by Recycle_Bin - 5/24/05 10:42 PM
Do you guys run defrag on a regular basis? Do you use the Windows built-in defrag program or another program?
Thanks in advance.
by: Recycle_Bin May 24, 2005 10:42 PM PDT
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Total posts: 58 (Showing page 2 of 2)
i just used windows xp defrag. took 19 minutes to
defrag 40 gig.
time is very dependent on what else is running, etc
Time to defrag is obviously dependent on:
A) mostly how bad the drive is fragmented,
B) total number of files on the disk drive,
C) availibility of working disk space for the defrag proceess to use while moving the files around, and
D) what else is running while defrag is doing its work.
You can't do much about A, B and C which are why you want to defrag in the first place, but item D is a biggie ...
1) If your virus scanner and/or firewall software are running, they are constantly creating log files, writing statistics, etc.
2) If windows ''Find Fast'' (file indexing so searches for files are faster) is running, it is constantly updating its working disk file (expanding/contracting it).
3) If you are playing a game it may be 'saving' where you are, etc., almost every second (especially if your are playing over the internet as your firewall/virus scan software may also be logging your actions).
4) If you are doing a lot of internet browsing (with lots of pictures, etc) you will be constantly writing to the cache files and your virus scanning (and maybe ''Net-Nanny'') software will be chugging too.
Basically, if you or your system is doing anything that writes to disk while the defrag is running then ...
You are modifying the master disk directory, thus defrag will restart over to re-analyse what it has to do, which gives you time to browse to another web site updating your IE history disk file so you've written to disk again, so defrag restarts again, etc ...
Before you start defrag: Disconnect from the internet (logically & physically), kill all applications including your anti-virus and firewall programs, clean-up your PC (adware/spyware/temp files, 'prefetch'), etc, then start defrag and go to bed.
Reboot in the morning, reconnect to your physical internect connection, and all will be well!
Goodtime Charlie, VA
I use the XPpro built-in defrag and I perform this task when it tells me to. Piece of cake
I've been using Diskeeper 7 for years and just upgraded to version 9.
Although it can take up to 6 hrs to degrag my C Drive it does reboot much faster.
Both Microsoft's and Diskeeper for XP are, in my opinion, lousy. Why?
1. They don't defrag free space (Exec Soft says this doesn't matter much; oh, really? It CAUSES file fragmentation!)
2. They run slow as molasses, and don't defrag the swapfile. I always used to use a permanent swapfile under 98 and ME, because it just plain ran faster - no need to track the fragments or endure allocation overhead.
3. So did Windows 98's defrag (run slow). But ME's defrag was rewritten, and whoppingly faster. Try it - you can download it from Microsoft. It works fine with all 98's and with all 95's, including C.
4. I've never had a fresh XP configuration with FAT32 that I wanted to check the ME defragger on, but I suspect it would give a "wrong operating system version" error message or some such; but it sure would be faster than that Diskeeper clone pig.
NTFS may have some value, but if its small clusters are the reason for the slow defrag, it's not worth it. I have XP running both FAT32 and NTFS and they both run fine, but FAT32 defrags faster. The downside of FAT32 is greater overhang and wasted space because cluster size is greater.
It seems to me that they could do a LOT better with buffer management, process halting, etc. to speed this maintenance. I just ran defrag at the command line on my 160 GB C: and it took about 5 minutes. This machine has about 247,000 files on it and 59 GB used, with 73 MB of index space, so command line is faster for sure, but I defrag regularly, and doing so keeps the wall time way down.
If you set any of the defrag programs to a time when you are not likely to be using the computer, say 3:00 AM, and do it weekly, it won't take as long, and if you do happen to need the computer at that time, you can cancel the process, and it can wait a week. I also delete and add files to my drives pretty frequently, so many users (especially if you just use the computer for music and mail) could probably get away with doing it less often, say monthly. I use Norton Speed Disk, and though I don't notice a performance difference, it gets defraged frequently, so frags don't build up to affect the performance in the first place. You can also set it to defrag based on a threshold of how fragmented a disk is. Preventative maintanence is better than waiting 2 days for it to defrag.
