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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    Frag your defragger?!!

    Everything I've read or been told has emphasized the need to defrag the hard drive. Now, though, the current issue of PCWorld indicates that defragging is a "waste" of time. We should "save precious time" because defragging provides "minimal performance benefits." The only benefit, according to the writer, is to increase free space for installation of large programs.

    What gives?

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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    It is always easy to spout opinions when you are wrapped in a magazine's authority. The author does not back it up with anything. Try going to http://consumer.execsoft.com/diskeep...per.asp?RId=50]Diskeeper and Perfectdisk for more reading.

    Joe
    Joe

  3. #3
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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    PC mag articles are often rather bland to me and need spicing up. I guess that's why I usually take them with a grain of salt. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    Alan

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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    How much of one's "precious time" does setting up a scheduled task to run "DEFRAG C: -v" (win XP) on your lunch hour every day?

    I can't say that every defrag I've ever done has returned major performance benefits, but I know that many have made a noticeable difference. Perhaps the high speeds and greater bandwidth of today's drives make the defragging benefits less noticeable because there is a current bottleneck elsewhere?

  5. #5
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    Defrag thoughts

    I was trying to defrag a few drives on two computers a couple of weeks ago. Two things struck me: 1) you can not defrag two drives at once (I mean, why the heck not? Isn't that what multi-tasking is all about?) and 2) you have to have a certain amount of free space on your drive to defrag (this I can ALMOST understand, by why not use a second drive to make this possible?). Oh well. I still defrag if only because it reduces wear on the drive's read/write arm.

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Defrag thoughts

    1] If both 'drives' are on the same physical drive, you are expecting the drive heads to be in two places at once. In theory it *is* possible to defrag two partitions at once - I believe Diskeeper will - but it will take the same amount of time as doing them individually, plus a bit more for swapping between the two activities.

    2] The data is copied (not moved) to its new location. When the copy is complete, the original files are deleted and the file/directory information updated. This is to insure against power-loss or other catastrophe mid-defrag. If the defragmentation was to stop mid-defrag and half your file was on another drive, you would not be a happy camper!
    (I have manually moved large files from one drive to another to speed up my defragger when space is an issue.)

  7. #7
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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    Dennis

    The faster hard disks have become, the more sceptical have I become of the value of frequently defragmenting a hard disk .

    In the days of Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (say) it was almost compulsory to defragment hard disks, because otherwise Windows could actually cease to load. (We always ran Norton SpeedDisk as part of the power-up process - it used to take about 45 seconds on average!). In those days it seemed to take about 2
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  8. #8
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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    If you have an 8Mb intelligent high-speed memory cache on your drive, like a lot of drives do, I do imagine that the "complete file" benefit would be limited in a lot of cases.

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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    John,

    I agree--once a month is generally sufficient. Also, when my HD becomes BADLY fragmented, I do notice an improvement after defragging.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    I thought Windows defragmented hard drives in the background, but I guess maybe not.

    If there are files that receive extensive revisions and grow in bits and pieces over a long period of time, you may find that they are fragmented and marginally slower to work with. Database files come to mind. On the other hand, if you tend to create files and never change them, there's a good chance you have low fragmentation. I don't think it's a one-size-fits-all situation.

  11. #11
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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    Just to throw my 2 cents worth.

    I'm using Nortons Internet Security, which has a large black list of URL categorisation. This list gets updated almost every time I log on. The list also has to get loaded every time I surf, with a dialog bar as it loads.
    On my nice fast AMD 2700+ with twin 80Gb disks with 8Mb cache each in RAID 0, it was taking almost 30 seconds to load (absurd! Excel takes like 3 seconds!). Defrag reported over 3,000 fragments for that file. Defragging brought it down to a couple of fragments, and the load speed dropped by half - 15 seconds.
    Well worth the job!

    Another point not made by other contributors is that defragging simplifies the FAT, making the likelihood of FAT corruption less, and making it much easier to recover from if it does occur. Well worth doing for this reason alone.

    Peter

  12. #12
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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    Accounting for inflation, here's my 3 cents. Even on an NTFS drive, files become fragmented - that is just a fact. There are many contributing factors to a drive becoming fragmented. For a drive with lots of free space, the impact is minimum, especially if there is sufficient RAM to minimize the need to access the disk. But over time and as the drive becomes full, and/or on systems with less than 512Mb of RAM. performance can be impacted significantly (smaller RAM amounts forces the CPU to access the swap file for often), The following add to the problem:

    <UL><LI>Files being saved, called up and edited, saved again, edited and saved, ad nauseum, leaves holes and gaps as the file fragments are moved about to accomodate its new size
    <LI>Swap files (AKA VM, Virtual Memory, disk cache, swap disk, page file) managed by Windows, expand and contract as needed, leaving gaps as it is repositioned (SEE NOTE)
    <LI>Deleted files frees up space creating gaps
    <LI>Cookies and Temporary Internet Files plug the gaps all over the place (which causes the drive to have to hunt all over the drive to load a cached page)
    <LI>Deleting Cookies and Temporary Internet Files leave holes and gaps all over the place (especially a problem with drives formatted with large sector sizes) causing larger files to be broken up into fragments.[/list]NOTE: My solution to the swap file issue is to move the swap file to another partition and to make it a fixed size using 1.5 times the amount of RAM as a Initial and Maximum value - then the page file remains a fixed size in a fixed location. Before creating the page file, I move everything off that partition, format that partition, create the page file, and then if I need the space, move the files back. This puts the page file at the beginning of the partition where the read heads can access it quickly.

    My recommendation is to create a fixed size swap disk and, if possible, create it on a partition other than the boot/OS partition and other than the partition where your major applications are stored. Delete your Cookies and Temporary Internet Files BEFORE defragging. Deleting those cookies and files before defragging is important. There could easily be several thousand cookies and temporary Internet files. They are temporary, why have your defrag program try to manage them, 1, and 2, you don't want them jammed in between all your other files as they will contribute to future fragmenting.

    Defragging once a month or so, or sooner if you start to notice slower disk loads and saves, seems adequate to me.

    BillB
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  13. #13
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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    That writer is clueless.

    Defragging has a significant effect on performance.
    DEfragging has NO effect on available space.
    Defragging does not affect th esize of programs that may be installed.

    Defragging does affect availabilit yof CONTINUOUS space, but that will affect only fixed size system files that MUST be contiguous.
    Most folkes have paging files that are waye too big. Seehttp://www.standards.com/ThisAndThat/PageF...ageMonitor.html.

  14. #14
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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    I do defrags every n-months, usually when the mood strikes me.

    Even with the faster hard drives, there is still a speed improvement.

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    Re: Frag your defragger?!!

    The rule of thumb to make a swap file 1.5 times memory and fixed in size is way obsolete.

    Last year, I determined that my swap file rarely used more than 20MB, so I created the following:

    64MB fixed size page file on C drive
    64-1152MB variable size page file on G drive.
    Main OS is on J drive.
    Total memory is 768MB,

    Using http://www.standards.com/ThisAndThat/PageF...ageMonitor.html, which I consider to be an essential program, I confirmed that is more than adequate.

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