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how log should defragging take?

by RERosene / November 6, 2010 2:39 AM PDT

I am defragging my daughter's notebook; the o/s is Vista; she only uses it to play games. there are no documents, photos, etc. it is just to access the internet, etc. without her messing up my computer. so, it has been running really slow, so i started a defrag last night - 12 hours later it is still going. is this normal? it is defragging both the partion C and the recovery (D) drives. it is only a 160GB drive. the computer was bought in 2008; it is not "old." i almost took it to staples for their "free PC tune up," but thought i would try a few things myself first.

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It depends
by Jimmy Greystone / November 6, 2010 3:28 AM PDT

It depends on a lot of factors how long it takes, but it should be noted that aside from maybe initial level loading times, you're not going to really benefit from defragging. Even the initial level loading is going to be pretty minimal.

There's a reason that starting with XP, Microsoft took to burying deep in the bowels of the OS where few would ever venture to look for it. It's a tool that serves no real purpose for 99.99999999999999% of people anymore. Let it die the death nature intended.

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by PKsteven / November 6, 2010 5:34 AM PDT

Hi, if it is taking that long, there could be other issues.

First, I would scan for infections, there may be something causing a slow down. Use Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, use whatever security tools you may have installed. Then, use something like Ccleaner a free wonderful little application, to do a temp clean up, registry fix . Here is latest version...

Then do a defrag. I use Auslogics Disk Defrag...

It's one of the best out there and free but there are others as well. You can choose a normal defrag or a more thorough defrag & optimize. I would choose a normal defrag first, then defrag and optimize. I am thinking your drive D:\ is a restore partition and would leave that one out.

I highly disagree with the defragmenting dying. I use all sorts of video tools, graphics, media tools, among other things and I defrag once a week, it makes a huge difference on a large drive when it comes to access time with programs or loading large files or large saved projects. So initial, loading time makes a huge difference when you are loading 4 gig projects that need to access numerous folders. It may not matter when you want to browse your documents, look at pictures or do very basic tasks but if you have a lot of programs installed, your pc goes through moderate use, it does make a difference. Defrag a PC that was infected badly prior, or that had numerous programs installed and were removed, you will notice a huge difference in performance.

Hope this helps

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by Jimmy Greystone / November 6, 2010 6:54 AM PDT
In reply to: Suggestion

Well, I should also add that registry fixers/cleaners/whatever tend to cause more problems than they fix. They are digital snake oil.

And 99.999999999999% of people aren't going to be doing high end video editing, thus have no real need for defragmenting. Just like 99.999999999999% of people aren't going to be running a large database server which might also benefit from defragging. No, 99.9999999999999% of people are going to be using their computers for more mundane and routine tasks like web browsing, email, maybe some light gaming, but nothing that is very disk intensive for sustained periods of time. You need to take a step back, realize the universe does not revolve around you, your experiences do not represent the sum total of everyone else's, and the things YOU may use YOUR computer for are NOT what the MAJORITY of OTHER people use THEIR computers for.

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Well Well
by PKsteven / November 6, 2010 3:38 PM PDT
In reply to: Well

The Ccleaner "registry" portion simply deletes invalid registry items from the registry which can easily be backed up by Ccleaner if need be. It is not "Snake Oil", it does what it was intended to do. Here is a Cnet review...

So to RErosene, do not be afraid to try Ccleaner, it's fine and is quite the handy software tool to have.

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No it's not
by Jimmy Greystone / November 6, 2010 10:53 PM PDT
In reply to: Well Well

Not it's not. CCleaner just provides an all-in-one interface to tools that already exist in Windows. It's a convenience program more than anything.

And what are the criteria it uses for determining which are invalid entries and which are valid? How do you know that it's only selecting so-called invalid entries? And how do you know that it's not wiping out entries that may be needed for something, only you haven't discovered it yet, or you attributed it to something else?

