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  1. #1
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    Experience of defragmenting external hard disks? (

    Does anyone have any experience of defragmenting external hard disks?

    I have a Maxtor OneTouch II external hard disk, connected via a (400 Mbps) Firewire 1394 connection to my PC, which has 512 MB of real memory.

    There is currently 35.5 GB of (backup) data on it, and it is formatted as NTFS.

    Ordinarily, I find that XP uses about 380 MB of the Page File (graph in Task Manager -> Performance).
    When Analysing the disk, this jumps immediately to about 820 MB, and
    when Defragmenting, to about 1.12 GB,
    and causes the 768 MB page file to be temporarily extended!

    The actual defragmenting process is agonisingly slow, taking well over an hour (previous defrag about three weeks ago).

    This is quite unlike defragmenting the local internal hard disk, where the figures are roughly
    Analysing: 420 MB
    Defragmenting: 500 MB.

    Does this match anyone's experience? It's the first external hard disk and the first Firewire connection I've ever used, and I may change to using the USB2 interface, just to see if there's any great difference...

    John

    PS Another 512 MB of memory is on its way from Crucial, at
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disks? (

    John,

    I have an external 125GB Maxtor drive in a drive enclosure, connected via USB2 that I use for TrueImage incremental backups. I've defragged it twice in the last year. Once after I had wiped it clean because there was no more room for the incrementals and I wanted to keep all the old backups. So I stored them on DVD wiped the drive and defragged it. I defragged it again after adding two incremental backups. It didn't appear to take an unusually long time on either occasion, allowing that it was a USB2 connection and not an internal drive. I do use Perfect Disk and not Windows native defrag utility, so that might make my experience somewhat different. I don't monitor the memory useage during the operation.
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disks? (

    We use Perfect Disk 7.0 and have 1 NetDisk 160 Gigs (used with a laptop), 1 Iomega 250 Gig and 1 Seagate 450 Gig all using a USB. They all defrag in a matter of 10-15 minutes each. They are all on different machines running Windows XP Home version.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disks? (

    Hi John:
    I have 2 80Gig external drives hooked up via USB2.0. I've defragged each using Perfect Disk. I didn't check the memory usuage, but didn't notice a performance hit & it seemed to go quickly. I have a third external hard drive hooked up via firewire, but I haven't tried to defrag it yet. When I do, I'll give you a report on it. As far as time to backup, the firewire & USB2.0 ports are very similar.

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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disks? (

    OK, John. Just for you <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>, I tried to defrag my 30GB firewire drive with about 13.2 gigs of data (backups), using Perfect Disk. One difference is that the drive is formatted as FAT32/ Although, the memory stayed constant at about 300 & the CPU was at about 2% except for a few spikes. I was unable to complete the defrag.

    It took about 20 minutes to analyze, optimize, & move a file that was just over 3 gigs, but it choked on a 4 gig file & showed 70% done for about 2 hours as it tried to optimize & move the file. At that point, I gave up. It occurs to me that it might be because of the 4 gig limit of FAT32, so this may not give you much info on your issue.

  6. #6
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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disk

    Thanks to everyone for their comments!

    I've put in the extra 512 MB of memory, and now the Defrag uses "just" 956 MB of memory (of which DFRGNTFS.EXE is using around 640,000 KB).

    I suspect unless I get PerfectDisk, I will be stuck with these surprisingly large memory usages by the cut-down Diskeeper built into XP...

    John

    PS I note by sheer chance that the external drive is NTFS-formatted with a 512 byte cluster size instead of the more usual 4 KB. Does anyone know a <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> way of converting the cluster size from 512 bytes to 4KB without a copy off of the data, reformat, and copy back? I don't!
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

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  7. #7
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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disk

    John,

    According to this MS KB article How to Locate and Correct Disk Space Problems on NTFS Volumes (about half way through) the only way to change the cluster size is to reformat.

    Joe
    Joe

  8. #8
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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disk

    Thanks, Joe -- that is what I thought. 80-odd GB of copying!

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

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  9. #9
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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disks? (

    John

    As a matter of interest was this a recent purchase as I remember you were asking about reviews from a PC magazine recently? I have been using the same external hard disk as you for a little while and have glad you raised this issue. I shall be hot footing back to the office on Monday to sort mine out <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>
    Jerry

  10. #10
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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disk

    I have a number of minor "issues" with the Maxtor OneTouch II 300 GB external hard drive, or, more precisely, the software it comes with, but I think that it would be too boring for those other Loungers who don't have one to relate them!

    Having copied all the data from the external hard drive to my C: drive (1
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  11. #11
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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disk

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by peterg on 08-Jun-05 02:31. )</P>I installed a new hard drive in a laptop and was left with the original drive. I saw an attractive enclosure, and am now connected by USB2. I am therefore starting at the opposite end from everyone else in this thread. My

  12. #12
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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disk

    <hr>... a defrag took seconds, given that the drive is empty.<hr>
    Seems you are proving the truth of my Olde Saying:

    <big>The best way of optimising something is not to do it at all...</big> <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>

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

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  13. #13
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    Re: Experience of defragmenting external hard disk

    Touch

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