Hard Disk Drives
Defragmentation Utility from Microsoft

Defragmentation Utility

Defragmentation is the process of scanning the file system and rejoining the split files back into consecutive pieces. The defragmenting is a time consuming, but it is one of the easiest ways to increase the performance of PC, the frequency of which a PC should be defragmented which directly depend on the amount of usage. Hard disk drives are severely fragmented and will take longer to access the data because it is spread across the drive and not located in a central area. Defragmentation is the process of locating the fragments of data into a computer file and divided on a hard disk, and rearranging the fragments and restoring them into fragment.

Defragmentation reduces data access time and allows storage to be used more efficiently. Windows NT come with a defragmenter because its file system, was designed to minimize fragmentation; however, users often find one necessary and several vendors provide defragmenters. As advances in technology larger disk drives, the performance loss due to fragmentation squares with each doubling of the size of the drive. Larger files and greater numbers of files also contribute to fragmentation and consequent performance loss. Defragmentation restores a drive to its original speed. Windows XP comes with a utility called Disk Defragmenter. Fragmented data also spreads over more disk than it needs.

Thus one may de-fragment in order to compact data storage before splitting a single partition into two or more partitions. Fragmentation occurs when the operating system cannot or will not allocate enough contiguous space to store a complete file as a unit, but instead puts parts of it in gaps between other files which are usually those gaps exist because they formerly held a file that the operating system has subsequently deleted or because the operating system allocated excess space for the file in the first place. A Defragmentation program must move files around within the free space available in order to undo fragmentation. This is a memory intensive operation and cannot be performed on a file system with no free space.

The reorganization involved in Defragmentation does not change logical location of the files. The presence of immovable system files especially a swap file, can impede Defragmentation. Certain file systems exhibit a greater susceptibility to fragmentation than others, for example, a FAT file system becomes fragmented much more quickly than NTFS. Many file systems on Unix-like platforms do not require Defragmentation at all. These systems attempt to keep fragmentation below a certain point so defragmenting is not necessary. This fragmentation resistance works well as long as the file system has a fairly large amount of space free. So daily Defragmentation is necessary to keep disk performance at peak and to avoid the excess overhead of less frequent Defragmentation.

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