Forum Announcement

Welcome to the new CNET Forums! Please don't panic. You are not in the Twilight Zone, you are experiencing the new CNET forums platform! Please click here to read the details. Thanks!!

Windows Legacy OS

General discussion

POLL - How Often Do You Defragment and Why??

by Trance_Zac / August 8, 2006 5:54 AM PDT

There seems to be a lot of disagreemant on this issue on this forum.

If you would be so kind as to just answer the above question, I would appreciate it deeply.

(Keep in mind, you're opinions are your own, do not let the responces of others influence your post - just say what you have been doing!)

If you can't answer the ''Why'' part - Fine, just how often??

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: POLL - How Often Do You Defragment and Why??
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: POLL - How Often Do You Defragment and Why??
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Never: It's unnecessary
by jnbhoward / August 8, 2006 6:53 AM PDT

And that was a rather uncalled for third paragraph.

Collapse -
Not Uncalled for at all........
by Trance_Zac / August 8, 2006 7:17 AM PDT

You may be right Mike - That is what you want isn't it??
To be right no matter what other opinions may arise?

Collapse -
You are kidding, Right?
by Robert K / August 10, 2006 11:47 PM PDT

You are kidding, Right?
Explain how a computer running XP with a drive that is about 40% fragmented (caused by file swapping because of inadequate amount of system memory)will run like a pig but will run significantly better after defragmemtation. You make no sense.

Collapse -
I'm not Mike, but...
by john_mcdoogle / August 11, 2006 6:35 AM PDT

Having followed the "debate" which spanned a few different discussions, I have come to agree with his standpoint. I feel he presented a reasonably good argument, short of actually conducting a test. Working, of course, under the assumption of the every day user who uses their system as a word processor, web browser, and maybe light gaming machine. Some situations will benefit more than others, home users being those who will see the least benefit of all.

Cases of inadequate system memory do not apply, using the line of reasoning Mike laid out, since the problem is more that the inadequate supply of memory. This in turn, is forcing more of the drive's read/write capacity to be devoted to virtual memory purposes. An analogy might be like putting a speed governor on a golf cart. You are artificially hindering its performance.

On systems with adequate, or with a surplus, of memory, the disk drive fragmentation simply is not a performance concern. In cases of inadequate memory, it is a concern, but only as a symptom of a different problem.

I would absolutely love to see someone craft a test to be able to get some actual figures for the effect of fragmentation. I have a few ideas on how it might be done, but not the resources with which to do it. It could be done with only a single system, but ideally two identically configured systems would be used. Then some disk imaging software and benchmarking programs would be required. It wouldn't be perfectly scientific, but should be good enough to get correlative results.

Collapse -
Defrag or not bother?
by Denise Neve / August 11, 2006 9:28 PM PDT

I agree with your Robert, and I use Ashampoo's Magic Defrag which you can either set to run automatically or as and when you want. For me it is about once every week to 10 days and it is much more thorough than my Win XP Pro as another user pointed out. Before Ashampoo I used the Windows version whih was o.k. but much slower and I now realise it wasn't as thorough. Either way it seems crazy to me not to use a tool that speeds things up, and I have a fast new Pentium 4, 3.4 ghz, 1gb Ram running XP Pro and Office 2003 Pro and various other applications. It seems nuts to me not to keep things as much like new as possible. After all I get my car serviced and make sure the gas and oil are all o.k. so why neglect my computer!

Collapse -
I also never defrag.
by Ray Harinec / August 13, 2006 1:22 AM PDT

Tried it after two years of use on two different systems. After completion, there was zero notice of anything running any faster or better [whatever better means]..

Collapse -
You probably never change the oil in your car, either.
by Paul3637 / January 29, 2007 1:45 PM PST

Many people don't defragment because they don't know they are supposed to. I defrag weekly because it keeps my computer lightning fast. When computers slow down, the number one cause is failure to run the defragment program. It is free and certainly can do no harm. I ran the defrag program for a neighbor whose computer was so slow so she was going to replace it. The "test" on her computer was almost solid red and it took hours to run defragmentation on her computer. After that, her computer ran fine and she thanked me for saving her the expense of buying a new computer.

Collapse -
Solid Red Line AHH!!! GO AWAY!!!
by Ladyelliana / February 26, 2007 2:53 AM PST

I can't degragment my computer because it says it needs 15% free disk space to run, and I only have 1%.. yes I know. So I went around running the disk cleanup, and then deleting all the files that I didn't need, and got it up to 8% I was so close.

