February 07, 2007

Have You Defragged Lately? - What Is Fragmentation Anyway?

Posted at February 7, 2007 11:35 AM in Computer Tech .

Rhian D. Block
rhian@vazoom.com

One of the servers which control the services for this website along with the web hosting and email services for Vazoom was performing a bit slow. It took forever to copy files and the hard drives looked as if they were going to explode from the amount of head movement taking place inside of them.

I decided to check the file fragmentation level of the server, and low and behold this is what I found. The red basically indicates files/folders etc.. which are scattered across the hard drives in no logical order. I have never seen a drive so fragmented before. The fragmentation process takes these messy files and re-organizes them. A good example would be taking a messy room and looking through everything in order to clean it up neatly so that things were easier to find and get hold of. Over time, your hard drives stores and deletes data leaving gaps of open space. In order to put additional information onto the drive (Word Document, Excel Document, Games, etc..), data must sometimes be broken up between disjointed locations across the hard drive because it's too large to fit into the one open spot. Things end up being cut up and placed a little bit here and a little bit over there. When you go to access that data however (Opening a Word Document for example), the mechanical arm of the hard drive must go all over the place (Or disk platter in the case of a hard drive) to find and piece together all the parts of the file. It take longer than if the information were to be bundled right next to each other like a little happy family.

I would probably suggest running de-fragmentation at least once a month. Of course, running it multiple times over the course of a month won't do any harm either.

defrag.jpg

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