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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
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    File Transfer & Defrag Integrity? (Home)

    People,

    I utilize my PC as a DAW; & am trying to balance audio file location (on the HD) as it relates to efficiency of operation, vs. the continual relocation/rewriting of those files. I understand that audio files are comprised of only numbers, but I wonder about the integrity of those numbers as they are rewritten from location to location (some audiophiles say rewritten files are compromised...others say there is no change, whatsoever.)

    So here are my questions:

    First, a simple one: My native DAW (SONAR XL) is configured to place audio files specific to a project's folder. Sometimes it becomes necessary to move audio clips between projects.

    So...is it correct to assume that...if I select & copy a file from one folder (in Windows Explorer); & paste it into another folder...the data is re-written? (so that there are then two complete files in two different locations?) Is it also correct to assume that...if I select & cut a file from one folder; & paste it into another folder...the location of that cut file does not change (on the HD), but only the path to that file changes?

    Second: In defragmentation, I understand that files are relocated on a contiguous framework, but what is the nature of the continuity? Is it correct to assume that they are relocated with ease of operation (for the associated application) as the consideration? And...to follow up relative to question 1, after I move certain audio clips around within a project in the application; & also move audio files from folder to folder, I assume they all rearranged in a "contiguous" order the next time I defragment the HD?

    Thanks,

    mark4man
    ADK Pro Audio Quad Pro, w/ Intel Core i7 2600 CPU | 8 GB DDR3-1600 RAM | Seagate 500 GB SATA II (Primary) HD | Seagate 1 TB SATA II (Audio Data) HD | Win 7 Pro 64-Bit | Lynx Aurora8 ~ AES16 | Universal Audio UAD-1 | Cakewalk SONAR PE XI | Steinberg WaveLab 7 | NI Komplete 5 | Band-In-A-Box 2012

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: File Transfer & Defrag Integrity? (Home)

    Any file on a computer's hard disk, whether it is a text file, a spreadsheet or an audio file, is stored in the form of 0s and 1s. When you copy a file, the copy is exact - each 0 is copied to a 0, each 1 is copied to a 1. So there is no difference whatsoever between the original and the copy. This is different from an analog audio tape; this does not use 0s and 1s to store sound, and a copy may be (and usually is) slightly less good than the original.

    Windows tries to use disk space efficiently. It initially stores each file in a contiguous part of the hard disk. But as files get deleted, there will be gaps in the used space. Windows will reuse these gaps, and if such a gap is not large enough for a file, the file will be stored in two or more pieces. All the 0s and 1s will still be exactly as in the original, though, nothing is changed or lost. If your hard disk contains a large percentage of highly fragmented files, performance may suffer, because many parts of the hard disk have to be accessed to retrieve a single file. When you defragment the hard disk, the files will be rearranged (rewritten) so that each file is contiguous (of one piece again) as much as possible. Again, this rewriting will not compromise the files.

    I use Windows XP with the NTFS file system; in my experience it is less prone to fragmentation than older Windows versions.

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: File Transfer & Defrag Integrity? (Home)

    A comment about the copy and move questions. I haven't kept up with the inner workings of the current Windows filing systems, especially NTFS, which you didn't mention. In earlier versions of the file system, if you "moved" a file, the only thing that changed was the FAT and Directory entries - the data was not touched. I don't really know if that's still true, since we are now allowed to "move" a file to a different hard drive, whereas that was not permitted in the past. As far as copy goes, it would have to be true that a new copy of the data as well as a new FAT and Directory entry would necessarily get created. But, I agree with Hans on the "exactness" of the copy.

  4. #4
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: File Transfer & Defrag Integrity? (Home)

    The only point I notice that hasn't been dealt with is how files are reordered by the defragmentation process.

    As far as I am aware, Diskeeper (a cut down version of which is part of XP) simply arranges matters so that all files are each composed of a single "fragment". There is no optimisation done about the actual location of files, whether by descending order of frequency of use (as happened in the Windows 98 defragmenter) or by file extension, or anything. Files for a single application could be anywhere on the hard disk -- all you could say is that, wherever they were, each was in a single "fragment". Usually this doesn't matter much, since there are more overheads in a PC than just the disk heads having to move slightly further to the start of the next file!

    John
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  5. #5
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    Re: File Transfer & Defrag Integrity? (Home)

    HansV, bigaldoc & JohnGray,

    Thanks much,

    mark4man
    ADK Pro Audio Quad Pro, w/ Intel Core i7 2600 CPU | 8 GB DDR3-1600 RAM | Seagate 500 GB SATA II (Primary) HD | Seagate 1 TB SATA II (Audio Data) HD | Win 7 Pro 64-Bit | Lynx Aurora8 ~ AES16 | Universal Audio UAD-1 | Cakewalk SONAR PE XI | Steinberg WaveLab 7 | NI Komplete 5 | Band-In-A-Box 2012

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