I defrag my hard drive on my Windows 7 computer about once a day. Its takes about 20 minutes or less for me. Does this improve performance at all? Is it good for the computer?
Answer by trueb · Aug 29, 2010 at 03:44 PM
once a day is overkill, once a month is what i do for my laptop, i also have a home server which i am always writing and reading from, that goes though once a week and even that is over kill for what i do with it.
you will see a performance boost but not one that you wouldn't see if you did it weekly or monthly
Answer by boba0420 · Aug 29, 2010 at 01:37 PM
I do not know too much about defragmenting, but I think once a day is overkill. I don't think your gonna notice any performance increase at all if you do it that often. I would probably do it one a week or less, at least take it down to every other day.
Answer by WinZatPhail · Feb 10, 2011 at 03:29 PM
I would suggest trying a "smart" defrag program, such as IOBit's Smart Defrag. It defrags your drive whenever the computer is idle for a set amount of time. I use it on all my Windows machines and it works great.
Answer by KylePolansky · Feb 10, 2011 at 10:44 PM
Defragmenting once a day is overkill. I'll explain what fragmentation is.
Basically imagine that you HD is a big number line, and your files are stored in blocks along that line. At a certain point of that line, there is a table that contains a list of all the files, and where they are located. So in theory, you would start writing at the beginning, and just go to the end. But what happens when you delete a file? When you move it to the recycle bin, the file remains in the same place, but the MFT (master file table) changes the location to the recycle bin. When you delete the file from the recycle bin, then the data is still intact, but the entry is erased from the MFT. Because there is "nothing there" you can write new files over that space. But what if the new file is too big for that space. For example if you deleted a small 10KB text document but you want to download a 3MB song? Your computer could either write it at the end of the line, or start in the small hole in the line, and then finish at the end. Or, if there are lots of holes, fill each one with parts of the file. The MFT will keep track where all the data is, and it will appear in one piece, although its really split up. When a file is split up in different parts of the HD, it is considered fragmented. This can lead to performance issues, because if you are playing a song for example, the HD would start reading from one spot in the drive, and then have to skip to a different location. HD's are so fast that most of the time you won't even notice that that is happening.
Defragmenting does a few things. It starts by getting the MFT and making a list of all the files that are split into different parts on the HD. It then tries to move the files into 1 piece.
There are usually some other things that a program can do. Sometimes you will want to arrange the files on your HD by folder. For example, if all your music is on one section of your HD, loading it will be a lot faster, and if you copy it to another location, this will also go faster. But then, if you want to add 1 new song, it will be moved to the first free space available, and probably not where the rest of your music is. Some defrag programs will also take all the "empty" space on your HD and write 0's to it. All data on a HD is binary, stored in 1's or 0's. Because the file still "exists" once it is deleted from the MFT, reformatting that space to 0's will make future writes quicker, but will make data recovery impossible, if you need to try to get that file again.
Some of the bad things about defragmenting every day. One, it takes up time. Most likely, you don't have that many files that really need defragmenting. Sure a couple might fragmented each run, but your computer can still read/write to them fine. Also, some files cannot be defragmented while they are in use, such as the pagefile. If your pagefile is fragmented, I would disable it, restart your computer, defragment to get enough room in 1 spot open for your page file, and then set it back again. Another thing to consider is that your HD will eventually die, just like most parts of a computer. Defragmenting is very stressful on your HD because it makes tons of reads/writes, all over the disk. So by making pointless defragments, you are shortening your HD life by a little bit.
It really depends how often you want to defrag. I usually do it when I notice my computer is getting a little bit sluggish, or when I do a bunch of file writes/deletes. I would say probably each month or 2, but I have computers that have gone years without a defrag and still aren't in terrible condition, I don't think it is that necessary to defrag much more than a month though.
Answer by Bill R TechSpec · Mar 23, 2011 at 01:21 AM
One should defrag as often as one needs to do so, and that is determined by how much you use the machine.
If you're a power user, once a day would barely keep up with the fragmentation that builds up just by creating, saving, editing and deleting files. If you only use the computer occasionally, then you may not need to defrag daily.
It is not true that defragmenting hurts your hard drive -- the opposite is true. If the disk is fragmented, it has to do a lot more work than if it is not fragmented. More work = more use = more wear = faster replacement.
Any good defragmenter will only defrag whatever fragments exist on the disk. If your disk is not fragmented, then the defragger would just finish very quickly.
The best thing to do would be to get a commercial automatic defrag program like Diskeeper. It defrags while you use the computer and only does so when the disk needs it. Also, the newest edition prevents fragmentation in the first place, so you won't have to worry about it at all.
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