Defragmentation is a necessary computer task for all users. However, there is a lot of conflicting information out there about disk defragmentation. Some people advise doing it weekly... some people will tell you never to do it! Some people say defragmentation hurts the hard drive, some people say that never defragmenting hurts the poor disk even more. Today we clear up the confusion and you will learn how to speed up your computer by defragmenting your hard drive.
Why is defragmentation necessary?
Hard drive fragmentation is one of the things that can slow down your PC a lot. Let me explain why. Every user knows that all their files are stored on the hard drive. But did you know that hard drives are the slowest components of a computer? That's because, unlike CPU and RAM, hard disks have moving parts - read/write heads. These heads move whenever your computer starts looking for a file. When you save files, Windows doesn't put them on the disk as a contiguous block. It splits the files into small fragments and fits these fragments into any available free space blocks. When you are opening a fragmented file, the drive’s read/write heads are forced to move more to access all parts of the file. The more fragmented the files are, the more time is needed to access a file. So if opening files takes ages and you can hear your hard drive thrashing, you can be sure that it’s fragmented.
Defragmentation is a simple process where file fragments are put together on the disk. This speeds up file access, because your hard drive heads don't have to move all around the drive to find all file fragments. That’s how defragmentation can speed up computer performance and decrease the danger of hard drive failure
Is disk defragmentation is harmful?
The amount of 'work' your hard drive has to do in the defragmentation process is significant and it can shorten the life of your hard drive if you do it more often than necessary.
Also, it is possible for files to become corrupted when they are moved around too often as a result of excessive defragmentation. HOWEVER! Do note the use of the words 'excessive' and 'more often than necessary' here. You also need to consider the fact that if your system is very fragmented, your hard disk will be doing more work than it needs to anyway, with the read arm moving back and forth to collect pieces of information stored here, there and everywhere.
Windows inbuilt or a third party defragmentation utility?
Most of the top-of-the-line disk defragmenters can be downloaded as freeware, and they have various benefits including working more quickly than Windows inbuilt utility and being able to defrag areas that the inbuilt one can’t. Try out programs like MyDefrag, or Defraggler and find the one that suits you best.
This is one of many ways how to speed up computer performance and enjoy that new PC feel again