250GB SSD and 10.58% for the 1TB within the five year warranty, rather negligible.  Windows 10 is supposed to take care of defragmenting as it sees fit, but I still prefer MyDefrag.

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      • #2295070 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Defragging an SSD actually only amounts to one complete, whole-drive TRIM and Garbage Collection cycle, nothing more

        Not quite.

        Windows actually defragments files to keep the FAT links below a hard limit.
        https://www.hanselman.com/blog/TheRealAndCompleteStoryDoesWindowsDefragmentYourSSD.aspx

        cheers, Paul

        • #2295078 Reply
          satrow
          AskWoody MVP

          Scott appears to be quoting an anonymous MS developer:

          If an SSD gets too fragmented you can hit maximum file fragmentation (when the metadata can’t represent any more file fragments) which will result in errors when you try to write/extend a file. Furthermore, more file fragments means more metadata to process while reading/writing a file, which can lead to slower performance.

          • #2295096 Reply
            mn–
            AskWoody Lounger

            And note that this (too many file fragments) is a filesystem-level property, the underlying hardware doesn’t have anything (directly) to do with it… NTFS is generally not nearly as bad as FAT* due to better allocation policies.

            One surprisingly big thing though is the the pagefile. For some silly reason Windows still defaults to a dynamic pagefile so the same file grows and shrinks… and even on NTFS that can easily cause fragmentation. Therefore setting it manually to a fixed size (as in minimum equals maximum) helps.

            • #2295106 Reply
              satrow
              AskWoody MVP

              Even if you limit the pagefile size, the content still grows and shrinks; W7, currently closing on 83 days uptime, pagefiles of 1024MB min. and max. on each of 3x ~250GB SSDs:

              83DaySwapfile

              Back to Scott’s informants ‘quote’:

              Storage Optimizer will defrag an SSD once a month if volume snapshots are enabled. This is by design and necessary due to slow volsnap copy on write performance on fragmented SSD volumes.

              My System drive is the only one with volsnap/System Restore enabled, restricted to 5% of 179GB of allocated drive space.

              Attachments:
              • #2295145 Reply
                bbearren
                AskWoody MVP

                Even if you limit the pagefile size, the content still grows and shrinks

                I use a single pagefile.sys with a fixed size of 4,096MB located on a dedicated partition of 5GB formatted FAT32.  Both sides of my dual boot use the same pagefile.sys.

                It is currently using only 3,048MB, but remains confined to that dedicated partition.  It can shrink, but it can’t grow beyond 4GB or outside its dedicated partition.  Since the hardware and Windows allows reading/writing to/from multiple drives simultaneously, there is no need for a page file on every drive.

                For a couple of decades now (XP, Windows 7,8,8.1,10) I’ve been using multiple drives, dual booting my daily driver, confining the size-limited page file to 4GB on a dedicated partition that is used by both sides of the dual boot, and have never had a single incident relating to the page file.

                This method eliminates the page file from contributing to drive fragmentation, and also keeps the page file itself from fragmenting, since there is nothing to get in its way.

                Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
                "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
                "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

              • #2295157 Reply
                mn–
                AskWoody Lounger

                Wait, it doesn’t preallocate the full size and then rewrite blocks within that? Why?

                Because I’d have though that to be the only sane way to do use a pagefile. And indeed on many other operating systems the usual recommended way to make a pagefile (instead of dedicated partition) is to preallocate it.

                (Of course HP-UX was different. No pagefile on that… but a paging directory with actual paged chunks as separate files was possible.)

              • #2295191 Reply
                bbearren
                AskWoody MVP

                Wait, it doesn’t preallocate the full size and then rewrite blocks within that? Why?

                NTFS cluster size is 4K  FAT32 cluster size for volumes of 256 MB–8GB is 4K.  Windows swaps data out of RAM into and out of pagefile.sys in a “page” size of 4K, same as the cluster size.  Each page is given an address, similar to a RAM address; one of the reasons it’s called virtual memory.

                My fixed-size 4GB pagefile.sys is 4GB of 4k clusters.  The reported size of my pagefile is simply the total size of the clusters allocated for use, expressed in MB.  The empty clusters are not yet allocated, but available up to 4096MB.

                That those clusters are allocated does not necessarily mean that pages have been swapped out of RAM to pagefile.sys.  A complex paging algorithm determines the number of pages that might become necessary and gives them an address; virtual memory.

                Windows always swaps out the data used for launching Windows, no longer necessary for running Windows, but will be paged back into RAM when shutting down Windows.  Since it is unnecessary during normal operations, it is swapped out to free up RAM.

                This system has 16GB of RAM, so it’s unlikely, even when video editing, that my pagefile will be actually necessary.  But even with 16GB, why run without a page file and use a bit of RAM uselessly?  That’s why I use a 4GB fixed-size page file on a dedicated partition formatted FAT32 (less file system overhead than NTFS).

                Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
                "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
                "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

              • #2295439 Reply
                mn–
                AskWoody Lounger

                No, I do get the point of virtual memory just fine, and preemptive pageout of little-used chunks makes perfect sense if done as a low-priority task.

                What I don’t get is why Windows keeps messing around with pagefile.sys on-disk allocation instead of just allocating the disk space once (at least up to configured minimum size for it) and then just reusing?

              • #2295490 Reply
                bbearren
                AskWoody MVP

                What I don’t get is why Windows keeps messing around with pagefile.sys on-disk allocation instead of just allocating the disk space once (at least up to configured minimum size for it) and then just reusing?

                The allocation part is the assigning of memory addresses to the virtual memory space that might be used, which is determined by what is currently in RAM.

