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Is Defrag Needed On USB Flash Drives?

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management, Hardware & Peripherals

Carol from Brisbane, Australia writes:

Is it necessary to do defrag, disk cleanups, etc. to my USB devices to keep them performing optimally?

One of the best features of a USB memory device, or any solid state hard drive, is that they do not need to be defragmented. In fact, it may even damage the device if you defragment it too many times. The simple way to explain it is to think of a flash memory device like a form you fill out with pencil. If you need to change what’s written on the form you can erase the pencil and write again in the same spot.

The problem is if you erase the pencil marks too many times; eventually you’ll damage that spot on the paper and you can’t write on it anymore. Each memory cell on a flash memory device only has a certain number of times you can read/write to it before it becomes damaged.

Don’t worry though – because flash memory doesn’t need to be defragmented (as there are no moving parts) there is no excess wear from moving a drive head to a different position, as a regular a hard drive would.


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3 Responses to “Is Defrag Needed On USB Flash Drives?”

  1. Max says:


    This is not entirely true. As a born and bred geek, I’m always looking for ways to improve performance. There’s software out there that will optimize flash media, while not using traditional defrag methods that would damage it. I don’t know what else is out there, but I just started using Diskeeper – it’s got some stuff that optimizes flash media and I’ve actually seen a speed increase with it.

    Just my 2


  2. Essie says:

    Good to know this!

  3. elsie says:

    thank you one less thing I have to clean

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