We have alot of music on this computer as well, so I thought it would help to compress some in a zipped folder. Turned out, it froze halfway through and I had to cancel it. I went back to check the percentage of disk space, it was down to 0%.

Somehow I got it back up to my measly 1% again, but I don't know what else to delete. I don't have to delete all the music do I???

Collapse -
So why defrag?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 26, 2007 3:00 AM PST

It's not going to speed it up much. At least you can swap the time you spend on defragging with time you use the PC?

Bob

Collapse -
I agree
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 26, 2007 4:56 AM PST
In reply to: So why defrag?

and why not burn those music files to a CD/DVD, then remove them from the hard dirve. They will play just as well from a CD/DVD.

Mark

Collapse -
I hope this helps.
by Paul3637 / February 27, 2007 4:22 AM PST

Since you posted in the XP forum, this should not be too tough if you bought the computer OEM XP after 2001 - and did not add XP from an older computer with an exceptionally small hard drive. Run disk cleanup again and when the dialogue box shows up click on the "more options" tab. Click the system restore option that says "delete all but the most recent system restore point." This should give you 11 to 12% more disk space depending on your settings. Then try clicking on the other two boxes to remove programs and windows components you don't use.

If this does not do the job, call an experienced tech and find out what it would cost to defrag professionally since there are other programs that work for this problem.

Frankly, if you are that short of disk space, you need a bigger hard drive or a new computer anyway. I am not sure how you plan to transfer all those files when the time comes - I hope (but doubt) you have a CD and/or DVD burner.

If you do, just burn as many files as it takes to the removable disk(s) and upload them after the defragmentation.

If you do not, you may have to pay to have the files from your hard drive moved to a new computer or buy a file transfer program when your computer is replaced at some point (which you may not be able to load due to lack of disk space.)

I guess I can infer that none of your files are "backed up." If they are as valuable as you make them sound, I hope you have thought about what you would do if your hard drive just plain crashed.

Contrary to what Mr. Proffit said in his response to you, Defrag should speed up your computer. Read my post above about my neighbor who found she did not have to replace her computer after I let the thing defrag - which took about 8 hours.

When run the defragment program (weekly) it takes just a few minutes, but I run a $29 upgraded defragmenter program called Diskeeper.

Collapse -
How Often Do You Defragment and Why
by mirit125 / February 27, 2007 4:36 AM PST
In reply to: I hope this helps.

My main question is , dose the hard drive get damaged when I often ,like once a week defrag and clean the hard drive.....?

Collapse -
Defrag frequency /can it do damage?
by Paul3637 / February 27, 2007 5:00 AM PST

I usually do it weekly. Keeps computer running as fast as when new. CCleaner also helps. Biggest most notable increase in computer speed was when I installed Diskeeper 2007 to replace the standard model that comes with Windows XP.

I have never heard of defrag doing damage - most large companies defrag overnight - and they would not do it if it was going to damage computers.

See also post of swathingscientist 2-27-07 6:39 A.M. at the bottom of this thread.

Collapse -
Another similar post that shows method to free up space
by Paul3637 / February 27, 2007 5:05 AM PST
Collapse -
(NT) (NT) There are NO right or wrong answers here - it's a Poll
by Trance_Zac / August 8, 2006 7:20 AM PDT
Collapse -
fairly frequently
by rgfitz / August 8, 2006 7:33 AM PDT

I "mess around" with my computer and tend to remove programs I no longer use and clean related keys out of the registry.

I use Fix-It Utilities 6 and if I have done a lot of removal, I run their "All-in-one..Your one-stop solution to clean, optimize and fix your system". Defragmentation is included with virus and spyware checks and some registry cleaning.

Whether or not it improves my system is probably questionable. I would have to have two identical systems side-by-side, one cleaned up, and compare their performance and I would never do such a thing.

It just makes me feel good.