                Physical and Virtual Memory in Windows 10 is a long read, but it explains what’s going on.  When you launch a program, it requests a bunch of RAM from Windows; it doesn’t need all that RAM at once, though.  Windows will put the essential bits and pieces to launch the program in RAM and that link can tell you how Windows handles the rest of the RAM request.

                Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
                "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
                "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

              • #2295512 Reply
                mn–
                AskWoody Lounger

                Physical and Virtual Memory in Windows 10 is a long read, but it explains what’s going on.

                Actually, no, it does not.

                It doesn’t explain the specific part that where a constant-sized pagefile on disk contributes to fragmentation. That article only says “stored on disk”, but doesn’t explain how the allocation of disk space between different PTEs is handled.

                And the rest of it … well I could discuss the differences between various different operating systems, for example the part about “Commit… is not allocated till it becomes necessary” … well I have also worked on systems where that was allocated right away, possibly not written until necessary but writes could happen preemptively too. (That was a fair culture shock for some people. Then again, hard realtime high availability…)

              • #2295521 Reply
                bbearren
                AskWoody MVP

                It doesn’t explain the specific part that where a constant-sized pagefile on disk contributes to fragmentation.

                For a couple of decades now (XP, Windows 7,8,8.1,10) I’ve been using multiple drives, dual booting my daily driver, confining the size-limited page file to 4GB on a dedicated partition that is used by both sides of the dual boot, and have never had a single incident relating to the page file. This method eliminates the page file from contributing to drive fragmentation, and also keeps the page file itself from fragmenting, since there is nothing to get in its way.

                Unless pagefile.sys is confined to a small (mine is 5GB) dedicated partition (no other process writes to it) and is only size-limited, it can wander around on whatever disk it is written to and contribute to fragmentation of that disk.

                Limiting the pagefile.sys size alone does not keep it from fragmenting; it must also be confined to its own dedicated partition.

                Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
                "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
                "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

                • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by bbearren. Reason: clarity
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              • #2300082 Reply
                doriel
                AskWoody Lounger

                From the link (Physical and Virtual Memory in Windows 10):

                However when a server is meant to run a few dedicated Processes which are particularly large, a 2MB page implementation would result in significant performance gain outweighing the memory leakage due to internal fragmentation.

                Is it possible to set 2MB page size instead of 4KB? I suppose not in Windows, but on other systems maybe?

                Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

                HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

              • #2300385 Reply
                mn–
                AskWoody Lounger

                … hm, my earlier attempted reply to this may have gone missing…

                Actually, Windows has large page support since Server 2003 or so (might be sp1), but large pages are unpageable and require application coding changes – I understand that’s true with current versions still.

                Linux got a similar capability in kernel 2.6, also 2003, requiring application-level work to use and unpageable; 2.6.38 in 2011 got automatic “hugepage” support without special coding. Also at some point automatic hugepages became pageable.

                Yet other systems do have other page sizes. Several commercial UNIX versions had per-process dynamic page sizes by 2003, SGI IRIX apparently got that already in the 90s.

                Page sizes are architecture specific anyway – for example, you can’t get a 4 KB page on current Solaris/UltraSPARC at all, that thing starts at 8 KB (as does Linux on that hardware)… and goes up to 16 GB I believe… in steps, 2 MB isn’t available there, but 512 KB and 4 MB are.

                1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2295143 Reply
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          bbearren wrote: Defragging an SSD actually only amounts to one complete, whole-drive TRIM and Garbage Collection cycle, nothing more Not quite. Windows actually defragments files to keep the FAT links below a hard limit.

          Windows 10 is supposed to take care of defragmenting as it sees fit, but I still prefer MyDefrag.

          There is a reason that I prefer MyDefrag.  Windows does not perform a complete defrag, as evidenced by the graphic display of fragmentation when MyDefrag is running a complete defrag when I launch it every three or four months.

          If Windows was doing an acceptable (for me) job of defragging, MyDefrag would have nothing to do, since it only works on fragmented files.  If Windows Defrag was defragging to my level of expectation, I wouldn’t see a need to use MyDefrag.

          My usage history indicates that defragging as I do presents a very negligible amount of drive wear, so I’ll continue to use MyDefrag on my more or less quarterly schedule.

          Of course, I’m speaking only for myself.  I’m not giving advice here, just presenting some personally verified factual evidence to dispel some misconceptions I’ve read around the web.

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      • #2295298 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Windows does not perform a complete defrag

        Why manually defrag an SSD?
        Given wear levelling and TRIM, you would only have the FAT reporting low fragmentation, the file segments would still be wherever the disk decided to put them. And as there is no read latency from head movement you would not gain any speed.

        An HDD is a better candidate, but once defragmented there is only a limited number of files that then become fragmented, mainly temporary files, and they are not likely to reduce performance much.

        cheers, Paul

        • #2295388 Reply
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          Why manually defrag an SSD?

          I’m speaking only for myself. I’m not giving advice here, just presenting some personally verified factual evidence to dispel some misconceptions I’ve read around the web.

          I use my daily driver dual boot setup to compare lots of parameters, and defrag is one of them. After reading this thread, I made note of some numbers for comparison. It’s been at least three months since my last defragging session. All else being equal (other than keeping Windows fully updated on both sides), doing a restart from A to B then B to A averaged 55.22 seconds. After defragging both sides, the time dropped to an average of 45.64 seconds; that is to say, going from A to B took 44.96 seconds, and going from B to A took 46.31 seconds.

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by bbearren.
        • #2295449 Reply
          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          With SSDs, one large contiguous read still is measurably faster than a bunch of separate small reads.

          And that’s not getting into filesystem metadata that may have to be managed separately for each fragment, also taking separate read and write operations whenever… instead of just once for the whole file and done, in the ideal case.

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