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Is Defragment Still Needed?

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I have a 1 terabyte HDD and I haven't done defragment since I bought it last year. Do you think that we don't need defragment with the speed and the space that we have in our hard drives today?

I remember when I had my first computer, it only has 100MB of space. I had to do defragment every week and compress the files that I'm not always using to save space. Today, it seems like defragment is a thing of the past, well this is just me.

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Well, if you don't care about performance, you don't need to defrag it. But if you do care, you definitely need to. I've seen HDDs performing at 60% of their capabilities solely because they were suffering of massive fragmentation.

For example, if the OS is installed on that drive, then you definitely need to defrag the OS partition. On the other hand, if the drive only stores your media library then you don't really care about fragmentation.

Edited by Katy

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Depending on your OS and whether or not it's the system drive, Windows may already be handling the defragmentation automatically. The assumption is most users won't want to mess with defrag settings...and MSFT is probably right about that.

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Brian, I had some tests regarding the defragmentation capabilities built in Windows and let me tell you that they are acceptable at best. Why do you think there are so many defrag utilities out there and they all sell well? And defragging your HDD it's not like messing around with the registry or something. It's a trivial operation with less than 1% risk of corrupting data. One must have pissed off the gods really bad :) to get a power outtage in that very small time frame when the TOC it's being updated. And if one has an UPS, then the risk goes down to zero.

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and they all sell well?
They do? We haven't used any besides the built-in ones with the OS at any job I've worked in the past ten years...

Maybe I am just in the wrong industry. ;)

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I've seen HDDs performing at 60% of their capabilities solely because they were suffering of massive fragmentation.

How do you check the performance of a hard disk? Do you need to download a software for us to know the performance? Or is there a program in Windows XP (which I'm using) that can check it?

Depending on your OS and whether or not it's the system drive, Windows may already be handling the defragmentation automatically. The assumption is most users won't want to mess with defrag settings...and MSFT is probably right about that.

What are the MS OS that has an automatic defragmentation? I assume Windows 7 is already automatic. Do we need to set the setting as automatic or the OS was already setup to automatic defragmentation after OS installation?

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What are the MS OS that has an automatic defragmentation?

Poke around the task scheduler in Windows Vista / 7 and you'll see a ScheduledDefrag. I suppose you could consider that 'automatic.'

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I'm pretty sure Windows XP had schedule defrag as well, as for the built-in defrag vs. 3rd party ones, that's an interesting theory. I personally haven't seen anyone using anything outside the built-in option but it wouldn't shock me either to discover that a 3rd party program would be better, are there any benchmark tools to test this theory? I imagine you'd have to probably clone the original data and reinstate it to get some accurate results though so it might be rather tedious.

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Back in Win95 days I found norton speeddisk to be excellent app for defragmenting hard drives. It was way faster than the Windoze built-in tool. No benchmarks to prove it. In win2k days i found raxco perfectdisk to be quite good.

Most of the 3rd party apps allow you to not defragment specific files, or locate them to a specific physical area of partition, or reserve some extra space for file growth to avoid new fragmentation. Also I've seen occasions where windoze built-in tool totally fails with heavy fragmentation combined with little free space, simply rattling away with no progress whatsoever no matter how many hours you plan to wait, or saying "finished" without actually touching anything. Perhaps the ones coming with newer windows versions work better.

I've never bothered with excessive defragging. In FAT16/32 days it was something like once every two months. Nowadays a few times a year, system drives only. The most efficient way to "defrag" any drive is to move all files to another completely empty drive and start using that instead. That's what I do with my storage drives, where fragmentation never becomes a problem anyway since it's mostly an increasing amount of static data files.

I'm also wondering what the several defrag-app vendors are planning to do now that SSD is taking over. My guess is they will bloat up their apps to add "extra value" until those once useful apps become utterly useless and disgusting. The same thing that happened with CD/DVD burning apps. :] (I wonder who wants to buy and use GB-sized Nero 9 super ultimate with video players 'n stinker when any 3..10 MB app does fine the job you actually want to get done)

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Ah the good old day, The one thing I miss the most about Norton was the fact that it place frequently un access data at the end of the drive (slowest part) so all the most frequented accessed data would be closer to the front of the drive and thereby faster.

The new defragments do the same thing; it’s just that they don’t leave the slack space in-between which sort of sucks, because chances are any data that I am going to place on a system will probably be the data I want off the system in the near future.

Anyway I expect that in the case of defragmentation of SSD, it could potential still be required. File fragmentation is still an issue, it’s just that the IO are so fast that you don’t notice them like you do on a HDD. I suspect that defragmentation of SSD would be more of a TRIM/Wipe more than anything else. But then again because of the nature of SSD, internal hardware defragmentation may become the norm if nothing else for wearleveling.

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I have a 1 terabyte HDD and I haven't done defragment since I bought it last year. Do you think that we don't need defragment with the speed and the space that we have in our hard drives today?

I remember when I had my first computer, it only has 100MB of space. I had to do defragment every week and compress the files that I'm not always using to save space. Today, it seems like defragment is a thing of the past, well this is just me.

Why not? I think defragment is not only applied to get your files saved efficiently in your HDD, but also to make the files easier to access by the system, hence increases the system performance (speed).

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Why not? I think defragment is not only applied to get your files saved efficiently in your HDD, but also to make the files easier to access by the system, hence increases the system performance (speed).

I know this already. I don't want to sound rude but that is exactly what defragmentation does, to arrange the files so that the system can access the files more easily.

But my main concern here is the need for doing a defragment. I have a considerable fast computer with 2.7 Ghz processor and 4GB of memory. I'm not sure if the system is fast is or slow when accessing data from my hard drive. Is there are a way to test the speed of accessing data?

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Sure, there are all sorts of benchmarking tools. But at the end of the day I'd say the consensus is that for HDD you need to be doing a regular defrag.

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I know this already. I don't want to sound rude but that is exactly what defragmentation does, to arrange the files so that the system can access the files more easily.

But my main concern here is the need for doing a defragment. I have a considerable fast computer with 2.7 Ghz processor and 4GB of memory. I'm not sure if the system is fast is or slow when accessing data from my hard drive. Is there are a way to test the speed of accessing data?

Regardless of how fast the rest of the system is, the performance of your storage subsystem is a major (limiting) factor on how well your system will respond to I/O requests.

If you have a mechanical HDD, there is absolutely no question that you will benefit from defragmenting the drive on a regular basis. Even if all you use the drive for is to store media files, you should still defragment on a regular basis to ensure that the free space is regularly consolidated so that when you copy new media files to the drive that they will not immediately be fragmented.

If you have a SSD (and hopefully you have Windows 7 if you do!), you should avoid defragmentation, as the performance gains are probably not worth the decrease in the life of the drive (which just goes with how NAND works). There are also articles available discussing what Windows features should be disabled when using a SSD, but if your SSD drive supports the TRIM command, and you use Windows, you should know that Windows 7 is the only Windows OS that supports TRIM natively.

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I'm still using XP at the moment but I'm planning to move to Windows 7 when the price will go down (I hope). Does TRIM works like the regular defragment program?

Okay, now I'm convinced that I still need to defragment my hard disk even though I feel like it doesn't need it. It's been a while since I did a defragment.

I used to watch the light green blocks changing into blue blocks while the computer is defragmenting my hard disk. Sometimes I would like to see red blocks (bad sectors) for a change. :lol: Those were the days! :D

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TRIM is for SSDs. Think of it as intelligent disk management - in Windows 7 and SSD won't become fragmented as a result.

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