| By Fred Langa |
Today’s hard drives are 10 times faster than the drives of old — is defragging really still worth the bother?
One reader wonders whether the time has come to challenge the conventional wisdom about defragging.
What good does defragging do nowadays?
Reader David H. Copp asks a valid and timely question:
- “You have a good piece about defragging in your April 22 column. But I think you are echoing a myth.
“Back in the days of my first hard drive, a 20Mb Seagate ST-225, defragging was important. But so far as I know, there are no measurements that show that defragging a modern drive has more than one or two percent impact on performance. Please correct me if I am wrong!”
Before we dive in, let’s run through a 60-second defragging refresher.
Windows normally stores the files on a hard drive in a series of blocks. When a drive is new or well-ordered, each file’s blocks can be written to the drive more or less sequentially. But over time, holes open in that orderly sequence as files are changed or deleted; they are then filled with bits of data from other files. Eventually, a file’s blocks may end up scattered all over the disk.