TrueJournals

Tag: harddrives

Should I Defrag?

by on Mar.16, 2010, under technology

If you use a computer (and, since your reading my blog, I assume you do), you might have heard the term “defrag” at some point or another. Maybe instructions for installing a program said you should defrag your harddrive before you install it (I believe “The Sims” had this in their instructions), or perhaps you’ve just heard one of your friends use the word. Today, Ireceivedan e-mail from my dad asking me a seemingly-simple question: “Should I periodically de-frag my laptop? What does this do? How do you do it?” My response, however, was a bit more complicated.

In this blog post, I’m going to attempt to explain, very simply, what defragging a harddrive actually does, and why you should, or shouldn’t, do it. Some of my more technically inept readers may think I’m oversimplifying things by not dealing with the different filesystems, not explaining exactly how data is written, etc., but that’s not the point of this post. My goal is to explain, in the simplest terms possible, how your harddrive works, and what defragging the harddrive does, in terms of how data is stored on the drive. To start, I’ll explain the typical way data is stored on the drive, then I’ll talk about what types of situations create harddrive fragmentation, next I’ll explain why fragmentation is bad for your harddrive, and, finally, I’ll give an argument about whether or not you should run a defrag tool. (continue reading…)

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