Windows XP - MFT defrag

When I defrag it skips a file "$mft" saying that it's locked. What should I do?
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More about windows defrag
  1. Don't worry about it as the MFT is not to be messed with. Read this as - it could FUBAR your system.
  2. This is the Master File Table. Although the NT defragmenter doesn't defragment it, there are utilities which will (Google "MFT defragmentation"). Unless it is significantly fragmented it's probably not that important.

    Similarly you will find some other files (such as the registry hives and swap file) that aren't defragmented. There is a tool from SysInternals (now part of Microsoft) to do this - if memory serves it's called something like PageDefrag.
  3. sturm said:
    Don't worry about it as the MFT is not to be messed with. Read this as - it could FUBAR your system.



    I thought that maybe that contributed to me System Restore problem.
  4. Ijack said:
    This is the Master File Table. Although the NT defragmenter doesn't defragment it, there are utilities which will (Google "MFT defragmentation"). Unless it is significantly fragmented it's probably not that important.

    Similarly you will find some other files (such as the registry hives and swap file) that aren't defragmented. There is a tool from SysInternals (now part of Microsoft) to do this - if memory serves it's called something like PageDefrag.


    Thanks. I tried PageDefrag and it showed that the page files were not fragmented. I thought that the locked MFT file might have contributed to me System Restore problem.
  5. brendastan said:
    I thought that the locked MFT file might have contributed to me System Restore problem.

    Definitely not (unless the MFT is corrupted - a chkdsk would show this). It's just as this is such an integral part of the file system it's always locked by Windows. So what you saw is entirely normal, and nothing to worry about.
  6. The MFT is the single most critical file on any volume since it is a record of all the files on the volume. Don't manually change it in any way; Windows manages it's size automatically.

    The windows defragger or the freeware defraggers cannot defrag the MFT to the best of my knowledge. You'll need a commercial defragger; google around, there are free trial versions available. Infact, the commercial defragger I use is fully automatic and defrags the MFT even within Windows (no need for boot-defrag) during the auto defrag.

    If the MFT is fragmented into just 3-4 pieces it's not a cause for concern, but heavy fragmentation of the MFT can lead to slower disk performance since the MFT is accessed each time a file is read/written.
  7. sidewinderdt said:
    The MFT is the single most critical file on any volume since it is a record of all the files on the volume. Don't manually change it in any way; Windows manages it's size automatically.

    The windows defragger or the freeware defraggers cannot defrag the MFT to the best of my knowledge. You'll need a commercial defragger; google around, there are free trial versions available. Infact, the commercial defragger I use is fully automatic and defrags the MFT even within Windows (no need for boot-defrag) during the auto defrag.

    If the MFT is fragmented into just 3-4 pieces it's not a cause for concern, but heavy fragmentation of the MFT can lead to slower disk performance since the MFT is accessed each time a file is read/written.



    Thank you very much!! I'll check out defraggers on Google.
  8. If the file isn't fragmented, other defraggers aren't going to do any good. A defrag isn't going to solve a system restore problem anyway. If you've got registry errors, that's more likely to cause restore errors.

    What happens when you try to revert to a restore point?
  9. aford10 said:
    If the file isn't fragmented, other defraggers aren't going to do any good. A defrag isn't going to solve a system restore problem anyway. If you've got registry errors, that's more likely to cause restore errors.

    What happens when you try to revert to a restore point?



    It goes through the restore process and reboots the computer and then says "unable to restore to an earlier time, no changes were made to your computer"
  10. Try doing it in safe mode. Use f8 on startup to access the safe mode menu.
  11. If you want the best and only defrag tool that will literally defrag the entire drive you need Disktrix UltimateDefrag. It will not only defrag the files on the drive but it will defrag and optimize any of the Windows meta files ($*). It allows you to places the Windows Meta Files where ever you want them on the drive and allow you to modify the $MFT mirror size as well. They also have DefragExpress, but do not think it will do the Windows Meta Files. There is a free version, but it does not allows for Meta file defrag and placement. here is the link for the free:

    http://www.disktrix.com/UDFree.htm

    I am hoping though when they relese the latest that the UltimaeDefrag 2008 will become free sometime.

    Here is a piece from Disktrix site about what the boot time defrag will do:

    Some of the functionality includes: * Ability to defrag all metafiles and system files e.g. MFT, pagefile, USN ChangeJournal * Ability to place all metafiles and system files at any user-defined location on drive volume * Ability to sort order of metafiles and system files according to user preferences * Ability to specify MFT reserved space - particularly useful for XP where default reserved space is 12.5% of hard drive size. * Since the Vista & XP operating system are almost constantly interacting with the hard drive in the background - optimal placement of these files improves overall performance - especially so is the placement of MFT and page file in relation to most frequently used data..

    I would like to see another defrag tool top that! I have been using it for years now. Never once had an issue.
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