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Question About Necessity And Frequency Of Defragging Hard Drive


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#1 bloomcounty

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 04:45 PM

1. How often should you defrag your hard drive?

When I did a check on my hard drive by opening the defrag program, I saved the log that it generated, which I'll paste further below. However, the way my laptop is set up, apparently even though I only have one hard drive (I'm pretty sure), there is a separate listing for another "D:" called "PRESARIO_RP" which I think is there so you can restore the hard drive to factory settings or something like that. So I ran the defrag test for "D:" was well as "C:" -- and I'm pasting those below as well...

2. So my question here is, if/when I do defrag, do I defrag both these "drives" -- and I guess that would be done separately?

Here's the logs:

Volume (C:)
	Volume size								= 85.71 GB
	Cluster size							   = 4 KB
	Used space								 = 31.71 GB
	Free space								 = 54.01 GB
	Percent free space						 = 63 %

Volume fragmentation
	Total fragmentation						= 31 %
	File fragmentation						 = 62 %
	Free space fragmentation				   = 0 %

File fragmentation
	Total files								= 71,432
	Average file size						  = 597 KB
	Total fragmented files					 = 9,585
	Total excess fragments					 = 101,299
	Average fragments per file				 = 2.41

Pagefile fragmentation
	Pagefile size							  = 768 MB
	Total fragments							= 1

Folder fragmentation
	Total folders							  = 5,086
	Fragmented folders						 = 298
	Excess folder fragments					= 1,551

Master File Table (MFT) fragmentation
	Total MFT size							 = 89 MB
	MFT record count						   = 76,736
	Percent MFT in use						 = 84 %
	Total MFT fragments						= 2

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fragments	   File Size	   Most fragmented files
2,182		   603 MB		  \DVD Rips\VTS_01_1.VOB
998			 8 MB			\Documents and Settings\Local Settings\Temp\Norton Internet Security 2006 2-4-2007 19h59m26s.log
301			 3 MB			\Documents and Settings\Desktop Images\Thumbs.db
295			 1 MB			\Documents and Settings\My Documents\Bloom County
285			 38 MB		   \Documents and Settings\Downloads\Browser and Spyware Programs\zlsSetup_70_302_000_en.exe
257			 25 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP15\snapshot\_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
240			 17 MB		   \Documents and Settings\Downloads\Browser and Spyware Programs\avg75free_432a904.exe
234			 25 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP14\snapshot\_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
232			 25 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP13\snapshot\_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
221			 25 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP28\snapshot\_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
209			 25 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP19\snapshot\_REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE
188			 12 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP41\A0011531.exe
185			 12 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP25\A0008879.rbf
184			 11 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP25\A0008810.rbf
184			 11 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP8\A0000809.rbf
183			 12 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP25\A0008891.rbf
182			 12 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP25\A0008759.rbf
182			 12 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP8\A0000707.rbf
177			 1 KB			\WINDOWS\system32\config\system.LOG
167			 10 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP22\A0008009.exe
155			 10 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP15\A0004798.msi
154			 10 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP25\A0008799.rbf
153			 13 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP10\A0001873.msi
153			 13 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP10\A0001875.msi
153			 10 MB		   \System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP8\A0000679.rbf
142			 623 KB		  \WINDOWS\FaxSetup.log
134			 2 MB			\Program Files\InstallShield Installation Information\{ABDA9912-5D00-11D4-BAE7-9367CA097955}\setup.ilg
131			 5 MB			\Documents and Settings\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\a010xsdv.default\Cache\_CACHE_002_
129			 8 MB			\System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP22\A0007936.dll
129			 8 MB			\System Volume Information\_restore{D5341F9C-33F7-43CF-8BD2-1AE937C9BA1B}\RP22\A0007937.dll

I find it weird that some of the things listed are things I never hardly access or don't even use (like Norton -- I don't even have that installed, as I removed it right after I got my laptop -- it was a free trial thing).

