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I was just wondering myself if, when i need to rewrite something into my pen drive, if I delete the old file and replace it with the new one, am I reducing the pen drive's life time because Im writting using the same phisical location on it??? Im saying, wouldn't be better if I just create another folder and write the new version of my file on another location instead of recicle the same location and, when it reaches all of driver's capacity reformat it and insert the lastest versions of my things??

Im asking it because I had a pen drive with 8GB that i use to write small files into it and after 6 months of rewritting and recicling the same files and folders, it stopped and died.

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Folders don't correspond to physical locations of data. o.O – Shinrai Jun 14 '11 at 19:17
But if you delete a file and replace it with another one, regardless it will write to the same place. – Diogo Jun 14 '11 at 19:19
Not necessarily - the flash memory controller takes care of allocating writes to blocks of flash. It may or may not put files in the same place (in fact, it should perform wear leveling, which means it'll put the files in the least-used blocks). – user55325 Jun 14 '11 at 19:22
No, it won't. On a flash drive, it will write it to a blank page, and mark the old page as dirty (aka, needs to be erased.) – Darth Android Jun 14 '11 at 19:23
Im agreeing with Darth Android, as i knew, only SSDs have a controler that manage writtes to put files on diferent locations. – Diogo Jun 14 '11 at 19:26
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It won't make any difference. Flash chip controllers use "wear leveling" to write data all over the chip using an algorithm, so that different blocks "wear" at roughly the same rate, regardless of what you or the operating system are doing.

Click here for more info on Wear Leveling

Your drive probably died for a different reason.

Here's an article from a USB Flash Drive manufacturer regarding Wear Leveling on USB Flash drives : Corsair USB Flash Drive Wear Leveling

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Just for clarification, the memory controller should not write the data randomly; it should maintain a queue for keeping track of least-recently-used blocks (as mentioned in the article). – user55325 Jun 14 '11 at 19:27

Most flash memory controllers are able to perform wear leveling, which means when you replace files, the controller writes to lesser-used blocks before more-used ones. This prevents particular blocks of flash from wearing out quickly.

It's still possible to kill flash memory with repeated use, but modern controllers are designed to extend the lifetime as much as possible.

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