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When defragmenting a nearly full partition, it seems that the algorithm has to perform extra work finding a space for files it's moving out (to make space for a larger file to lay contiguously). I was wondering if there existed a defragmentation utility that lets you choose, say, a 32GB USB key (whose contents you've cleared) to provide a "temp" space for moving out all those files, to be retrieved later. Of course, a USB key is risky (it can be pulled out, by accident), but some other partition on the same drive, or another internal drive, would pose less risk.

The software doesn't have to be gratis, and can apply to any OS.

  • Why do you feel the need to defrag flash memory, drastically reducing its lifetime? – Deer Hunter May 18 '14 at 20:00
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    If you're talking about the SSD in the list, I'm not. If you're talking about the USB key, I'm not either—I mean to use the key as extra space for juggling files. If you're talking about the recovery or system drives (although, I'm not sure what these might have to do with "flash" drives...), then no reason—they were simply more filled up than my other drives, and I wanted to watch what the algorithm's doing. – Andrew Cheong May 18 '14 at 20:03
  • Sorry, misread your intent. – Deer Hunter May 18 '14 at 20:05
  • No problem! I did, shamefully, defrag my first SSD the first time I purchased one and migrated my Windows 7 installation to it :-( – Andrew Cheong May 18 '14 at 20:06
  • If you will google you will see that it is generally recommended to NEVER defrag SSDs (e.g. pcworld.com/article/2047513/…) – Mawg Feb 3 '15 at 14:40
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A rather simplistic answer is to simply use a USB drive, preferably one of a reasonably size, to provide the free space by simply copying a few large(ish) files onto it and deleting them from the hard drive that you are planning on defragmenting.

Then use just about any defragmenter to perform the defragment - as there is now a, hopefully contiguous, free space of, to take your example 32 GB total, the defragmentation should go faster. You can then copy the files back when finished.

Note that this also has the advantage that it doesn't matter if the USB drive is removed during the defragmentation as it is only accessed while files are being copied.

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