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  1. #1
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    w7 home/pro--when to defrag

    I have two laptops. One is W7Home and the other is W7Pro. They both seem reasonably speedy. I have turned off regular scheduled defrags; I prefer to just do it at various times.

    Right now, my W7 Home Defrag analyzer says 10% file fragmentation. Is there any rule of thumb regarding this factor and when to defrag. I notice no diminution of speed on my HD

    Mel

  2. #2
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Any speed impact of 10% fragmentation largely depends on the amount of free space on the system drive/partition and the largest contiguous free space available. If you have a 320GB drive with 60% free space, any hit will be negligible. If you have an 80GB drive with 15% free, the impact could be much greater.

    Large, modern drives with a high % of free space really don't need frequent defragging, monthly or less is fine. If the (hard) drive has less than 25% free, you're already storing data on the slowest part of the drive so regular disk clean ups/defragging will be needed to keep the performance high.

    For most users, leaving the defrag schedule "as is" is probably fine.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    Any speed impact of 10% fragmentation largely depends on the amount of free space on the system drive/partition and the largest contiguous free space available. If you have a 320GB drive with 60% free space, any hit will be negligible. If you have an 80GB drive with 15% free, the impact could be much greater.

    Large, modern drives with a high % of free space really don't need frequent defragging, monthly or less is fine. If the (hard) drive has less than 25% free, you're already storing data on the slowest part of the drive so regular disk clean ups/defragging will be needed to keep the performance high.

    For most users, leaving the defrag schedule "as is" is probably fine.
    Very interesting and enlightening as that may explain why I don't seem to notice any speed dropoff.

    I have 226 GB free of 286gb space. That's about 80% free. So am I correct that defrag is clearly not necessary?

    Mel

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    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    If that machine has been in use for several months already, quarterly defrags would be (more than?) enough. Just run a "defrag c: -b" after any major updates/clean ups to keep boot times down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    If that machine has been in use for several months already, quarterly defrags would be (more than?) enough. Just run a "defrag c: -b" after any major updates/clean ups to keep boot times down.
    What does the "-b" do?
    I usually run the disk defrag program and then it asks me via a button whether to defrag C.

    Mel

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    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    I'll leech some comments from someone I look up to, writhziden, in reply to that:
    I do not recommend 3rd party defragmenting tools. They can damage the boot management files used by Windows, and they can also damage restore points and system repair tools.

    Windows Defragmenting Tools
    Windows has some nice command line flags for the defrag command that will accomplish the same tasks as 3rd party programs. The -b and -w flags will defrag boot files and the boot registry items as well as compact the data to the center of the disk for faster access.
    defrag c: -b
    defrag -c -v -w
    The first command optimizes boot performance for the Windows drive by defragmenting boot files and boot registry items.

    The second command includes all drives on the system through the -c command and optimizes the drives by compacting the data to the center of the disk. Verbose output through the -v option is optional to provide the user with more information about the defrag tasks. The commands have to be run in an elevated command prompt. To run in an elevated command prompt, follow the instructions at Command Prompt: Frequently Asked Questions and expand the section under
    How do I run a command with elevated privileges?
    For more flags, note that the /c and -c are the same:
    Code:
    defrag /?  
    Microsoft Disk Defragmenter
    Copyright (c) 2007 Microsoft Corp.
    
    Description:
    
            Locates and consolidates fragmented files on local volumes to
            improve system performance.
    
    Syntax:
    
            defrag <volumes> | /C | /E <volumes>    [/H] [/M | [/U] [/V]]
            defrag <volumes> | /C | /E <volumes> /A [/H] [/M | [/U] [/V]]
            defrag <volumes> | /C | /E <volumes> /X [/H] [/M | [/U] [/V]]
            defrag <volume>                      /T [/H]       [/U] [/V]
    
    Parameters:
     
     
    Value         Description  
     
    <volume>      Specifies the drive letter or mount point path of the volume to  
                  be defragmented or analyzed.  
     
    /C            Defragments all volumes on this computer.  
     
    /A            Performs fragmentation analysis only.  
     
    /R           Performs partial defragmentation (default). Attempts to  
                  consolidate only fragments smaller than 64 megabytes (MB).  
    
    /E      Perform the operation on all volumes except those specified.
    
    /H      Run the operation at normal priority (default is low).
    
    /M      Run the operation on each volume in parallel in the background.
    
    /T      Track an operation already in progress on the specified volume.
    
    /U      Print the progress of the operation on the screen.
    
    /X      Perform free space consolidation on the specified volumes.
    
    /B	Performs boot optimization by moving programs and Windows
    	boot files to the boot portions of the disk.
     
    /W            Performs full defragmentation. Attempts to consolidate all file  
                  fragments, regardless of their size.  
     
    /F            Forces defragmentation of the volume when free space is low.  
     
    /V            Specifies verbose mode. The defragmentation and analysis output  
                  is more detailed.  
     
    /?           Displays this help information.  
     
    Examples:  
     
    defrag D:  
    defrag D:\vol\mountpoint /W /F  
    defrag D: /A /V  
    defrag /C /V
    
    defrag C: /U /V
            defrag C: D: /M
            defrag C:\mountpoint /A /U
            defrag /C /H /V

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  8. #7
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    So the first command does not defrag all of drive c but does defrag boot items/registry?

    Mel

  9. #8
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    That's pretty close Mel, broken down it basically says, call defrag to run on C: only to optimize the boot files.

    This is one part of the normal defrag by schedule anyway, when run on it's own like this, it normally only takes a few seconds. I don't think it can defrag the Registry (nor is that ever really needed) because it's in use by Windows; it uses lists of files from the Registry to determine which files need optimal placement for a fast boot.

  10. #9
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I believe that you should do a full defrag periodically, just to get all the file fragments reassembled back into one piece.

    You may not gain much on speed from doing this, but in my opinion it's just good housekeeping.

    Like Satrow said, quarterly should be fine for this. Based on how much free space you have, I can't see your needing to do it more often than that.

  11. #10
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I use drive imaging for backup exclusively. I disable System Restore, and I've never used it. Drive images run quicker on a defragged drive as there is much less head movement and lead/lag when most of the files on the drive are contiguous. Of course gaps of free space are necessary in order to keep temporary files from having to be written in the slower parts of the platter. For that reason I use MyDefrag, because its algorithms split the drive into 6 parts according to file type/use, and plugs in gaps of free space interspersed between those 6 parts of the platter.

    MyDefrag also has different algorithms for data partitions than for system partitions, as well as daily and monthly algorithms for both types. I use Task Scheduler to run the extended Cleanmgr utility nightly, and MyDefrag Daily afterward on my 3 system partitions. The daily defrag is primarily an optimization according to frequently used files, and runs in just a few minutes. I just ran it so that I could time it, and it completed the 3 partitions in 5 minutes. I run the monthly data defrag on my data partitions, and a monthly on my system partitions.

    MyDefrag uses the Windows Defrag.exe to do the actual file moving (as most third party defraggers do), it just says "move this file there" according to its own algorithms. I look on system maintenance much like vehicle maintenance. I don't wait until the oil is black and a quart low before I change the oil and filter, or wait until the engine is spitting a sputtering before I change spark plugs. So I don't wait for my PC to start acting sluggish before I start routine maintenance on it.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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