As a living (still breathing) bad example, exercise more common sense than I have and do not do this at home or worse at work.
With the advent of XP, I abandoned Norton's Speed Disk it no longer does a better job (even by its own analysis.) My system is configured for my purposes which involve a lot of testing and some disk intensive graphic work. The OS resides on C: with a pagefile on a separate FAT partition (both on the physical internal hard disk.) Everything else is on 2 external hard drives a 60GB for most personal data and website files, and a 250GB for most other programs, testing and space to render graphics with a partition reserved for backup image files prior to burning them to DVD.
Each external drive is partitioned into 4 logical partitions. So to do the math, that is 10 partitions with loads of room to spare. But with my insane usage, a few of these partitions get a lot of shuffling with installing and uninstalling programs and generating thousands of files - most temporary that eventually find their way into the trash leaving scattered chunks. Generally, one, if not more, drives needs defragging nearly every day. It works for me to let the big guy defrag as I'm reading email and posting (like now.) The backup image files being 650MBs never fully defrag; but the stray dozen or so fragmented files don't seem to affect burning. None of my activities is writing there and it doesn't slow the process noticeably. Tomorrow, C: gets a weekly defrag at 1AM so its weekly backup image is neat and tidy. The little guy can go a month between defrags and 2 of its 4 partitons never need it, but I let it groom them anyway -- in case, I forgot and parked something there during the month.
Remember do not do this! Unless your as weird as me ... in which case you have my deepest sympathy.
I used to have problems with the Microsoft defrag. I switched to Diskeeper and have no problems now, and the defrag is done automatically.
To all those out there who think defragging a disk is a waste of time you are fooling your self. There are more reasons to support the task of defragging a disk like increased speed (marginal maybe on some disks ) but what about reducing wear and tear on disk read/write heads , reducing the amount of heat in a hard disk produced by over working the disk because its ripping back and forth over the disk surface trying to find data spread all over the surface. Like good records management it makes more sense to me to have some order on the disk. Disks without degragging software are just dumb storage devices. I especially like to use either Vopt from Golden Bow or Executive Software Diskeeper. Yes it takes a while to do a disk the first time but usually involves only once a week thereafter for 10 minutes or so. I have more than anecdotal evidence that disks where defragging has been done regularly last up to 10 times longer than those that do not. I had this argument a few years back with a engineer educated CEO. As the IT Manager I insisted on drives being degragged. He refused to do his laptop till it dies one month after the 12 month warranty and his hip pocket got hurt. Now he is a devotee .. strange how attitudes can shift quickly when money is involved !!
ramnet seems to think one can reduce head wear by defragging a disk, apparently forgetting that a disk spins continuously, except when the system "sleeps" to conserve power. So why doesn't the head wear a groove in the disk?
Because it never touches the surface! If it did, it would destroy it. This is called a head crash.
ramnet says, "...because its ripping back and forth over the disk surface trying to find data spread all over the surface." Very graphic, but a head never rips. It flies extremely close to the surface but a microscopic film of gas aerodynamically keeps it from actually touching. When rotation is stopped, the head is moved over a "landing strip" where no data is recorded and the head is allowed to land.
"Like good records management it makes more sense to me to have some order on the disk."
Here we have the real reason why people defrag disks. Neatness. Human minds are boggled by the idea of a file scattered about the surface. But a computer could care less.
And of course, there is the inevitable anecdote proving ramnet's point. Yawn. The disk that failed lived in a laptop...
But wait! "...where defragging has been done regularly last up to 10 times longer than those that do not." Wow, that should convince me. No, I just did some work on a laptop that was five years old. The 4 Gbyte drive had never be defragged and was nearly full. Performance was terrible. The disk error-checking and defragging tools could never complete. I cleaned off the spyware and performance improved drastically. Error-checking and defragging then completed normally - no errors found and no performance increase after defragging. So that's my anecdote right back at you.
Disk wear and tear - What The F???