Collapse -
(NT) (NT) Frequently = once a month or less often
by rgfitz / August 11, 2006 1:08 AM PDT
In reply to: fairly frequently
Collapse -
Misplaced Emotion
by phantazy / August 8, 2006 8:07 AM PDT

While I agree with CSRjohn, I have viewed these forums for about three years and viewed many adverse opinions.
I think it is only fair to state that everyone approaches a topic from a personally empirical point of view. There are no absolute answers as in a maths equation, unless you have a million dollar lab. I am sorry to see Csrjohn and Comicfan getting irate about intransigence, as they see it, and while I'm all in favor of constructive argument I do not see that this as an emotional issue. Mike takes his technical viewpoint about the way Hard Disks work,speed revolutions et al.and there is nothing wrong with that. Csr John takes the attitude that cluster is better for recovery and efficiency and there's nothing wrong with that either. We are talking of opinions and this makes for a lively discussion and hopefully a deeper understanding of, and reflection on, the issues for all concerned, regardless of 'Geekability'. I would like to know the further opinion of past devotees like Cetin and Bill Gaston and Aussie Pete on this issue. I think that they would not be drawn in too far for fear of pusillanimity. On a finer point it is sad to lose Comicfan who has given valuable and considered help to many (although, I hasten to add, not to myself!).

Well I've said what I think, so will now return to the issue at hand. I defrag when I have installed or uninstalled something of 40 Mb or thereabouts on an 80Gb disk. I do this because of an intuition that XP 'scatterballs' data in general terms accross the spectrum of the disk. I cannot prove any efficiency or speed gain by the result, however for future eliminations it would make sense to delete a program if it was more or less contiguous. I certainly defraggged after loading SP2. Otherwise, in the normal course of events, I don't bother, so with regard to average time it would be an instance of once every nine months.

Collapse -
Thank You..........
by Trance_Zac / August 8, 2006 8:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Misplaced Emotion

I agree that any large downloads require a defrag, - even an XP install does.

As per your 1st paragragh - comic fan is the one who left the forum due to an un-namable member (I won't do that) who has been somewhat stubborn in seing other peoples viewpoints.

Thus the reason for this post, a really silly Poll actually - I just wanted to see what thousands of other members thought on this very basic issue.

Thanks Again!

Collapse -
Another reason to DEFRSG - PRIVACY
by sandkicker / August 12, 2006 1:38 AM PDT
In reply to: Misplaced Emotion

Its simple
1. Defrag rearranges data so when system searches for data its in sequential order and not scattered throughout the disc.
(sorta like keeping your socks in one drawer, rather than keeping one in the top drawer and having its mate in the second drawer of you dresser).

2. Defrag does something else though, especially if your pc is used by more than one person.

Next time you defrag, analyze and view the results. Even if you have private folders, and taken ownership in XP, if there are others on the same machine with other than limited access, when
they run defrag they can view the subject of even administrator files. Not the file itself but the files path and its title. Just analyze and look for yourself.

So if you want faster access to data, DEFRAG. If you have private information, that you dont want others to know about, and they have the capability of running defrag, then by all means DEFRAG.

"not a geek, just a nosey user"

Collapse -
No right answers? You must be kidding
by battleborn1 / August 11, 2006 1:17 PM PDT

It's amazing the amount of misinformation out there and people seem so sure of their ignorance. If you don't care at all about degraded performance I suppose it's not important. Then again you could say the same thing about antivirus and malware programs. I always run Perfect disk 7.0 if there are more than 1000 fragments, sometimes less. Offline defragmentation I run more often, and the increased speed is noticable even then. A well defragmented disk is easier on your hard drive, even if you don't care about performance. Who are these people that claim that it is never necessary? They obviously don't know much about the subject. People that make statements like the one I refer to simply don't know what they are talking about. But again, if poor performance is what you want, then don't defragment, which is the same thing as saying why check the oil in your car... it was full when you bought it, right? Just wait till the thing hardly works at all and buy a new one, that'a a solution. I'm still trying to figure out where these people get these silly opinions from. I guess registry cleaners are unnecessary also. Buy my three year old laptop runs as fast as the day I bought it, how about yours?

Collapse -
Not so
by john_mcdoogle / August 13, 2006 2:25 AM PDT

There are cases where fragmentation levels can be significant. Almost always as a side effect of a larger issue, such as the example of insufficient RAM. There are also a few applications that live and die by disk access speeds, and those will often see some benefit. However, for the average person, doing average types of things -- typing letters, browsing the web, listening to music, etc. -- there simply isn't any real benefit. All of which is dictated by the mechanics of the computer. When you look at how each subsystem interacts with the others, and view the computer as a whole, instead of only looking at a single component in isolation, it's pretty easy to see.

