when to defrag?

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

How long should I leave it before defragging my hard drive under XP Home
SP2? I had thought that it should be done about once a month or so, but
when I open the Disk Defragmenter program and run "analyse" it says that a
defrag is not necessary.

It must be about three months or so since I last defragged. The only slow
down in performance I've noticed lately is that clearing the IE6 History
takes longer that it used to...

I'm wary of just defragmenting for the sake of it as I've also read that
doing this too often can have an adverse affect on stability - can any one
confirm this?

Regards

Kline
15 answers Last reply
More about when defrag
  1. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    "kline" <coma_ellipse@noospaamyahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:NGPAd.147$D97.64@newsfe6-gui.ntli.net
    > How long should I leave it before defragging my hard drive under XP
    > Home SP2? I had thought that it should be done about once a month or
    > so, but when I open the Disk Defragmenter program and run "analyse"
    > it says that a defrag is not necessary.
    >
    > It must be about three months or so since I last defragged. The only
    > slow down in performance I've noticed lately is that clearing the IE6
    > History takes longer that it used to...
    >
    > I'm wary of just defragmenting for the sake of it as I've also read
    > that doing this too often can have an adverse affect on stability -
    > can any one confirm this?
    >
    > Regards
    >
    > Kline

    Depends on usage and file system. It is not as important on an NTFS system.
    I use NTFS and I defragment every year or two. I don't notice any
    performance improvement.

    --
    Frank Saunders, MS-MVP, IE/OE
    Please respond in Newsgroup only. Do not send email
    http://www.fjsmjs.com
    Protect your PC
    http://www.microsoft.com./athome/security/protect/default.aspx
  2. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    In news:NGPAd.147$D97.64@newsfe6-gui.ntli.net,
    kline <coma_ellipse@noospaamyahoo.com> typed:

    > How long should I leave it before defragging my hard drive
    > under XP
    > Home SP2? I had thought that it should be done about once a
    > month or
    > so, but when I open the Disk Defragmenter program and run
    > "analyse"
    > it says that a defrag is not necessary.


    This is one of those many questions where there's no simple
    single answer that's right for everyone. You should defrag when
    your drive is fragmented enough to adversely impact your
    performance. How often that is depends on your usage patterns,
    and since everyone's usage patterns are
    different, the answer is different for each of us.

    Here's my recommendation: arbitraily pick some period, say
    monthly, and defrag on that schedule a few times in a row.
    Following these defrags, do you generally sense an improvement in
    speed? If so, defrag more frequently. If not, defrag less
    frequently.

    Repeat that procedure a few times, and you should settle into a
    defrag frequency that works well for you.

    --
    Ken Blake - Microsoft MVP Windows: Shell/User
    Please reply to the newsgroup
  3. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    kline wrote:
    > How long should I leave it before defragging my hard drive under XP
    > Home SP2?

    Depends on your usage. A volume that rarely experiences change does not need
    to be defragged very often, if at all.

    Personally I like to check fragmentation after doing heavy system
    maintenance, like adding or removing large applications, or installing major
    updates. If I then see a lot of red, I defrag. If not, I don't.

    > I had thought that it should be done about once a month or
    > so, but when I open the Disk Defragmenter program and run "analyse"
    > it says that a defrag is not necessary.

    Then it probably is not necessary.

    > It must be about three months or so since I last defragged. The only
    > slow down in performance I've noticed lately is that clearing the IE6
    > History takes longer that it used to...

    This sounds like normal behaviour on a system that has all user files on the
    system volume, is frequently used for web surfing, and does not get a lot of
    programs installed and/or removed to/from the system volume.

    If you are very concerned about the time to clear IE history (why?) defrag.
    If not, don't.

    > I'm wary of just defragmenting for the sake of it as I've also read
    > that doing this too often can have an adverse affect on stability -
    > can any one confirm this?

    Well, a defrag does a pretty rough deassembly and reassembly of your file
    system. It usually is not a problem, but _if_ something goes wrong during
    the defrag process (this can be anything from a power outage to a bug in the
    defrag software) you better start praying that you do not lose anything
    vital. The chance of something like this actually happening is slim, and it
    never happened once to me, but it is possible. And the more often you
    defrag, the higher the risk you have of eventually running into problems.

