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Last Post by Novell52
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How often?
That really depends on what sort of usage a particular system gets and what functions it performs. It also depends on the particular filesystem you're using on your disks; some filesystems are better than others in terms of dealing with fragmentation (or even minimizing it). For example, Microsoft's NTFS filesystem (in general) handles fragmentation a bit better than MS's earlier FAT/FAT32 filesystems, and UNIX/Linux filesystems such as ext2, ext3, and ReiserFS deal with fragmentation much better than either MS filesystem.

Fragmentation as a whole occurs as a result of adds/deletes/changes to the data stored on a drive, so a drive whose contents are pretty much "static" will need to be defragged much less often than a drive whose contents are constantly changing.

Given all of the above, the question isn't really how often to defragment, but at what percentage of disk/file fragmentation do you decide to defrag.
The whole thing is more than a bit subjective; you'll find people who have very strong opinions in one direction or the other in regard to how much of an issue fragmentation really is in terms of overall system performance.

I personally like to keep my Windows machines at 2-3 % fragmentation or less, but that's only due to the fact that I tend to run on the conservative side when it comes to my system maintenance schedule, and defragging is just part of that overall routine. My Linux machines are a totally different story though- due to the filesystems they use, fragmentation just hasn't been an issue in terms of drive/system performance.

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I defrag my home computer on a daily basis using a third party defrag software. My servers are done every month or whenever I can remember it. I know I should do the servers more often but I'm too busy doing other things.

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I defrag my home computer on a daily basis

And I thought I was conservative in that respect. :mrgreen:

With all due respect Novell52, that's some serious overkill for a home system.

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And I thought I was conservative in that respect. :mrgreen:

With all due respect Novell52, that's some serious overkill for a home system.

It probably is but I have the program so I might as well just take full advantage of it. I've had it for about a month now and my system seems to start and shutdown faster.

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I do the same for my home. I have it set up running in the backround. How is that overkill? I am always deleting files and moving things and installing and uninstalling things. On the servers I manage I can imagine it is much worse so why wouldn't I do the same for them.

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I do the same for my home. I have it set up running in the backround. How is that overkill?

A comment I made elsewhere today, in response to a similar concern. The machine referred to is my primary online workplace, by the way.

Well, I've just defragged my work system for the first time ever. It's now more responsive, of course, but it's hardly a dramatic or even a noticeable improvement. And this on a system that's been subjected to a helluva lot of hard work!

Years back, in the days of ATA33 drives for example, defragging a hard drive could give a big improvement. But now with high rpm and high data transfer drives, the effect is much, much less.

Ensuring you have ENOUGH drive space and ENOUGH RAM in your system is far more important than frequent defragging on any system, and on a home PC defragging frequently is totally unecessary. The absolute only purpose for which it's appropriate to do so is where the PC is set up for competitively running benchmark tests, and needs to be kept completely tuned.

But come to think of it, such a system gets formatted and reinstalled just about every day, so there's really no need to do that much defragging for ANY purpose, is there?

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I was going to suggest Diskeeper for the reason that you can set it to run in the background. A little bit here, a little bit there! It just keeps it defragged.

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I was going to suggest Diskeeper for the reason that you can set it to run in the background. A little bit here, a little bit there! It just keeps it defragged.

Agreed. Even if you don't do it everyday. Just the fact that you can schedule it and not have to worry about forgetting to run it is worth having it.

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Thanks everyone. I checked out the article that Novell52 posted and it sold me on the idea of defragging on a more frequent basis so far as servers go. I have seen the difference it makes on workstations and so getting a defragger that runs continually seems like the best bet. Just set it and forget it.

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I go with the theory that servers and work stations are best defragmented regularly as part of the system maintenance as they undoubtedly lend stability to the systems. And if a daily defrag is possible then there’s nothing like it, especially with third party tools that have features to perform the task whenever required, in the background without affecting functions such as file access. As far as servers go, regular defrag=stability of the MFT and paging file. Servers are known to have much faster backups if they are defragmented regularly. Its worth it to avoid the nightmares of bootcrashes and freezes. It will definitely add years to the life of a workstation

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I go with the theory that servers and work stations are best defragmented regularly as part of the system maintenance as they undoubtedly lend stability to the systems. And if a daily defrag is possible then there’s nothing like it, especially with third party tools that have features to perform the task whenever required, in the background without affecting functions such as file access. As far as servers go, regular defrag=stability of the MFT and paging file. Servers are known to have much faster backups if they are defragmented regularly. Its worth it to avoid the nightmares of bootcrashes and freezes. It will definitely add years to the life of a workstation

Whether you use the built-in or third party defrag, it won't hurt doing it on a regular basis.

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