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How often should we defrag?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 MickinPlymouthUK

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:59 PM

I haven't defragged my C: drive for over a year because it takes too long, I think it was about 7 hours(?) last time.
Is that a normal time or can we speed it up somehow?
In fact my PC seems to be working fine, so should I bother defragging it at all, what do you think?
Incidentally i've also got an external E: drive connected, would that have to be defragged separately after i've defragged C:?
I'm Win XP Home

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#2 Burney

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 10:10 PM

I usually defrag my c: once a month. If your external HD is conventional, then yes defrag it too. If it is a solid state drive, then you don't need to. Start the defrag before you go to bed or work.

Edited by Burney, 14 October 2012 - 10:11 PM.


#3 noknojon

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:08 PM

it takes too long, I think it was about 7 hours(?) last time.

Always run Disk Cleanup First - Also, Reboot your computer several times during the Defrag, this will speed the process up heaps -

I defrag about once a month, but my 4GIG RAM is over 90% free space - I remove everything that is not needed every week - (Clean Freak) :P

Just a few ideas -

#4 Platypus

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:58 PM

my PC seems to be working fine, so should I bother defragging it at all, what do you think?

With XP, it's quite possible not to be greatly affected by file fragmentation. After each 3 startups, XP assesses the prefetch log, and the most frequently loaded files have their position on the drive optimized, being defragmented in the process, during idle time.

So if your usage is fairly consistent, and you don't install & uninstall a lot of software, download and delete constantly etc, general fragmentation may not be having much effect on the system and application files you use most. Especially if the computer gets a reasonable amount of time to sit twiddling its thumbs. It will entertain itself with drive optimization.

I defrag infrequently, except for a system that will be sensitive to fragmentation like a recording system. As already suggested, I just set it going when the computer can be left until it's done. I have also used Auslogics Disk Defrag free, and found it faster and dependable.

Top 5 things that never get done:

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#5 Nanobyte

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:56 AM

7 hours seems a long time. I have an old PC with IDE drives and it takes way less time. I defrag frequently (with PerfectDisk) so that may reduce my typical times. My C: partition with 190,000 files takes 11 minutes and that is with smart placement and while I was composing this post. A simple defrag is a lot quicker. My external drive via USB2 takes a long time to defrag. Perhaps you should defrag, then try again in a month and see if the time is a lot less. I don't know why some people think defragging is a chore. I always work while I'm defragging, though I may voluntarily restrict what I do. There's always overnight or the lunch hour.

Lack of free space on the HDD can seriously increase defrag time.

If you only have one partition, C:, you can speed up defragging by partitioning the drive. I have all my programs and systems stuff on C: and my own files on D: and E: (all on the same HDD). That can also make backups easier. If you defrag everything it's probably going to take as long as a single drive but you can choose to defrag your own files less often than the program files (in my case on C:). I don't really use "My Documents" but if I did, I would reallocate it to my D: partition.

If you have a really serious HDD crash, it helps recovery if files are not fragmented. The more advanced file recovery programs look for telltale strings that define the start and finish of certain file types (such as jpegs, docs). Even if the MFT is screwed, many of the files will be recoverable if the file is contiguous on the disk. Been there, done that. For most people this is not a consideration when it comes to defragging or not. You back up all your important stuff anyway, right?

I was not aware that XP optimized file positions when the PC was idle (is that XP Pro?). I've never noticed it. I use PerfecDisk which, like some other apps, can continuously defrag quietly in the background (it's called Stealth Patrol). I don't use that myself. That would seem superfluous if XP did the same thing, although PerfectDisk may use a different strategy to anything in the XP OS.

Edited by Nanobyte, 15 October 2012 - 09:08 AM.


#6 caperjac

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 11:26 AM

monthly, lucky if I ever did it yearly .lol owned many different computers since 1996,

so having said ,how important can it really be

My answers are my opinion only,usually


#7 Platypus

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 11:40 AM

The point about a well defragmented drive being a better candidate for recovery is a good one.

As far as I know any XP does boot file optimization. It wasn't widely documented - I think I only saw it mentioned by Mark Russinovich and in Microsoft's instructions for benchmarking XP, pointing out that it needed to be turned off.

The file layout.ini in the Windows\Prefetch folder shows the optimized file order according to the prefetch load priority. Most well-behaved third party defragmenters default to the same layout for system files to avoid countering prefetch and being at cross-purposes with Windows own boot optimization. The idle time process only operates after at least 3 reboot cycles are observed. Someone who always hibernates their machine will never see it.

Edited by Platypus, 15 October 2012 - 11:41 AM.

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#8 Hawkeye4

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:23 AM

I use Auslogics Disk Defrag (link below). It's free, does a good job and you can put a checkmark in a box on the right of the page and it'll shut down the computer for you when it's done. Hope this helps!


Click here!

#9 Allan

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 06:36 AM

Feel free to defrag as often as you like (I defrag all my systems automatically weekly). If you only do it once a year it will take a lot longer than if you do it frequently.

#10 Torvald

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 03:40 PM

Mickin,

I usually clean up and quick defrag my Windows XP main harddrive once a week, and both processes usually take me less than 5 minutes.

The quickness is becuae I use two freeware programs, called Ccleaner and Defraggler.

If you use Ccleaner, it will quickly seek out and safely delete lots of junk, temporary files on you computer. Just be sure to use the default settings, as you don't want to accidentally delete needed or helpful types of files.

For Defraggler, you can either do a full defrag (which is still faster than a standard WinXP defrag), or you can do what I do - select quick defrag. It's not quite as complete, by it's certainly a lot faster.

Both programs are not only free, they are also constantly being updated, and you'll get a pop-up message alerting you whenever a newer version is available for download.

You can obtain them from either www.piriform.com or www.filehippo.com

Edited by Torvald, 16 October 2012 - 03:41 PM.

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