    Second there is the issue of physical strain on your hard drives. If a large
    file is fragmented your read/write heads will have to do a lot of work to
    actually read it. So if you access this file often it is logical that
    defragmenting it once will reduce overall workload on your disk, since the
    file now can be accessed in a single clean sweep. However, if a file is not
    likely to be accessed there is no such gain, and thus a defrag will only be
    a waste of work and time, and will in itself cause unnecessary work on your
    hard drive. So frequent defrags just for the sake of having a neat recycle
    bin and IE cache will probably reduce the overall lifetime of your hard
    drive, not to mention be a waste of your precious time.
  4. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    kline wrote:

    >How long should I leave it before defragging my hard drive under XP Home
    >SP2? I had thought that it should be done about once a month or so, but
    >when I open the Disk Defragmenter program and run "analyse" it says that a
    >defrag is not necessary.
    >
    >It must be about three months or so since I last defragged. The only slow
    >down in performance I've noticed lately is that clearing the IE6 History
    >takes longer that it used to...

    The 'need' as seen by the defrag program is a bad guide. Go ahead and
    do it. Once a month is a reasonable frequency; though I tend to do it
    when I have just done some serious modifications


    --
    Alex Nichol MS MVP (Windows Technologies)
    Bournemouth, U.K. Alexn@mvps.D8E8L.org (remove the D8 bit)
  5. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    kline wrote:
    > How long should I leave it before defragging my hard drive under XP Home
    > SP2? I had thought that it should be done about once a month or so, but
    > when I open the Disk Defragmenter program and run "analyse" it says that a
    > defrag is not necessary.
    >
    > It must be about three months or so since I last defragged. The only slow
    > down in performance I've noticed lately is that clearing the IE6 History
    > takes longer that it used to...
    >
    > I'm wary of just defragmenting for the sake of it as I've also read that
    > doing this too often can have an adverse affect on stability - can any one
    > confirm this?

    ----------------------------

    For example, I just broke down and defragged a disk that I've been using
    for 23 months now and which doesn't have much empty space on it. I was
    having unrelated trouble and someone suggested that I try it. Basically
    I never do it since it never seemed to help me any under Win98 even.

    Anyhow, before running defrag on XP I did a clean reboot and timed some
    typical operations -- opening a browser, opening a huge Excel data file,
    Word, etc. Then I defragged and reran the measurements. Zero, zip,
    zilch improvement.

    I would personally never defrag if XP says it isn't necessary -- and
    maybe not even if it did!

    YMMV....

    Bill
  6. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    If a slight slowdown in performance of a function you only occasionally use,
    don't worry about it - make it a very occasional event.
    Defragging DOES place a lot of stress on the mechanics of your HDD.
    Electrons don't wear out, but mechanical parts do :-)

    --

    johnf

    > How long should I leave it before defragging my hard drive under XP Home
    > SP2? I had thought that it should be done about once a month or so, but
    > when I open the Disk Defragmenter program and run "analyse" it says
    > that a defrag is not necessary.
    >
    > It must be about three months or so since I last defragged. The only
    > slow down in performance I've noticed lately is that clearing the IE6
    > History takes longer that it used to...
    >
    > I'm wary of just defragmenting for the sake of it as I've also read that
    > doing this too often can have an adverse affect on stability - can any
    > one confirm this?
    >
    > Regards
    >
    > Kline
  7. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    A good addition to my reply.
    I agree totally & reckon the combines replies cover the query completely.

