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  1. #1
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    Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    Win 98, my last O.S., came with Disk Defragmenter and Scan Disk.

    As far as I can tell, XP Home retains the former and replaces the latter with something called a "Check Disk tool," accessible by opening My Computer, opening the properties of a drive, and then clicking the Tools tab (is there a way to directly access this tool?).

    1. I have never manually run Disk Defragmenter since I installed XP months and months ago. Yet when I "analyze" my hard drivevia that program, it says I "do not need to defragment this volume." Thus, given the tremendous amount of time that has passed, how often do you recommend I defrag?

    2. Since the image, in Disk Defragmenter, of my hard drive shows some red color, meaning fragmented files, I assume that a disk must have a certain level of fragmentation for the program to defrag it?

    3. How often do you recommend I run the aforesaid Check Disk tool (which I also just ran; the results said the volume was without errors!)?

    Thank you very much.

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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    Is your hard drive formatted as FAT32 or NTFS? The latter does nor fragment as badly, which may be why you have been able to go a while without significant fragmentation.

    The built-in defragmenter in XP is basically a cut-down version of DiskKeeper, but not very efficient and without any advanced features. It may not be recommending defragmentation because the level of fragmentation is below its ability to defragment.

    The more you fill the drive, the more important it will be to regularly defragment. Depending on the level of use the machine gets, I would suggest starting with once a week.

    If you use the machine a lot, you might want to consider buying a utility like the full version of DiskKeeper. This has a 'set-and-forget' function that monitors the drive and carries out defragmentation as necessary, in the background. It is the easiest software, but there are others. The most efficient defragmenter I have found is Norton Speed Disk, which can be fairly easily scheduled to run at a convenient day/time. It usually comes as part of Norton SystemWorks.

    I wouldn't generally run ScanDisk or CheckDisk unless there was a problem and I'm not sure what merits there might be to making this part of your maintenance schedule. Then again, with manufacturers reducing their warranties on hard drives from 3 years to 1 year, maybe you should be thinking about doing so.

    XP Event Viewer (in Computer Management) recently started listing a warning that my second IBM HDD (2yrs+) was about to fail, so I downloaded a utility called SmartDefender from IBM. This runs in the background and periodically monitors the state of your HDD (not just IBM drives). I haven't noticed any performance hit since installing it and it's free.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by bigaldoc on 03-Jan-03 07:04. Stupid Al, replying to the wrong poster. Sorry!)</P>
    <hr>I wouldn't generally run ScanDisk or CheckDisk unless there was a problem...<hr>
    May I add a voice of disagreement on this point? First I must admit that I have not had CHKDSK find any problems in the year I've been running XP Pro (fingers crossed) and I run it once a week on all partitions, prior to making backups with Drive Image. Through all versions of Windows (except NT and 2000) it has been my experience with users I've supported that if you "accidently" end up with lost clusters or cross-linked files on a drive, the OS will chug happily on, FOR A TIME, but one day it will come crashing down on you and you might be dead in the water. I've encountered some drives so badly "busted up" that Scandisk couldn't fix them. Hence, my practice of running once a week. However, I've also tried (and seen others try) making a scheduled task of it, say for the middle of the night. That's frequently ended up with abortions and hung systems, even when told to automatically fix things. So, it only takes a few minutes to do it while in attendance, which is what I do. My two-cents worth.....

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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    I bow to your wisdom in this matter. <img src=/S/bow.gif border=0 alt=bow width=15 height=15> I have Norton Disk Doctor as part of the SystemWorks package, which does much the same job. I will try to schedule it (not built into the program interface, except to do it at startup, which is a pain - unless it's very quick) and try to remember to post an update on how that goes.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    It's worth noting that the disk tools in XP are considerably different than in Win9x. Typically you won't need to run Scandisk (called CHKDSK in XP) very often, and the system will initiate it automatically if it detects a disk error in most instances (such as blue screens).

    Defragmenting, on the other hand....I'm a card-carrying member of Defragmenters Anonymous. I purchased Diskeeper many moons ago when it was the ONLY such tool around for Windows NT 4.0, and it made a huge difference in performance then. That trend continues to this day - a fragmented disk will impact performance, period. The defragmenter built in to XP is actually an older, slower Diskeeper engine, and it's also not as thorough. Diskeeper, Raxco PerfectDisk, and O&O Defrag have all been mentioned in these forums as good tools and each has their loyal fans. I stick with Diskeeper because of the great support I have received from them, and the fact that it does so many things and does them well, I have no compelling reason to switch. I have Diskeeper set to perform background defragmentation while I visit the land of 40 Winks and never have to worry about it.