Volume PRESARIO_RP (D:)
	Volume size								= 7.42 GB
	Cluster size							   = 4 KB
	Used space								 = 6.59 GB
	Free space								 = 855 MB
	Percent free space						 = 11 %

Volume fragmentation
	Total fragmentation						= 47 %
	File fragmentation						 = 95 %
	Free space fragmentation				   = 0 %

File fragmentation
	Total files								= 1,977
	Average file size						  = 3 MB
	Total fragmented files					 = 23
	Total excess fragments					 = 128
	Average fragments per file				 = 1.06

Pagefile fragmentation
	Pagefile size							  = 0 bytes
	Total fragments							= 0

Folder fragmentation
	Total folders							  = 93
	Fragmented folders						 = 6
	Excess folder fragments					= 23

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fragments	   File Size	   Most fragmented files
2			   109 KB		  \protect.ed
6			   470 KB		  \MiniNT\txtsetup.sif
2			   86 KB		   \MiniNT\Warning.bmp
2			   114 KB		  \MiniNT\system32\RESTORE.LOG
2			   1 MB			\MiniNT\system32\DBLENV\SYSTEM32\RES256\Rstbgd.SVG
2			   900 KB		  \MiniNT\system32\DBLENV\SYSTEM32\RES256\Rstbgd.vga
11			  2 MB			\MiniNT\system32\DBLENV\SYSTEM32\RES256\Rstbgd.xga
2			   186 MB		  \I386\BOOT.IMG
9			   86 KB		   \I386\Warning.bmp
4			   86 KB		   \RECOVERY\Warning.bmp
77			  9 MB			\PRELOAD\ALL.CRC
2			   1 MB			\PRELOAD\WINDOWS.CRC
2			   620 MB		  \PRELOAD\BASE.INP
10			  620 MB		  \PRELOAD\BASE_01.INP
2			   620 MB		  \PRELOAD\BASE_02.INP
2			   620 MB		  \PRELOAD\BASE_03.INP
2			   620 MB		  \PRELOAD\BASE_04.INP
2			   620 MB		  \PRELOAD\BASE_05.INP
2			   620 MB		  \PRELOAD\BASE_06.INP
2			   620 MB		  \PRELOAD\BASE_07.INP
2			   620 MB		  \PRELOAD\BASE_08.INP
2			   620 MB		  \PRELOAD\BASE_09.INP
2			   58 MB		   \PRELOAD\BASE_10.INP

Thoughts? Thanks! :thumbsup:
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#2 nigglesnush85

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 04:52 PM

Hello,

looking at the reports that you provided, i would say a defrag is in order. the line that says
Average fragments per file = 2.41 that should be as low as possible 1.00 is as low as i have got all three of my drives.

I would recommend auslogics defrag tool http://www.auslogics.com/ followed by a couple of passes of the windows built in defrag tool.
I wouldn't say there is any danger in defragging both, I have done this on numerous systems and none have complained. I would defrag the system 1 - 2 times a week, to maintain optimum performance.

Hope this helps
Regards,

Alan.

#3 bloomcounty

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 04:57 PM

Thanks for the reply. Wow, that's way more often than I would have figured! :thumbsup: Why so often? And that can't hurt the computer? (I thought I had heard that...)

I always try not to install too many new things on my computer, so is that tool necessary? Or will using the Windows built-in thing be okay on it's own?

Thanks!

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Edited by Animal, 26 March 2007 - 05:15 PM.

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#4 nigglesnush85

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 05:44 PM

Using the windows defrag tool is usually enough, but it has one small downside that it takes in some cases hours to defrag the drives, the auslogics defrag tool will defrag the drives very fast, but wont compact them,
I defrag my system 1-2 times a week, as I am uninstalling and testing various softwares. if you dont use the system much you would be fine with once a week or even once every 2 weeks.

Its all down to how much the system does, as a file is opened, it becomes fragmented, defragging them allows for faster access.

The only time I have heard of defragging a computer was dangerous, was when a friend of mine was defragging his system and there was a power cut, which caused him to loose data.

Hope this helps
Regards,

Alan.

#5 tg1911

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 05:56 PM

Basically, all defrag utilities use different algorithms to decide what is fragmented, and what order things should be in.
Some may sort by name.
Some sort by date installed.
Some sort by frequency of use.
Some sort by type of file.
Some sort by multiple criteria.

In Win 9x / ME, this wasn't too much of a problem.
If you ran one of these alternative defrag tools, it didn't matter, so long as you didn't run Windows defrag, since in these versions of Windows, defrag only runs when you tell it to.