    --

    johnf

    > kline wrote:
    >> How long should I leave it before defragging my hard drive under XP
    >> Home SP2?
    >
    > Depends on your usage. A volume that rarely experiences change does not
    > need to be defragged very often, if at all.
    >
    > Personally I like to check fragmentation after doing heavy system
    > maintenance, like adding or removing large applications, or installing
    > major updates. If I then see a lot of red, I defrag. If not, I don't.
    >
    >> I had thought that it should be done about once a month or
    >> so, but when I open the Disk Defragmenter program and run "analyse"
    >> it says that a defrag is not necessary.
    >
    > Then it probably is not necessary.
    >
    >> It must be about three months or so since I last defragged. The only
    >> slow down in performance I've noticed lately is that clearing the IE6
    >> History takes longer that it used to...
    >
    > This sounds like normal behaviour on a system that has all user files
    > on the system volume, is frequently used for web surfing, and does not
    > get a lot of programs installed and/or removed to/from the system
    > volume.
    > If you are very concerned about the time to clear IE history (why?)
    > defrag. If not, don't.
    >
    >> I'm wary of just defragmenting for the sake of it as I've also read
    >> that doing this too often can have an adverse affect on stability -
    >> can any one confirm this?
    >
    > Well, a defrag does a pretty rough deassembly and reassembly of your
    > file system. It usually is not a problem, but _if_ something goes wrong
    > during the defrag process (this can be anything from a power outage to
    > a bug in the defrag software) you better start praying that you do not
    > lose anything vital. The chance of something like this actually
    > happening is slim, and it never happened once to me, but it is
    > possible. And the more often you defrag, the higher the risk you have
    > of eventually running into problems.
    > Second there is the issue of physical strain on your hard drives. If a
    > large file is fragmented your read/write heads will have to do a lot of
    > work to actually read it. So if you access this file often it is
    > logical that defragmenting it once will reduce overall workload on your
    > disk, since the file now can be accessed in a single clean sweep.
    > However, if a file is not likely to be accessed there is no such gain,
    > and thus a defrag will only be a waste of work and time, and will in
    > itself cause unnecessary work on your hard drive. So frequent defrags
    > just for the sake of having a neat recycle bin and IE cache will
    > probably reduce the overall lifetime of your hard drive, not to mention
    > be a waste of your precious time.
  8. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    Thanks to everyone for the very informative replies.

    I think I'll go with the general consensus and *not* defrag unless it
    becomes absolutley neccessary.

    Regards

    Kline
  9. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    That is a bad decision. Disc surfaces are magnetic. Over time a bit on the
    surface diminishes with time and stray and residual magnetism. By defragging
    you are in effect rewriting many many areas of the hard drive which in effect
    will re-energize each bit. Have you ever tried playing a magnetic tape such as
    a VCR tape (magnetic also) that is a few years old?
    Any knowledge of physics?
    "kline" <coma_ellipse@noospaamyahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:ag8Bd.41$RE.11@newsfe2-win.ntli.net...
    > Thanks to everyone for the very informative replies.
    >
    > I think I'll go with the general consensus and *not* defrag unless it
    > becomes absolutley neccessary.
    >
    > Regards
    >
    > Kline
    >
  10. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    "Unknown" <Unknown@Somewhere.Kom> wrote in message
    news:uFfBd.4338$Hl5.1378@newssvr31.news.prodigy.com...
    > That is a bad decision. Disc surfaces are magnetic. Over time a bit on the
    > surface diminishes with time and stray and residual magnetism. By
    > defragging you are in effect rewriting many many areas of the hard drive
    > which in effect will re-energize each bit. Have you ever tried playing a
    > magnetic tape such as a VCR tape (magnetic also) that is a few years old?
    > Any knowledge of physics?

    Wasn't aware of that...and I'll readily admit that my knowledge of physics
    is very poor! But, when you say "over time" how long are you talking
    about? I'm not saying I won't ever defrag, but as long as the defrag
    program says it's not neccesary I'll hold back.

    Regards

    Kline

    > "kline" <coma_ellipse@noospaamyahoo.com> wrote in message
    > news:ag8Bd.41$RE.11@newsfe2-win.ntli.net...
    >> Thanks to everyone for the very informative replies.
    >>
    >> I think I'll go with the general consensus and *not* defrag unless it
    >> becomes absolutley neccessary.
    >>
    >> Regards
    >>
    >> Kline
    >>
    >
  11. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    Unknown wrote:
    > That is a bad decision. Disc surfaces are magnetic. Over time a bit
    > on the surface diminishes with time and stray and residual magnetism.
    > By defragging you are in effect rewriting many many areas of the hard
    > drive which in effect will re-energize each bit.

    I have never heard of this being a problem for hard drives. And even if this
    is the case, defragmentation is hardly a good solution to the problem.
    Defragmentation mainly rewrites files that are fragmented. Static files get
    defragged at most once, and after that they are never touched no matter how
    often you defrag. If remagnetizing a hard drive really is such an issue this
    should be solved with software that simply reads every single sector and
    puts it right back.

    When you say "over time", how much time do you reckon is too long before
    sectors starts losing data? A month? A year? Ten years?
  12. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    André Gulliksen wrote:
    >
    > When you say "over time", how much time do you reckon is too long before
    > sectors starts losing data? A month? A year? Ten years?

    The guy is way off base. He's confusing analog recording with digital.
    Analog does degrade over time and with use.