First, I did not read anywhere on rammet's post that the heads actually touch the disks. I agree that this would be considered a bad thing. I think the point is, the armature works harder by moving back and forth to collect data that is fragmented as opposed to a continuous read. There is no such thing as a continuous read. There are many factors to this. Most of the time, the typical user would not see any performance difference either way. You will see a difference when you start reaching the performance capacity of your system and the disk(s) are heavily fragmented. i.e. video editing or high end, data heavy gaming.
Normal email and word processing, you will never know the difference. Preventative maintenance is key here. Less work, less movement, less problems.
And secondly, why would you leave your hard drive spin continuously when the computer is left idle? Again, parts wear out. If you turn on your computer, use it, and and turn it off, there is no need to adjust the power settings. Some users leave the box on for days, weeks, or months at a time. These users should look at the hard drive on time while at idle. There is no reason to let a disk spin for days at a time when the computer is not working.
Hey jakharve, if you know so much about the topic, why did you let your hard drive get ''nearly fill'' with spyware? Just a thought.
Starting and stopping disks is hard on them.
"Hey jakharve, if you know so much about the topic, why did you let your hard drive get ''nearly fill'' with spyware?"
The drive belongs to a lady who loves to surf the Internet and asked me to help.
I know about the topic because I lived through the entire history of disk drives on computers and was continuously active in their use.
Every time you power down a disk, the head has to land. That smarts a little. If you aren't accessing data, the head actuator isn't working, so why power down? You power down a disk to save energy, not protect it from wear. That's why Windows has a Power Options box.
"There is no such thing as a continuous read." Well, hardly ever, but I agree with your point. Multitasking pretty much destroys any advantage contiguous files might confer.
jakharve says : Here we have the real reason why people defrag disks. Neatness. Human minds are boggled by the idea of a file scattered about the surface. But a computer could care less.
Ya right, I oiled my bike chain a couple times a year ( my bike could careless if I did that or not ) ....but it sure ran a good deal smoother.
I put ck the air in my tires on the vehicle now and then too, (car could care less if I did or not) ...but when you get right down to it, it sure does help things run just a little bit smoother in the end.
thats ''my two cents'' ...oh ya, ....right back at ya
Sorry if I misled by saying, "A computer could care less". I mean that the computer is not affected by having a file scattered about. If you walk through what a computer has to do to access a fragmented file, you will see that it is only a tiny bit more complicated than accessing a contiguous file.
However, the rusty bike chain and the flat car tires are definitely serious damage problems and for well understood reasons. This analogy doesn't fit disk fragmentation which does zero damage. Please stay on topic.
One instance doesn't prove anything. I used to defrag all the time but now I rarely do. Both my hard drive failures occured back when I defragged all the time. Defragging may actually shorten Hard drive life. The hard drive does a tremendous amount of work while defragging.
I use System Mechanic and I like too much. But the Winternals have a good product too.
Yes, I have been using O&O Defrag for quite sometime now. O&O which has new version 8 is very efficient.
I'm much too young to have ever worried about files needing to be contiguous. I cut my teeth on 3.1, if that give you any insight. To date, the only time I've every defragmenter is when someone asks me to do it on their machine or .
Depending on the machine, some of my computers rarely power down. My web surfer hardly ever powers down, given the number of people who use it and their "need" to leave a copy of every IM program running at all times. Sure, I've had speed compromised at times. When that happens, I shut it down for a bit, start it up and sweep for spyware and viruses. For three years now it's worked just fine.
Conversely, I've noticed a couple of friends who defragment their HD quite often suffer from OS degradation more frequently. We're not doing vastly different things with our computers, using the same software and installing/uninstalling at about the same rate. I've seen someone need to reinstall XP once every couple of months, with no one being able to figure out why. No matter what they try, it just seems to eat its own system files. While this is not scientific proof, it is a rather odd coincidence, so take from it what you will.
Before anyone else tries to rebut with it, I know I'm asking for trouble using MS products. I work on the stupid things all day, so why not just keep with what you know when using your own.
Does anybody believe the Windows defrag is even usable?
Try a free download of Diskeeper from Executive Software. It runs in the background, and you can forget the entire subject once it is installed and running. Worth every bit of the full program cost, AND my local box supplier was less expensive than the download!
Great software, but I just don't like to defrag with the system up and running. I use Disk Perfect, and let it defrag on boot, and there are good reasons for it. But I can see you point also.