In XP , they changed from a defrag based on Norton products, to one based on Executive Software Diskeeper.
It's part of the overall windows XP disk management, and is integrated into the OS.
In fact, it runs continuously in the background, attempting to minimize fragmentation.
Some of these third party defrag utilities will pause it, so they can mess up your drive.
Then when you restart, everytime your drive is idle for a minute or two, you will see massive access to the harddrive, as windows frantically tries to put things back where it wants them.

Bottom line, I suggest you not use 3rd party defrag tools with XP.

How often you should defrag, depends on how much you install/uninstall programs, move files around, delete things, etc.
The average user shouldn't have to defrag more than once a month, if that often.
Use the anylizer supplied with XP.
It will show you how fragmented your files are.
If you feel they need to be defragged, then defrag.

You don't need to defrag your backup partition (D:), as there should be nothing writing to it, therefore, there should be no fragmentation.
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#6 bloomcounty

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 06:28 PM

How often you should defrag, depends on how much you install/uninstall programs, move files around, delete things, etc.
The average user shouldn't have to defrag more than once a month, if that often.
Use the anylizer supplied with XP.
It will show you how fragmented your files are.
If you feel they need to be defragged, then defrag.

You don't need to defrag your backup partition (D:), as there should be nothing writing to it, therefore, there should be no fragmentation.


I don't do too much crazy stuff on my computer, so I'm sure once a month is fine. And I don't plan on using anything other than the Windows defrag program.

I posted my defrag analysis logs in Post #1, if you want to take a look. When I checked, it actually told me that BOTH C: and D: needed to be defragged (again, see logs in Post #1). So while I agree nothing should be writing to the D: drive... why would it say/show it as needing to be defragged?

However, I called HP and they said to defrag once a month and NOT to defrag the D: even though the defrag program shows it needs to be defragged. (Of course, they're outsourced and reading from a manual or something, so take that for what it's worth...) I just wanted to make sure defragging C: and not D: wouldn't cause some weird issue...

So... just to verify: Would you agree that I should defrag C: and not/never D: (despite the log results)?

Thanks!

Edited by bloomcounty, 26 March 2007 - 06:29 PM.

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#7 jgweed

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 06:44 PM

Whether you defrag D: is up to you; it is only used---hopefully less than once a year--- to restore your hard drive (in place of a Windows disk). I have defragged a similar hard drive without experiencing any problems, but since you do not use it on a regular basis, there isn't a need to defrag it.

How often you defrag C: is again up to you. There is no hard and fast rule about the frequency of doing it, although once a month doesn't seem out of line. If you do not download much, or move or delelte many files, then monthly should be more than adequate. It is important, though, that before you defrag, you do delete unneeded (temporary files, for example) files or unused applications. This not only keeps your hard drive clean, but makes the defrag application do less work.

Since your C: partition has only 40GB used, a defrag should not take an extemely long time, especially with XP; you could probably do this during a dinner break.

Regards,
John

Edited by jgweed, 26 March 2007 - 07:50 PM.

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#8 usasma

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 06:48 PM

Data is stored on your hard drive in tiny magnetic charges. Over time that charge will "leak" out, rendering the data unreadable. One of the things that defrag does is it reads your data, then writes it fresh to another location - so this is good for the data.

This doesn't help the infrequently used data, but it's better than nothing!
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#9 bloomcounty

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 07:04 PM

Whether you defrag D: is up to you; it is only used---hopefully less than once a year--- to restore your hard drive (in place of a Windows disk). I have defragged a similar hard drive without experiencing any problems, but since you do not use it on a regular basis, there isn't a need to defrag it.

How often you defrag D: is again up to you. There is no hard and fast rule about the frequency of doing it, although once a month doesn't seem out of line. If you do not download much, or move files around, or delete many, then monthly should be more than adequate. It is important, though, that before you defrag, you do delete unneeded (temporary files, for example) files. This not only keeps your hard drive clean, but makes the defrag application do less work.

Since your D: partition has only 40GB, a defrag should not take an extemely long time, especially with XP; you could probably do this during a dinner break.


Thanks for the post! Some follow-up questions:

1. Why does HP tell me not to defrag the D: partition?

2. I've never done anything with D: or restored anything -- so why would it be/get fragmented?

3. Why would you have to restore your hard drive once a year? Wouldn't you (hopefully) never have to do this?

4. I think you might have meant to say "C:" instead of "D:" in the second paragraph?

5. So to verify, you are saying there is no need to defrag the D: partition since I don't use it (which I don't -- not that I know of, anyways), even though the defrag program says it needs it (and, to the contrary, HP says not to do it)?