    Anyhow, I believe the magnetic data on your hard drive will last longer
    than the drive's bearings will. Or the data will get wiped out by heads
    dinging the surface, crashing, etc. Unless you do something bizarre like
    store your hard drive in an oven at several hundred degrees it's not
    going to lose it's magnetic storage just from sitting quietly. There
    are lots more serious reliabliity problems in a hard drive to worry
    about than the basic physics of recording.

    (Understanding in some detail the problems of flying a head so close
    over the disk would make your hair stand on end and never trust a drive
    again -- I do lots of backups.)

    Bill
  13. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    "Bill Martin -- (Remove NOSPAM from address)"
    <wylie@earthNOSPAMlink.net> wrote in message
    news:eX7Y4OD8EHA.1404@TK2MSFTNGP11.phx.gbl
    > André Gulliksen wrote:
    >>
    >> When you say "over time", how much time do you reckon is too long
    >> before sectors starts losing data? A month? A year? Ten years?
    >
    > The guy is way off base. He's confusing analog recording with
    > digital. Analog does degrade over time and with use.
    >
    > Anyhow, I believe the magnetic data on your hard drive will last
    > longer than the drive's bearings will. Or the data will get wiped
    > out by heads dinging the surface, crashing, etc. Unless you do
    > something bizarre like store your hard drive in an oven at several
    > hundred degrees it's not going to lose it's magnetic storage just
    > from sitting quietly. There are lots more serious reliabliity
    > problems in a hard drive to worry about than the basic physics of
    > recording.
    > (Understanding in some detail the problems of flying a head so close
    > over the disk would make your hair stand on end and never trust a
    > drive again -- I do lots of backups.)
    >
    > Bill

    Digital magnetic recording also degrades over time. However, defragging
    won't really help that. Back in DOS days I had a program that would read
    and rewrite every sector on a floppy, but I never tried that on a hard
    drive.

    --
    Frank Saunders, MS-MVP, IE/OE
    Please respond in Newsgroup only. Do not send email
    http://www.fjsmjs.com
    Protect your PC
    http://www.microsoft.com./athome/security/protect/default.aspx
  14. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    "kline" wrote:

    > How long should I leave it before def ragging my hard drive under XP Home
    > SP2? I had thought that it should be done about once a month or so, but
    > when I open the Disk Fragment program and run "analyse" it says that a
    > defrag is not necessary.
    >
    > It must be about three months or so since I last defragged. The only slow
    > down in performance I've noticed lately is that clearing the IE6 History
    > takes longer that it used to...
    >
    > I'm wary of just defragmenting for the sake of it as I've also read that
    > doing this too often can have an adverse affect on stability - can any one
    > confirm this?
    >
    > Regards
    >
    > Kline

    I am new to this and am not sure if I am "talking " in correct place If
    anyone wants to give me directions please do so.

    My problem with defrag

    Often when defrag is in process we are told that a disk part cannot be
    defraged but next time computer is started this will happen.

    Each and everytime I start my computer I am told " Check file sys on D The
    type of file is NTFS Volume label is D Backup One of the disks need to be
    checked" and so on.
    A full check is now done and all ok. The entire disk has been checked and is
    healthy.
    I have tried running De frag in safe mode on d but am told that chkdsk is
    scheduled to run on D please run CHKDSK-I do after which we go back to where
    we started,in other words catch 22.
    I am running Win Home with s/p2 There are no other problems.
    Armour
  15. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.basics (More info?)

    kline wrote:

    > I'm wary of just defragmenting for the sake of it as I've also read that
    > doing this too often can have an adverse affect on stability - can any one
    > confirm this?
    ----------------------

    IMHO, you never really need to defrag other than when you install large
    software packages. When you open Word for example it takes awhile so
    you'd like the Word software itself optimized on the disk. The data
    files you create with Word though are typically tiny compared to the
    software itself so if the data files are scattered a bit it doesn't make
    much practical difference to your wait time.

    When you decide you are going to defrag, first measure the time it takes
    the computer to do various things you normally do. Open a Word file.
    Go to a web site, etc. THEN defrag and measure them again. Unless you
    see a measurable improvement you've just spun your wheels uselessly
    doing the defrag.

    Last time I did one I hadn't done it for two years. I still measured no
    improvement in system response times.

    If you do a lot of video editing or something you may want to defrag
    more often.

    YMMV... Good luck.

    Bill
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