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Defragging


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#1 GoTwins

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 07:23 PM

So I read a article on defragging your computer and how often you should do it. And they had different "user" types and how often each user types should defrag. I fell under every 1-2 weeks. However, it seems that everytime I go to defragment my computer using the XP utility, I usually press "analyze" first and it says that I do NOT need to defragment now.

Problem is that it always says that, so should I go through and defrag my computer every 2 weeks if it says I don't need to? There isn't any harmful side effects are there?

And just curious, how often do you guys defrag your computers?

Thanks in advance :thumbsup:

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#2 jgweed

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:41 AM

Without knowing the parameters set by the article you were reading, or what "user type" you were, it is difficult to give any sound advice. I myself generally ignore the messages Windows defragger shows, and look at the coloured chart instead. Actually, I tend to go by the "feel" of the computer more than anything else, and when I detect a certain sluggishness, check the defragger.
I generally defrag after installing any major application (say, for example, a game or OpenOffice.org), or after archiving a lot of documents, pictures, etc.. Deleting, adding, or moving many files is obviously a major cause of defragmentation, since new files are pushed willy-nilly into the newly created "open" spaces on the hard drive.
I would think that a good rule of the thumb for most users would be to defrag on a monthly basis.
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John
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.

#3 usasma

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 10:23 AM

My system is set to defrag in the background on a weekly basis (I don't use the Windows utility tho') but I'm a confirmed "tinkerer". Defragging (as JGWeed states) is dependent upon the amount of fragmentation that you cause. If you Add and Remove programs and move stuff around a lot, you'll get more fragmentation that if you don't mess with things.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#4 speedbird76

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 11:42 AM

Fragmentation is an interesting subject and here are some random thoughts since i have time on my hands, and nothing to do. :thumbsup:

I have heard about heavy file fragmentation being the cause of system slowdowns and freezes. From my understanding, it seems to due to physically non-continuous placement of files on the drive platter. When a file is modified or deleted, it can leave behind spaces or result in more than 1 fragment depending upon whether the modified file is smaller or larger than the original file. The problem begins from this point onward. Future files that are added may be broken up and slotted into non-continuous spaces and so on and so forth.

So now, when the harddrive head has to read or write files it may not be able to do so sequentially, i.e. it has to hunt all over the drive and collect bits of files and piece them together. Or write small pieces of files into many free slots. Either way, the time for the read/write operation is increased.

The hard disk is already the performance limiting factor in most desktops, given the blazing speed of the CPUs and RAM these days, so you have a condition where an already weak link is further aggravated, resulting in poor system performance.

Ofcourse, there are many skeptics who claim that fragmentation has no measurable performance on a system. There was even an article I read in one of the online mags (PCworld or PCmag or something like that) on 15 common myths. Reduced performance due to fragmentation was mentioned as one of the myths.

I personally feel that it would depend on your system usage. If you generate/modify/delete large files or large numbers of files, you are bound to notice file fragmentation related slowdowns. These days, with the John and Jane Q Public playing around with huge audio and video files on their home PCs...editing creating and deleting audio/video content, browsing the internet and filling up and deleting the caches etc, my gut instinct tells me that they run into fragmentation related hiccups without even knowing it. Then they wonder why their shiny still-new Dell or HP is crawling along instead of being the zippy performance machine the ads promised (and it was, when brand new), and blame it on 'stupid' dell or 'lousy' HP.

Apparently, the NTFS system was designed to minimize the fragmentation headaches that plague FAT, but looks like it doesnt work that well, considering Microsoft itself warns against fragmentation and includes a built-in defrag utility. IIRC, they particularly warn against the fragmentation of the master file table. Many IT admins in corporate environments seem to be terrified of fragmentation on their managed workstations or servers. Probably it results in productivity loss when cumulative effects over a large number of users and computers in a network are considered. And if you consider that these workstations see heavy duty I/O during workdays resulting in a large number of generated and modified files, presence of file fragmentation would make sense.

Personally, I defrag every 2-3 days on my home system, but I play a lot and do a bit of torrenting, so my fragmentation levels are understandably not the best.

Sorry if, for a first post, I wrote a long, boring story and merely repeated something obvious.....just had some spare time on my hands. :flowers:

#5 usasma

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 06:07 PM

Not boring at all - actually very interesting to me. As for the "myth" - that all depends (as you mention) on your use of the the system and the fragmented files.

Small files take less time to access than large files, so fragmentation won't be as obvious with them. Infrequently used files won't slow the system much because they're infrequently used. Operating system features that aren't used much will suffer less from fragmentation than OS features that are used regularly. So it'll depend on your usage as to how much fragmentation you can get away with.

FWIW - I have seen systems slowed by excessive fragmentation, and a defragging of the hard drive resulted in increased performance. I've seen this on systems with 25% fragmentation and above - but as I stated earlier, it depends on the usage pattern more than anything else.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.




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