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  1. #1
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    Time for spring cleaning your hard drive




    BEST PRACTICES


    Time for spring cleaning your hard drive


    By Lincoln Spector

    Is Windows sending regular nag notifications that you're running out of hard-drive space? Or perhaps you're trying to squeeze onto that new SSD? Spring cleaning for your PC mostly means looking through the contents of your hard drive and getting rid of the accumulated garbage.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/best-practices/time-for-spring-cleaning-your-hard-drive/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Small point - I make a habit of archiving program install files (not leaving them lying around). The available online versions don't stay the same and sometimes, software disappears. Or gets cluttered with adware. I've had the occasional problems with new versions so having copies of the old versions I can fall back to allowed me to keep using them. I use free software to catalogue and search the archives.

    I also practice good file management so stuff like a bunch of duplicate files is rare. But tools like Folder Size can be a way to review what you archive and what you need accessible on the drive.

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    I also fully agree on separating data and system files. I don't like the way Windows organizes or manages data. It's a little better in WIn7 but not much, not to mention hiding Windows Explorer. Worse in Win8. And messy if you leave them mixed together. They have different backup and recovery needs and it's much easier to manage that when they're physically separate.

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Wonderful and timely artcle! Even I learned a few things, and I considered myself a pretty stingy guy when it comes to wasting hard drive space.

    Lincoln, if you spent $80.00 on a 500GB Hard Drive, you should be doing penance! I rarely pay more than $60.00 and have never had one fail.

    Once the Windows System Cleanup Tools are run, I still find that CCleaner with a few extra checkboxes gets even more stuff cleaned up.

    One thing you left out. After massive file deletions from either the System or Data Partitions, these partitions tend to become space wasters due to file fragmentation. This is one of the few times when a follow-up with a Defragmentation Utility can recover significant additional disk space and make seek times shorter. Windows does a good job with its own defragmenter, but I use Auslogics Disk Defrag Free because it uses additional algorithms to further reduce seek times for frequently used files.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    One thing you left out. After massive file deletions from either the System or Data Partitions, these partitions tend to become space wasters due to file fragmentation. This is one of the few times when a follow-up with a Defragmentation Utility can recover significant additional disk space and make seek times shorter. Windows does a good job with its own defragmenter, but I use Auslogics Disk Defrag Free because it uses additional algorithms to further reduce seek times for frequently used files
    With Windows 7and above, there is no need to perform a manual defrag. It will periodically do a scheduled defrag on its own.

    Jerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    One thing you left out. After massive file deletions from either the System or Data Partitions, these partitions tend to become space wasters due to file fragmentation. This is one of the few times when a follow-up with a Defragmentation Utility can recover significant additional disk space and make seek times shorter.
    How can defrag recover significant additional disk space if nothing is being compressed?

    Windows System Restore points may be deleted during defragmenting/optimizing?

    (e.g. Why did defragmenting C drive increase my free disk space by 10 GB?)

    Bruce

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    How can defrag recover significant additional disk space if nothing is being compressed?

    Windows System Restore points may be deleted during defragmenting/optimizing?

    (e.g. Why did defragmenting C drive increase my free disk space by 10 GB?)

    Bruce
    Auslogics recovers disk space as it optimizes the hard drive or partition. I have watched as the block diagram shows this process. I have seen the results. I am not alone. CNET's description of Auslogics says the same thing.

    When the defragmenting is done, you're shown the results, including the percentage of drive or partition space that was recovered. You can see more information in a browser window when you click Display Report...
    http://www.cnet.com/news/a-better-wa...our-hard-disk/

    This does not refer to available disk space, but to usable disk space. There's a difference.

    Auslogics in my experience does not by default delete Restore Points, but I'd be glad if it did. Those can accumulate and waste a lot of space.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-04-14 at 12:45.
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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwitalka View Post
    With Windows 7and above, there is no need to perform a manual defrag. It will periodically do a scheduled defrag on its own.

    Jerry
    See the CNET writeup of Auslogics Disk Defrag. There's more that can be done than Windows does automatically. And, Windows Defrag doesn't show you the defragmenting process. It never even tells me when the process is complete!

