SSD care and maintenance tips


There are several things folks have “burned” into their mind about hard drive maintenance that no longer apply to SSD drives.  There are also several major considerations when it comes to data security that are different between SSD drives and Hard Drives.

The first comes with file maintenance.  The biggest difference is the defragmentation regime.  When dealing with Hard Drives you must defragment the disk to maintain performance.  The biggest reason for this is because of the relatively long access times for hard disk and also how Windows completely mismanages its own filesystem.

Windows is like a child.  The hard disk is the toybox and the toys are the files on the disk.  When Windows needs a file is goes to the toybox(disk) and grabs what it needs.  When it is done with it it does what a child typically does..it might put them back into the toybox or it might throw them around the room in pieces.  This means later that when it needs the same file Windows now has to look in multiple places for the pieces of the file.  This makes the system perform even slower then if the pieces were in the right place. Defragmentation is the parent that comes into the room and then cleans up the toys..puts them back together and organizes them inside the toy box for faster access.

For SSD drives all of the above applies except you NEVER defragment an SSD for two reasons:

  1.  SSD drives are so fast no matter how “messy” the file system gets you will not likely notice the difference
  2. Defragmentation involves many many writes.  Each write goes against the wear duration of the device and will lead to premature failure of the SSD.
  3. The same partitioning myths that apply to hard drives apply to SSDs.

SSD drives vs Hard Disks:

When an SSD fails, either for level write endurance failure or other damage, getting the data off the drive is always an expensive task.  Some SSDs fail to a read only mode which makes recovery easier.  Most SSD drives however do not fail to read only…they just die which makes data recovery almost impossible.   Hard Disk failures are also expensive but not nearly as much as SSD recoveries.  Unless the heads inside of the Hard Disk have damaged the physical data medium, recovery is usually possible with a high chance of success.  Hard Drives cost less per gigabyte of storage but are many times slower than SSD drives.  SSD drives are much much faster in all areas then Hard Drives, however their cost per gigabyte is higher than Hard Drives.

This is a very general overview of Hard Disk drives vs SSD drives.  If you have further questions please contact us for further details and how ETC Maryland can help you with your technology needs.