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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Defrag nightmare

    Please recommend a good (must be safe) hard drive defrag software.

    Had defrag nightmare the day after Turkey dinner/Black Friday.
    Making it worse, the drive was a 2TB all-data drive (SATA connected). Space left=about 400G.
    Story:
    The frequent accessed drive was too fragmented.
    Defragged with a known good free 'reliable' program ... [be 'gentle' re 'free']
    Took too long (over 24 hours). Must stop for immediate work. Stop properly per the application. No more defraq after that.
    More than 2 weeks past, the hard drive was suddenly not available. Symptom: not accessible by Windows. Drive letter disappeared.
    Diagnosis:
    Hardware-wise OK.
    Found file table corrupted, including the twin copy! Hence, unable to recover.

    Had to do lengthy data recovery ... on a 2TB drive. Had backup but new data must be recovered.
    Hard drive reformatted; still works.

    Defrag software recommendation highly appreciated.

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  3. #2
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    A few years ago, I bought Perfect Disk, from Raxco Software. It's pretty good, but I always image before letting it run - it's never good if somethings goes wrong and I prefer to play safe.

    P.S.: They are offering a 35% discount as a cyber week promotion.
    Rui
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    speedball (2014-01-30)

  5. #3
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    If you are using an OS later than XP and unless you have a specific use case with very very large files, I recommend you just let Windows do the job. Microsoft has done extensive research on disk usage and defragging. They have optimized the internal Windows defrag program to work well for most people.

    Joe

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    scaisson (2013-12-04),speedball (2014-01-30)

  7. #4
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I use MyDefrag. It utilizes Windows' own defrag API. I've used it for years and have never had an issue of any kind.

    And it's free.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  8. #5
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    Thanks for the suggestions from ruirib, JoeP517, and bbearren.
    Yes, files are big size data files beyond 2.2G. Some >4G.
    Hmm, for some reason I never thought of using Windows own built-in defrag. My old experience is that it is much slower than most commercial free and non-free programs. So the 'logic' is use outside programs. Speed kills I guess.
    Not sure if I'm going to experiment trying to repeat it. The darn thing is it fails after more than 2 weeks, and corrupted the two file tables as well. If the copy of the file table is intact, it'd be walk in the park.
    I double checked hardware on the hard drive. No sign of error. After formatting, runs fine under stress tests.
    This delayed total failure is really a nightmare.
    The drive was so fragmented (48% reported), hence my urge to defrag.
    Maybe NEVER defrag a huge drive?

    Light bulb lights up!
    I should have just make file copy to another hard drive (aka lowest form of backup). Quick format the drive. Then copy back files. Voila! Completely defrag 2TB, 100% perfect. Much less than than 24 hours as well.

    The hack with defreg.
    Thanks guys.

  9. #6
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    Windows built-in defrag runs in the background.

    There are those who say that with the size of contemporary spinning drives and the typical utilization defragging is un-necessary.

    Joe

  10. #7
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    All disk defrag programs will use the applicable Microsoft APIs to do the defragging operation. Not to use them would be sheer madness!

    Moving large amounts of data around a large hard disk is going to take an enormous amount of time. The amount of time taken is probably out of all proportion to the benefit obtained, as JoeP517 says.
    (I'm secretly sceptical whether Microsoft actually does any defragmenting of hard disks "in the background", since it probably realises that this action is largely pointless, but doesn't want to say so...)
    BATcher

    If it wasn't for the weather, Great Britain would be a silent nation.

  11. #8
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    The background defragging by MS does indeed take place. It is scheduled by default as a task in Task Scheduler. One can check Task Scheduler History.

    As for large drives not needing defragging, physical disc sizes have not changed (3.5" and 2.5"), nor has the mechanism by which they operate changed. The only change is in the size of the magnetic bits. On larger and larger drives, the bits have gotten smaller and smaller. But none of that changes the mechanism by which a file is retrieved or written - it's still a head moving back and forth above the surface of a spinning disc.