You can also argue back and forth all day long about whether or not the stress imposed on a drive by the act of defragmenting is greater or less than the stress caused by gradual fragmentation increase. It doesn't really matter, because Mike was right, wherever it was he said it, can't find it now. The ball bearings in the drive will give out first, which causes the motor to seize up. The motor is in perpetual operation so long as the computer is turned on, and each revolution it makes is one revolution closer to the lubricant breaking down and the friction of the bearings against their casing being greater than the motor can overcome.

Drive's fail because our manufacturing technology is imperfect, not because of fragmentation levels. Theoretically, if you cracked open your hard drive case, and applied small amounts of additional lubricant to the right places, a drive could last almost indefinitely. However, the better solution is to come up with a storage technology that doesn't rely on moving parts.

Collapse -
You are correct; similar analogy
by Paul3637 / January 29, 2007 1:56 PM PST

My last post to one of those "I don't do it" people was that failure to defragment was like not changing the oil in your car. You are correct. I have Diskeeper 2007 which does the defrag job in a matter of seconds so there simply is no issue. My computer is lightning fast - and I keep it that way by maintaining it properly.

Collapse -
Not regularly.
by Papa Echo / August 8, 2006 7:51 AM PDT

I defragment when I feel like it - for the nice thought that my files are ''properly kept in one piece''. It is a fact that files get fragmented, and it does get longer(in computer time) for fragmented files to come up than files not so fragmented. I usually, not always, defragment after running check disk - it seems to me that ''check disk'' and ''defragment'' complements each other, and ''check disk'' is necessary.

Collapse -
Not often
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 8, 2006 9:21 PM PDT

I am not a regular defragger with XP. When I had Win 95 and then Win ME, I used to defrag once a week, or at least once a month.

But I have not found it necessary with XP. Whether it is because I find XP more stable, or whether it's because I have a larger HD and RAM and faster processor, I don't know. My HD is in RAID 0 configuration, so file access is quicker anyway, (although I run the risk of losing everything if one of the disks fails, unlike RAID 1 which duplicates all write actions on each disk, so if one disk fails, there is always a backup).

I last defragged about 6 months ago, just because it was there.

By the way John, I have deleted your last post in the list, Aug 8, 3:09pm). It was a reply and is now an orphan as the post you replied to was deleted.

Mark

Collapse -
Not often after running XP
by weehee / August 11, 2006 3:23 PM PDT
In reply to: Not often

Same here. I used to run defrag once a week when I had Win 98SE, but I no longer defrag regularly after I got a new laptop with XP.

I think the last defrag was done a year ago...

Collapse -
Only once since I got the computer
by solitairedaxel / August 12, 2006 9:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Not often

I used to defrag nearly every week on my previous computer, a laptop running Windows 98.
I now have a refurbished 2004ish desktop running Windows XP Home Edition and I have only defragged once since it came back from repairs (about a year ago; I got it fourteen months ago). It didn't seem to make much difference to me, but I use a registry cleaner frequently (which I didn't on the laptop) so I'm not sure if that affects it or not. I only defragged the once because I was checking out all the utilities and it was there.

Collapse -
Defrag
by lablover / August 8, 2006 11:21 PM PDT

About once a month.
Reason, aquire more contiguous free space and reduce file fragmentation.

Collapse -
RE: How often I defrag
by Daviddude / August 9, 2006 12:25 AM PDT

I defrag once a month or sooner if I notice my computer starting to slow down. If I notice my menus start taking longer to appear on my screen or file opens or saves, or if I notice that switching between applications takes longer than usual - That is what causes me to defrag sooner. I have an Insignia D400A with a 2.8 GHZ Intel Pentium Processor 4, 512 MB RAM, Windows XP SP2.

Collapse -
At least every week
by Themisive / August 9, 2006 4:17 AM PDT
In reply to: RE: How often I defrag

Or more often if I am doing a lot of loading of files and programmes, I find it does decrease seek time considerably.

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Help 47,885 discussions
icon
Computer Newbies 10,322 discussions
icon
iPhones, iPods, & iPads 3,188 discussions
icon
Security 30,333 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 20,177 discussions
icon
HDTV Picture Setting 1,932 discussions
icon
Phones 15,713 discussions
icon
Windows 7 6,210 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 14,510 discussions

Tech Tip

Tired of your tricky Wi-Fi password?

Stop trying to memorize a complicated sequence of numbers and letters. Learn how to change the default password.