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Old 01-16-2009, 11:03 PM   #1
affinity1
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Default How important is it to defragment a computer?

I never hear anything about this 'System Tool' nor the importance of disk defragmenting. My HD is almost full and I've dl'ed and deleted a bunch of stuff so I'm thinking about defragmenting.

What are the benefits and should I or should I not do eet?
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:09 PM   #2
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well, fragmentation is when a single file or group of files in a single folder get saved in different places on your hard drive. Defragmenting "organizes" your hard drive and lumps the files together.

I would definitely recommend defragmenting, but windows' built in tool is kind of bad at it. I personally use DiskKeeper2008 and have it automatically defragment.
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:15 AM   #3
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defraggler is free and super-fast. You can even select specific files to fragment.

http://www.defraggler.com/
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:35 AM   #4
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so what are the benefits of defragging. does it make the computer run noticeably faster?
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by affinity1 View Post
so what are the benefits of defragging. does it make the computer run noticeably faster?
I'd like to know too...

DRum
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:52 AM   #6
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The theory of defragging makes sense. But in many cases the benefits are rarely seen. Especially with today's operating systems and fast Hard Disk Drives (HDD)

Oh and it's working at a much lower level than the file level.


Your HDD is divided into blocks that are a fixed size. The files you write to your HDD, are of varying sizes. In many cases when you write and constantly modify files, those files are broken up to fit within the blocks, and they can over time be spread out over the HDD. Which can mean slower HDD speeds in accessing data as the HDD heads need to seek all over the disk to recombine the data and present it to you. Now if you could just re-combine all those blocks of data into their contiguous form... aka defrag.

So not only will file access be more efficient, but also the drive could last longer as well as it's working less to access files by not having to seek all over the disk to get to the sectors that contain the data that is being requested.

Just recently Diskeeper came out with a SSD version of their defrag app. What the hell? You dont need to defrag an SSD. Personally it's not needed as much anymore in most cases. But for large contiguous files, there are benefits.
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:29 AM   #7
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imagine you are the cpu and your hands are the hard drive.

your job is to read ten books right now, except.. .the pages are all out of order, and you must read them sequentially.

a fragmented hard drive is like a book with all the pages mixed up, some of the pages are in the wrong book.. now every single page of data is tagged and numbered. you know exactly what book they go in and in what order they are supposed to be in...but it would take forever to sift through that pile of books to read the pages in the proper order.


defrag puts all the pages back in order in their respective books. now when you try to read those books, it takes far less time.
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:55 AM   #8
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imagine a pie. instead of people taking out slices, they pick at it with a fork until its lacking structure. defragging turns it back into cobbler so it looks pretty again
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Old 01-17-2009, 02:03 AM   #9
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You'll want to keep stuff in order when yer running big ass arrays also.
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:53 AM   #10
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Stop imagining things. Here's the real deal.

Disk drives read sequential data faster, by an order of magnitude. The reality, though, is most files on a normal desktop machine are not large enough, and are not laid out spatially close enough to create large segments of sustained sequential read. So, when you start a program or your PC in general, lots of files are read from. Some registry settings, config files, DLL's, application files, etc. All of these are read from, and none of them are near each other on your disk...most of the time.

Windows XP and Vista try to resolve this issue by creating a "prefetch cache", or a directory with copies of all these common files, which it tries to lay out near each other on disk. Does it work? Some times, but not always. Does it help? Most certainly.

The issue of defragmentation has been argued since the beginning of filesystem layout. Having been in the computer industry for the past 16 years, I can tell you that I suggest it as part of a monthly maintenance routine for most home users. The reason is exactly what you alluded to- files are downloaded, deleted, data is added to files, etc. These are all reasons for fragmentation. HOWEVER, I will say to you, if your disk has less than 25% space free, you may notice a degradation in performance anyway. Obviously, this isn't true for MASSIVE terabyte disks or things of that nature, but as a rule of thumb, 25% is the sweet spot.

The built in Windows tool does an okay job. Diskeeper just came out with a lot of high-end features for their home product, which is only $20 or so? I've used their product in the past, and have been satisfied. While they love to hype up the perils of fragmentation, I do still recommend their software.
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