    Should you not be interested in purchasing an additional piece of software, there is a tool available for download that will allow you to schedule the built in defragmenter in XP, something it doesn't allow out of the box. I couldn't locate the tool that I once used for this, but check out this script if it interests you.

    Some additional reading that may be of interest: http://windows.about.com/cs/defragmentutils/

    HTH,
    -Mark

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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    I remember once reading that too much defraging / ScanDisk is actually detrimental to a hard drive...

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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    > Is your hard drive formatted as FAT32 or NTFS?

    FAT32.


    > XP Event Viewer (in Computer Management) recently started listing a warning that my second IBM HDD (2yrs+) was about to fail,

    How do I setup Event Viewer to do this?


    > so I downloaded a utility called SmartDefender from IBM. This runs in the background and periodically monitors the state of your HDD (not just IBM drives). I haven't noticed any performance hit since installing it and it's free.

    Sounds like an excellent program. Where can I get it?

    THANKS!

  8. #8
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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    > [XP Home] will initiate [CHKDSK] automatically if it detects a disk error in most instances (such as blue screens).

    How do I setup this automation--or at least confirm it?


    Second, the script you referenced is something I'll definitely need if I choose to stick with XP's defragmenter -- although I just downloaded the trial version of Disk Keeper Home 7.

    THANKS!

  9. #9
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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    Unlikely.

    If defragging reduces the amount of defragmentation, it is going to reduce the amount of head movement. If you set a defrag session and there is nothing to defrag, nothing will happen anyway!
    Thus, I would say running a regular defrag is more likely to increase the life of your drive.
    Running a regular Scandisk is probably only slightly more stressful to the drive than running a full virus scan. In the unlikely event that it does stress the drive, I would much prefer the drive was stressed out than I was if a small amount of corruption was allowed to develop....

    My personal recommendation - and I know there are some who may disagree - is to leave your pc running 24/7. The most stressful event a hd suffers is starting up from a cold boot.
    I schedule nightly defrags because I may have been playing around with large files.
    I run a weekly Scandisk just because.....

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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    Running either ScanDisk or a defragmentation utility will make the HDD do work, so I suppose it must contribute to the disc's eventual wearing out to that extent, but to what extent that is offset by the reduction in work in a defragmented drive, compared to a fragmented one, I have no idea. Sounds like the basis for someone's thesis!

    I have seen it suggested that there can be problems with performing defragmentation on drives running File Replication Service, but I would say that it still needs to be done.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    The mechanism for trapping errors and setting the automatic CHKDSK is a core function of the operating system. If there is an abnormal shutdown - power loss, blue screen, etc - a "dirty bit" will still exist in the Windows registry, which initiates CHKDSK at the next boot. A normal shutdown will clear this dirty bit, indicating that shutdown was successful. There are probably utilities that you can download and check this with, or you could look in the registry to see if the bit has been set.

    One thing to add to your statement about defragmentation being detrimental.....defragmenting moves data around on the disk just like any other application, so as far as the hard drive itself is concerned there really isn't a difference. There is of course a lot more disk activity during a defrag run, but once a volume is defragmented and maintained, there won't be an overabundance of reads/writes.

    Cheers!
    -Mark

  12. #12
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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    There is a known issue with Windows Me and the built-in defragmentation utility, though I have never found it to cause me any trouble. Other utilities shouldn't cause any problems.

    The trick is to find a balance. If you have a home PC theat you surf the net, send email and write the odd document on, you could probably schedule defragmentation once a month without seeing any serious fragmentation build up in between seessions. If you have a busy file server, you will want to defragment it at least daily.
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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    Scheduling Norton Disk Doctor did not work at all, as I can only make the program open at a specified time. Setting it to automatically run at startup seems to work without any real inconvenience, though only if the 'fix problems' option is unchecked.
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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    I'm surprised that a FAT32 drive isn't showing more fragmentation, but it does depend on use; and the built-in defragmenter does have a fairly high threshold.

    Event Viewer did this all by itself. It is a log for the performance monitoring utlities built into XP. It would be nice if some sort of warning of serious events like potential HDD failure were flashed up on screen, but you can only find out what events have being logged by going to: Start | Administrative Tools | Event Viewer.

    SmartDefender and some other IBM utilities are available from http://www.storage.ibm.com/hdd/support/download.htm
    We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

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    Re: Scan Disk and Defrag (Home)

    Try this link Diskeeper Lite freeware.

    Joe
    Joe

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