Thanks for the help!

And thanks for the posts, everyone!
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#10 nigglesnush85

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:00 PM

1. Why does HP tell me not to defrag the D: partition?
A. Usually because HP is scared that the user will damage the partition

2. I've never done anything with D: or restored anything -- so why would it be/get fragmented?
A. A file becomes fragmented when it is scanned or opened or if it is old, if you have for example media player and told it to search for files it would access the partition to look, same with AV scans (barely noticeable)

3. Why would you have to restore your hard drive once a year? Wouldn't you (hopefully) never have to do this?
A. Over time the system will gradually begin to fail when it gets to a point, it would be the easiest option to start again.

Hope this helps
Regards,

Alan.

#11 bloomcounty

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:20 PM

Thanks for the replies.

1. So if I don't defrag D:, will I have problems if/when it comes to a time when I need to restore the hard drive?

2. Should I make sure that when I do searches and AV scans, that I *don't* include the D: partition?

2a. I'm almost positive that I've done a number of AV scans and hard drive searches, and did not disclude D:... But I've only had this laptop since the end of January.

Thanks!
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#12 Budapest

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 01:35 AM

I hate to cloud the waters here but I have to disagree with something that nigglesnush85 said.

A file becomes fragmented when it is scanned or opened or if it is old, if you have for example media player and told it to search for files it would access the partition to look, same with AV scans (barely noticeable)


A file will not become fragmented simply by scanning or opening it. A file can only become fragmented by creating, copying (the copy may be fragmented), moving or saving it.
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#13 jgweed

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:20 AM

1. I cannot speak for HP, but it may be because it is not needed.
2. It may have been loaded onto the hard drive in a way that the Windows Defrag application doesn't like, especially if you have never touched the files there.
3. You don't HAVE to restore your OS once a year. I was simply suggesting that that the contents of the restore partition were accessed very infrequently, so it would not make a difference if the files were fragmented or not.
File fragmentation forces the arm that reads the various files to do a lot of extra work and move about the plate more than is necessary; this increases wear on the apparatus and slows down loading the files into memory. The arm will still read the files, even if fragmented.
4. Yes, that was my mistake, which I have corrected. Sorry.
5. That is my conclusion.
If you have scanned the D: partition once with your anti-malware applications, then you may save time thereafter by skipping it entirely, since it is never written to. (Note: I am not sure whether System Restore files are maintained in the D: drive in the Presario series; if this is the case, then it should be scanned along with the C: drive).
Cheers,
John
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#14 bloomcounty

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:42 AM

A file will not become fragmented simply by scanning or opening it. A file can only become fragmented by creating, copying (the copy may be fragmented), moving or saving it.


Okay, good to know. Thanks!

If you have scanned the D: partition once with your anti-malware applications, then you may save time thereafter by skipping it entirely, since it is never written to. (Note: I am not sure whether System Restore files are maintained in the D: drive in the Presario series; if this is the case, then it should be scanned along with the C: drive).


When I first got my laptop and first booted it up, I believe *that* is when the D: partition was "created" (I think) -- as I remember the laptop asking me if I wanted to make a back-up of the hard drive (or something like that) at that time or to wait, and I chose to do it at that time. (In retrospect, I kind of wished I'd waited until I had my hard drive all loaded with my files and programs, but maybe that wouldn't have been good...)

Does that give any clue as to whether or not the System Restore files are maintained in the D: drive? Or is there something on my laptop that I can check to give you that answer?

Oh, and here's scans of the Analysis results, in case that changes or reinforces anyone's opinion:

Here's the two images of the Analysis Tool results:

C:
http://forum.doom9.org/attachment.php?atta...mp;d=1175006955

D:
http://forum.doom9.org/attachment.php?atta...mp;d=1175007009

Thanks for the help!

Edited by bloomcounty, 27 March 2007 - 10:01 AM.

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#15 tos226

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 10:53 AM

I would add just one more maintenance thing. Before defrag run scandisk (for errors & fixing thereof) - it's the other option in XP drive tools.
Sorry if someone mentioned it above and I missed it.




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