12-28-2005, 09:38 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dallas , Tx
OS: DOS,Win95,98,ME,XP, Fedora
Your hard drive is divided into address blocks called clusters . Each cluster is the same size (usually between 512B and 4KB in size) and has a single address. Now, if a file is larger than a single cluster, the last entry points to the address of the cluster where the file continues.
DOS based windows (Win9x/me) using FAT32 was really bad about saving files. . It just went to the first empty cluster and started and then jumped to the next empty one . SO a single file could easily be spread out all over your hard drive. And each time you accessed, altered, and closed the file if something else had written to where it was, it got moved again. XP, if you use NTFS is much better. It tries to find a block of clusters big enough for the entire file; but this has its own problems - there will eventually be big chunks of empty space seperating files and things will be on slower parts of the drive than they need to be.
Defragmenting is the act of rearranging the files on your hard drive so that they are organized as well as possible.
Here we run into the differences between various defrag utilities. Each utility has a different way of sorting files when it rearranges them. Does it sort files by name? By date installed/ created? By frequency of use ? By type (operating system, program executables, user created data). How it sorts the files is something you need to consider. If you were to use two different utilities, one would report the drive totally fragmented after you ran the other.
XP uses a disk management based on executive software diskkeeper lite. As such , it sorts files based on frequency of use; but first it sorts by type. So the program, operating system, data etc are all in seperate areas; and they are each sorted by when and how often you use them. Small files (ones less than a cluster in size) are actually saved to the NTFS Master File Table (MFT) entry as a compressed file instead of wasting space on the drive . Also multiple old unused files can be compressed into a single file to take up less space. But most significantly; the diskkeeper technology runs constantly in the background moving things to a better location (optimizing your disk usage) whenever it detects that there is no disk usage. This cuts down on how frequently you need to defragment; but it also causes major problems if you use another manufacturers defrag (such as norton speed disk) without first disabling this behavior.
The main advantage of the paid version of diskkeeper over the free one you get in XP is the interface and controls. Yes there is more than that at stake, but that gives you the gist of it.
Hello and Welcome to TSF My name is Pete but call me Oshwyn
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