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National Technologies Group

National Technologies Group has been serving the Sydney area since 1994, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Whatever Happened to Disk Defragmentation?

b2ap3_thumbnail_DiskDefrag400.jpgIf you have been working with Windows operating systems for more than a few years, then you have heard about defrag. To help keep your PC running smoothly, it has always been considered a solid practice to routinely perform a disk defragmentation on your hard drive. Recently, however, you may not have heard much about defragging. Is defragging still necessary?

For those of you unaware with what disk defragmentation is, the illustration of a bookshelf is a good way to explain it. When your computer uses data, it retrieves it from the hard drive. Think of this like you grabbing a book off the shelf and reading it. A computer will not take the time to place the "book" back where it found it. Instead, a PC will put the book back in the nearest open space at the end of the bookshelf, leaving open the place where the book was originally located.

Many computations later, and the bookshelf looks like a smiling hockey player. Over time, the bookshelf has many empty holes (sectors) and it takes the computer longer to retrieve data. This is because the bookends continue to expand and the needed books are now scattered all over the hard drive. Actions like deleting programs can take out entire rows of books, leaving major gaps that are not filled with anything. Disk defragmentation is the process where the books of data are returned to their home and condensed for maximum data retrieval time.

To Defrag? Or Not to Defrag?
One reason that you do not hear about defragging like you used to is because doing a disk defragmentation used to be a sure way to boost computer speed. Therefore, whenever someone complained about a slow PC, one of the first troubleshoots was to defrag. Thanks to faster computers, a disk defragmentation will no longer give you an automatic performance boost, but the data usage idea of the bookshelf still applies. Therefore, it is still recommended to include periodic disk defragging on your checklist of computer maintenances. Even with a fast processor, a computer with heavy fragmentation will see a decrease in performance.

Another reason that defragging is talked of less than we remember is because Windows Vista, 7, and 8 will automatically defrag your hard drive. Unless the settings have been adjusted, Windows is configured to automatically perform a disk defragmentation once every week late at night. You may have turned off this setting after having a late night gaming session interrupted with a disk defragmentation. It is a good idea to double check to see if your PC is set to automatically defrag your hard drive. Go to Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter to check on the defrag schedule, and perhaps adjust the disk defragmentation to take place at a more convenient time.

The last reason that defragging is not talked about as often is because defragging does not apply to solid-state drives (SSD). SSDs are designed differently than the bookshelf model. Attempting to defrag an SSD drive may actually harm it. If you are using an SSD then be sure that the automatic disk defragmentation setting in Windows is turned off. Defragging your hard drive is just one of a few dozen maintenances that need to be performed to keep your PC running efficiently.

To learn more PC maintenances and best practices, call National Technologies Group at +61295186000. Just like automating the disk defragging process will turn the job into an afterthought, so too will National Technologies Group's managed services automatically take care of the dozens of maintenances a PC requires so that you can focus your efforts on much more important things, like running your business!

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Sunday, 08 December 2019
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