The registry is another thing most people should pretend no longer exists. It's not this mystical black box full of secret undocumented performance enhancing settings, or really anything that remarkable at all. It's really just a pretty boring, and poorly implemented at that, flat file database for storing metadata. Seriously, a first year computer science student should be able to come up with something better in the course of an afternoon. The thing has existed since at least Windows 3.1, though it didn't see heavy use until Windows95. Since then, in Microsoft's usual fashion, it's slowly mutated as they dump more and more responsibilities onto it. Microsoft is so worried about breaking backwards compatibility, they're willing to sacrifice future progress in its name.

So many people seem to have the same mistaken idea as you, that it actually NEEDS to be "cleaned" or "fixed" when it really doesn't. Others seem to think that it will somehow improve performance to "clean" it, which is also patently false. Any given registry entry is all of a few bytes in size. So you'd have to prune tens of thousands of entries to reclaim a single MB of RAM. And the RAM -> CPU link these days is so fast, that finding any given entry in the registry happens in the space of an eye blink. It's below the human threshold of perception.

So yes, these programs ARE snake oil. When you take a few moments to step back and actually analyze their claims -- what might be considered due diligence -- you find that there's really nothing to them. They're feeding you a bunch of half-truths at best. It seems pretty clear that you don't really have the necessary understanding of the lower level functions of Windows to really be able to do a critical analysis of these programs, so it would seem tactically unwise to be proclaiming their virtues. Merely accepting things because they sound technical, and you do not want to appear ignorant is not a good long term strategy. Though repeating that incorrect information is an even worse long term strategy. Sooner or later you're bound to run into someone who will see it for the BS it is.

And Cnet is quite frankly something of a laughing stock in the tech community. They cater to the Dilbert PHB types, which is a perfectly acceptable business strategy, but it's not going to gain you the respect of the intellectuals of the community.

Ultimately most people tend to fall into one of two categories. There's the people who just muddle along through life, learning as little as possible about things like computers, content with simple answers even if they aren't always technically accurate, and those are the people who Cnet is gearing things towards. Then there's the curious types, like me. We have an insatiable sense of curiosity about pretty much anything and everything, and we devote our lives to learning as much as we can about as many things as we can. We are not content with Cnet, because we very quickly learn that much of what they say isn't true. You could call it good enough for government work, but we want more.

It's a perfectly acceptable business strategy, though one that doesn't seem to be working overly well, but it does not make Cnet an authority on anything.

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If you need to lecture ...
by Edward ODaniel / November 7, 2010 3:31 AM PST
In reply to: No it's not

at least try to be accurate.

CCLEANER is pretty widely accepted to be good if one must automate their cleanups of Windows. It is usually recommended to simply stay with their default settings unless YOU, the user, know what various settings can accomplish.

As far as the registry it was in version 2 of Windows and was used for settings not covered with the system.ini file and it was used in Windows NT 3.1 in EXACTLY the same manner as it is currently used in Windows 7. I will agree that it is not too difficult to understand but there is a reason than Microsoft warns against editing without making backups of the keys edited.

The registry in Windows performs much the same as various config files in UNIX or Linux but with certain advantages such as a single user interface although all can be manipulated in other manners such as with the ever popular TweakUI and other similar utilities.

You stated to Comicfan - "So many people seem to have the same mistaken idea as you, that it actually NEEDS to be "cleaned" or "fixed" when it really doesn't. "
That statement indicates that you are unaware that many problems are solved by "fixing" the registry and range from annoying messages on startup about files not found after malware or sometimes other apps are removed to even more annoying problems such as CD/DVD problems FIXED by removing upper and lower filters.

It would appear that you are one of the "muddlers" you yourself mention although you attempt to delude yourself otherwise.

Your constant arguments are in no way a means of assistance as the forums are designed and generally your argumentative posts are a visible exercise in changing feet - you take one foot out of your mouth just to allow you to get the other one in.

Respond or not, as I leave you the last word as these arguments are definitely not within the forum policies or terms of use.

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Still have plenty of straw I see
by Jimmy Greystone / November 7, 2010 4:03 AM PST

Still have plenty of straw I see. Did you buy up all the straw in a 50 mile radius or something? Planning on your own series of burning man events in rapid succession?

Everything you state is factually true, but it leaves out important details, and they are tangentially related at best.

