Defragging - is it really necessary?

  anchor 09:45 29 Oct 2004

On reading again my copy of PCA Sept 2004, I noted the comment "that tests performed on a heavily used PC before and after a defrag showed no evidence of improvement". (See page 80, "Keeping it together"). The exception possibly being for an older PC with a slow, small hard drive.

As this is contrary to what we have always been told, I would be interested to hear the opinions of others. Has PCA got it wrong, or have been been misled in the past?.

  ventanas 09:51 29 Oct 2004

Haven't done it for years, and probably never will. Might have made a difference in the past with slower read/write times, but I don't see any point nowadays. No doubt others will differ.

  simonp1 09:58 29 Oct 2004

I have a 80 gig HD, and i personally do find some benifit..i mainly use it for gaming and for that i do see better performance. When i use my PC for work applications, i dont really see any improvment..

  recap 10:11 29 Oct 2004

I defrag at least once a month, I find it helps to keep the system running smoothly.

  Rigga 10:16 29 Oct 2004

I would probably agree that given modern hard drives, the performance boost for most average users is pretty small.

Modern hard drives are so fast to scan, that the work they have to do to retrieve 10 pieces of a file rather then the whole file in one chunk, then the time difference is negligible.

However!!! Hard drives are still mechanical devices, even though you can't see the moving parts, so when reading a file, if the read head has to move to ten different parts of the drive to retrieve one file, then that's a lot more movement then moving to the start sector, and reading sequentially.

Given the above, then logically, defragmenting a hard drive helps the drive, as it does not have to do so much mechanical work. And less mechanical work means improved reliability and lifetime.

I have no evidence to back this up, just some logical thinking about any mechanical device!


P.S. Yes I do defragment my hard drive, quite regularly. and yes I do notice an increase in performance, especially when starting the OS.


  ventanas 10:56 29 Oct 2004

I agree, what you say makes sense regarding wear of the drive, but I still can't be bothered.

  anchor 13:09 03 Nov 2004

I think Rigga`s comments may have some basis in fact. Less movement could well lead to less wear and tear on the hard drive.

I, for one, will continue defragging.

  rômanab 16:03 03 Nov 2004

Ah, but what about the extra wear caused by defragging regularly :o)

  anchor 16:21 03 Nov 2004

Well then, you lose either way.

I would be interesting to know what the real computer Gurus do. Odd, they have not commented; perhaps they are too busy defragging, (lol)

  GaT7 16:34 03 Nov 2004

Defragmentation: Panacea or Placebo?

Some extracts:

"All defragmenting is going to do for you is make your data more retrievable from a hard drive crash," observed Carey Holzman, a computer-repair specialist based in Phoenix. "People will swear to you that their Windows XP with NTFS systems runs faster after defragmenting. ... If you're convinced your system runs faster after it's defragmented or partitioned, or after waving a dead chicken over your head, who am I to tell you that you're wrong? "But if you don't notice any difference after running a defragmentation utility, you're not alone," Holzman continued. "I have yet to see any great difference in boot-up or operational speeds after using the commercial products or even the built-in XP defragmenter"

So here's the recap: The drive-optimization software company suggests you improve data reliability through defragmention; the computer tech suggests defragmentation to improve data-recovery times; and the drive vendor suggest most ills can be solved with a bigger drive. All seems right with the world.

click here to read the full article.

I have a 40Gb hard drive (65% free) running Win98se & I have to say the improvement (if any) is very little. G

  Jdoki 16:41 03 Nov 2004

Nothing fills me with more dread than seeing lots of white gaps between my data on the Defrag analyser graph <shudder>

Maybe I have a compulsive disorder, but I HAVE to have my data in nice blocks! :)

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

HTC U12 Plus review: Hands-on

Best Android emulators for Mac

TV & Streaming : comment regarder Roland Garros ?