Thursday, July 4, 2013

You've Been Fragged! (Part 2 of 2)

Last time we discussed the problem of hard drive fragmentation and how it can slow down your computer and for bot owners like us, a slow customer experience leads to lost sales.  So what can we do about it?

First there is the current default solution: The defragmentation software included in Windows.  Most people use this solution and do not even realize it.  But if it was so good, why are there others who spent the time and effort to create such software?

So what makes each one unique?  It is the approach they use.  Some put frequently used files at the end of the hard drive so they can be read on one pass.  Others put larger files on the end and smaller files towards the center so that each file can be read on one pass.  But this approach neglects a drive’s seek time as the heads moves across the platter.

Information overload, right?  So what is the bottom line?

I think that the problem of fragmentation is overblown.  In all my years as a computer hobbyist and professional, I’ve not seen a drastic and noticeable performance increase before and after defragging a heavily fragmented drive.  When drives are spinning around at a minimum of 5400 RPM’s (90 revolutions per second) these days, who is going to notice the drive needing an extra revolution or two?

But I also believe fragmentation is a real phenomenon.  Left unchecked, a frequently edited large file can get heavily fragmented.

Microsoft turns on its defragmentation software on by default, so the problem usually does not get overblown.

I do recommend using a 3rd party solution, three or four times annually, just to make sure nothing gets too crazy.

BONUS TIP: NEVER EVER defrag an SSD drive.

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