    All else being equal, the more fragmented a file, the longer it takes to retrieve the complete file from disc, and the less fragmented a file, the shorter it takes to retrieve the complete file from the disc. I continue to defrag.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  12. #9
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    Now it gets me thinking.
    The physical size of the platter in a hard drive is always the same. Bit density increases 3.7X or more, using 270G vs 1TB. By design from drive makers, access time is about the same (from position x to position y). (They would be out of business if access time increases linearly with bit density!)
    Physical time is the same! In reality, access same-size file would be 3.7X faster for high bit density platter, when all things being equal, because the physical distance is 3.7X shorter.
    Do a mind experiment:
    1TB vs 100,000,000TB, same size platter. The design spec is that they have the same access time (physical travel time from position X to Y). Seems fragmentation adds little time to it, at the most r.m.s. to it. But overwhelming of the time, bits of the entire file are so physically close that it is actually much faster. Statistically, the AVERAGE seek time will then be dominated by them (statistical averaging), fragmentation increasingly has less influence.
    Say, access a 100G file. The linear distance is d micro-inch. For the huge drive, it is d/10^9 linear micro-inch. Fast access! The chance of fragmentation is much less too, because all it needs is 0.000,000,001*d linear micro-inch, vs d micro-inch.

    I see now. Yes, fragmentation is less important in high bit density hard drive.
    My defrag nightmare is self inflicted.

  13. #10
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Hey Y'all,

    Just my 2 cents worth but if I remember correctly, and that's a big IF, there is a major difference in the way files are stored/allocated between FAT and NTFS file systems thus making defragmentation much less necessary with NTFS. Of course all us guys who got started with computing in the Dark Ages had the defrag habit drilled into us and we all know about old habits! HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  14. #11
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Dear Mr R Geek: when's the last time you saw something which used the FAT file system?! Certainly something which needed defragging?
    BATcher

    If it wasn't for the weather, Great Britain would be a silent nation.

  15. #12
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    BATcher,

    I have one or two ... right here next to my punch cards, 8" Floppies, 5.25" floppies, etc.!
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    VBA Rules!

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  16. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    A few years ago, I bought Perfect Disk, from Raxco Software. It's pretty good, but I always image before letting it run - it's never good if somethings goes wrong and I prefer to play safe.

    P.S.: They are offering a 35% discount as a cyber week promotion.
    This is the defrag software that I use on my few non-SSD installs & has performed wonderfully.

    Raxco does offer a 15 day trial on most of their software. It will likely take 3 defrag passes to fix this, plus a boot time defrag to begin with. The system & page files cannot be defragmented during Windows operation.

    After install, it will likely run an auto analysis to determine the fragmentation status, then suggest which operation to perform first, usually a Boot Time defrag on new installs or badly fragmented ones.

    Then normally a basic defrag, followed by SmartPlacement, then a Consolidate Free Space pass. Sometimes it'll repeat an operation if needed. It may be best to allow this auto operation to take place while sleeping or at work, as it will likely take several hours on a heavily fragmented drive.

    Was going to take/post a screenshot of mine, but Print Screen works differently on this HP w/7 Pro than on my newer Dell.

    EDIT: Believe I found it!

    Capture.PNG

    Cat
    Last edited by catilley1092; 2013-12-05 at 13:37.
    My System Specs:

    http://speccy.piriform.com/results/N...gWw3zT1A30RkV3 MSI Notebook (OEM Win 7 Pro x64)

    http://speccy.piriform.com/results/8...3hQlSkXzuDfbKb Dell XPS 8700 w/Windows 8

  17. #14
    4 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    You're only a real old geek if you have punch cards in your top shirt pocket......

    I have a vague memory that there were even bigger floppies than 8" - is that memory correct?

  18. #15
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Those 8" floppies went into IBM 3274 terminal controllers, from which to load the firmware, configured for the attached terminals.

    And of course 8" floppies went into the 6360 diskette unit of DisplayWriters.

    How many boxes of unpunched punch cards would you like?!
    BATcher

    If it wasn't for the weather, Great Britain would be a silent nation.

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