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Old 05-14-2015, 01:28 AM   #1
Gregg Bell
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Does "deleting" a flash drive wear the flash drive out faster than "formatting" it?


Everybody says if there's data on a flashdrive format it (don't delete it). (But if there's a bootable distro on there, then delete it. Btw I don't understand why.) But I don't see why you don't just always delete because then you can create partitions just the way you want to, whereas if you format you have to format the whole thing.

Does deleting wear out the flash drive faster than formatting?
 
Old 05-14-2015, 01:57 AM   #2
pan64
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I think deleting means removing files one by one, that will take much longer time (than just reformatting it) and also it means more writings. But reformatting/repartitioning will destroy the boot information, therefore you will not be able to boot it any more.
 
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Old 05-14-2015, 02:03 AM   #3
TenTenths
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It depends on the file system. From distant memory FAT deletes files by replacing the first character of the filename in the directory with a null character (which makes undelete nice and easy!) but other file systems your mileage may vary. Flash memory does wear out but in practical terms you're more likely to replace the media first rather than run in to serious problems with normal usage.
 
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:38 AM   #4
michaelk
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In a nutshell formatting creates the file system structure but does not clear or zero the remaining space on the partition.

If you created a bootable USB to install an operating then typically it overwrites the Master Boot Record and so will appear that you have lost space. Most boot images are only 1-2GB or so. The only way to "recover" the rest of the space once the new operating system is installed would be to zeroize the MBR and create a new partition table.

In either case your not deleting any data just how to access it. Your not wearing it out faster.

Last edited by michaelk; 05-14-2015 at 04:51 AM.
 
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Old 05-14-2015, 03:09 PM   #5
jefro
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Just use it. It will become obsolete before it wears out more than likely.
 
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Old 05-14-2015, 04:04 PM   #6
metaschima
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenTenths View Post
It depends on the file system. From distant memory FAT deletes files by replacing the first character of the filename in the directory with a null character (which makes undelete nice and easy!) but other file systems your mileage may vary. Flash memory does wear out but in practical terms you're more likely to replace the media first rather than run in to serious problems with normal usage.
What deleting on FAT filesystems does is remove the reference to the file from the FAT (file allocation table). The file is actually still there totally intact.

The main reason to format the drive is because of charge leakage on flash media. If you don't format the drive in a long time it may become corrupted. I have noticed this especially on cheaper drives.
 
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Old 05-15-2015, 01:01 AM   #7
Gregg Bell
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Okay. Thanks very much everyone. Seems there's not all that much difference between the two (in terms of how long the flash drive lasts anyway). I mean, I realize there is a definite difference, but I'm more interested in the usage factor anyway. Appreciate it.
 
Old 05-15-2015, 03:16 PM   #8
jefro
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Thanks for the update and solution.
 
  


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