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Disk Defragmenter

This is a discussion on Disk Defragmenter within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. What exactly does defragging a drive do? I try to do it like once a month, is that too much?,

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Old 12-27-2005, 07:28 PM   #1
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What exactly does defragging a drive do? I try to do it like once a month, is that too much?, too less?
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Old 12-27-2005, 07:34 PM   #2
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It basically moves everything so it is in order and towards the front of the drive.
Helps speed up access a little.
Once a month is fine.
There is a madness to my method.
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Old 12-27-2005, 09:48 PM   #3
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check out "diskeeper" for a good defragging utility. download the program from www.majorgeeks.com
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Old 12-27-2005, 10:12 PM   #4
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when you open files, the hard disk is not always able to put them in the right order, so it sticks them wherever there's space. searching for these files later takes a longer time, so defragging puts all the tracks back in the correct sectors, so the computer will run faster
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Old 12-27-2005, 10:27 PM   #5
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Think about a kitchen and a messy cook. After he cooks you get into the kitchen and put everything on the right shelves where they belong so next time when you look for something you find it at once :) same thing with the defragmenter and OS.
Old 12-28-2005, 09:38 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 12-28-2005, 09:58 AM   #7
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Defragmenting is the process where the scattered file clusters are consolidated into a contiguous arrangement thus making the task of accessing them easier and faster. This happens because the file data gets arranged in clusters that lie sequentially rather than in a non-contiguous fashion helping the natural way the hard discs read data. The optimal speed of the HD will in turn help its other performance partners such as the CPU/RAM/MOBO/video card work faster as well. Faster file access time for your HD would mean a speed up of actions such as loading of your Operating System, file transfers particularly for large files, searching of files, file saving and reading in general.It is ideal to run a defragmenter on your HD at least once a week although in some situations daily defragmentation is needed.
It would depend on how frequently files are created and deleted on your HD.
Regdg utilities, Oshwyn's said it all, i personally use third party tools and enjoy the speed of the defrag and scheduling features.
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Old 12-28-2005, 10:45 AM   #8
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Thanks so much for clearing that up. All of your answers were GREAT!
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