Yes, the registry consolidates the old .ini file system, but at what point did I ever say it didn't? And you left out how this also provides a single point of failure. In the old days, you had a bad .ini file, it affected that one program (save system.ini and a couple others). Now, if the registry is damaged by an overzealous "cleaner" program, it can have system wide impact.

But what exactly does this have to do with ANYTHING that I said, aside from being related to the Windows registry?

Then you go on to talk about some registry hacks that can fix a few problems people run into, which again is only related to anything I said because it's about the Windows registry. Now if you can name a couple registry "cleaner" programs that will implement those specific hacks, then you've at least moved up to the nose bleed seats behind left field, as opposed to the parking lot behind left field.

Halloween is over, so it's time to donate that surplus of straw to some local farmers who could actually use it for something. Stop using it to make these pathetic straw men arguments.

Your only marginally useful contribution to this whole discussion was to go to wikipedia and find out that the Windows registry was in Windows 2.0. Bravo! Here's a cookie!

I don't know what your fascination is with me, and frankly don't much care. When you've depleted your apparently massive stockpiles of straw, let me know. But I have no interest in wasting my time on an intellectually lazy person such as yourself. All of your posts are either links pulled from typing a few key phrases into Google, you pointing out some stupid and inconsequential detail that changes nothing, or these straw men arguments that are tangentially related to a topic AT BEST. The first one at least has marginal value, the latter two... I'm still trying to decide between sad and annoying. So why don't you just stick to being a search monkey?

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Yup, somethin is slowing that computer down
by Ol Rod / November 6, 2010 6:45 AM PDT

another possibility is maybe some program (or maybe more than one) keeps running all the time.
I mean somethin like some anti-Virus program that scans the system every few minutes, or maybe some instant messenger open to receive messages, maybe some screensaver that keeps trying to start. I once had trouble this way with older desktop runnin ME. and my problem was WebShots screensaver kept trying to run.
My solution to that, I ran Defrag in SAFE MODE.
I also agree with ComicFan that it could be Malware.
Anyways, The same thing that is stalling Defrag is probably one of the reasons that the system is all slow.

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Defragmenting comment
by wb2001 / November 7, 2010 4:58 AM PST

You should have run "disk cleanup" first, then "defragement".
Things that can cause defragment not to work, or labor for hours:
1) Drive errors. Run "error checking" via Start, Computer, C: drive properties, Tools
2) Power-down options turned on
3) Screen saver turned on

The Recovery partition does not need to be defrag'ed! as nothing should be written to it, not even restore points.

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Re: defragging.
by Kees_B Forum moderator / November 7, 2010 5:43 AM PST

Just some questions and suggestions.

1. I noticed that defragging a FAT32 formatted drive took MUCH more time than a NTFS formatted drive. But with a Vista notebook that's a very unlikely situation.

2. I agree with some good suggestions above:
- no need to defrag the recovery drive. Only do the c:
- do it after booting in Safe Mode
- do a disc cleanup first (at least the standard Windows cleanup wizard, but ccleaner is better)
- don't mess with the registry

3. Interesting to know:
- what's the total, used and free space on the c:-drive?
- what's the progress counter of the debug program doing during these 12 hours?
- what's the CPU usage of the debug program doing during these 12 hours?
- if you run the analysis mode on the c:-drive, what does it say?
- does your daughter happen to illegally download music and games from P2P-sites (like limewire) or do you provide her with enough resources (money and presents) to use only paid and legal stuff?
- what's the antivirus and antimalware protection on this notebook?
- if you download and run MBAM (Malwarebytes' Antimalware) and SAS (Superantispyware) for a free scan, what do they find?
- what's the result of a free online antivirus scan?

That's a lot of questions indeed.

The easy solution probably would be to give your daughter a USB stick to save some data on (game data, favorites etc) or do that yourself - there are no documents, no photo's, so it's only a very limited amount of data) - then use the System Recovery to go back to factory conditions and start all over with a good antivirus and antimalware, automatic Windows updates, and only her legally bought games. The notebook will be as fast as it was in 2008.


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