When was the last time you defragmented your computer?

By | April 6, 2008

When was the last time you defragmented your computer? The last time I did was almost 2 years ago, and I am going to do just that – very soon again. Defragmenting your computer is important (at least once in a while), as it keeps your PC or laptop in tiptop condition. Since I can imagine many of us not bothering to defragment our PCs due to our busy lives, let’s take a look at this whole defragmenting thing, and why it doesn’t hurt to defragment your PC every now and then.

What are the causes of defragmentation?

If you store large numbers of files on your computer, than you definitely need to defragment it. Actually, every single PC in existence right now, has some sort of defragmentation issue; it all depends on how many files you keep storing in your PC. Many of us buy large hard disks and then download loads of stuff onto it, or install every type of game we get our hands on; it’s a sure way to burden the file system of your computer in no time.

When files are created and deleted, the space left behind gets spread out, and the computer will then unknowingly plop down a piece of data in that cluster. So, due to the scattered nature of the free space, this group of data is all over the place, and the computer will then have trouble retrieving it the next time, even though it keeps a record of it in the FAT or NTFS file system. Trying to find scattered data bits all over the hard drive is tough work, even for a computer.

Symptoms of disk defragmentation

If we don’t defragment our computers, we find our computers tend to get slower, and slower…..and slower, over time. But, many times people mistakenly attribute the slowness to viruses, or “the PC just getting old.” However, this slowness will only get worse, and may eventually lead to freezes, if nothing is done about it.

I do indeed find my PC rather slow now, than it was one year ago. So, I’d be really interested to see if I can do anything about it.

That Windows defragmenter: Is it good enough?

Nowadays, it’s a piece of cake to get a disk defragmenter, and have it run under a trial version. There is a trial version of Diskeeper that many recommend. That old Windows defragmenter that came with your XP or Vista is considered by pros as outdated, although I don’t fully agree.

For one, it came with your OS. And it’s free. That’s the good part…

I don’t mind it taking all night to defrag, as long as I’m not around to wait for it to finish. With commercial ones, they run in the background while you can do work on the PC at the same time.

The obvious benefits of defragmenting

It feels good to be clean, and defragmenting is a bit like spring cleaning. According to tech gurus, defragmenting can help improve speed of backups (since the computer knows where to find the data now), increase hard disk longevity (the HD lives longer when it doesn’t have to work so hard), and of course, speed up your seemingly slacking computer.

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