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Windows 10 update could kill your SSD — what you need to know

Windows 10 update issues
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft is moving to fix an update that seemingly introduced a bug that could damage the lifespan of solid state drives (SSDs). 

Bug-tracking site BleepingComputer reported that the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, aka version 2004, has been causing a suite of problems including one that messes with the ‘Defragment and Optimize Drives’ tool in the operating system. The bug means that Windows 10 version 2004 doesn’t record the last time an SSD was defragmented and optimized correctly. 

This means that when the Defragment and Optimize Drives tool is used, it flags to users that the SSD needs optimization. As people tend to forget to do this manually, Windows 10 will carry out such tasks automatically. 

But due to the tool not recording the defragmentations, it can end up defragging an SSD every time the drive gets rebooted, effectively defragging an SSD some 30 times more often than it really should be. This could ultimately damage the longevity of an SSD, slowly killing it. 

Defragmentation effectively means pulling together fragments of data and packing them closely together with other bits of data they relate to. You could think of it as sweeping a pile of fallen leaves in a yard together — you still have the same amount of leaves in one space but they are now all together and easier to access at once. 

There’s some debate as to how often you should defrag an SSD, with some arguing there’s no benefit to defragging an SSD like there is for a traditional spinning disk drive. But excessive defragmentation can affect the lifespan of an SSD. And that's the risk the bug in the Defragment and Optimize Drives tool poses. 

A fix is coming

However, the Windows 10 Build 19042.487 (20H2) update, which is currently being rolled out to members of the Windows Insider program, promises to squash the bug.

People using the regular version of Windows 10 will have to wait for the update to pass beta testing, which shouldn't take too long. But in the meantime, it might be worth turning off automatic defragging to prevent running into the bug if it pops up on your Windows 10 machine.  

  • TimmyP5434
    Maybe just post the simple fix of going into defrag and "un-choose" the drive in scheduled optimization? Takes 8 seconds.
    Reply
  • Anton_Godlike_Gaming
    Pathetic that it takes this long to patch something so important.
    Reply
  • JustCall Ben
    I really don't understand why people continue to trust Microsoft products. They are invasive, broken, bloated, anti-productive and now INHERENTLY DESTRUCTIVE. I quit drinking the KoolAid back at 8.0. I'm done with MS. When this laptop dies, it will be replaced with a Linux machine like my others.
    Reply
  • valentinmtl
    Very interesting article, especially considering that it is wrong!
    Windows 10 does not defragment an SSD, it optimizes it by running a TRIM command, which only benefits the life of the SSD.
    Reply
  • udidwht
    valentinmtl said:
    Very interesting article, especially considering that it is wrong!
    Windows 10 does not defragment an SSD, it optimizes it by running a TRIM command, which only benefits the life of the SSD.
    Incorrect.

    https://www.hanselman.com/blog/TheRealAndCompleteStoryDoesWindowsDefragmentYourSSD.aspx
    Reply
  • TimmyP5434
    Lol it is a tiny bug, with a tiny fix. Sites like these post this stuff to create controversy.

    You could have all fixed it by the time you were done reading this.
    Reply
  • yewego
    udidwht said:
    Incorrect.

    https://www.hanselman.com/blog/TheRealAndCompleteStoryDoesWindowsDefragmentYourSSD.aspx

    The article was correct in 2014. When SSDs were introduced Windows 7 and 8 did not properly manage it and defrag did actually try to defrag the SSDs. You also had to manually activate TRIM is some cases.

    This issue has long since been corrected and it was never an issue in Windows 10. You can test this by getting a drive map with a 3rd party defragging software such as Ultradefrag, Piriform, defraggler, O&O, etc. Then run the windows "defrag" which takes maybe 5 or 10 seconds (too quick for an actual defag) - and it actually calls is "Trimmed" in the progress bar then check again.

    The "optimize" which Windows 10 does is just a forced TRIM.
    Reply
  • CapnPetty
    Here is a fix, just run this from an elevated command prompt:
    schtasks /Delete /TN \Microsoft\Windows\Defrag\ScheduledDefrag /F
    Reply
  • TimmyP5434
    and lastly this will trim your drive, put it in a .ps1 script.

    Optimize-Volume -DriveLetter C -ReTrim -Verbose

    Run it once a week. (Change C if needed)
    Reply
  • szilveszter21
    yewego said:
    The article was correct in 2014. When SSDs were introduced Windows 7 and 8 did not properly manage it and defrag did actually try to defrag the SSDs. You also had to manually activate TRIM is some cases.

    This issue has long since been corrected and it was never an issue in Windows 10. You can test this by getting a drive map with a 3rd party defragging software such as Ultradefrag, Piriform, defraggler, O&O, etc. Then run the windows "defrag" which takes maybe 5 or 10 seconds (too quick for an actual defag) - and it actually calls is "Trimmed" in the progress bar then check again.

    The "optimize" which Windows 10 does is just a forced TRIM.

    I don't understand this article, defrag and ssd? Inside of the ssd there are multiple modules like short term memory controller, and more things. Controller should carry out all the necessary function including the balance make it sure the blocks has the same wear leveling, and controller can also give you information about the solid state disk lifespan in percentage (often included), so instead of "defragmenting" the SSD focus to put data where is the best to avoid short life span. This kind of function make possible to keep ssd's alive until it is possible, without wear leveling, the same file would have written in trillion times, while other blocks 1000. So I have no clue what this article about, I don't think MS would make such a mistake, maybe it is not a real defragmenting, just some hindering stupid used background stuff like bitlocker could lead strange issues in SSD's in the past. So the pc has no direct access to the flash memory inside of the SSD , only the controller has, if that can be ruined from windows so strange, trying to defrag a solid state disk has no idea as what operation system think about the storage is not the reality. Trim also useful, but not necessary to run often, as to delete the block is not neccesary in SSD, trim is replace the delete in ssd, in this case operation system you see file deleted, it is just marked as garbage and not written, if you command trim the it will wipe the block, doing it more time would reduce the lifespan of the SSD. But I guess this is pretty hard to reach with normal use, my oldest SSD about 8 years old and working well. I read about them long ago, but i thought nothing to do with SSD as it handle almost everything instead of the operating system did in the past.
    Reply