Is it useless to defrag an SSD drive in Windows 10 and 11?

Defragmenting hard drives has long been a widely used resource to optimize computer performance. What it does is rearrange fragmented files on a hard drive so that they are in contiguous physical sectors, offering faster access.

In the latest versions of Windows, the same operating system is responsible for defragmenting the disk drives, and it does so automatically to prevent the user from wasting time in a process that can take a few hours.

However, with the advent of solid state drives (SSD) the situation has changed.

HDD vs SSD: what’s the difference?

Unlike traditional hard drives, SSDs do not have mechanical read heads that physically move across the surface of the drive. Instead, data is stored in interconnected flash memory cells, providing quick access to files regardless of their location. Therefore, fragmented file placement on an SSD drive does not cause a decrease in performance as it would on a standard hard drive.

In fact, defragmentation is not only unnecessary on SSDs, it can potentially reduce their lifespan. Its flash memory cells have a limited number of write cycles before failing. And these write cycles can be exhausted by unsupported data writing processes.

This is why when Windows 10 and Windows 11 detect an SSD drive, they proceed to disable the periodic defragmentation task. However, the feature is still active and could be used unnecessarily, so it is best to disable it completely manually.

How to disable automatic defragmentation in Windows 11?

Click the Start menu and in the search box type Defragment and Optimize Drives. When this utility appears, click Open.

Next, highlight the SSD drive with your mouse. Then, click Change settings.

In the Optimization Schedule window, uncheck the Scheduled run (recommended) box. To finish, click OK.

Do the same for any other SSD drives that are installed on your Windows system.

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