Over the years, hard computers have become increasingly faster than before and I am constantly coming across machines in which the user has not kept up with regular defragmentation of their hard drives. The common thought is that defragmentation is no longer relevant. This quite untrue to say the least. Fragmentation occurs on all Hard Drives, regardless of the speed of the drive or your computer. As your data becomes fragmented on your hard drives; especially, large volumes, your access to files will slow and your computer will become almost unusable.
Smaller files are much easier for your hard disk to allocate space for as apposed to larger files. These files are stored on what are called sectors, which allocate a given amount of space or chunk of data on the drive. As you move, copy and delete files, as well as install and uninstall programs, more of these chunks of data are created and result in fragmentation. These chunks of data are no longer able to be stored on the same sector and must be fragmented.
Over time, fragmentation of your files leads to slow access times. This results in more work for your hard drive and puts more stress on it for basic tasks, such as accessing a file or program. This ultimately results in a shortened life of the drive and can put you at risk for data loss. Read our last post on data loss and recovery.
How can you prevent these problems you ask? Ensure that you regularly defragment your hard drive and ensure your data is backed up regularly. If you do not have a backup system in place, please check out our preventative maintenance packages. Defragmenting your hard drive allows files to be stored in order, or contiguously, which ultimately reduces hard drive access times as well as wear and tear on the drive.
Defragmenting your computer is a relatively simple process which will ultimately save you time and usually extend the life of your drive. You may defragment your computer on Windows 7 and 8 by going to the start menu and typing “Defrag and Optimize Drives”. This will open up the Windows Defragmentation program. Select all of your Hard Drives and click “Analyze.” Once that has completed, click “Optimize” for the defragmented drive at hand, and wait for the process to finish. Avoid using the computer while the defragmentation process is running. Another note, never defragment a SSD – Solid State Drive. I will tell you why in our next post.
If you feel that your hard drive is slow after defragmenting, it may be failing, or you may simply have a slow rpm drive. For desktops we recommend the Western Digital Scorpio Black 3TB 7200RPM Desktop Hard Drive and for laptops we recommend the Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB 2.5in 7200RPM Laptop Hard Drive.
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