I certainly DO defrag my computer, and I have seen real world results bordering on extreme. This seems mostly due to games being installed on the second half of my 250GB HD. I have played some newer games, like Medieval Total War, and watch the game run slower and slower. I check defrag level, and find it around 26%-30% because of the game !! I defrag, AND optomize using Norton system works pro 2004, and watch the game run great guns.
defrag may have little effect on MS programs, but, at least with numerous games i run, it has a definite positive and very necessary effect. i simply cant avoid the need to use it on avg once every 7-10 days.
Defrag and Gamers
Most assuredly, a different world, compared to the typical user, or otherwise. They probably know more about hardware, as much as they do the games, and realized what most have said here....defrag, based on you own requirements.
Thanks for all the suggestions and comments.
Here are some articles I found that I thought might be of interest to you guys.
Since I do a good many Network accounts, the last article you alluded to, got missed in the discussion, and for those involved in backing up their systems, or networks, de-fragmenting, and with the proper tools is more than psychosomatic, since backups are critical in those situations.
Defragging a page file - free program!!!!!!
Personally I dont use it as I have another method of doing it - I have FAT32 and boot to another hard disk and use Norton speed disk to defrag and place the pagefile at the beginning of the disk (eat your hearts out NTFS defraggers!!!) - but for all you NTFS people here is a free program from sysinternals.com (have a look at their other programs they are good!)
Thanks for the references. If I'm not mistaken, only the last one includes actual improvement claims, and the improvement is only for doing backups.
Backing up a file is a special case. You are reading the entire file from beginning to end in sequential mode. Few modern programs need to do that. Instead, they read only the part of the file that's of interest to the user. Also, backups are generally done when there is no other disk activity, so there can be a real benefit from reduced head motion. (Multi-tasking requires the head to move much even over a fully defragmented disk.)
The author of the white paper, Executive Software, of course has a strong interest in showing improved performance since they sell one of the leading products. The target device must be much faster than the device being backed up in order to get numbers like they show. ES used two high performance target devices on a remote node on a high speed (1 gigabit) network. The computer where the backup was running was essentially throwing the data out the back door. These tests are where the real improvement was found. When backing up to a tape drive on the local machine, defragmenting reduced backup time only 6.4% for one program but ES said that was probably ''an adverse driver interaction''.
Imagine backing up to another partition on the same drive, as many people do. (One head - two logical drives.) How do you think fragmentation would affect that? (Executive software didn't test that case.)
There is not too much to be gained by defragging unless ...
a) You delete .tmp and other trash files
b) You delete cookies and other internet files (off line pages, history, etc)
c) You clean out mail stored on your local PCs hard drive
d) You clean out old music/video files you have burned to CDs or don't want any more
e) You clean out your windows-xp 'prefetch' directory
f) You clean out adware/spyware and other trash programs
g) You clean out anti-virus, firewall, install logs
h) etc ...
In other words unless you clean-up after yourself (and some of your tools) defragging does almost nothing.
Upon a good clean-up, defragging can ''squash'' the disk so to speak thus freeing up larger ''hunks'' for future use and also symplify the disk/directory structure, but even that is very dependent of your disk directory structure (ie: FAT32 -vs- NTFS, size of 'segments', etc) and the types of files you have (ie: little files like e-mails waste more space than big files like videos).
Fragmented files probably take more resources to store in that the disk directory must keep track of all the little pieces (ie: In the old mainframe world each peice of a file had appended to it the physical disk address and size of the next logical piece of the file). Assuming that PC disk file directories are not structured quite the same as mainframes were, fragmentation may not have the same impact but ...
Common sense still says keeping track of lot of little pieces (individual M & M's) is harder than keeping track of several big pieces (bags of M & M's).
I do basic system checks (adware, spyware, temp/work files, etc) daily or weekly with/without a defrag based upon how much I clean out. I also do a pretty complete overall system clean-up maybe monthly always followed by a defrag.
I also have my 'swap' file set to a fixed size and on its own partition.
Goodtime Charlie, VA
Total posts: 58 (Showing page 2 of 2)