Interesting, a well reasoned and intelligent response. Usually all I get are a bunch of emotional knee-jerk reactions where try as you might, you can't figure out what the person's point was, assuming there was one. So, for that alone, I thank you.
Okay, you're right, 99% may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by that much. And honestly, any decent bittorrent client will allocate the space for the file before it even begins downloading. I know Azureus/Vuze and uTorrent both do this.
Per my comment about sending drives to an early grave. Most of the people who would defragment way too often are people who wouldn't really know how to diagnose that it was their excessive defragmenting that helped kill it. Pretty much every staff reporter for Cnet, and almost the entire rest of the major computing rag outlets, clearly need a giant post-it note to remind them where the power button is on their computer. They probably have to use Wikipedia to figure out what a hard drive is.
I still personally wish Microsoft would "innovate" an idea that's been in place on Linux for several years now. Instead of using a simple FIFO queue for writing files, the operating system looks for the first available chunk of space that will fit the ENTIRE file. Failing that, it will break it up into as few pieces as possible. The result is an effectively self-defragmenting filesystem. On any Linux system I've ever run, even when I had large amounts of source files sitting around because I would compile absolute bleeding edge stuff (up to the hour) and use it, I never had fragmentation levels over 3%. One would think that such a "highly innovative" company like Microsoft, with its vast stockpiles of cash, could "innovate" some feature like this. Since "innovate" seems to have been co-opted by Microsoft to mean "copied" or "stolen", just like they've completely basterdized the word "genuine".
I think we can all agree that bad advice isn't hard to come by no matter where you look. The reason I gave the restriction of it not being paid for by some company that sells a disk defragmenter, is because if they're paying for it, they're going to want specific results. Namely that defragmenting is this absolutely wonderful performance enhancing thing that everyone should do. If they don't get those results, they'll likely shop around to look for a testing company that WILL give them the results they want, and all the other studies that show little to no gain will be buried and never see the light of day.
Microsoft's various anti-Linux studies are clear proof of this. And if it seems like I'm picking only on Linux, then you can look at how nVidia was gaming their drivers to detect benchmarking programs and then apply special settings that would give better results. A more recent example is how if you run a memory benchmark on Via's Nano CPU you get significantly different results depending on whether or not the Via CPU is identifying itself as a Via chip or an Intel chip.
And honestly, who in their right mind would put up the results of a study that show some product you sell to be of marginal usefulness at best?
As to why Microsoft licenses a defrag utility... Because they're hamstrung by their own commitment to backwards compatibility. It's also a good chunk of why Windows is still so incredibly insecure, tends to fall over at the slightest of nudges, and the Vista developers were bailing water like crazy, and throwing overboard everything that wasn't nailed down, just trying to keep that ship afloat. People expect there to be a defragmenter, so even though that era has long since passed, it sticks around. When Microsoft finally puts out a completely rewritten version of Windows, or even just retires Windows for something new, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the defragmentation tool goes away.
I'll just leave it with this little nugget... Old computer died after a severe manhandling by UPS when I moved. So, wind up with a new computer running Vista. Poking around looking for tips on improving performance, etc just to kind of kill time. Come across a suggestion to replace the Windows defragmenter with one from AusLogic or something like that. They also claimed to have a registry defragmenter, and I was intrigued by the notion. Anyway, on the defragmenter page, they mention how all computer experts agree that defragmenting, among other things, prevents program crashes. But you don't need to take my word for it, you can see a direct quote taken from here: http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag
"Disk fragmentation leads to system slowdowns, PC crashes, slow startups and shutdowns."
Now personally, I'd like to know how shuffling files around on the physical surface of the drive will do ANYTHING for "PC crashes".
There's also the bit a ways down on that page where they start off with something true, about hard drives being the slowest part of the computer, but then out of nowhere claim it's because they have moving parts. And that read/write head movements are what causes system freezes. Apparently they're banking on no one remembering that the defragmenting process involves significant amounts of read/write head movement... So, if we follow their line of reasoning, the process of defragmenting should be causing system freezes, but strangely it doesn't.
Anyway, I'd like to again thank you for the intelligent and well reasoned response. A very refreshing change. You get so used to the people who think that because they've mastered how to turn their computer on and launch 2-3 applications, it makes them some kind of expert, and that their opinion is the only one that should matter, you almost forget what it's like to have an intelligent discussion.