    What I have posted about there being a benefit to doing on-demand defragmenting after massive amounts of file deletion amounts not just to possible space savings and deletion of unneeded Restore Points, but also to the performance gain which is real, in this unusual situation.

    Most of the time, defragmenting doesn't improve modern hard drive performance. But here we are talking about making huge numbers of file deletions and possibly moving files around a lot. This could result in enough fragmentation so that Windows would take quite awhile to get its own defragmentation house in order. Auslogics would speed up and improve the efficiency of this process.

    And maybe save some space, maybe not.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-04-14 at 12:55.
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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    In the 4 plus years I have had Windows 7, I have never felt the need for an external defrag even when deleting large amounts of data. It still runs nearly as fast as new. YMMV.
    I have tried AusLogics defrag and didn't notice any measurable difference. It still sits unused on my desktop.

    Jerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Auslogics recovers disk space as it optimizes the hard drive or partition. I have watched as the block diagram shows this process. I have seen the results. I am not alone. CNET's description of Auslogics says the same thing.

    "When the defragmenting is done, you're shown the results, including the percentage of drive or partition space that was recovered. You can see more information in a browser window when you click Display Report... "

    http://www.cnet.com/news/a-better-wa...our-hard-disk/
    I can't see anywhere in the Auslogics Disk Defrag program that says anything about disk space recovered, even in the View Detailed Report.

    And even though that Cnet review is more than six years old, I don't see it in their screen shots either.


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    This does not refer to available disk space, but to usable disk space. There's a difference.
    What's the difference?


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    And maybe save some space, maybe not.
    Aha!


    Bruce
    Last edited by BruceR; 2014-04-14 at 14:20.

  11. #11
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    I think the debate as to whether recovering space after using third-party or Windows-native disk defragging software will never be fully resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

    When I run my current version of Auslogics Disk Defrag, the partition maps always show the used blocks to be more contiguous, and the entire used space (the number of blocks shown in color) looks substantially reduced. And I do notice slightly (though not much) improved program launch times for some of my slower-loading programs (like OpenOffice and Firefox) under Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bits. The gain is only temporary, and YMMV.

    Whether the Auslogics Blocks Used graphic is showing any real space consolidation I don't know. And no, the current Auslogics reports do not include any claims of recovered disk space.

    All I know is, heavy fragmentation on my hard drive (5400 rpm) does sometimes result in slower system performance in Windows.

    Linux, as we all know, does not fragment files in the way Windows does, so there is no need to defragment. But the article is about cleaning up Windows, so I stand by my observations. Since Auslogics is free and quick, I see no harm in using it occasionally.

    In this Lounge Thread, Joe P. does say that there is a chance that defragmenting a drive can recover some lost disk space:

    I think it may depend on how fragmented the drive was initially. The details of how many files had multiple fragments might give a clue. The cluster size of the drive is important too. For each cluster reclaimed you'd increase free space by that much.

    Joe
    He didn't give any references in that post. A debate ensued, which was not really resolved. They were talking about Vista, but the Original Article here talks about Windows XP cleanup. Windows XP would be perhaps more sensitive to cluster effects than Vista, but not less so. Restore Points being deleted is also brought up in that Thread.

    At that time, I posted that one third-party defragmenting program, Defraggler (Piriform) always resulted in expanding the space used on my Windows 7 laptop. Auslogics does not depict this phenomenon, but exactly the reverse. Strange...

    Since the article here is about 32-bit Windows XP, I will only mention the possible effects of running defragmenters on 64-bit Vista and Windows 7 systems. These systems have areas of resource duplication and paging which may be capable of being culled down considerably by a good algorithm. Totally aside from actually defragmenting the partition. These are not defragmentation effects, but maybe Auslogics does something in this vein?

    Cleaning SysWow, Page Files, etc. would seem to be more what CCleaner or Windows Disk Cleanup can do. But for Windows XP 32 bits, these effects are totally irrelevant.

    FWIW -- Updating my post from back then, my Windows 7 partition now takes up 70GB of space, even after cleaning and optimizing. But this is not the point here in this thread.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-04-17 at 10:57.
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